3 Days in L.A.
After our second trip to Los Angeles, my fiancé and I have unanimously decided, L.A. is a city you visit for just a long weekend. This is not to call the city boring; quite contrary. It's similar to Las Vegas in that the days and the fun seem endless. Here's all the fun we managed to get into.
A Foodie's Paradise
We're foodies so our first day was comprised of restaurant hopping and grocery shopping (we made sure to get an Airbnb with a kitchen for the nights we didn't feel like eating out).
Uncle John's Cafe
Our first restaurant stop in L.A. was Uncle John's Cafe, a small Asian-fusion cafe located near the Fashion District. We knew we wanted to go to this place after it was featured in a Buzzfeed video about the best steak in Los Angeles! Ironically, it was less than 5 minutes away from our Airbnb and we had time to kill before check in. The food was so delicious and the service was impeccable! The highlight of their menu was the huge breakfast platters featuring eggs, fried rice or potatoes, toast, and your choice of meat (chasu pork, teriyaki chicken, steak, etc). I had the chasu with fried rice and plenty of Siracha! I was so full, I didn't even think about eating anything else for another 6 hours!
On our first trip to L.A. (last year), we went to In-N-Out burger expecting an all out smorgasbord of options from what we'd seen and heard about the burger spot. We were surprised when we were met with a less than exciting menu featuring 4 simple items: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double-Double (Double Meat, Double Cheese), and French Fries. The food was delicious but we were confused because we'd heard about this place having so many options.
This time around, we did some research and busted the secret menu wide open! We got animal style, we got 3x3's, we chose so many options, I couldn't keep track! Needless to say, do your research before you blindly stumble into an In-N-Out burger.
Grand Central Market
This is an awesome local food and vendor market located in the heart of DTLA. There was a huge Anti-Trump protest the morning we visited so we had to walk a few blocks to get there but parking was widely available despite the Saturday-morning business. We attempted to go to eggslut which is located in the very front of the market but the line was ridiculous and the wait was about an hour so we decided against it. We wandered through the market until we found a cool place to eat. We settled on a super cool Mexican food spot called Jose Chiquito which has the best freaking breakfast burritos on planet earth (served with a side of hot sauce of course)!
There's at least 20+ other food vendors in the entire market. There was pizza, fresh fish and fruit, nuts, spices, etc. It was amazing!
Located at the Grove shopping center, Umami Burger is a great place to take a break from shopping. Umami takes a gourmet twist on the traditional burger featuring unique ingredients such as Parmesan frico, truffled arugula, and beer-cheddar cheese. We loved the food but can't say much for the service. This chain is not exclusive to California; they also have restaurants in Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, and soon, Japan.
Can you tell we're burger people yet? We came to Shake Shack for the burgers but stayed for the shakes! Ha! We both had the SmokeShack which is a bacon cheeseburger with ShakeSauce (what's in this stuff?) and chopped cherry peppers. It was an absolutely delicious combo of savory and spicy! I shared a chocolate shake with my fiancé (dip your fries in your shake; it's always delicious) and it was surprisingly delicious (it tasted like chocolate and not just chocolate syrup).
Fun & Games
Santa Monica Pier
We had so much fun here! The highlight of the pier is the mini-amusement park (Pacific Park). There's a small roller coaster, plunge ride, and a Ferris Wheel with the most beautiful views of the surrounding area. The pier also features live performing artists, an arcade, and various fair-food (funnel cake, ice cream, fries, and hot dogs, etc) kiosks.
The Comedy Store
Located on the Sunset Strip, this comedy club is a haven for professional and amateur comedians. In my fiancé's words: "This is where comedians come to fine tune their not-so great jokes." It's really exclusive and secretive because it's a small spot (tickets sold out within a few hours of being posted online). At entry, they have you turn off your phones and ask you not to post about the night's upcoming acts. We went there the night after the election so the comedians had some really great material prepped. Our favorite acts from the night were Joe Rogan, Judd Apatow, and Chris D'Elia.
