Los Angeles Travel Guide : Best things to do in Los Angeles

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The City of Angels…growing up in the music industry I always dreamed about moving to LA and walking in to Capitol Records with demo in hand! I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to actually check out this amazing city, but last month in October my husband, two-year old, and myself visited for a short mini-vacation, and let me tell you the city did not disappoint! Did I get to walk in to Capitol Records with my demo?? Nah, but our hotel was ironically just around the corner, and the Hollywood star that I cared to see the most is also placed at the front entrance to the record label so that’ll have to do 😉 If you are headed to the city of angels anytime soon then read on to follow everything we did, saw, and ate in Los Angeles. Oh, and if you are looking for some of the best Instagram spots in LA, I was on a mission to get as many photos for the Gram as I could, and of course I’ll have to make it back anther time to continue that mission just because the city is so big I couldn’t get to everything! Hope you enjoy my Los Angeles Travel Guide!

WHERE TO STAY:

Kimpton Everly Hotel

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For our first trip to LA I decided I wanted to stay in a room with a view of the Hollywood Sign, so we choose the Kimpton Everly Hotel. This is a new hotel in Hollywood, and I would highly recommend splurging and staying in the Hollywood Hills King room. It was such a cool experience being able to look out our window to see a view of the iconic Hollywood Sign, the Hollywood Tower, and the Hollywood Hills! I took so many photos just like these..

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The Kimpton also has a nice pool and skyline sundeck on the fifth floor. If you stay here you will be very close to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and about a twenty-minute walk from the Chinese Theater. There are several places to eat close by. Just note that the Hollywood area in general is by no means the nicest area in Los Angeles. For me, I really wanted that Hollywood Sign view so it was worth it, but next time I’d probably choose a different area. However, if you do stay in Hollywood, the Kimpton Everly is a lovely choice!

WHAT TO DO:

QUE Skyspace

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This spot was a true highlight of our trip! It’s located at the US Bank Tower (floors 2, 54, 69, and 70) and is California’s tallest open-air observation terrace. The 360 degree views are amazing. We were there about 10am on a Friday and we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves. On your way through you can take this cool photo!

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The 69th floor is where we spent most of our time just taking in the views and taking photos. This is also where the famous Colette Miller wings are (they’re two by the way, one on each side).

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Besides the views, you can also experience the Skyslide, which is a 45-foot, fully enclosed, all-glass adventure landing on the exterior of the iconic US Bank Tower. You’re basically about 1,000 feet above Downtown LA and you slide from floors 70 to 69. It’s such a fun and unique experience, and then you can brag about it later to your friends 🙂 A few side notes are that it’s 5 years old and up to ride, and you must be hands free. So if you plan on getting go pro footage like I did then you’ll have to wear the head strap or just put the stabilizer in your shirt like I had too hehe!

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Melrose Avenue

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This is a given of course when visiting LA. I truly could of probably spent a full weekend here exploring, but unfortunately I only had a few hours. If you aren’t as familiar with this area it famous for trendy boutiques, lots of unique shopping, good eats, and lots of art! The mural game is so strong here. I only made it to a few spots, but I have a list for next time! If you like the letter “G” like we do for @Gutierrezfamilysa lol then check out the Groundings building for a pic.

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I’d also like to think I initiated myself as a new blogger/influencer by taking a picture at the Insta famous Paul Smith Wall 😉

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This next mural was a total gem, and not originally planned like my other photos. It’s the flower wall by artist David Flores.

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Rodeo Drive

Every girl deserves her Julia Roberts on Rodeo Drive moment! Am I right ladies? Rodeo Drive is a totally different vibe from Melrose Avenue. You can expect to see fancy cars, fancy dogs, high-end designer stores, palm tree-lined streets, and of course lots of people walking and driving around taking it all in! My family and I spent our time here by walking the entire strip, taking photos, and then walking over to Beverly Hills Park. Even if you are not a big shopper I still recommend checking out this area, just because it is so the LA you always see on TV and it’s fun to see in person.

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Hollywood Walk of Fame

Another must when visiting LA is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Walk of Fame actually stretches on both sides of Hollywood Blvd and Vine Street. I actually never realized this until I was actually there walking around Hollywood (I think I always thought it was just in the area by the Chinese Theater). Anyway, the best part of the stars is just walking around and finding your fav celebrity stars. My must see were Ritchie Valens and Selena Quintanilla. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Hollywood is not a glamorous place by any means. Parts actually seemed pretty run down and dirty, but again this is still a must! Comment below and let me know who’s star you’d want to see?

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Santa Monica Pier

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The Santa Monica Pier is one of the prettiest and most fun places to see in the Los Angeles area. It was another true highlight for my little family. There are restaurants, a beach, rides, games, shops, and tons of people. I feel like the Ferris Wheel is definitely world-famous, and so cool to see in person! I have to say of all the places we visited in LA, Santa Monica was the most packed (Time Square style). John and our son had fun on the rides, and we also caught a beautiful sunset here. We watched from the pier, but a lot of people watched from the beach. If you visit LA, do not skip this! Oh, and the photos here are so Instagram worthy!

