The Two Sides of Los Angeles, CA
Road Trip Travel
When I think of Los Angeles, I think of Hollywood, celebrities, Beverly Hills, beaches and palm trees. For me, Los Angeles is one of my favorite cities in the US! You can be at the Malibu beach and 10 minutes later be hiking in the mountains. It is very remote and has diverse activities for all types of visitor interests.
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Where to stay in Los Angeles, CA
Hotel June West LA
Discover the vibrant soul of Los Angeles, where laid-back sophistication meets California cool in a stylish urban retreat.
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Hotel Per La, Autograph Collection
Where luxury meets the art of hospitality.
Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown
Your modern oasis in the heart of Los Angeles, blending contemporary style, urban convenience and IHG hospitality for a memorable stay.
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Things to do in Los Angeles, CA
Renting a car in LA is very very very helpfull
Stay in the mountains for 1-2 nights: I stayed in Topanga Canyon Inn. This bed and breakfast Villa has great views, hiking trails and the best homemade breakfast I've had. The owner and his son cook the English muffins and eggs/bacon from scratch. Each bedroom has its own theme and bathroom within the shared villa. On the way down to Malibu beach/Pacific Coast highway, make sure to stop at Cafe Mimosa, a cute french cafe with homemade pastries and unique coffee. Overall, the Topanaga Canyon area has very antique groovy vibes; you won't feel like you are in Los Angeles.
Have a morning picnic on one of the many beaches of LA. I preferred the ones in Malibu, as they are calmer with less people.
El Matador State Beach - Located in western Malibu, street parking, accessible via steep gravelly path, and very long stairs. When I got to the bottom, it was nice to walk through the large rocks and smell the fresh air (although it did smell like fish). Lots of models come here for the beautiful scenery and pictures.
Zuma Beach - Located on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, and a short walk to Point Dume, is to the left of it. This beach was so peaceful and watching the surfers was fun!
Santa Monica State Beach - Located under the Santa Monica pier, great for sunbathing, surfing or just swimming.
P.S. Buying coffee at the Pier costs double the price of a regular coffee at The Coffee Bean.
Venice Beach - It is not my favorite beach as the atmosphere is not very family-friendly! I loved doing an outdoor sunset cycling class on this beach, then we grabbed ice cream at Wanderlust Creamery. It is a cute Japanese ice cream shop that looks like a car garage.
Stay in LA for 2 nights
LA night life is very fun and the gay clubs are even more fun! Let loose and have fun, but be very safe.
Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame, buy some souvenirs, and eat some in-n-out while visiting downtown LA. (Do not, I repeat, do not stay in this area for hotels. You will not feel safe).
If you are there in March, attend the Music Academy Awards (tickets are under $100). It is a great experience to be on TV and get to be in the room with many celebrities and watch live music performances.
Hiking to/around the Hollywood sign
Can park at Griffith Park and there's signs for multiple routes towards the Hollywood sign. It is a very long walk, so bring lots of water and wear sunscreen and a hat.
Park near Runyon Canyon - Pet friendly hiking route, beautiful scenery, opposite of the Hollywood sign. Lots of celebrities hike this trail.
Laguna Beach area - 30/40 mins from LA, similar to San Diego. Less touristy.
Santa Barbara - A cute town with lots of shops, good food and a local beach. A great daytrip from LA with lots of scenery on the way.
Ojai - Very boho style town, with only local shops.
Places to eat & drink in Los Angeles, CA
Cafe Mimosa - A cute french cafe with homemade pastries and unique coffee.
Nobu Malibu- Must go at least once just for the experience. Very upscale prices and scenery, but the taste is just as good. Come dressed well! Reserve ahead of time or walk-ins can wait, but not guaranteed seating.
Cielo Farms Malibu - A must-visit Italian themed winery. Open up a bottle of wine, watch wood-fired pizza be made for you and watch the sunset next to your very own bonfire. Very picturesque and upscale. Dress well. Valet included in the price of reservation.
Belles Beach House in Venice Beach - Hawaiian-inspired bites with Japanese influenced food.
Catch LA - Delicious seafood and bar, must go to. Lots of celebrities come here and the vibes are immaculate.
Il Pastaio - Delicious upscale Italian restaurant, a great date night out.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele - Dine in or take out, hands down the best wood-fired Margherita pizza I've had, outside ones in Italy.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Carolina Weiss’s guide, A Luxury Travel Guide to Beverly Hills.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Los Angeles.