The Perfect Weekend in Southern California

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Advisor - Eunice Kindred
Curated By

Eunice Kindred

  • USA

  • California

  • Los Angeles

  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • City Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Weekend Getaways

  • Downtown

  • Sightseeing

  • Shopping

Advisor - The Perfect Weekend in Southern California
Curator’s statement

Southern California has a real down-to-earth vibe – LA has the glitz and glamour, while Dana Point is more toned down with a beach and surf vibe. While the City of Angels gets most of the attention in southern California, Dana Point is a nice add-on to any LA trip.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

Day 1: Los Angeles

The Perfect Weekend in Southern California - Day 1: Los Angeles

Arrive in L.A.

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. Grab lunch at the hotel for a quintessential healthy LA meal – a smoothie and a salad. 

Head out to the Row

Going to the Row DTLA is reminiscent 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. 

Get Filipino goodies for lunch

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.

Relax at the 1 Hotel 

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 L.A.

The Perfect Weekend in Southern California - Day 2: The Best of L.A.

Runyon Canyon

Wake up early and head to Runyon Canyon before the crowds. It’s a great hike that’s a little bit of a scene but also a workout. You can 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 L.A., 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.

Scope out street art 

Along Melrose Avenue, you’ll find some of the most amazing murals in Los Angeles. One of the great gems of L.A. 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.

Pick up some kicks

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.

Get lunch at Pink Taco

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.

Hang out by the pool

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

The Perfect Weekend in Southern California - Day 3: Head to Dana Point

Drive to Dana Point

Dana Point offers the respite from the city, and is only about an hour drive away (plan for traffic, just in case). For your stay, I recommend the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club, a great family-friendly resort with a kids club.  

Get a loaf

You can’t go to Orange County without picking up a loaf from The Bread Window! Baker Joelle makes small batches of bread, croissants and cinnamon rolls from her home. Be sure to order in advance! 

Learn about local flora and fauna

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 down to Dana Cove Pier 

Drive back down to shore and park near the Dana Cove Pier. For lunch, dine at Harbour Grill, and be sure to order oysters. Grab a table with a view of the marina. After lunch, walk along the pier and pop into the different shops.

Relax at the hotel

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.