In life, as in travel, I truly believe you need to experience things for yourself. This became even more apparent for me when I visited Los Angeles for the first time. I’ll admit it, my expectations were not high. Everyone I spoke to either told me to spend minimal time there, or not to bother at all. Thankfully, I ignored everyone else’s advice (as I often do) and went anyway.
The first time I visited LA I spent my time in Manhattan Beach, staying with friends in a town that feels like you’ve stumbled onto the set of the Truman Show, with its perfect houses and perfect people. It felt like another world, yet one that I didn’t want to escape from.
I was fortunate enough to visit LA again this month and although I didn’t get a chance to visit Manhattan Beach again, I did get to explore other areas which has now cemented my love for the city.
HOW TO GET THERE – Uber! The Uber rates in LA are ridiculously cheap in comparison to other major cities and it’s the perfect welcome – you never know who your driver might be and they’ve always got a great story to tell.
WHERE TO STAY – Farmer’s Daughter Hotel, West Hollywood. I seriously cannot fault this beautiful boutique hotel. It’s a little oasis offering everything you need and more. Situated opposite a farmer’s market and surrounded by great shopping, The Farmer’s Daughter Hotel also offers free bike hire and free yoga every morning.
WHAT TO EAT – When I’m home I try to eat mostly a vegan diet but when travelling it can be especially difficult to keep this up. I tend to stray into a vegetarian diet when I’m overseas for that reason, but thankfully in LA there’s so many options that are vegan and vegetarian friendly:
Gracias Madre is easily the best Mexican inspired food I’ve ever eaten. Full of flavour, it’s a vegetarian’s paradise, yet I can guarantee most carnivores will also love Gracias Madre.
Mercado in West Hollywood for some of the best Mexican going, the guacamole is a must.
Zingue LA is a French inspired cafe, offering amazing salads, burgers and sandwiches, with a perfect outside decor setting for lunch.
CAFFEINE FIX – Coffee in the States does not compare to Australia, however there are a few hotspots that know how to brew a good drop.
Verve Coffee sell a great almond milk latte, along with a lemon ginger soda that is to die for.
Paramount Coffee Project originally hails from Sydney in Australia, but has recently set up shop in LA. With a vegemite milkshake on the menu, you should definitely give it a try!
WHAT TO DO – LA is very spread out and the traffic is notoriously bad, so the best way to get around the city can be by pushbike. Definitely check out Venice Beach and Santa Monica and if you don’t do anything else, do the below:
Hollywood Sign Hike is a like a dream come true. Offering some of the best views of the Hollywood, the hike also takes you up behind the Hollywood sign, with views of the city and beyond. I’d recommend getting an Uber to the start of the hike, as parking can be limited and no one wants to ride a pushbike up those hills! Open from sunrise to sunset, moderate fitness is recommended and you can have the hike done in under 2 hours.
Melrose Trading Post Markets are on every Sunday, offering an amazing range of vintage wares and some of the best street vendor food out.
EPLP is the best place to head in the afternoon, a perfect way to watch the sunset from their beautiful rooftop bar whilst sipping on a cocktail.
The Nice Guy is the perfect place to celebrity spot, even if you can’t get a table it’s worth walking past to catch the paparazzi waiting out the front in anticipation for the next celebrity exit. We spotted Justin Timberlake getting harassed as he left his 40th birthday party.