First Time Guide To LA

LA travel tips

I’d heard so many negative things about LA that I actually went with pretty low expectations. Almost everyone i’d spoken to said it was grotty, busy and that they much preferred San Francisco and although I’m sure those sides to LA do exist, I have to disagree. I loved LA.so much and would happily move there tomorrow given the chance!

What I experienced in LA was a glamorous, dynamic and exciting city; a sprawling metropolis surrounded by desert mountains and the sparkling blue pacific ocean. Visiting LA isn’t just about the Hollywood walk of fame and celebrity spotting; in fact, we avoided most of the typical tourist spots and I think that’s why we had such a great experience. So here’s my guide to LA on what we did, where we went and most importantly….where we ate!

 

malibu nobu LA

I’m going to be honest. LA traffic really is as bad as they say it is. In fact, it’s worse. You basically have to add an extra 30 minutes onto every journey to account for how much traffic there’s going to be! It was a bit of a shock for us when we drove in from Santa Barbara after experiencing open roads for hundreds of miles. For that reason, we made a pit-stop at Venice Beach to do our first LA Bucket list activity: Rollerblading!

 

Venice Beach

Venice Beach was pretty quiet as it was a Tuesday afternoon and slightly overcast, but having said that, it was still absolutely mental and has to be seen to be believed. Everywhere you turn are weird and wonderful people and crazy shops selling souvenirs, beachwear and gym apparel.

We hired roller blades for an hour and made our way down the boardwalk towards the world famous Muscle beach.

Travel Tip: don’t accept the cookies being handed out by the people in shops! Or do, if you want to take a trip of a different sort…. Your mother was right about sweets from strangers.

 

venice beach rollerblading

 

Hike Runyon Canyon

The very next morning was my birthday and I know this might sound really boring, but all I wanted to do was go on a hike in the sunshine – LA style and what could be more LA than hiking Runyon Canyon. This is the place where loads of celebrities get papped or post about on Instagram to show how much they love fitness. Obviously I Instagrammed it too.

It’s a really great hike with just enough of a gradient to get your blood pumping but not too difficult that you have to stop chatting. Definitely take water and a camera phone, I mean look at this amazing view:

 

runyon canyon hike

 

Go Shopping On Rodeo Drive

Any one who’s seen Pretty Woman, Clueless or reads Hello Magazine knows that Rodeo Drive is THE most exclusive shopping street in Beverly Hills and it’s well worth a visit while you’re here.

Window shop the amazing designers and gasp at the beauty of it all. It’s a truly stunning area with some great little eateries too. We were lucky to have the beautiful blogger Bey Andall as our tour guide and she had the best inside knowledge of LA!

Did you know: Los Angeles is actually a district made up of loads of cities including Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and confusingly Los Angeles city.

rodeo drive beverly hills

 

Go for an Amorino Icecream

One of Bey’s best recommendations were the ice creams at Amorino in Beverly Hills. Not only are they absolutely delicious, they’re also shaped like a rose! How cute is this:

 

rose icecream amarino beverly hills

 

Hike The Hollywood Sign

After a bit too much ice-cream, we decided to hike up to the Hollywood sign at Griffith park. This is the best hike ever, but really hard to find as you get to the entrance of the hike at the top of a road in the middle of a housing estate (not the Griffith Park entrance)

It took us almost 40 minutes to find as we didn’t use Sat Nav, so make sure your’s directs you to this road.

 

hollywood sign la hike travel blog

 

Go For Drinks At Laurel Hardware

Asking a local generally gets you a great recommendation for where to go and that’s exactly how we found out about Laurel Hardware on Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood. This bar is a converted hardware store serving some very quirky cocktails and an incredible mix of clientele that are what people-watching dreams are made of. We also made some great friends here that we spent the rest of our week with. It’s why I LOVE America, everyone is just so friendly!

Oh and also, the bartenders are seriously hot.

 

Laurel Hardware

 

Head out to Malibu

About a 30 minute (make the 50 because of traffic!) drive out from LA is Malibu, the exclusive beach city that many of the rich and famous call home. Spend the day at the beach and definitely go for lunch at Nobu if you feel like treating yourself! We came here for my birthday and it was an incredible afternoon of food, wine and cocktails.

 

nobu malibu outside seating mochi nobu malibu

 

Do A Spin Class

After watching Hollywood Cycle for months on E! we were dead set on booking a class at Cycle House in West Hollywood. Spin classes in America are like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. The rooms are dark, the music is loud as a bar and the instructors basically MC their instructions to you while bouncing around on a stage. It was like going to a concert but sweating like a pig for cycling, rather than dancing. Another great place to check out is Soul Cycle, which is a favourite with celebrities.

 

Travel Tip: to spot anyone famous, you’ll need to go to the early morning classes – i.e. 6am!

cycle house la

 

cycle house LA bikes

 

Check Out Urth Cafe

There’s a couple of these around LA and they do the most stunning, natural and healthy food, coffee and shakes. We ended up going back twice we were so in love with the food at Urth cafe! Here’s some things we had:

urth cafe LA

 

urth cafe la

 

Have A Photo Outside Dash

 

Maybe this was just us being weirdos, but we love Keeping Up With The Kardashians and couldn’t wait to check out Dash while we were in LA! The clothes are amazing and not totally unreasonably priced (if you’re not on a backpacker budget anyway).

dash LA

 

In- N -Out Burger

 

One place you HAVE to go on the west coast is In-n-Out Burger. This place is so famous for a reason and as a family run business that does want to expand into a corporate machine, is only found around California and the south-west states. The burgers are fresh, cheap and amazing and by the way, there’s a secret menu… make sure you ask about it!

in n out burger la

 

in n out burger la

 

Obviously there are loads more things to see and do while you’re in LA such as the Hollywood walk of fame, Downtown LA and Laguna Beach, but we unfortunately didn’t have time for everything.

One thing I know for sure is I’ll be heading back; I love this city regardless of its traffic!

 

Any questions? Please leave me a comment below

 

Sylvie x

 

  • Deimante Baurinaite

    ohhhh this makes me so so excited to go! I’m heading out there next month and only wish I had all the time to do everything of your list! 🙂
    Deimante x
    http://www.sunnydei.com

  • Helena Kohen

    Such fantastic tips, this is a great article! I was wondering if you could recommend which neighbourhood to stay in? Somewhere young/fun/chilled with good bars and places to eat nearby – any suggestions?!

    • West Hollywood and Beverly Hills are awesome but slightly more pricey! Venice Beach is super fun but a more quirky experience of LA 🙂