A Weekend in L.A.

L.A. isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but we went for a weekend back in October and it only confirmed my liking for NYC and the east coast more. It’s a great place for those whose personality fits it. However, we still had a great time and though I may not be going back to make yearly trips, it’s definitely worth visiting once- it’s definitely a stay over and not a destination. My favorite part was the healthy food options no matter where you go and hiking to the back of the Hollywood sign!

Housing
We stayed at 1600 Vine Street apartments– an AirBnB find. It was the first time I ever stayed in one and it was actually pretty amazing! The oddest part was on how to get the keys- but the actual apartment was better than a hotel would be. Hotels are super pricey in L.A. so AirBnBs are worth looking at. We also rented a car which is another must in L.A. and most hotels charge ridiculous parking fees whereas it is free in most AirBnBs.

Activities
1. Chinese Theater, Kodak Theater and Hollywood Blvd
My hubby and I had gone to L.A. separately and done this touristy stuff before so we didn’t really do it this time except walk through it at night since our AirBnB was on Hollywood Blvd. Of course I had to find Hepburn’s star!

2. Griffith Observatory/Hiking to the Back of the Hollywood Sign
This part was so much fun. I read multiple blogs on how to hike to the back of the sign and which trails to take before we did it. We took the long route and it ended up being a total of 5-6 hours. We went past Dante’s view and in the end we were near Lake Hollywood where we got lost and eventually Uber’ed our way back to our house. This was so surreal- I loved it. Getting to the back of it is quite a hike- it gets intense towards the end and a little difficult. We parked out car at the Greek Theatre and walked up to the Griffith Observatory where we started our trail. We even ended up by people’s houses that live right under the sign and found a shortcut we could have taken to get to the sign, but it is definitely illegal as I’m sure people living there don’t appreciate it. Hiking to the back of the sign is definitely an accomplishment and gave me chills to stare over it (even though it is fenced off)!

3. Celebrity Homes
Again, my hubby and I had done the star home tours on our own before so we skipped it this time. However, both of us wanted to go to the Fresh Prince house so we looked it up and drove to it- loved the experience! (251 North Bristol Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90049). We went to some La La Land, Sex and the City and Gossip Girl locations as well!

4. Venice Canals and the Famous Venice Sign
Walking around the venice canals and taking pictures by the fun murals was a well-spent afternoon! Getting a picture under the famous Venice sign was definitely hard with all the cars!

5. Santa Monica Pier
For some reason, I wasn’t a big fan of Santa Monica Pier. It was super crowded with tourists and had carnival rides and food around it. Santa Monica itself was pretty though!

6. The Grove
Of course we had to go to Laduree at the Grove (L.A. has 2 locations- they have another on Rodeo Drive)! The Grove is a fun outdoor shopping mall. You can also squeeze in Getty Villa if you have time, but we did not!

7. Warner Bros. Studio Tour
This was one of the most fun activities we did- it was tie between this and the hike to the sign on which was better! I absolutely loved the tour- it felt so surreal to be on the sets of Friends, Pretty Little Liars, Full/Fuller House, La La Land, Harry Potter and many more! Of course going to central perk and taking a picture on the couch was iconic as well as going to the actual sorting hat and being sorted into Gryffindor!

8. Rodeo Drive
Last, but not least, we went to famous and fashionable Rodeo Drive. This place is like a wonderland. Walking up and down it was the end to a perfect day.

Restaurants

1. Gjusta (Venice)
A delicious cappucino at this cute little cafe in Venice was all I needed!

2. Venice Ale House (Venice)
I got the quinoa bowl and watermelon juice at this organic restaurant. Surprisingly filling and ridiculously delicious!

3. Gracias Madre (West Hollywood-Design District)
I got one of the lentil bowls and my my my was it more delicious than I expected! We also didn’t realize this was a vegan restaurant till we were almost done with our meals since it tasted so amazing!

4. Friends and Family (L.A.)
I didn’t expect much from this family owned cafe, but I was blown away. It was seriously the best granola I’ve ever had in my life. The buckwheat pancake, chocolate croissant and cappuccino were delicious as well!

5. Eveleigh (Sunset Blvd)
Yes, Gossip Girl fans- this is where Serena and Charlie went to lunch in Cali! The ambience was really nice along with the delicious food! I got the warm quinoa salad and brown butter rainbow cauliflower. Jibin got the crab pasta!

6. Chateau Marmont (Sunset Blvd)
Okay, fair warning- it takes a lot to get a reservation here as it is spilling with celebrities. We saw Luka Sabbat and Randy Jackson here, but they have a strict no-camera policy of course. The ambience is of course quiet and isolated and the chateau itself is gorgeous. We went for brunch and I wanted everything on the menu, but finally ended up settling for avocado toast- ridiculously good!

7. The Ivy (L.A.)
This restaurant was something else. It was really nice and attracted a very upscale crowd. They give all of their customers a complimentary glass of champagne. The food was also delicious- I had the grilled vegetable salad and corn chowder.

8. Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel (Be-ver-ly Hills!)
We went for breakfast and didn’t run into any celebrities, but the place is filled with them at night. I got the granola and again- oh so good!
Places We Didn’t Make It To Eat
1. Spartina
2. Alfred Tea Room
3. Roku
4. Cascabel

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