This post deals with the detailed itinerary of our recent trip to LA. For a brief summary of the trip, please refer to Part 1 of the post.
I Love L.A. Day 1
We packed so much in!
We hit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, did the Big Bus tour, explored the L.A. County Museum (LACMA) to see the Urban Light public art display, took the Ultimate Hollywood Celebrity Home Tour, and rode the Angels Flight.
Urban Light public art display at LACMA
I’m exhausted just typing all that! What a day!
The secret to our success was our $10 all-day Spothero rental downtown at Blessed Sacrament Church and right across from the location where we took our Celebrity Home Tour in the afternoon. The location was also only a short walk to the Walk of Fame and we jumped on the Big Bus right outside of the Chinese Theatre.
Bonus tip: the Big Bus Tour is a great way to get familiar with any city, and it’s cheaper and more flexible than other private tours. You can enjoy sitting outside on the upper deck for easy sightseeing, or use the hop-on, hop-off feature to visit places you want to explore more. Also, you can always find deals on Groupon.
- Be amazed by the size of the bones and prehistoric animals trapped in the pits at the La Brea Tar Pits in LACMA.
- World's shortest railway ride called Angel's Flight. This train appeared in La La Land and if you are a TV series Bostch fan, don't miss it!
Must eat: The White Pizza with crème fraîche, gorgonzola, figs, caramelized onions, and bacon, and also the best-ever crunchy French Fries at Ray’s and Stark Bar. The bar is inside LACMA.
Button Mash: An Asian-fusion restaurant full of vintage arcade games and craft beer (don’t miss their spam fried rice or dan dan noodles).
City of Angels Day 2
No trip to L.A. is complete without a meal at In-N-Out Burger and the Warner Brothers Studio Tour!
Our original plan was to start Day 2 with a hike all the way to the Hollywood sign, but the heat was intense. Always be open and ready to change your plans and have a great time - it’s vacation! The girls loved the shorter hike we chose and it gave us extra time for our afternoon adventures.
After the hike, we went to In-N-Out Burger for lunch, and had coffee at Lou, the French on the Block before catching the Warner Brother Studio Tour. It was incredible to see behind-the-scenes of some of our favorite movies.
Must see: Actual batmobiles used in Batman movies!
Must eat: The crème fraîche yogurt parfait at Lou, the French on the Block. This tiny cafe locates in Burbank, which is very close to the Warner Brothers Studio. Come here before or after the tour to recharge.
L.A. Story Day 3
Today was coffee at Philz Coffee, books at the Last Bookstore, a visit to Artists and Craftsman Supply, singing along at the Grammy Museum, lunch at the Original Farmer’s Market, and shopping at the Grove and Glossier. Then there was a hike to Griffith Observatory in the afternoon. And after such a long day, getting to try all different ramen at Kopan Ramen, and eating soft-serve ice cream in fish-shaped cones at Somi Somi was exactly what we needed!
Must see: The Griffith Observatory is a great spot to watch the sunset, and their telescope opens to the public at night. Make sure to check the times and catch a spectacular L.A. sunset.
Must eat: Everything at the Original Farmer’s market! Our favorites were fried chicken from Fritzi Coop, and the donuts at Bob’s Coffee and Donuts. This Market is right beside the Grove, a shopping mall, grab a bite to eat before you go shopping.
Must shop: For the quintessential L.A. shopping experience, the Glossier store on Melrose Avenue is a tiny boutique where you need to wait in line to get in. The girls had fun trying out all the products. Teenage clothes at Brandy Melville at the Grove.
L.A. Confidential Day 4
After three days, we headed out of the city for a day trip to Catalina Island. We drove to Long Beach and took a ferry to the island, got in some paddle boarding and shopping on the island, and still fit in lunch at Descanso Beach Club
Catalina was one of the trip highlights, but also where we were the most unprepared. After such busy days in L.A., we thought we could take it easier on our beach days, but we learned you should plan those out, too!
Next time, we’ll call ahead and book lounge chairs at Descanso Beach Club, or book a Jeep Eco Tour to check out the bisons. We found out you can also rent golf carts at the ferry terminal to see more of the island on your own. And, after an incredible day, next time we will be sure to stay overnight at the beautiful Catalina Island.
California Girls Beach Days
We spent the last two days on the beaches near L.A. to soak in the real California beach vibes. We visited Santa Monica Pier and hung at the beach. The shopping in Santa Monica is also great. As Chicagoans, we were excited to find the end of Route 66 on Santa Monica Pier. The starting point is in Chicago, so we made sure to take our picture there!
On our last day, we rented bikes and rode to Venice beach, checked out the famous skatepark, hung at the beach, drove up to Malibu for a quick tour.
Family bike ride to Venice beach
The week flew by, but it was incredible. We are all definitely big L.A. fans now!