One of my friends from home visited me in Los Angeles, where I live, this weekend. We had three days to try to get a taste of the city, though we weren’t rushing to do a lot of touristy things. Here’s how we made the most of three days. Next time, we’ll be sure to hit LACMA, Grand Central Market and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
We set off Friday morning for Venice Beach, because she’d seen YouTubers do photoshoots at the canals and wanted to try it out. It was raining (surprisingly) and we got drenched by being out in the open while walking along the serene paths.
The overcast clouds made for some beautiful pictures, as did the raindrops on lemon and lime trees that we walked by.
The rain made us feel more immersed in nature, opposed to the dry LA I’m used to. We continued west to the Venice beach boardwalk, at this point dripping wet and shielding our cameras. The Venice boardwalk is a fun place (normally) to see street performers, singers, weird characters, cheap fried fish tacos, sand dunes and skateboarding kids. It’s quite the sight. On this day, it was pretty empty. Shops were boarded up, meaning no tacos. We passed stalls selling weed apparel and other “Cali” tanks. On an average day, it’s a fun place to go and even walk the beach.
Santa Monica Shopping
Next stop was Santa Monica for lunch and shopping. We went to Sake House by Hikari, a Japanese restaurant I’d never tried before. They have sushi specials for about $8 a roll, or delicious ramen (shoyu or tonkotsu) for about $11, which is pretty good pricing in LA. It was a perfect stop for warming up, and the Sake House is about a block away from the Third Street Promenade, the main shopping street in Santa Monica.
The Promenade is home to Anthropologie, Apple, Lush, etc, so it’s nice to peruse. I took my friend to Philz Coffee, the main location on the West Side of LA. I encouraged my friend to get the signature Mint Mojito iced coffee, and I got the tesora. Philz specializes in pour over coffee with really unique and earthy flavors. It’s strong and very customizable—you can choose if you want it sweet & creamy or medium, for example.
From there we decided to do some thrift shopping. My favorite place is Crossroads for used clothing—it’s moderately priced, about $15 per item, but they have mostly name brands and good quality, clean items. I found two black dresses from Free People that I bought, and I’ve previously found a worn jean jacket that I love. We also tried the Goodwill across from Philz, which is cheaper with bulk prices, but the pieces of clothing aren’t as nice. You have to do a lot of digging, but I found a brand new (tag on) Adidas shirt for $1.99.
We started off Saturday morning with a TV taping, because what else could you possibly do in LA?! I love going to tapings, but they are long and require a lot of waiting around without your phone, which you typically have to check in when you arrive. Ours was five hours and no, you don’t get food, and barely get bathroom breaks. But it’s a fun experience for a tourist to see behind-the-scenes of how television shows are filmed. Highly recommend you check out sites like 1iota to get free tickets for fans—I’ve previously used the site to visit The Voice, Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden.
The Grove is an entertainment and shopping hub of LA, located in Central LA. It welcomes a Zara, Barnes and Noble, Dominique Ansel bakery, Crate and Barrel and more. We window shopped and stopped at Sprinkles Cupcakes to try their dark chocolate cupcake. So moist and filling before heading The Pacific movie theater at The Grove — we saw Annihilation — but fair warning that LA movie prices are H I G H, about $15 each.
The Grove makes for a nice stroll through the outdoor mall, complete with the dancing fountain, trolley and high-end shops. It’s like Main Street Disney without the $100 entrance fee.
Where my LA natives at? You know no tour of LA is complete without brunch. My favorite spot in Los Angeles is Tavern Restaurant in Brentwood. Its beautiful white dining room makes for gorgeous brunch photos for the ‘gram, AND its food is actually really delicious (unlike some trendy stores that are more about pics than flavor).
On Sunday, I ordered the chicken biscuit with gravy, and it was amazing. A little too much fried breading for me, but the biscuit was soft and the chicken was moist with a savory pepper taste. I loved the gravy sauce, mixed with that oozing egg—a little undercooked for my taste though. I love their eggs benedict, and Tavern has a classic LA avocado toast that requires a steak knife to saw through. And I won’t discourage any of you from trying that Tavern bellini either! Definitely my top-rated brunch in LA if you want something both gourmet and aesthetic.
Santa Monica Pier & Beach
We went back to Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon—this time it was actually sunny. You can’t visit SoCal without a beach stop. My friend and I walked along the pier, where you can ride carnival rides for about $5-$10, which is quite overpriced in my opinion. We enjoyed the breeze, sunshine and salty air.
That was about all we had time for — I later took her to Westwood to get boba, but our afternoon was coming to a close.
If you have an evening left to explore, I’d recommend going to a museum (LACMA or The Broad downtown) or visiting Hollywood Boulevard, which is highly over-rated, dirty and touristy BUT it is an experience a lot of visitors want to have. Hope this helps you all plan your three day trip to Los Angeles!