This post is part of the YAY IN THE USA series. Los Angeles is the first of seven legs in our travels.
Let me put this in context: when we started planning this, all we had was a sketchy idea that we wanted to start in Los Angeles and end in San Francisco in two weeks. What eventuated was the result of two parts ambitious YOLO decision making, one part spur of the moment accommodation booking, and probably five parts crazy.
- @handmadelove's famous last words.
For anyone intending to trace our footsteps - be forewarned that 1) we planned our itinerary nearly to the n-th minute, and 2) if you are not used to driving for 4 hours and a little more without breaks, I would strongly recommend padding the drive with some time for rest.
That said, this leg is our soft-start. We greeted America in the early afternoon, and spent most of the afternoon clearing immigration, writing off most of the day.
This is also our second trip to Los Angeles, so we skipped the typical Hollywood, Universal Studios, and Disneyland icons (these were covered over three days in 2015). We decided this time to do our #stayandexplore thing and stacked our days so it would start with a wander around places we wanted to go but missed our last trip, and end with shopping at some strip or a mall, because, late night shopping (also we brought little and planned to hit as many #jcrew and #everydaymadewell as we could afford).
What made this leg special though was our accommodation - it was a freaking yurt. Which, by the way, is ordinarily okay... But it was an un-ordinarily cold winter (of which @handmadelove alleges nearly claimed her toes). That said, when the sun came up the next morning, we realised that cold aside the yurt was pretty damned cute:
Note to future self: Do not walk barefooted in an outdoor toilet. Splinter from wayward tree branch in foot ≠ fun.
So, quick highlights:
1606 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
I really love the waffles from Dinette - it was the original inspiration for us to buy a waffle iron back home in 2015 (that and Amy Ruth's in NYC). @handmadelove thinks it's no longer as wonderful as when we first tried it two years back... I paid no attention as I was in waffle heaven.
Pok Pok LA
978 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Woah, this place serves up the most ridiculously mindblowing Thai cuisine. But be forewarned - this shiz is spicy! Have you seen buk choy served on a platter of ice? Wonder what the ice is for? SPICY THAT'S WHY.
www.abbotkinneyblvd.comThe boutique shopping strip in Abbot Kinney, we really love - it has a relaxed beach vibe with an added dash of Hollywood pretentiousness that we think is worth sampling... even if only for people watching.
I cannot not add CV to this list - it is @handmadelove's favourite store.
189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Since it is a tradition that we travel during the Christmas holidays, it felt a little sad that we saw little reminder of the season in Los Angeles. Until we got to The Grove, that is. This place is by far the most Christmassy place in the city. Consumer-driven Christmassy, but Christmassy nonetheless, with a massive Christmas tree, lights, a choir. Christmas-themed tram etc. The Grove is effectively a shopping strip plus mall, but I do think it is one of the better "mall shopping" experiences in Los Angeles (within our budget, that is).
Local designer and creatives flair in the Artist District (as you'd probably guess from its name). It's really worthwhile at least checking out Poketo, where, if you're traveling from Australia, you can gawk at how much cheaper the same item is in the US of A before it heads to some boutique homeware store in Australia. Also worth doing here: LA WALL CRAWL. IT REALLY IS A THING.
Santa Monica Pier
How interested are you in w̶e̶i̶r̶d̶o̶s̶ very confident young men flexing their muscles, swinging around, climbing up buildings using window ledges as stairs and etc? Yes? Okay go to Santa Monica Pier. Parking is expensive and a nightmare, so, your loss (as it was ours - though by fluke we scored free parking). 😂
Not pictured: Aforementioned people on Muscle Beach.
On our third day we made the drive to The Getty, which is, like the Griffith Observatory, set high up a hill. Were the views better than Griffith Observatory? Not really. Was the Art worth the hour in traffic? ...Maybe. In other words, unless you really love your art, Griffith Observatory probably would make an easier trek for views if you had to decide between the two.
OMG this place is cute. It's only a small strip with probably a dozen shops, but it's the explosion of colour, streamers and confetti that you'd expect of a Mexican themed party. We ate at one of the street-side stalls, which looked authentic... But was really only average, so let me know if you fared better than us.
Not pictured: Tacos. Lots of tacos.
We somehow completely skipped DTLA the first time we were in Los Angeles. Huge mistake - the Historic Core in DTLA is beautiful, if not a little tiny (several significant buildings are squared within a few city blocks - but I guess that makes for easy exploring). If you are an architecture aficionado, this is definitely a must-not-miss. And so I leave you with these photos...
Yeah. So LA.
Postscript: Time spent in Los Angeles, California - 3 days, 3 nights.