We were looking for a destination to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and Los Angeles seemed to be the perfect fit. I love big cities with colorful areas and tons of great food and LA ticked all those boxes.
Since we only had a little over 3 days in Los Angeles, I made sure to rent a car. The city is huge and public transportation seems to be limited. Here is my “loose” itinerary for 3 amazing days in LA.
Best Area to Stay in Los Angeles
Traffic can be horrid in L.A. (avoid highways). I wanted to make sure I had a middle point for my Airbnb. I didn’t want to be too far away from any area I wanted to explore, so I spent some time studying the neighborhoods and found the most central option with plenty of side roads to reach my destinations.
Enter one of the cutest and cleanest Airbnb’s we’ve ever stayed in located in Jefferson Park/West Adams district. Our superhost was great, the area was safe and lined with pretty palm trees, and there was plenty of parking for our rental car. Save $55 on your first Airbnb booking with this CODE.
Where to Eat in LA
As I mentioned, the city is so big that there was no way we could try all the places on our list. I pulled recommendations from everywhere, but here is what we tried.
The Conservatory for Coffee in Culver City- Favorite cafe from all the ones we tried! It’s rare to find a cafe that serves coconut milk. I hate almond milk in my coffee, and I can’t handle soy or cow milk. So I was very excited when Jorge found this cafe and the cappuccinos were perfect. We came back 3 times and bought some coffee bags to take home.
Copenhagen Pastry in Culver City- We went here twice because the authentic Danish pastries are amazing and affordable! It’s like $2 for a pastry! Plus, they have dairy-free and gluten-free options.
Eggslut in Venice- What a name, right? You can find some good egg sandwiches on the go here! The price isn’t bad, and it makes for a filling breakfast. I read that they just opened one in NYC.
The Honor Bar- Order the chicken sandwich! That is all. SO GOOD. Oh, and Jorge had sushi which he really liked as well.
Bestia- I love the name! It’s what I call my sister in Spanish. It means “beast”. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try this place because I couldn’t get a reservation, but many people recommended it to me so I figured it deserved a shout out.
Seasalt Fish Grill in Santa Monica- I wanted something lighter for dinner one night. It was Easter Sunday and a lot of places were closed. We ended up at Seasalt in Santa Monica where I ordered a delicious kale salad. I also ordered one fish taco out of curiosity and it was surprisingly good. It seems to be “chain-ish” but the food was good so I’d go back.
Where Not to Eat in LA
Bottega Louie- I read about this place a lot on blogs, so I decided to stop by for some macarons. Surely a pretty place to visit! The macarons were good but not as good as Laduree.
Alfred Coffee Silverlake- I mainly came here for the pictures. I saw this place on social and wanted to see it in person. It’s a tiny little coffee shop, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they also use coconut milk! I was loving L.A. already. The coffee was pricey and not as good as the Conservatory.
Porto’s Bakery & Cafe in Burbank- The line is ridiculous here. It went rather quickly, but the ordering process is pretty chaotic. We ordered a few sandwiches and some of their appetizer balls. The balls were good, but the sandwiches were so bland. We weren’t impressed by Porto’s, but who knows maybe we just didn’t order the right thing?
In-N-Out Burger– Try it if you must but I hated it. I searched the highest rated location in L.A. to try this famous burger place and was so disappointed I had to throw my food out. The burger was cold and the fries were stale. Maybe I just got a bad serving or a bad location?
Things to Do in LA
I wish we had more time to really explore all the neighborhoods and areas on our list. Los Angeles has so much to offer.
Check out the Silverlake area. It’s trendy and good for photos.
Visit Echo Park. You can rent a pedal boat and relax among the palm trees.
Explore Venice & its canals. There are so many photo opportunities here and it’s a nice change from the city.
Also, make time for Downtown LA (its surrounding areas) and Santa Monica. If you love finding murals and colorful walls, check out this guide that helps you spot some of the best ones: HERE.
If you’re feeling touristy, you can drive up to see the Hollywood sign. It was kind of a pain to get to, and we only stayed for a minute but it was a cool thing to see if you’re not from LA.
Book a WB Studio tour to see how Hollywood is made, especially if you’re a Friends fan. I raved about it in my last post, you can read about that HERE. And if you’re interested in booking this tour, check out the latest prices here.
