After my first blog post about how to spend three days in Los Angeles, I’m reprising it with three more days. My same friend visited me one year later, again for three days, so we had a whole new itinerary and set of adventures.
1. Fratelli Cafe and Melrose Ave
Melrose is probably the hippest shopping spot in L.A. for thrifting, brunch and other artisan shops (also recommend the Melrose Trading Post flea market on Sundays). First things first, I took my friend to Fratelli Cafe, which has delicious chicken and waffles, for brunch. We browsed Crossroads thrift shop, where I found a nice leopard print top, as well as Urban Outfitters.
2. Blue Bottle Coffee
With locations in NY and growing around the U.S., Blue Bottle is one of the best coffee shops in L.A. for flavorful, roasted beans. The New Orleans sweet cold brew is a popular pick. Plus — outdoor seating and photo opps.
3. The Grove
You can never have too much time at The Grove! The theater is gorgeous, World Market is fun to check out and you can stroll the outdoor streets like you’re in downtown Disney. We shopped at Zara, Nordstrom and Sephora before hanging out by the fountain for the views. Best time of year is winter when it’s decorated for the holidays.
4. Sushi by H
My friend and I found this hidden sushi spot near The Grove (it requires driving) but it had great rolls of all kinds and was pretty well priced at about $30 per person. The wait was long, so get there early. Check out that salmon with avocado and the deep fried roll!
5. The Broad
Day two and we headed to downtown L.A. to explore the greatest contemporary (and Instagramable) art. I hadn’t been in a few years, so it was exciting to see the balloon animals, America sign and giant table once again. We were stunned by a new charcoal drawing of the Women’s March that looked realistic and photographic. Get tickets free online in advance, as they sell out on weekends — plus arrive early to sign up for the infinity mirror room, first-come-first served. You only have one minute inside the light-tastic room, so snap a quick pic (none of ours turned out) and then just enjoy in the moment.
6. Grand Central Market
While you’re downtown, visit the indoor food stalls of Grand Central (no, not the station). Vendors with neon lights serve ice cream, grilled cheese, Thai, brunch, homemade pasta, tacos and much more. I opted for Thai with Thai iced tea for about $15.
7. The Bradbury Building
Nearby, walk to the Bradbury Building to see some incredible architecture (and it’s free to go). We had a mini photoshoot in the historic building — you can only go up to the first floor to view the elevator shafts and staircases like something out of Hogwarts.
8. The Last Bookstore
It’s a cult tourist favorite, though personally not my cup of tea. It’s interesting to peruse all the used books and see the book arch and other wall displays made of books, but it’s overwhelming and stuffy for me. I’m more of a library person.
On the ride home, we stopped at Larchmont, another cute shopping area that has a nice farmers market on Sundays. I got a custom lipstick at Bite Beauty (which broke a week later — do not recommend), we browsed a boutique and got Lucky Charms ice cream at Salt and Straw (beloved from my native Portland). It’s a quick walk up the block, and on a sunny day, is very homey.
10. Hollywood Walk of Fame
Day three. A super touristy spot, the Walk of Fame is full of peddlers, costume-wearers and souvenir shops. But I don’t mind it. It makes you feel like you’re in the bustling city, and is even better when experienced with a Philz coffee (Ecstatic iced is my fave). We watched as the Captain Marvel premiere was being set up by the Dolby Theatre (home of the Oscars). It’s crowded, yes, but a tourist activity worth seeing. The pink stars are simply paved on the street on Hollywood Boulevard, which surprised my friend who thought it was a special secret place. It’s a long strip.
11. Taco Truck
You can’t go to SoCal without having real Mexican food, preferably from a food truck. My favorite remains Leo’s Taco Truck on La Brea. They’re about $1 each: choose al pastor, carnitas, pollo or asada on corn tortillas, and add radishes, onions, cilantro and the salsas. Can’t beat the classic indulgence.
12. Paint Night
I booked us a paint night through Yaymaker, which was about $30 per person for all-inclusive paint materials (BYOB, though we didn’t). We were instructed step by step at the Coral Tree Cafe in Beverly Hills to paint this lavender purple forest. I loved being able to be creative and have all the supplies there, but it was annoying having to wait for complainers and whiners to catch up (made us feel like we were back in elementary school). While I think it would be better to book a group party with friends than going to a class that’s filled with strangers, we had a good time. Topped off the evening with D’Amore’s cheese pizza, an L.A. favorite of Ray Romano.
The only thing you’re missing is the beach, but it was rainy this weekend, so this is how we spend our three days together for the second time she visited me.