When you come from a small town in the middle of the English countryside, you’re not really prepared for the size of cities like L.A. What looks like a relatively easy jaunt from one side of the map to the other actually turns out to be half a day’s travelling time; so when you only have a day to explore, you’d best know what you’re planning on doing! Here are my LA travel tips to make the best of your 24 hours in the city.
Fed and watered
I like to trust recommendations when it comes to eating and drinking on holiday, mainly because I’m so indecisive. We’re at risk of stumbling into the nearest Burger King if we’ve got nothing to go on, so asking friends to recommend their favourite places ends up revealing some true gems!
Il Capriccio, Los Feliz
Friends of S’s sister took us all out for dinner in Los Feliz after a quick drink at The Dresden (the bar from 1996 movie ‘Swingers‘). Italian is always a safe choice for me, being a vegetarian who can count their weekly vegetables on half a hand, and Il Capriccio is definitely one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve been to. The servers are all exceptionally friendly, the atmosphere is buzzing (without being that irritating hustle and nudging), and the food delicious. This is the place where I discovered that Mac N Cheese can be beaten. I never thought I’d say it but, yes, beaten by my new favourite Italian dish – Capellini Alla Checca with angel hair.
Il Capriccio, 1757 N Vermont Ave.
The Thirsty Crow, Silver Lake
The same friends introduced us to a bar on West Hollywood Boulevard, The Thirsty Crow. A place to go if you’re a whisky or bourbon lover, we were too jet-lagged to appreciate it completely but we gave it a good go! Order a drink and you’ll get it in a jam jar, or similar, and we’re told you might get a celebrity spot late into weekend evenings. The best drink on the menu, and I think their most popular, is a whisky and ginger concoction with a real kick. Prepare to growl the night away.
The Thirsty Crow, 2939 West Sunset Boulevard.
If you’ve never tried an In-N-Out burger before, I’d say it’s perfectly ok to consider it as something to try when you’re in L.A. Originating in the city and eventually moving across California and the West Coast, In N Out is famous for not using frozen ingredients. They’re also known for their ‘secret menu‘, which really defies the point of secrecy, but never mind! If you’re vegetarian, ask for a grilled cheese (not a cheese toastie, it’s miles healthier than that) and animal style fries. If you’re of the meat persuasion, I dare you to tackle a 4×4. I think the name speaks for itself.
In-N-Out Burger, 7009 Sunset Boulevard
You can’t get away from shopping. Let’s face it, you do it all the time and when you’re somewhere like Los Angeles, shopping is right in your face constantly. If you’re European then you’ll get sucked in by beauty delights at Sephora and the cheaper prices at Gap, H&M and Abercrombie. And if you’re not really that good at shopping then you’ll end up spending a lot of time in the tack shops along Hollywood Boulevard. There are a lot of them, a lot.
Off Broadway Shoe Store, Hollywood
If you’re a reader of my other blog then you’ll know how shoe crazy I am. There’s no getting away from it on holiday either…I’ll always sniff out the nearest shoe shop! They’re usually pretty ordinary, but more often than not with better prices than the UK. But when I discovered this one on Sunset Boulevard, it blew my mind.
See how huge it is?! The rows just didn’t stop. The discounts are pretty amazing too, so if you have room in your suitcase then definitely work out a few purchases here.
Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, 6920 Sunset Boulevard.
World famous Rodeo Drive
You can’t go to Los Angeles and miss a walk down Rodeo Drive. I mean, it’s been in some of my favourite movies – Pretty Woman, Clueless, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion – and while it’s not exactly my kind of price range, it’s still a nice area to walk around. You can press your nose against the windows at Tiffany’s, Ralph Lauren, Cartier, Harry Winston, Christian Dior, Versace, Armani and Agent Provocateur to name a few.
Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills.
There’s more to Los Angeles than Downtown and Hollywood, so make the time to explore and see a different side to the city. I don’t really need to tell you that though do I? It’s common sense by now.
Bike ride on Venice Beach
When the tourism of the city gets a bit much, you can escape to the beach for a sunbathe and bike ride. Start at Venice Beach with its crazy street performers, skateboarding park and numerous *cough* “medical marijuana surgeries” *cough*, and ride along the winding path to Santa Monica Pier. That’ll take you about half an hour, but if you’re in a particularly good mood you can ride all the way up to Malibu in an hour. It’s something fun to do to get some fresh air and see a different side to L.A, and you’ll even get to pick which bike you want! I chose a pink one of course…it matched my hair.
Trek to the Hollywood Sign
It’s one of those must-do things, even though in real life it looks smaller and walking up there can be hard work. The best way to get there is to hire a car and drive to Lake Hollywood Park, where most people take their sign pictures, or do it quick and get a taxi there and back. Walking up requires a lot of legwork and can be a little dangerous due to the lack of sidewalk on some roads, so I’d advise to drive. We took the taxi option, which meant we had someone else to take our photos!
Tips for surviving the City of Angels
- The Metro and buses are super cheap, but the city is huge and isn’t all covered by public transport. If you’re old enough (and brave), hire a car to get around. It really is the easiest option.
- Don’t spend too long hanging around Hollywood. The Walk of Fame, Dolby Theatre, Chinese Theatre etc are all great to see, but there is so much more to L.A than the tourist areas. Get out there and explore.