More cool things and tours to check out that are well-rated:
Universal Studios Hollywood– Why not make a day of it with a theme park and shows, plus enjoy a visit to L.A.’s famous CityWalk. Click here for skip the line tickets.
Los Angeles hop on hop off bus– When a city is big and spread apart, I like to recommend the hop on hop off buses to get the most of your time *and money*. If you’re not renting a car, this is a good way to see a lot of L.A. quickly. They have 100 stops you can choose from! Click here for ticket prices.
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, this tour offers fewer stops that are still worth a visit: Buy those tickets here.
L.A. Celebrity Homes Tour– If you’re all about the celebs then you’ll love this small-group tour that’ll take you to see the homes and areas of some of the biggest names out there. Check availability here.
Hollywood Hills Hike– Hike through the Hollywood Hills to a vantage point with stunning panoramic views to catch the sunset. How cool does that sound? Check the latest prices here.
Day Trip From LA
Santa Barbara is about a 2-hour drive north of L.A. I already knew it was a beautiful city before we drove up there. It was a gem of a place and I do recommend a stop there if you have enough time.
Side note: Don’t expect pretty views if you drive up highway 1. We’ve done the 101 drive from San Francisco to Big Sur before and it was impressive. Yet going north from L.A. to Santa Barbara was nothing to write home about.
If you’re not renting a car but would still love to see Santa Barbara, consider this tour that takes you there plus the authentic Danish town of Solvang. It’s 14 hours long and sounds pretty awesome. Check the latest prices here.
If you have more time, I’d say spend at least a night in Santa Barbara and do some wine tastings! They have a good food scene and so many pretty nooks.
Handlebar Coffee- I didn’t try this place (no coconut milk) but Jorge loved his coffee!
The Good Lion- We came here for happy hour, and we both loved our drinks! The bartender tweaked a cocktail for my tasting, and we also got free samples for happy hour.
Cuernavaca- Simple tacos in a hole-in-the-wall place, but they were cheap and they were good.
McConnell’s Ice Cream- Perfect stop after hole-in-the-wall tacos.
Considering there were still so many things we didn’t get to see, we’ll definitely be back. What’s your favorite thing about the city?
PIN FOR LATER
This site contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. In turn, it helps to support this blog so I’ll be forever grateful.
So much to do in only three days! There’s a lot going on in LA.
I love how you added a where not to eat section!! As an LA native I have to agree about Laduree, and assure you that In and Out was once worthy of all it’s fame. The burgers were bigger, food was fresh and much cheaper. I think it’s gotten a bit too big for it’s britches now.
Thank you 🙂 Yeah Laduree is the bomb dot com! And I totally believe it was good at one point that unfortunately happens a lot.
I was there not that long ago and wish I had this article previously. Would have helped us navigate for a couple of days 😄! However, I did try in and out burger in Utah and really enjoyed it ha ha.
Aw I should have written it sooner 🙂 I’ve been wanting to go to Utah!
Loved Abbott kinney in Venice and had my most memorable meal at Gjelina.
So many photo ops in that area! Loved it too 🙂
Lily, I love this! When I’ve visited LA it’s only been for Disneyland or a work conference. I have to go back! There are so many photo ops all over LA. Great post!
Haha Disneyland sounds fun!! I love that place. But yeah totally lots of photo ops in LA!
What a fun trip! I’ve only been in the airport, but I really need to get my butt to explore LA!
Yes, there’s so much to do there!! Such a fun city!
Gorgeous photos as always!!! I’ve always wanted to try egg slut – hear about it all the dang time. I love SB too and want to spend more time there!
Thanks gf!!! 🙂 Eggslut has a damn good sandwich. And Santa Barbara ugh need to go back!
Love this list! I live in LA and I still haven’t explored much of Silver Lake. Venice Canals are one of my fave spots. I do love Bottega though! The Laduree in LA isn’t as good as the ones in Paris or NYC.
Thank you!! I didn’t try the Laduree in LA because I didn’t realize there was one lol. But yes the one in NYC is delish, and the ones in Paris win it all! I really do wish I had more time to explore, it’s such a great city.