LA! I had finally made the time to stop in and check out this famous city. My younger brother had been living in LA the last year and a half and would play host for my long weekend in this famous city.
After picking me up at the airport at 8am, it was a drive past the big LAX sign and time for some breakfast, while ticking off some famous LA sights along the way.
Not far from the Airport was the famous shopping strip of Rodeo Drive. We stopped here to take in the street before the crowds arrived. I couldn’t help but think of movie ‘Pretty Woman’ here.
Santa Monica Boulevard
It was a cooking middle of summer when I arrived in LA – 40 degrees at my brothers place in Van Nuys so it was off to the famous LA beaches for a reprieve from the inner city heat.
First stop was the celebrity favourite of Malibu Beach! It was quite comical to watch people try to surf on the flat ocean but it was fun nonetheless to take in the vibe. We even stopped in at famous Nobu restaurant – just for a pic though!
It was then back down to Santa Monica to view the famous boulevard and jetty. What a sight to take in at sunset! Swings and moneky bars on the beach, people practicing slacklining and other gymnastics feats – all make the scene uniquely LA. It was then onto checkout the famous Santa Monica Pier, also the landmark for the end of the famous Route 666.
Amusement rides and food vendors make up the majority of the pier. I could imagine this place being a great place to take someone on a first date. I loved watching the sunset over the boulevard – definitely a big tick off the bucket list!
For dinner, Kevin took me to is favourite local eatery near the beach, Cha Cha Chicken. Carribean Food served fresh, delicious and cheap. The only down side was the long wait to order. Was worth it.
I could live in Venice Beach. I loved the vibe and atmosphere – a little bit hippie and a little bit poser – this place will keep you entertained for days. From an impromptu Hip Hop concert, to the show offs on Muscle Beach, to the multiple roller bladers and skaters – the vibe is everything.
I dipped a toe in the water but I have to admit I’m a bit of a beach snob and there was quite a lot of rubbish here. This didn’t stop the thousands of locals and other tourists from taking a dip.
I hired a bike from Venice Beach for $18 USD for the day. This was a great way to take in the beaches from Venice to Santa Monica.
Before making our way to the Hollywood sign, it was a quick stop off in Hollywood to check out the Stars Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre, home of the Academy Awards. Ridiculously touristy, it was good for a quick picture with the Stars of our Favourtie Stars!
I love mixing in some sort of physical exercise into a trip so a hike to see the Hollywood sign up close was a definite must.
My brother used to live quite close to the sign (it was his ‘backyard’) and knew a secret way to the sign.
Our timing was not great – the middle of the day in the middle of the American summer – meant we walking in what felt like the desert – 40 degree plus temperatures in the sizzling sun! The only plus was that the crowds weren’t too bad – a rarity in such a big city like LA.
After 20 mins of hiking we had reached a halfway point and were comforted with a small square metre of shade under a lone tree near a massive USA flag. After applying more sunscreen and necking another litre of water, it was on for the final 30 minute push to the sign.
The sign is obviously fenced off these days and a small vantage point from the back of the sign gives you a rewarding view of the city and the Hollywood sign.
Another 15 minute walk down the hill will take you to the front of the sign for some more photos. My brother got this great shot of me!
For lunch we had a well deserved’In N Out’ burger, an LA staple. I’m not usually a big fast food fan but these burgers were amazing! The menus is small but they do one thing right – make good burgers!
That night we decided we deserved a beer and some custom made pizzas – we headed to the Universal City Walk. A maassive hub of eateries, shops, music, bars and the place to come to pick up your Universal Studios movie memorabilia. The Harry Potter souvenirs we’re quite impressive, especially a full piece, intricately detailed Harry Potter chessboard. There is plenty to choose from here but we went with the Pizza place where you can custom make your pizza. Delicious!
The night ended with some ice creams while walking around the entrance to the Universal Studios – a visit inside I would need to leave until my next visit!
Los Angeles was pretty impressive – despite the infamous traffic jams, the city oozes all things famous about America, from the Hollywood sign and the roller skaters on the Santa Monica Boulevard – I can’t wait to get back!