Los Angeles Travel Diary, Part One

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Now that I wrapped up my Barcelona posts, I’m moving onto my trip to Los Angeles! I’d visited the city before, but not since I was really young (think single digits) and was so excited to have the opportunity to go back with a free place to stay, as my stepsister moved there last fall. I was in town for six days, and the trip totally surpassed my expectations. It was honestly amazing — the sun and warm temperatures, which were desperately needed after a blizzard in New York just 24 hours prior to me getting on the plane out. I like the layout of LA too — a huge, sprawling city with the conveniences of the suburbs (cars!)

Instead of doing a “guide,” I’m going to structure this post in the “what I did” style, with a recap of each day. LA is just so big, and I really just scratched the surface. But I do feel like I covered a lot of ground in the six days I was there (I completely contradicted myself here, but you know what I mean), so hopefully this will be helpful.

I know I was there for a while — nearly a week! — so anything I’d designate as a must-do, I’m marking with a * so you can streamline if you’re planning a shorter getaway. And since it was a longer trip, I’m going to split this up into two posts so it’s not crazy-long and photo heavy.

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Day One: Santa Monica

I arrived into LA late on Wednesday, but I didn’t sleep on the flight out there (watched three movies — Whiplash, Manchester by the Sea, and Aladdin instead!), so I passed out pretty much immediately upon arrival. Buuuut, that meant that I woke up at a normal time and suffered next to no jet lag on my way out there. My stepsister had to go to work, so we parted ways for the day, and then I drove out west to Santa Monica to meet Brooke for lunch. (Fun fact: We interned together at Marie Claire four years ago!)

We ate at Ivy on the Shore*. Y’all, it is so, so good. I had the lobster pizza, which was of course delicious. I mean, it’s lobster and pizza, how could it not be? They also give you complimentary champagne with your meal, which was the perfect welcome to LA pick-me-up. The decor is super cute, all pink and nautical-inspired. I absolutely loved it, and highly recommend stopping by if you’re in Santa Monica.

We then shopped around Third Street Promenade and popped over to Nordstrom, which I don’t have in NYC! (I know, it’s tough. #Sarcasm.) After she left, I played tourist and walked over to the Santa Monica Pier*. It’s definitely a trap, but worth walking down if you’ve never been. The views of the beach with tons of people on it is really beautiful — the view is the top photo on this post.

On my way back, I also got caught in my first LA traffic jam! I don’t know what’s worse, LA traffic or NYC subway delays.

For dinner, we went to Bestia*, a trendy spot in Downtown LA. Emily Ratajkowski likes it! It’s Italian food, but you’re supposed to order a bunch of small plates. We ordered about five dishes to share, and everything was so tasty. If you’re visiting LA and want to try Bestia, be sure to plan ahead. Reservations are hard to come by (we had one and still had to wait nearly 30 minutes) and my stepsister made ours over a month in advance.

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Day Two: West Hollywood and Beverly Hills

On Friday, I headed to Toast for breakfast. The reason is kind of silly: I’ve been reading Danielle’s blog forever (at least five years), and her old blog was named after this place. I ordered the coffee cake French toast, and it was tasty — soft, but with a slight crunch — but heavy. Afterwards, I was absolutely stuffed.

I then did a little bit of shopping and picked up a new pair of white jeans (my current ones are too big — don’t ask me why I bought them, I’m an idiot) before heading over to Melrose* to explore. There’s lots of quite boutiques and shops, like Serena & Lily, Joie, Clare Vivier, Zimmermann and more. But the biggest spots on my to-see list were the pink wall outside the Paul Smith store, which I shamelessly asked a stranger to take a photo of me in front of, and Alfred Tea Room. The former is just as bright and pink as you’d imagine (can I paint a wall in my apartment this color?) and the latter, Alfred Tea, is so cute. There’s lots of sassy sayings painted on the walls, and there’s a cute patio tucked in the back. I ordered the rose bubble tea and it was delicious! Going to need them to come out to NYC stat!

After I finished up there, I drove over to Beverly Hills. I know it’s a total tourist move, but I had to do the walk down Rodeo Drive*. I obviously wasn’t shopping in earnest, but it’s still fun to pop in and out of Chanel, Gucci and the like. This was also the afternoon of my Kendall Jenner sighting! A very exciting day.

I then met up with my stepsister and we got a casual dinner at Guisados, a taco place near her apartment. They were tasty but spicy! But I also have a very low tolerance for spice, so take that for what you will.

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Los Angeles California Travel Guide, What to Do When You Visit LA

Day Three: Echo Park and Warner Bros.

My stepsister lives in Echo Park, so we made the quick trip on Saturday morning to Grand Central Market, where we attempted to get EggSlut — the line was nearly an hour long, so we passed and instead got breakfast sandwiches at Valerie. They were so, so good — gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, yum. We then went paddle boating on Echo Park Lake*. It’s gorgeous there (and where I took these photos), and it was a fun, relaxing activity for a pretty morning. Also, I cannot get enough of the palm trees. They just make everything feel so tropical. Obsessed.

One thing I really wanted to do in LA was visit the Warner Bros. set*, mostly so I could have my picture on the Friends couch. And on the Gilmore Girls lot. (Yes, I’m a super fan of both.) The tour was actually really interesting, our guide was very informed and had a lot to share about the movies and shows that were filmed on the lot. One thing I would recommend: If you can, go on a weekday. You’ll have a way greater chance of spotting a celebrity!

I hadn’t yet satisfied my Mexican craving, so we went to a downtown spot called El Cholo. After margaritas, guacamole, and chimichangas, I was so, so stuffed. We then proceeded to spend the rest of the night on the couch watching Big Little Lies.

Stay tuned next week for my LA recap, part two!

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