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Lake Hollywood Park

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You can’t come to Los Angeles and not see the Hollywood sign! There are several hikes of course that you can choose from, but we decided to make it easy and visit Lake Hollywood Park. This park is up in the Hollywood Hills. You can park there for free along the street. The park is large and just a perfect place to picnic or take the best Hollywood sign pics. I was also surprised that there were not many people there, which made the experience that much better! Tip: there’s a small playground attached to the park which my son had way too much fun at! No bathrooms here.

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Griffith Observatory

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I don’t have to explain to you how special this place is. I’m sure you have seen it in movies, but truthfully up close this place is so massive and beautiful inside and out. We actually stayed here for several hours. I wasn’t sure how many people would be there so I went about an hour before sunset and stayed till it got dark. The best pictures from here are of the Observatory itself, the view, and the Hollywood sign. Tip: Watch the sunset here, but stay for blue hour and watch the city light up!

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The Venice Canals

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When you think of the Venice Canals you think of Italy right? Well, did you know that there are canals as well is Venice, California? Yes! Some locals say it’s the areas best kept secret, however I’ve actually always known about these canals and couldn’t wait to see them in person. The California Venice canals are so peaceful and very beautiful for photos. I imagine you could even plan a proposal here or an engagement photo shoot, because yes it is so romantic too. I did see a few people on little boats as well, but not sure how that part works sorry. The neighborhood surrounding the canals is also the cutest and very charming.

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The Ultimate Hollywood Tour

I highly recommend doing a Celebrity Home tour while in LA. There are so many to choose from, but I did some research beforehand and chose The Ultimate Hollywood Tour. What I liked about this company (besides their great TripAdvisor reviews) was that their tour bus was on the smaller side which allowed us to go further up in to the hills to see more celebrity homes. This two and a half hour tour takes you to at least 50 movie star homes, down Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Sunset Blvd, and Hollywood. Our guide was very knowledgeable, and it was an overall great way to see not only the celeb houses, but also some of the main areas of town (in case you missed anything). Some homes you see from afar, some you can only drive up to their gate (Beyoncé & Jay-Z) and others you can literally drive right up to like P Ditty! Tip: Call over the phone and see if they have any discount deals before you book.

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WHERE TO EAT:

So I have to admit, this trip was short and I didn’t want it to revolve around meal reservations this time, so there are several places I originally wanted to eat at, but never made it to..but I do have a few recommendations that I’ll gladly share.

In-N-Out Burger

I promise we didn’t go all the way to LA just to go to In-N-Out Burger( we have them in San Antonio too), but we were in the mood for it so we checked it out on our first night. We visited the location closest to our hotel in Hollywood.  It was super packed but the line and food came out quick. I think this is a fun thing to do it you live outside the states and are visiting. This ended up being a good quick choice for us because our son was cranky this night from the traveling lol!

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Carrera Café

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This spot is located on Melrose Avenue. It has quite the following on social media (which is how I heard about it)! Not only is it totally cute, but the European style menu offers sandwiches, salads, pastries, and of course their Insta famous latte art pieces! What am I talking about? I’m talking about making your own latte unique by adding in your own picture, or you can just pick from their usual menu like I did! Don’t forget to #Hello

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Blue Jam Cafe

I apologize in advance, but I do not have photos of this meal, only video. Sorry (#bloggerfail), but in my defense the food was so good that I literally just forget to take photos of it before it was too late. The location we ate at was on Melrose Avenue. I had always planned on stopping here for brunch. They serve breakfast all day, and their signature dish is the crunchy French toast which was so good! It’s basically a French brioche dipped in a secret batter, rolled in crunchy corn flakes, topped with fresh berries, and then served with powdered sugar and vanilla bean sauce. Yum! Their hash browns were also so tasty. If you get a chance to stop by here you’ll love it!

Parkers’ Lighthouse

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OMG!!! This meal at Parkers’ Lighthouse was the best dinner meal I have had in months. This spot is actually located in Long Beach, which is like an hour drive from the Los Angeles area (depending on traffic). On the last night of our trip, we decided to make the drive to have dinner with family. Parkers’ Lighthouse is located at the Shoreline Village and is considered more of a fine dining meal. Their best known for their grilled fish sea food and beautiful views. I actually do not eat sea food, so I had my go-to chicken parmesan and it was the best! My husband had steak and it was also cooked to perfection! As you can see by my photo above to the views were so pretty in the area. So, if you happen to find yourself in the Long Beach area make sure you eat here. You will thank me later!

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Well, that concludes this Los Angeles travel guide. I really hope you enjoyed following us along this LA trip, and if your planning to visit here soon I hope I gave you some great ideas. If you enjoyed this content don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more posts like this. New posts up every Monday. New YouTube videos up every Wednesday. To see the travel vlog for this trip just click here {Los Angeles Travel Vlog}

 

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Los Angeles Travel Guide : Best things to do in Los Angeles

  1. Wonderful post with images. Thanks for taking us along on the virtual tour. I had my first experience with In and Out cafe on our return trip from Colorado to Florida recently and I enjoyed it. I’ll probably post it in the near future. I understand they don’t have any locations on the U.S. east coast as they try to keep everything fresh and the shipment east would divert from their vision. 🙂

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