Last week I found myself in Los Angeles, it was reading week and my first solo trip, where I would spend five days exploring and eating my way around LA.
Los Angeles can be expensive, but depending on your budget and what you decide to do can make the trip less expensive. My five days in LA was based on a budget, with an idea of what I wanted to do, see, and the instagramable places where I wanted to eat. Of course, if your budget is lot bigger than mine, then you can do more things and eat out for every meal, but if you are like me then five days in LA doesn’t have to cost as much as a car.
Los Angeles is a big city, with smaller cities within the county. Depending on where you want to stay and what type of accommodation you want to stay in, then LA has something for everyone.
I decided to stay in two different hostels. One, because per night they are a lot cheaper than hotels and I didn’t fancy staying in an Airbnb by myself, and two because they are usually is pretty good locations.
Walk of Fame Hostel: $
Located directly on the Walk of Fame, and opposite the famous Dolby and Chinese Theatres, the Walk of Fame hostel is in a prime location for tourists. From LAX you can either get to the Flyaway Bus to Union station then get the Metro to Hollywood and Highland (directly opposite), or the Flyaway bus to Hollywood it’s self. The hostel organises daily activities, and the bus connections to other parts of Los Angeles are great.
HI Santa Monica: $$
A little more pricier for a hostel, but then it is located two blocks away from the famous Santa Monica pier and beach and one block south of 3rd Street with shops galore. The hostel has a more of a hotel vibe. From LAX you can get the bus straight into Santa Monica for $1.25. You can also get the metro as well.
If you are looking to tick the bucket list off and the tourists sites, then head straight to the Hollywood Sign. You can get the DASH bus from certain points in Hollywood, normally near metro stations, to the beginning of the Hollywood Sign hike through a residential estate. Not something I would recommend doing by yourself, as it is clear they do not want people hiking 30 minutes through a residential estate to get to the view point of the sign. However, once up there you will get fantastic views of the Hollywood sign and Downtown LA. The bus is $1.75.
Next Stop, Melrose. Known for the famous Paul Smith Pink Wall, Made in LA wall art, and a lot of other wall art as well. Take your time strolling up Melrose, before picking up a Tea from Alfreds Tea Rooms.
Before you get back, head to In & Out Burger to see what all the fuss is about and it is a good fuss at that.
If you are looking to get away from the tourists then take the bus (or an uber) to Beverly Hills. The trick here is to get there earlier, just before 10am, when the shops open. Walk down a quite Rodeo Drive and window shop, check out the famous ‘Beverly Hills’ sign in Beverly Park, and find yourself in one of the many cafes for a coffee or brunch. There is also a Sprinkles ATM, if you want to treat yourself to a cupcake which I would highly recommend.
To see the sunset over the city, head to the Griffith Observatory for sunset. Again, take a DASH bus up to the Griffith Observatory, where you can either enjoy the views of the Hollywood sign and Los Angeles and the museum, or head up above for a hike. Take a 45 minute hike above the Griffith Observatory to a view point to see the sunset. The views are insane, even if your legs are not thankful in the morning, the views are worth it. On the way back down after sunset head inside the Griffith Observatory and check out the museum.
Head down to Santa Monica to enjoy a slightly less hectic day. Take a walk down the famous pier or down the seafront promenade. If you are in the mood for shopping then head to 3rd Street with everything from Urban Outfitters, Sephora, Nordstorm and Forever 21. If you want to see sunset then head back to the pier for unforgettable views of the beach, pier and the surrounding mountains.
For a day of culture head to the Getty Centre. The centre is free but it is best to get an uber there and back as public transport in LA is generally quite poor. There are art galleries and panoramic views of the city and the pacific. You do not need to spend the whole day there, but it is nice to get out of other tourist traps and spend a couple of hours looking at the galleries.
Spend the afternoon in Santa Monica, where you can enjoy an early dinner before the crowds come out for sunset. Grab a slice of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and enjoy it after the sun has set over the beach.
Hire a bike from one of the many bike centres in Santa Monica. For the cheapest option head to 4th and Broadway, where for two hours you can hire a bike for $10 (cash only) and cycle between Santa Monica pier and Venice Beach pier on the cycle lanes on the beach. Have a pit stop in Venice, seeing Muscle Beach, the skateboarding park and for a coffee in one of the many cafes just off of the main boardwalk. Beware of the many people trying to sell you their CD’s as they can become a bit of a pest.
Head back to Venice in the afternoon for lunch and a walk along Albert Kinney where you will find cafes, restaurants, make up shops and independent boutique type shops.
If you want to know where to eat, then check out my post about where to grab breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner in Santa Monica.
Love Alicia x