Hello Hello – I’m back after a short hiatus, guys! Those of you who follow me on Instagram (click here to follow if you don’t already :)) know that Hassaan and I took a short vacation to LA over Memorial Day weekend, and it was amaaazing! The last time I was in California I was a teensie weensie little baby so that doesn’t really count and this time I think I appreciated everything a whole lot more :P Anyway, so I wanted to share some pictures from our trip and dearest hubby of mine was kind enough to write a review of the places we visited for those of you who are thinking about Southern Cali for a short trip and would like some LA vacation ideas.
Handing over the blogging stage to Hassaan now – hopefully you guys will still want me after reading his post!
As you know, the wife and I took a trip out west to Sunny California this past Memorial Day weekend. The Los Angeles area to be specific. What you may not know is that Los Angeles was not my first choice. I actually wanted to visit San Francisco, and take a drive down to Los Angeles along the infamous Pacific Coastal Highway, which is arguably the most beautiful drive you can take in the continental United States. However, time constraints made this a plan for another time. All that said, Fariha has asked me to write down my impressions of Los Angeles, California, the west coast and our vacation in general – and so here I am. Bear in mind that for all intents and purposes, this was our first trip to California.
Our trip began, as most do, with a long, arduous flight. While landing in LA, I was, as I am often wont to do when visiting a new locale, glued to the airplane window. LA was like nothing I had seen before – a diverse landscape of sprawling suburban bliss bounded on one side by green mountains and on the other by the infinite blue of the Pacific. We picked up our rental and made our way to our hotel in downtown LA (more on this in a bit), and it was on this 40 minute drive that I realized for the first time, the one thing that I loved most about my time in SoCal – the weather. The perfect, consistent, incomparable, and – for a Houstonian – incomprehensible weather. I will tell you now, we drove around LA with our windows rolled down 95% of the time we were there – something I’ve never really done in all my time in the United States.
Anyway, the hotel. Well, we booked the Omni in downtown Los Angeles because, to be honest, it was the best option for the price available. However, while the hotel itself was great, if there’s one thing to remember while being on vacation it’s: location, location, location. Downtown LA is horrid for parking, pretty far from anything and everything worth visiting, and honestly kind of scummy to boot. So I would formally advise any of the uninitiated to steer clear when choosing where to lay your head while in LA. But, turns out we were only ever at the hotel to sleep, so it didn’t spoil our fun too much anyway.
Over the next 4 days we visited the usual sights, hit the beaches quite hard, drove about 600 miles and went casually searching for any celebrity sightings. My favorite things to do were as follows:
I am about as nuts about beaches as I am terrified of sharks. I’ve been lucky enough to live close enough to a beach for most of my life, but these beaches were in a league of their own. Fariha and I visited 4 of the best beaches in the area – Venice, Santa Monica, El Matador and Manhattan. If you made me choose my favorite I wouldn’t know what to tell you. They were all fantastic. I found that swimming/flailing about in the water was most fun at Santa Monica beach. I spent about 3 hours in the water there, battling with the ocean. (Spoiler alert: the ocean won, and left me with a sore knee for days). Venice was just a hoot. Super interesting boardwalk and great for people watching. We drove about 25 miles past Santa Monica beach up the aforementioned Pacific Coastal Highway to get to serene, picturesque, El Matador state beach, and that small section of this legendary road gave us a glimpse of what the full drive would have been like. I intend to make that drive someday. Manhattan beach was a great place to relax, and had an amazing boardwalk area to shop and eat in.
The Getty Center
Tripadvisor is of the opinion that the Getty center is Los Angeles’ top attraction. I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. It’s technically an art museum – and unlike the wife, I don’t really go for those as much. However, I am not one to deny myself a potentially great experience, so we went. The line of cars waiting to enter the Getty Center parking lot made me simultaneously optimistic and frustrated. Seriously, it was a long ass line. The people trying to cut in weren’t helping. Anyway, about 45 minutes later, we were in! So remember how I said this place was an art museum? We didn’t spend a minute of our time looking at the art. The place itself belongs in an art museum. The architecture is like nothing I’ve ever seen – absolutely mesmerizing. The place was supremely peaceful, even with the hundreds of people there. In fact, to that point, that space deserves to be void of people. I don’t mean people shouldn’t go there, I mean that in the way that the presence of people sort of tarnishes the serenity and beauty. The views of LA and its surroundings afforded from this hilltop vantage point are absolutely breathtaking. If you wanted to take in the art as well as the beauty of the museum itself, you could easily spend an entire day here. I highly, highly recommend it.
Oh my god the drives. Perfect weather + winding roads = why would I ever get out of this car? We drove 600 miles in 4 days. Sunset boulevard, the Pacific Coastal Highway, Mulholland drive, the winding side streets through the Hollywood hills barely wide enough for one car – greater LA has more than its fair share of awesome drives. But it was when we took the road north east to central California that I experienced true greatness. Just to say that we did it, we drove the short stretch of Historic Route 66 between Victorville and Barstow. The open road is addictive. I’m already planning a drive through New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. The highlight of this little road trip however came on the way back. California State Route 2 through the mountains of Angeles State Park is a magical drive for those who enjoy winding roads through the redwoods and along steep ravines overlooking breathtaking views. Angeles State Park itself has several hiking trails and camping grounds along the route, if that’s your thing. If I could have rented a convertible, I would have jumped at the chance. All that said – If you go to California, DRIVE.
Well that about does it for me. It’s 1 am and I have no Idea how to close this out. So. Artichokes!
Yo. It’s me again! I hope you enjoyed Hassaan’s guest post and review. I just wanted to add some of my favorite grub hubs from our trip cause I know I always do my research before a vacation and look for food recommendations! If you’re going to LA/SoCal you must visit:
>> Bottega Louise for breakfast or tea (it’s the most beautiful place EVER. plus the name reminds me of Bottega Veneta so double points for that hee hee) Don’t walk out without a box full of pastries and macarons! The raspberry cheesecake and salted caramel macrons were some of the best I’ve had.
>> Guisados for your Taco fix and you have to get their Melon Aguas Fresca, sooo refreshing!
>> 26 beach for brunch. One of my fav places there, such a quaint little restaurant with an eclectic vibe.
Anyway, If you’ve been to Southern California let me know what your trip was like and if you’ve been to any of the places we mentioned! I’d love to hear all about it :) Leaving you with some more pictures xx