12 hours in the air and we landed in sunny Cali! We touched down at 3pm on a Monday and took off at 5pm on a Wednesday, let me tell you what we did with our short stop over.
After an hour of waiting in lines at LAX, we headed to our hotel which was the Sheraton airport hotel, a 5min shuttle away. We choose an airport hotel just because this was only a stop over on the way to France and Ihaia and I had never been to LA before so we didn’t really know where the best area to stay was. The room was super spacious, however with being so close to the airport you could hear the planes almost all the time. Everything we did was within a 30min max Lyft ride away.
We dropped our bags, had a shower and caught a Lyft (we choose Lyft over Uber here as we were told the drivers get treated better by Lyft management) to Venice Beach. We saw lots of colourful murals and street performers, there are lots of shops along the boardwalk that sell Venice Beach merch and lots of other cheap finds, food stalls and cafes and restaurants. We watched some basketball and walked past muscle beach gym which I believe is iconic at Venice beach. The beach is super long with golden sand and there were lots of surfers and swimmers still out at 6pm. We had a drink at a rooftop bar called High Rooftop Lounge which had amazing 360 degree views and does delicious cocktails and then ate dinner at the Sidewalk Cafe that our Lyft driver recommended and is apparently very popular. We forgot about the American portions since we’d visited Hawaii and got a fright at the size of a meal and drink! After watching our first LA sunset, we went for one more look at the famous Venice sign on the street that was lit up by lights and then caught a Lyft back to the hotel. We enjoyed the funky atmosphere of Venice beach and if we had longer, probably would have spent a day down there at the beach tanning but I think you can get the gist of it by an hours walk along the boardwalk.
The next day (after a terrible jet lagged sleep), we were on our way to the “most Instagrammed street in LA”, Melrose Ave. Thinking back, I think its overrated as there is hardly any shopping or cafes and the walks from mural to mural were actually quite long. We got lunch at a cafe across the road from the Paul Smith pink wall called Carrera cafe which was yum (pictured) and most the murals we did see were cool. I stopped at Glossier which was such a cute pink shop and brought a lip balm and glow oil (I was very unprepared for this shop, I should have asked my beauty friends!) but thats the only shop I brought anything from along Melrose. After Melrose we walked to an outdoor shopping complex called The Grove but on the way we walked the streets where Biggie was shot (cnr of Fairfax Ave and Wilshire Boulevard). The Grove had shops like Zara, Topshop, Nike, l’occitan, a cinema and lots of cafes and restaurants. Again, didn’t think much of the shopping, only brought one top from Zara. We had a snack at the Cheesecake Factory (because, America) looked around the shops and then after so many hours walking around, was back at the hotel for the night by 7pm. Room service and sleep!
Our last day as we fly out at 5pm. We packed, checked out, left our suitcases at the hotel and caught a Lyft to Santa Monica. We got dropped off at the Pier and walked the length and back looking at the views, stalls and the theme park thats on the pier too. Lots of super standard tourist-y stuff, great views though and we had the most perfect hot weather so it was nice to wander around in that. Lots of seafood places on the pier that isn’t really my jam and we realised that we hadn’t been to In-N-Out yet so off we went for lunch. The food reminded me exactly of Better Burger in Auckland, it looked and tasted the same. Glad we got to tick that off the list though, who doesn’t love burger hype. We then went back to the hotel and sat by the pool to get a quick dose of LA sun on our skin, then got our bags and headed to the airport. Ok we got to wait in the Star Alliance lounge at LAX and omg it was the best lounge I have been in! It was huge, had lots of fully equiped shower rooms, movie room, an outside bar with a view of the runway and another balcony over looking the airport. After the morning we had exploring, I had a huge shower and felt so nice and fresh for the 9 hour plane ride to London.
So that was our 48ish hours in LA, we covered Venice Beach, Melrose Ave, The Grove and Santa Monica. We did a lot of walking and were lucky with the weather as we had cloudless, hot days which always makes things more enjoyable! Also catching Lyft around, I stared out the window the whole time taking in suburbs of LA. There were lots of homeless people who stand in the middle of the road with signs, the houses look just like houses on movies lol, billboards advertising that marijuana is now available to be delivered, Jeep Wranglers everywhere… so much to see! If we were to come back, which we do both want too, I’d like to do some hikes, Griffith observatory, see a basketball or baseball game, maybe Universal Studios and the walk of fame (are they overrated too though?) and I know I should say Disneyland but I’m honestly not a fan of rollercoasters so is it worth going if I’m not going to do any rides?! LA is still a huge land of unknown to us so when we do go back and you know of some great spots, let me know! 🙂
I’ve saved an Instagram highlight of our travels on my page @danniellegrace so keep a watch on that for pictures and videos.