We were looking for a destination to celebrate our 6-year wedding anniversary, and thanks to all the Instagrammers I was convinced to book a flight to Los Angeles! I love big cities with colorful areas and tons of good food. My top tip would be to rent a car because L.A. is big and spread out, and their public transportation seems limited. Plus, we only had 3.5 days and I didn’t want to waste any time. Here are some of my favorites to make the most of your weekend trip:
Where 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. Enter one of the cutest and cleanest Airbnb’s we’ve ever stayed in! Our superhost was great, the area was safe and lined with pretty palm trees, and there was plenty of parking for our rental. Save $40 on your first Airbnb booking with this CODE.
What to eat
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. I’ll list them in order of love.
The Conservatory for Coffee in Culver City- Favorite cafe from all the ones we tried! I usually have to drink Starbucks (so sad) on trips because rarely do I find a cafe that serves coconut milk. I hate almond milk in my coffee, and I can’t handle soy let alone 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.
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 the most delicious kale salad. Seriously so good. I also ordered one fish taco out of curiosity, and it was the best fish taco ever. Who the heck knew fish tacos could be so good?! I regret not getting more before coming home.
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 just read that they just opened one in NYC.
The Honor Bar- Order the chicken sandwich! That is all. 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 lol. 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!
What not to eat
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 Instagram 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– Yuck, just don’t do 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. I looked around confused as to how many people were eating this.
Things to do
I wish we had more time to really explore all the neighborhoods and areas on our list. L.A. has so much to offer!
Check out Silverlake (trendy)
Echo Park (you can rent a pedal boat)
Venice & its canals (so many photo opportunities here)
Also, 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 there.
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.
Day trip to take
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 (thanks to Instagram). It was a gem of a place and I do recommend a stop there. 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 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? Let me know in the comments!