Although we try to avoid these tourist-filled areas, I had to go to Madame Tussauds because they just added a wax figure of my idol and favorite singer, Selena Quintanilla! This is always so much fun (I visited the one in NY previously). I love posing with the wax figures (even the creepy ones)! I nearly cried when I saw the Selena figure; she was in the same room as Beyoncé (because she's an icon-duh!) and they were playing Bidi Bidi Bom Bom. I had to be dragged to the next room.
I'm a major fan of modern and alternative art museums so I was very excited to explore Los Angeles museums. I'm not an art snob or someone who finds abstract meanings within pieces. I usually like what I like because it looks pretty or tells a story so I found amusement in a lot of L.A.'s exhibits.
The Broad (Pronounced BRO-D)
We visited the Broad first thing in the morning as it is a free museum and there is a standby line (which they live tweet about to make your visit easier). We stood in the standby line for 45 minutes before entering (which cost us a bit in street parking ). The museum has 3 floors (one of which is used for archives, conference rooms, and restrooms). It is so beautifully designed and organized; the building itself is a piece of art! The installations change often and there's plenty to see but we especially enjoyed Creature (a collection of works by 25+ artists), the Andy Warhol pieces, and some really interesting pieces by Jeff Koons.
This museum is located on the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising campus in DTLA. I was very excited to visit my first fashion museum but was largely disappointed. It only featured 3 small rooms, one of which was closed for construction. The exhibitions were amazingly unique and aged pieces from YSL, Gucci, and even previous FIDM students. Unfortunately, the entirety of the museum could be covered in a detailed walkthrough in all of 10 minutes.
I fell in love with Griffith Observatory the first time we visited last year. It's perched at the tippy top of a hill on Mount Hollywood and is part of an expansive state park. The views from the top are unbelievable. You can see the whole city, the sky, everything! The exhibits are both parts educational and interesting. I absolutely love the mural painted at the top of the main entrance dome. The best time to arrive is about 5 or 6 pm. This gives you enough time to tour the entirety of the museum, see a show, and sky-gaze through the Zeiss telescope (which opens for viewing at 7 pm). It gets a bit crowded in the evening as it is a free museum and absolutely beautiful at night.
Ah yes! The best for last! Los Angeles is a hub for fashion. I couldn't help but notice all the street style there. Everyone dresses like a fashion blogger! The city is riddled with shopping spots ranging from unbelievably cheap to only-in-my-dreams pricing.
This is Los Angeles's largest and most popular shopping mall. It features popular stores such as Brandy Melville, Nordstrom, Madewell, and TOPSHOP TOPMAN, as well as multiple restaurants. This mall is not a favorite of mine but it's not horrible. The layout of the mall is very open and encourages exploration of the entire area. Yet and still, it was overcrowded to a point of discomfort. You could barely walk from store to store without being bumped by an over-exuberant shopper or lost in a crowd.
Santa Monica Promenade
Located just steps off the Santa Monica pier, this shopping mall has a refreshing open layout with 2 levels and plenty of shops for a recessionista like myself to choose from. My aunt, a California native, took us here last year and dived into H&M's massive clearance section fishing out gem after gem. Needless to say, I was more than excited to return. I could easily spend a full day shopping here!
Hollywood & Highland Center
Located smack dab in the middle of the popular Hollywood Blvd, this shopping center features a movie theater, clothing stores (Victoria's Secret, Louis Vuitton, etc), and a few restaurants. Very fun spot for an evening on Hollywood Blvd.
Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake
Our Airbnb was less than 5 minutes away from a bunch of little boutiques in Silver Lake so we decided to take a stroll. This strip of Sunset features a unique collection of hipster-esque shops. We popped into Secret Headquarters (a super cool comic book shop), Bar Keeper (a unique liquor store), and a few vintage (yet overpriced) clothing stores.
And that's how we spent 72 hours in Los Angeles! This city is perfect for a girl's trip, baecation, or even solo travel. There's so much jam-packed into the area, it's easy to find something to love. Los Angeles is a foodie's dream, a shopaholic's paradise, and a haven for creative thinkers.
Have you been to Los Angeles? What's your favorite thing to do in the city? Haven't been? Where's your favorite place for a weekend trip?
Felicia aka Ms. Shopaholic Diaries