I’ve been lucky enough to visit LA twice in the last year two years (since writing this I’ve also studied abroad in LA too). The first time being a quick tag on trip after joining my Dad at a work conference in San Francisco, this trip only lasted four days (two of which were traveling to and from). Yet, in this short space of time, both of us fell in love with it and booked our following year’s flights a few weeks after returning home.
It’s fair to say that I’m a city girl, I grew up thinking there’s nowhere else in the world that compares to London (I still stand by that). But something always drew me to LA, I guess it’s the glamour of how it appears on TV. I won’t lie, I think 90210 (however much I love it) didn’t represent LA in the way I ended up experiencing it – possibly because I’m not a millionaire! Whilst LA wasn’t exactly as I had always imagined, it definitely didn’t disappoint. I’ll now say that whilst LA isn’t London, it is another city that I love and would consider living in in the future.
So you want to know what it’s like from a British girl who’s been there? Well I guess we better begin. I’m going to tell you my favourite things to do in LA and places I think you should eat!
Let’s start with possibly my favourite of the main LA attractions: LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art). I’m not usually the biggest fan of museums but everything about LACMA draws me in. You don’t even need to go inside the museum itself to appreciate the works of art they have on show! Outside they have a few pieces (not to mention the buildings, like that above which are artworks in their own right), my favourite being the Urban Light Installation:
Some of my other favourites from the museum:
Inside the museum itself are lots of cool contemporary pieces of art, including the famous ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe.’ However, I’m not going to show anymore pictures of what’s inside as I really think you should go and take a look for yourself!
Warner Brothers Studio Tour
Perhaps not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of Friends, Gilmore Girls or Pretty Little Liars then this is the tour for you! Anyone who knows me will know that the aforementioned shows are my absolute favourites – I’ve watched each show multiple times over!
During the Warner Brothers tour you get taken around Warner Brothers’ different sets on a golf cart. This might actually be the coolest tourist thing I have ever done…anywhere! Your tour guide will fill you in on all the little facts and secrets you didn’t know about your favourite shows! For instance, did you know that if you walk through Lorelei’s house (Gilmore Girls) that the other side of that building is actually Suki’s house? Also if you’re a fan of both GG and PLL: the Gilmore house is also Spencer’s house!
As you can see from the photos above, Ellen was on holiday so we also got to see her TV show set! The other photos show Miss Patty’s dance studio, the stairs from Monica and Ross’ parents house and the church from Rosewood!
The three main (and best known) beaches in LA are Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu. I’m torn between the three when choosing a favourite. As you can see above, Santa Monica is beautiful at sunset and has lots going on when it comes to the pier. I’d probably recommend this beach more for families as there are funfair games and rides on the pier itself.
I don’t think I have to tell you that Venice beach is an absolute must when visiting LA. It’s not anywhere near as eccentric as it’s made out to be, in fact I’m not sure I saw anything out of place on this beach. Except maybe the extremely tiny dogs that many people were walking! However, it’s fair to say the amount of people pictured on roller skates and bikes on the beach is very accurate! If you access the beach from the main street you’ll also get a glimpse of that ever-cool Venice sign!
Finally I come to Malibu beach, the quietest of the three. It’s a little drive away from the busiest parts of LA but well worth the time getting there! Just take Highway 1 (get my local knowledge!!) and you’ll be there! Malibu has a pier, far less busy than Santa Monica, but a lot more rustic. There’s a restaurant at the top and the bottom of the pier – the only thing that seems to get busy here. The scenery is really pretty here, I’d recommend this beach if you feel like you need a little get away from the hustle and bustle of the city!
Runyon Canyon and The Hollywood Sign Hike:
My final thing to do in LA is a hike. Now at this point, don’t think I’m one of those people that jumps out of bed at 6am every morning to go for a voluntary run (in fact I’ve only ever been on one run outside of a PE class) because I’m certainly not, but if you’re going to LA and you’re able then this is something you can’t miss!
The view above is from Runyon Canyon, as you can see it’s well worth the hike just to see the city from this angle! You can never really describe the size of LA until you see it from this high above! The second two photos are from the Hollywood Sign hike, whilst these two photos are from in-front, you can hike higher and behind the sign like my dad and I did.
Moving onto food… Annoyingly I don’t have any photos of this lovely cafe! However, Marmalade Cafe is a chain in Los Angeles. I’ve been to two of their locations for both breakfast and lunch.
My most recent visit to Marmalade was to their Malibu location, where I had the French Toast (commonly known as eggy bread if you’re from the uk!) which was lovely and I’d highly recommend.
My favourite of the two cafes I visited was the one located in the LA Farmers Market, which is another place you need to visit if you’re in LA and love shopping! It’s a pretty much pedestrianised outdoor shopping centre. I’ve visited this one twice, once for breakfast and once for lunch. Again, I would definitely recommend this one for both breakfast and dinner!
Bird’s Nest Cafe:
I believe this is an independent cafe. This one was really close to the place I last stayed in LA so I can’t actually remember how many times I’ve eaten at this place. I do however remember the first meal I had here. As you probably know, nobody does breakfast quite as well as the Americans, and Bird’s Nest is no exception! Yet again, quite predictably, I had french toast with strawberries and banana, not quite so predictably it came topped with a flower (as did all the other food we ordered here) which I thought was such a nice touch.
As well as breakfast I also ate dinner at this cafe, I would recommend the chips and the ceasar salad. I personally don’t eat meat but my dad had one of the burgers here and really enjoyed it!
They also had some delicious looking cakes on show at the till!
The Butcher’s Daughter:
My absolute favourite restaurant, possibly not just in LA but anywhere! The Butcher’s Daughter is entirely vegetarian and vegan and as I said earlier I don’t eat meat so this is fab for me! Yet, I’m sure my fellow veggies will agree with me on this, extremely overwhelming from all the choice that’s on offer!
The first time I ate here I had the breakfast burrito – again would recommend! The last time I went I had the smashed avocado eggs benedict which again was delicious! (That’s the food pictured above) However, the drink might have been the most enjoyable thing of that particular meal! I had a rosemary iced latte, which whilst unusual worked really well!
Another thing I love about this restaurant is that it’s on my favourite street in the whole of LA – Abott Kinney! It’s such a unique street with loads of interesting retailers and food outlets, again a must see on a trip to LA!
So there we have it, we’ve got to the end of my LA recommendations! Obviously there’s so much more on top of all of this to do in the city, but these are just a few of my favourites! I hope you enjoyed this blog post, let me know your top picks of things to do and places to eat in LA!