72 Hours in LA & Dana Point

Curated By

Eunice Kindred

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  • USA

  • California

  • Los Angeles

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • City Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Weekend Getaways

  • Coastal

  • Laidback

  • Shopping

Blue ocean with cliffs and green rocks in Dana point California
Curator’s statement

Southern California has a real down-to-earth vibe – LA has the glitz and glamour, while Dana Point has a toned-down beach and surf vibe where you can enjoy the Pacific Ocean without the tourist crowds. While the City of Angels gets most of the attention in Southern California, Dana Point is a nice add-on to any LA trip and only a short driving distance away.

The Fora Difference

Book with Eunice to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

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Killer perks

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Personalized recs

Customized travel planning for your style

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Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club

Perched on 175 acres atop a 150-foot seaside bluff and featuring a private beach club, this property offers a perfect blend of Southern California’s legendary laid-back luxury and the iconic culture of True Waldorf Service.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

1 Hotel West Hollywood

This chic, pet-friendly, uber-stylish property at the base of Hollywood Hills boasts farm-to-table cuisine, exceptional wellness offerings and beautiful accommodations, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Day 1: Los Angeles

los angeles california city view at sunset with tall palm trees


When you land in LAX airport, pick up a rental car for easy transportation. Alternatively, you can find a designated pickup zone outside of the arrivals terminal and grab an Uber to your hotel, or you can take LAX Flyaway bus to L.A. Union Station station for the Metrolink trains. That being said, I strongly recommend avoiding the hassle and opting for a car rental or Uber.

Check in the 1 Hotel West Hollywood, a trendy eco-inspired hotel with inviting common areas. This hotel is close to all of my favorite recommendations in Los Angeles. Then, grab lunch at the hotel for a quintessential healthy LA meal – a smoothie and a salad. 


Visiting the Row DTLA feels as if you’re meeting the West Coast sibling of Industry City in Brooklyn. Both are industrial complexes that are a mixture of boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants and workspaces. OMAMImini is a darling children’s clothing store. Bodega is one of the coolest sneaker and streetwear shops in L.A. with a secret nondescript warehouse entrance. 


Grab Filipino baked goods and treats at United Bread and Pastry. The turon, putong puti (steamed rice cake), and biko (sticky rice cake) are so good.


Spend the afternoon chilling by the pool at 1 Hotel before heading to dinner across the street at Tesse. It has a minimalist ambiance and the outdoor seating is great for dinner. They serve French cuisine and incredible cocktails. Get the speakerbox cocktail made with mezcal.

Day 2: The best of LA

street art in los angeles on pink wall woman multi colored


Wake up early and head to Runyon Canyon in Hollywood Hills before the crowds. Though it isn’t a state park, it’s arguably the most famous destination to hike in the city that draws quite a scene and provides a great workout. You can also go off the main path and go a little bit higher on the canyon for better views. You might pass a celebrity doing a canyon run – you’re in LA, after all.


Fuel yourself with breakfast at République; the food and coffee are delicious. The building was built in 1928 by Charlie Chaplin as his office. République’s unique gothic cathedral-like space serves as a striking backdrop to the modern French cuisine being served including an excellent bakery selection. The hazelnut donut and waffle with berries are superb.


Along Melrose Avenue in the neighborhoods of Melrose and Fairfax, you’ll find some of the most amazing murals in Los Angeles. One of the great gems of LA is the wall art – the city is a canvas for artists to declare expressions of hope and creativity to tributes of fallen heroes. Keep an eye out for images of the late Nipsey Hussle, the rapper-activist-entrepreneur.


If you’re looking to cop a new pair of sneakers, head to Cookies N’ Kicks with a gigantic array of dunks. Nearby on Melrose Avenue is the Brooklyn Projects skateboard shop.


Stop into Pink Taco for a quick bite to eat. Whether you order tacos, nachos or enchiladas, wash it all down with one of their amazing margaritas. The Cadillac is delicious and the Frozen Strawberry is served up in a pineapple.


Get back to the 1 Hotel and unwind at the pool until your dinner reservation. Eat at Sushi Tama on Robertson Boulevard. The fish is incredibly fresh. Order the Omakase, the chef’s selection. They’ll decide what to send you and it’s usually the freshest available and very good. Pair your sushi with a bottle from their excellent sake collection.

Day 3: Head to Dana Point

Dana Point Marina in California with sailboats lined on blue waters

Begin your day early for your mini road trip to Orange County. The fastest and best route to Dana Point from 1 Hotel is by taking the 101 South and the 5 South or Santa Ana Freeway. The driving time can take an hour or much longer depending on traffic.

After you cross county lines, you’ll pass Disneyland in Anaheim, which is not far from Dana Point and worth visiting if you have an extra day.

If you prefer to take the scenic route, you’d want to cruise down Pacific Coast Highway. With this option, be mindful that the travel time can easily double, driving directions may be trickier and the road conditions can vary as you pass through bluffs in the Southern Coast.

On the way, you’ll absorb incredible views of the ocean from Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.


You can’t go to Orange County without picking up a loaf from The Bread Window in San Clemente! Baker Joelle makes small batches of bread, croissants and cinnamon rolls from her home. Be sure to order in advance! Feel free to enjoy the loaf at a nearby beach before heading to the city of Dana Point as San Clemente also rocks beautiful beaches.


The Dana Point Nature Headlands Conservation Area is where you can learn about the terrain, flora and fauna. Go for a stroll on the little walkway and trails that go around the conservation area. There are great views of the ocean from here. It’s a great way to teach children about the wildlife in the area.


Drive back down to shore and park near the Dana Cove Pier.

From Dana Cove Pier, you can also walk to Doheny State Beach, a famous beach known in Orange County for its prominent whale activity. Ticket prices and ride duration for boat tours tend to change based on season and hour, so be sure to check online if you’re interested.


Head back to the Monarch and relax by the pool or enjoy the daily activities. Have dinner at the on-site Bourbon Steak. The steakhouse is well-known and gets busy, so grab a table early outside by the fire pit and enjoy the selection of steaks and wine.