We love LA! Before I visited I had preconceived ideas about LA being dirty, scary and busy……only to find it is just the OPPOSITE. LA feels like home to us and I could easily pack up and live there. My heart is in LA and I hope you will inspired to visit soon. Below is a list of 10 MUST DO’s in LA.
Watch the sunset from GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY
Drive up the windy road to the top of Griffith Park to the Observatory. Arrive about 45mins before the sun is due to set. Parking is free and easy to park if arriving before the sunset. The view at the top is amazing and it takes in all of LA, the Hollywood sign and the beaches of Santa Monica.
Grand Central Market
This is a huge fancy food hall filled with the most delicious variety of food. We all grabbed food from a different vendors and sat down at the tables. Everything was delicious. Have a look here for more information about the markets and its history. Have your camera ready as the neon signs at each shop are very retro. Eggslut had a huge queue and was on my to do list but we didn’t have the patience to wait…next time.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Touristy and tacky but a bit of fun and something that you can get ticked off your bucket list. There are lots of stars on the ground to look at, it does go on for many blocks and it isn’t glamorous in anyway. Outside the Chinese Theatre there are many people dressed up as characters that want cash to have your photo with them. There is a great lolly shop called Sweet in the shopping mall behind the Chinese Theatre. We watched candy being made and the variety is huge.
Venice Beach is full of eclectic people who you could easily sit and watch all day. The Venice Beach promenade area is full of weird, bizarre and down right strange. We enjoyed looking at the Muscle Gym, racquet ball players and basketball players. The mood changes after dark so we left before things got weirder!
My two boys and my big boy, Billy, loved watching the skateboarding at the Venice Skate Bowl. Great to watch all the boarders. The boys couldn’t resist and bought some boards and had a go themselves. We went early morning and late in the afternoon to avoid any crowds.
The Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach is a road full of quirky, unusual, funky places, from furniture, bars and coffee shops.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Santa Monica. The whole vibe of this area just touches my heart and I feel at home here. We used this rental to stay in, a perfect house that had bikes to ride and a car space. We used the bikes everyday and rode from the pier at Santa Monica to Venice Beach. There are plenty of bike hire places at the beach if needed. The bike path is wide and flat and an easy ride. Watching the sun set over the pier is magical. We walked the pier a few times looking at the rides and seals playing near the pier.
There are huge swings to play on near the pier as well as a variety of exercise equipment. The people watching here is top class. It is like circus training. Strong, fit people on rings, bars and slack lining.
In ‘n’ Out Burger
Yum! Delicious! A Must! In ‘n’ Out is a burger shop with a really simple menu serving burgers, fries and milkshakes. There is a secret menu that isn’t advertised and can be ordered off the menu. It was like being in a secret club ordering from the secret menu. View the secret menu is here.
Harry Potter Fans
With Polly being a huge Harry Potter fan and Universal Studios Harry Potter World not yet opened when we were in LA, it was a must to visit Whimsic Alley. It is located at 5464 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles. It sold all things Harry Potter, Downton Abbey and Dr. Who. A wonderful store for fans.
Secret Malibu Beaches and Drives
We stumbled across Secret Malibu beaches on Tripadvisor. It was such a find and we followed the directions and found the set of stairs that led down between two mansions. We had the whole beach to ourselves. We went for a walk and stumbled across a swimsuit model shoot.
We also got redirect on a drive due to road works which was a blessing in disguise as we then went along route 23 which was the most beautiful drive. It was one of our best days. The drive was spectacular, windy roads through valleys, cliffs and the views WOW!
The Tar Pits
In the middle of busy LA are the Tar Pits. The boys visited this museum that was a working tar pit where animals from the Ice Age were pulled out of tar. This is a work in progress and the boys had a ball. There is also a car museum in the same area called Petersen Museum. These museums can be found on Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles. Love a bit of culture and education while travelling.
We discovered Whole Foods supermarket whist in Santa Monica. We were sold within seconds of walking in the store. All the food is natural, fresh and simply wonderful. There is a section that is pre-prepared and freshly prepared meals. We grabbed a simple dinner to then eat as a picnic. It is like a home cooked meal while away on the road.