Travel Diary: Los Angeles

Los Angeles is unlike any other city in the United States. It’s warm climate, horrendous traffic, and spread out layout provided for one of the most unique trips I’d taken in a year.

From January 26-30, I spent four days in LA with one of my favorite travel buddies, Patricia. We stayed near Downtown LA, at our friend Sara’s USC apartment. This being Patricia’s first time in LA (my fourth) I set out to show her all of LA in four days.

Tuesday, January 26

We flew in early, around 9am, and headed to Sara’s. After changing and grabbing some water, we set out for Venice. Our main form of transportation (other than Sara’s car) was Uber. Uber in LA is quite affordable. We spent about an hour in Venice, mainly exploring Abbott Kinney (the boardwalk was not really our thing, but I highly recommend taking a look at it).

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While we had originally intended to walk along the water to Santa Monica, we ended up having Sara pick us up so that we would have time to have lunch with her. We had a delicious water-side lunch at Blue Plate: Taco.

Patricia and I went on to explore the Santa Monica Pier and 3rd Street Promenade. I wish I had known that Nasty Gal opened a store there! I totally would have shopped my heart out.

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From Santa Monica, we took an uber up to The Grove. The uber ride took an hour in rush hour traffic, but we were so exhausted that we were just happy to be off our feet.

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The Grove and Farmer’s Market are both great attractions. We explored the shops and browsed the farmer’s market. As lover of rum & raisin ice cream, I had to indulge at Bennett’s. While Sara had homework to work on, Patricia and I took in a movie at the beautiful movie theatre at The Grove.

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When Sara picked us up, we headed to LACMA, to see the James Turrell Urban Light Installation (you know, the one from No Strings Attached that Ashton and Natalie Portman’s characters walk through on their date?). I was obsessed with taking pictures here.

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At the end of the night, in order to indulge Sara’s sweet tooth, we headed to Salt & Straw for more ice cream. Indecisive about which of their exotic flavors to try,  I finally settled on trying both the cookie dough and sea salt caramel.

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Two servings of ice cream counts as dinner, right?

Wednesday, January 27

On Wednesday, all of my dreams came true at the most magical place on earth: Disneyland. Patricia and I spent the entire day here and it was everything I could have imagined.

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I will dedicate an entire post to this magical place, because quite frankly… I can’t even put it into words right now.

Thursday, January 28

Thursday morning, while Sara was in class, Patricia and I explored the quad at USC. We enjoyed breakfast from Urban Espresso, a food truck located off of Figueroa, right outside the USC campus and sipped our coffee while basking in the sun.

When Sara was done with class, she had made plans for us to go to Manhattan Beach. We ate lunch at The Izaka-ya, a restaurant by the owners the famous Katsu-ya. The crispy rice spicy tuna was too die for, as were the baked crab hand rolls.

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After lunch, we walked around the pier where The OC and Hannah Montana were filmed. And did a bunch of shopping on Manhattan Beach Blvd. My favorite spots we stopped in? Harper & Harlow and Marine Layer (which has the softest clothes ever!).

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We had a late, low-key dinner at the cute Thai place outside of Sara’s apartment.

Friday, January 29

After having our uber get a flat tire in the middle of the freeway, Patricia and I made it to Runyon Canyon. Runyon is where celebs, like Amanda Seyfried, Khloe Kardashian, and Matthew McConaughey, hike away all their problems…

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Patricia and I spent about two-hours hiking the Hollywood Hills and enjoying the views.The path we took through Runyon was perfect, because we ended up just a ten minute walk from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Hollywood Blvd is home to the Walk of Fame, the Dolby Theatre, the Chinese Theatre, a bunch of souvenir shops, the El Capitan theatre, and the shops at Hollywood and Highland. Let me explain all of these one by one:

  • The Walk of Fame is where the most talented and famous celebrities receive star’s with their name on them. Everyone from Christina Aguilera to Mickey Mouse has one, and it is quite amusing to walk the streets and find some familiar names.
  • The Dolby Theatre, formerly known as the Kodak theatre, is where the Oscars take place every year.
  • The Chinese Theatre is an IMAX movie theatre. However, outside of it, you can find the handprints and footprints of some of Hollywood’s most famous stars (starting from the 1940’s and going all the way into modern times).
  • Souvenir shops have things for everyone, and if you cant find a gift in LA’s china town, this is the place to buy it… they’re not too over priced and every store has a $5 section! This is THE place to buy your mom her “Best Mother” Oscar.
  • The El Capitan Theatre is in my opinion the coolest place on this street. El Capitan shows ONLY Disney movies. Particularly new releases, and in between releases, they play classics. While we were in town, Star Wars was playing.
  • The shops at Hollywood and Highland is an outdoor mall… but thats not why I am telling you to go there. From the shops, there is a great, clear view of the Hollywood Sign!

For lunch, Patricia and I did what any tourists would do… we went to In & Out Burger. The freshest fast food you can get, In & Out hit the spot perfectly.

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We packed up our suitcases and hung out at the apartment while Sara was at an event for her rowing team.

Before heading to the airport, Sara took us to Fresh Food, a Californian restaurant, for dinner. The teriyaki bowl I had was delicious, and I have been dreaming about it ever since.

The entire flight home I was already California dreamin’ about my next visit to LA.

1 Comment

  1. Netsa (Patricia's mom)
    February 7, 2016 / 10:03 pm

    Thanks Jessica for sharing your trip with us! Patricia didn’t share all the details with us other than the fact that she had a great time We’re so happy you both had a wonderful trip and I look forward to hearing about your upcoming Europe trip