I love L.A.
It’s beautiful, people are nice and laid back, you have the perfect balance of city life and beach life, the food is AMAZING and the sights are just gorgeous! I could go on and on about reasons why you should move to L.A., but who knows, maybe I’ll save that for another post?
My husband came with me last year for the first time (after years of convincing him, he finally gave in). We went there for my big 3-0 and he loved it! We did a lot of sightseeing over there and ate so much, I think we both gained at least 10 lbs. But it was so worth it!
If ever you have the chance to go on the West Coast, definitely make sure to stop in L.A. because I guarantee you, you will love it!
Places to visit
Santa Monica Pier
What’s great about it: You will absolutely love the Santa Monica Pier! It’s beautiful, the boardwalk is great if you want to find some souvenirs to bring home and they have an amusement park with the Ferris Wheel which shows you a great view of Santa Monica when you reach the top. If you go down the board walk and go near the beach, they rent bicycles that you can ride along the beach. They have a really nice path that can take you all the way to Venice Beach within just a few minutes. You can honestly spend the whole day there!
Where to eat: Rusty’s Surf Ranch. Don’t even think of going anywhere else. Food is great and really affordable, staff is friendly and it’s right on the pier. They have a really great drink menu also if you want cocktails. And make sure to get the Fish ‘N’ Chips. You will NOT be disappointed!
Third Street Promenade
What’s great about it: Everything! The stores, the cute little boutiques that sell one of a kind things you can’t find anywhere else, the ambiance, pretty much everything. If you reach the end of Third Street Promenade, they have a shopping mall with great stores. You can easily spend a few hours there just walking around, grabbing a cup of overpriced coffee (don’t forget you’re in L.A. so everything is expensive) and browsing some of their stores.
Where to eat: Honestly, they have so many restaurants there so sky is pretty much the limit. The one place we ate and STRONGLY recommend is Del Frisco’s Grille on Ocean Avenue. It’s not on Third Street Promenade, but right next to it, like literally a two minute walk and right across the entrance of Santa Monica Pier. I suggest sitting on the patio to enjoy the Cali weather and view. We had the Ahi Tacos which were out of this world good! It’s a bit pricey but honestly the food is so good, so it doesn’t even matter.
What’s great about it: The name of the Stars on the sidewalk is pretty cool. So as you’re walking you can just look down at the names and take pictures of the stars (just make sure to look in front of you as you walk so you end up bumping into people). They have A LOT of souvenir stores, so you can definitely get some cool stuff to bring home. Make sure to check out the Dolby Theater also where they do the Oscars, it’s pretty impressive. You can also take a cool picture with an Oscar like I did 😉 They have a lot of “celebrities” on the sidewalk that you can snap pictures with as long as you tip them (anywhere between 3$ to 5$ is pretty standard tipping). While you’re there, make sure to drive up Sunset Boulevard to check out some cool celebrity houses.
Where to eat: Once again, restaurants are not lacking in this area. You have lots of choices. If you go in the Hollywood Highland Mall, you have some great options. We ate at Cho Oishi which is a Japanese Restaurant. It’s on the fourth floor of the mall. We really enjoyed the food, so if you’re in the mood for Japanese, I definitely recommend it. The price isn’t too bad either considering you’re in Hollywood.
What’s great about it: The stores! They have a great shopping center, the Beverly Center which I love. Right across of the Beverly Center, they have a whole bunch of outlet stores like Marshall’s, TJ Max, Sacks Fifth Avenue, Ross…. Also, let’s not forget Rodeo Drive. Even though you probably won’t be able to afford anything, it’s great to just go and dream a little….
Where to eat: IHop! I know I know, but it’s soo good! They have one in West Hollywood close to the Beverly Center. I mean who doesn’t love IHop?
What’s great about it: The people! You can find a lot of interesting people in Venice Beach. The art. They have great handmade art that they sell on the streets. Once again, great for souvenirs! It’s within walking distance of Santa Monica Beach so you can definitely walk to Venice from Santa Monica. It is a bit of a walk though, like maybe 15-20 minutes, but if the weather is nice and you love to walk, it’s not so bad.
Where to eat: They have a great selection of Food Trucks over there so you can just have your pick of pretty much anything. Otherwise you can just walk to Santa Monica and you will have more options there. If you do decide to try out the food trucks, make sure to have cash on you since some of the places only accept cash.
What’s great about it: The Beach. I find that they have the best beach in L.A. It’s not as busy as the one in Santa Monica so you don’t have to worry about finding a place to put your stuff and the waves are great. You can just drive down Pacific Coast Highway towards Malibu and just pullover when you find a great beach spot (they have parking on the side for that) and just get out and enjoy the beach.
Where to eat: Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. In Malibu, I highly suggest eating somewhere with a beach view just cause the beach is so beautiful. Paradise Cove Beach Cafe is right on the beach so you can eat inside or outside depending on your preference. We went there for breakfast, but I think they serve lunch there also. Their breakfast menu is really good and the price is pretty standard.
What’s great about it: The view! The Palm Trees! The mountains! If you love nature, definitely stop by in Palm Springs. It is about a two hour drive from L.A. depending on traffic, but it’s definitely worth the drive. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a must! It brings you up the mountain and the view from top is absolutely breathtaking. Make sure to go in the morning as soon as they open because the line tends to get long pretty fast. The weather is much more humid then in L.A., so do take that in consideration. Although it gets cooler when you go on top of the mountain. They also have great stores in Palm Springs, so make sure to check that out.
Where to eat: If you go up the Aerial Tramway, they have a restaurant on top of the mountain, but it’s pretty standard and it’s more like a buffet style so it’s not that great. I suggest going downtown Palm Springs and checking out what they have there. We went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch called El Mirasol Cocina Mexicana. The food was really good and the price was pretty reasonable. They have great seating outside in the patio. If you like Mexican, definitely check it out.