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CaliforniaTravelTravel TipsUSA

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Los Angeles

By April 3, 2018 No Comments

Ahhhh LA. The City of Angels. The city of dreamers. The city of passionate people chasing their dreams and living life large. I had the most fun time exploring different parts of LA when I lived in Orange County for college; it’s definitely it’s own world. I’ve collected all my best tips and favorites into one travel guide to help make your trip one you’ll never forget.

{What to expect in LA}

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There is one season in LA and it’s summer. Seriously though, it’s always sunny and rarely rains (#Drought) so you can pretty much guarantee great weather. Pack your shorts and flip-flops!

The LA lifestyle is 24/7 and very fast paced. Expect most people to be in a hurry and on a mission. Nevertheless, the culture is lively, and the people are expressive and bold. You can feel the creative energy the community radiates everywhere you go.

{Getting Around}

Ever heard of LA traffic? Yeah, it’s a thing. And pretty gnarly if I do say so myself. 5am-10am and 2pm-8pm is rush hour. It might take you an hour to go 5 miles.

Plan at least an hour or more if you’re trying to get anywhere and expect to be in traffic! I recommend Uber so you don’t have to find (or pay for) parking.

{Stay}

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Budget Friendly Accommodation

  • Air Bnb is going to be your best bet for inexpensive accommodation. I would check out options in Santa Monica!

Luxury Accommodation

  • The Beverly Hills Hotel: it doesn’t get classier than this. This iconic hotel has been featured in countless movies and TV shows and you’re sure to feel like a star when staying here.
  • The Beverly Wilshire: This hotel is STUNNING, especially during Christmas time!
  • The Standard: Massive rooms, rooftop pool, stellar 24-hour restaurant and panoramic views of LA. This hotel is smack dab in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles.

{Eat}

Brunch:

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  • Superba Food + Bread: This place has all the vibes. Great coffee, avocado toast and DESSERTS. You have to check out the pastry case. Everything they have here is super cute and delicious
  • Bosscat Kitchen and Libations: If you’re feeling a little extra, go here because this is the craziest brunch you will ever eat. Fruity Pebble French Toast, Cinnamon Bun Hamburger, Blue Velvet Pancakes with peanut butter sauce, banana cream filling and bacon… I won’t judge if you order them all… You might want to make a reservation though because they fill up!
  • Malibu Farm Café: The cute, beachy café you see all over Instagram. The food and the views definitely live up to the hype.

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Acai Bowls:   

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  • Banzai Bowls: You won’t find a better acai bowl than at Banzai. Cali has a million  cai places but if you want the real ones and the best experience, GO HERE. There’s one in Huntington, Newport, Laguna, pretty much all the beaches.
  • Nektar: Solid bowls at a decent price!

Lunch/Dinner: 

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  • True Food Kitchen: Incredibly yummy, healthy meals made from local produce! One of my FAVORITE restaurants in all of Southern California.  nside out quinoa burger, spaghetti squash casserole, and bison burger are a few of my faves.
  • Tender Greens: Make your own salad, wrap, or plate with the freshest roastedveggies, delectable meats and sides.
  • Greenleaf Gourmet Chop House: Here you can find all your organic blends, fresh fish, vegetables, soup and salad. They have an amazing breakfast menu as well.
  • Urth Caffe: This is your stop for great coffee and tea. Super fun, organic options for lunch with a wide variety of yummy pastries.
  • Saddle Ranch Chop House: This restaurant is wild! If you want free food, go here. I’m not kidding, every time   go here I’ve gotten something for free. One time it was an appetizer, another time it  as S’mores and another time it was a giant cotton candy tower! They also have a mechanical bull, just saying…
  • In-N-Out: There’s nothing more Californian than an In-N-Out Burger. Grab some fries, animal style and a thick shake to wash it down!

Desserts:

  • Mastro’s: Mastro’s is known for a lot of things like their shrimp cocktail on dry ice, juicy steaks, and fresh seafood, but perhaps the sweetest is their colossal sized Butter Cake. It’s totally acceptable to just go for dessert and I would highly recommend it. Just go and ask for the butter cake and you will have the most amazing experience of your life. Comes with ice cream, strawberries and the most amazing strawberry sauce drizzled on the top. Face plant. There’s one in Beverly Hills, Laguna Beach and Malibu. #treatyoself
  • Ghirardelli: Surprised?? This is my favorite. You know that. There’s one in California adventures in Disneyland & Hollywood. I’ve had every single sundae on the menu so just read this article if you need help
  • Creamistry: If you want to customize your own flavor and then see your ice cream transform before your eyes, creamistry is your place. They use liquid nitrogen to make your flavor right when you order it and it’s the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever had. Super fun experience. I always get the cookie butter with brownies.
  • Salt and Straw: This Portland ice cream has made it’s way to a few locations in Cali and I couldn’t be happier. They’re quirky, weird, & DELICIOUS and I love them for it!!
  • Sprinkles Cupcakes and Ice Cream: The original cupcake bakery. Their ice cream and cupcakes are a match made in heaven, so make sure you go to a location that has the ice cream! Oh and they have great cookies and brownies too.
  • The Pie Hole LA
    • Literally pie and coffee haha

{Do}

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  • Warner Brothers Studio Tour: If you’re a movie or TV buff, this is for you! Go behind the scenes of all your favorite shows to see how they are made! See the Harry Potter costumes, sets from Pretty Little Liars and Spider Man and even sit on the couch from “Friends”! This is an experience you will never forget.
  • Abbot Kinney Boulevard: This is such a quirky little place to walk around. Lots of art murals and cute little shops here and one of my favorite ice cream places, Salt and Straw.
  • Drive through Laurel Canyon or Cold Water Canyon: I used to do this drive from Burbank to Beverly Hills every week and it was my favorite part of my week. It’s such a gorgeous drive and the windy road makes you feel like you’re in a pinball machine! Kind of a fun alternative to sitting in traffic.
  • Sunset Boulevard/Hollywood Walk of Fame: Find your favorite stars as you walk down the walk of fame and put your hands in your favorite celebrity’s handprints at the Chinese Theater! Watch out for the creepy characters who want to take a picture with you. Don’t do it! They want your money.
    • Across the street is my favorite Ghirardelli…. Stop in for a sundae if you’re not going to Disneyland
    • Right next to it is the famous El Capitan movie theater. They show one movie at a time and decorate the theater head to toe in the theme of that movie. It’s a really cool experience.
  • WALL MURALS: There’s nothing I love more than a good, colorful wall mural and LA is LOADED with them. See my article for Most Instagrammable Walls in LA
  • The Grove
    • So much to do here, shopping, music etc
    • The Farmers Market right next to it has ALL THE FOOD you could ever want. American and ethnic cuisines, even if you don’t eat here it’s worth it to walk around.

Beaches:

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  • Santa Monica
  • Venice
  • Malibu
  • Newport, Huntington, Laguna (These are in Orange County, click here to read about those)

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Hikes:

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  • Hollywood Sign: Read my article about the hike here
  • Runyon Canyon Trail

Theme Parks:

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  • Universal Studios
  • Knott’s Berry Farm
  • Disneyland: If you make it down to Orange County, Disneyland is a magical stop. I have guides and maps with the best route HERE and other things to do and places to eat while you’re in the OC. Check it out!

There you have it!! Now you’re ready to rock your trip to the City of Angels California style. Check out the other articles I wrote about Southern California to help you plan your trip!

Hiking to the Hollywood Sign

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Love ya!

Xx Nicole #DoStuff

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NicoleERenard
Author NicoleERenard

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