La La Land is hotly tipped to win lots of Oscars and although I wasn’t blown away by the film, it did make the city look incredible and left me with a burning desire to see Los Angeles! My experience wasn’t quite as dreamy as the film but I very much enjoyed spending two days in the city of angels last weekend.
Here are my top tips for what to do and see in such a short visit!
You can’t go to LA without going to spot your favorite celebrities star on the walk of fame! I recently downloaded Detour, an audio walking tour app and decided to do their ‘Hollywood: Stars & Bars’ walk which starts at the famous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard. Having headphones in was a great way to block out the annoying peddlers and noise of the busy boulevard and to learn about the history of the area. The walk also stops at several fantastic bars, so it’s a great way to start an evening out!
Santa Monica & Venice Beach
Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach and Venice Beach Boardwalk are all pretty famous in their own right. We found the best way to see this part of LA was on a push bike, it’s slightly too big an area to cover on foot and is inaccessible by car. We rewarded ourselves with some craft beers at Stout followed by a delicious fish dinner at the Water Grill. Both were amazing and recommended, but don’t have too many beers if you are planning a hike the next day!
Hike Runyon Canyon & Beachwood Canyon Secret Stairways
We planned to walk the Beachwood Canyon secret stairways and finish the morning by hiking Runyon Canyon (the park where the ‘Hollywood’ letters are). Sadly our hangovers had different plans for us. After completing the secret stairway walk, we realized we had misread the map and were miles from the start of the Runyon Canyon hike and had also failed to bring any water. Admitting defeat, our backup plan of brunch at the Beachwood Café was a good one and held our hangovers at bay so we could enjoy the rest of the day.
Museum of Broken Relationships
Admittedly it wasn’t very romantic to visit this place the weekend before Valentine’s day. However, in my opinion, the museum is very much worth visiting. It isn’t the objects themselves that are interesting but the stories told alongside them; which range from hilarious to poignant and heart-breaking.
Hollywood Museum (Max Factor Factory)
This museum is located in the original Max Factor factory building and offers four floors of Hollywood history, most of it retro. I’m not sure when this happened, but apparently ‘Retro’ isn’t in fashion anymore, meaning we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Who wouldn’t want to see Marilyn Monroe’s dressing table and original makeup, props from Star Wars and walk through the actual prison corridor set used in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’?
Have a Swanky Dinner on Melrose Avenue
Dinner at Cecconi’s wasn’t a grand affair, the service was poor (I assume because we weren’t celebrities) and the food wasn’t anything to write home about. $20 for a bowl of pasta seems expensive. But, $20 for a bowl of pasta where Beyoncé eats? Bargain! It was Grammys night, so I can only assume Beyoncé had other plans, but I enjoyed the experience anyway and it was cool to be on the inside of the hedges that surround the place from the paparazzi.
Browse the Books at The Last Book Store
I didn’t enjoy Downtown LA. If Hollywood is where dreams are made, Downtown is where they go to die. A notable exception is The Last Book Store. This is the biggest bookshop I have ever been in and is jam-packed with popular books as well as rare treasures and artwork. If you love books, go here. If not, skip Downtown altogether.
If you are going to Downtown, it’s worth stopping in at OUE Skyspace located in the US Bank tower. The views from here are amazing and show the scale of LA which goes on forever. Plus you can slide down a glass slide 71 stories above the city!
Phew, looking back we covered a lot in two days! Thankfully we were able to rest our heads at a really nice hotel, Loews Hollywood right next to the Dolby Theatre (where the Oscars ceremony is held). I’ve been getting some amazing deals through hotwire recently and this was one of them. I loved having a swim in the pool with a view of the Hollywood hills and wondering which of the people getting picked up to go the Grammys were actual celebs (I had no clue).
Would I go back to LA? Maybe, as I’d like to visit the film studios. The traffic drove me mad though and for now, my curiosity about the city of stars has been satisfied.