I had been dreaming about visiting L.A for a very long time (probably since Miley’s Party in the USA came out) but it finally happened! As my time was limited, I made sure to be organized and plan ALMOST every part of my trip – always leave a tiny bit of room for flexibility. Watching Lala Land helped make my itinerary building a bit easier as I wanted to check out the cool places seen in the movie.
DAY 1: Hollywood & Melrose
Rise and shine! I needed to get an early start to my day. The very first thing I did was check out the street art on Melrose Avenue and did some window shopping since my walking tour to the Hollywood sign didn’t start until 11am. I highly recommend checking it out – lots of fun photo opportunities! I actually saw a couple take a photo shoot of their dog in front of the Lady Gaga mural but didn’t react quick enough to capture the moment – their pictures were definitely better than mine.
I booked this walking tour through my hostel (USA Hostels Hollywood) for only $9. It was a lot of fun and I made some great friends who I ended up exploring L.A with for the rest of the day! Our tour guide gave us a lot of fun facts about Hollywood on our way up and helped us find the most scenic areas for a picture. The hike up wasn’t too bad but I definitely recommend running shoes and lots of water.
After the hike, I went back to the hostel to freshen up and then went to the Griffith Observatory (as seen in Lala Land). From the top, you get panoramic views of the entire city – including the Hollywood sign! There is also a large grassy area in the front where you can have a picnic or just relax/nap/chill out.
Pictured above: Me trying to find Zac Efron.. sadly no luck
Last on the list for the day was to check out a cool rooftop bar. Conveniently, there was a popular rooftop bar called Mama Shelter right around the corner from my hostel. It had delicious drinks, a great atmosphere, cool vibe, and PILLOWS. It doesn’t get any better than that.
And that’s a wrap for Day 1 in L.A!
Where I Stayed: USA Hostels Hollywood – not the best area in my opinion or hostel vibe, but close to bus stops making it easy to move around
Day 2: Downtown L.A + Santa Monica + Venice Beach
Downtown Los Angeles
I had a lot of plans for Day 2! First up was the famous Broad Museum in downtown L.A. I had seen several photos of the “Infinity Mirrored Room” Exhibit on Instagram and had read that I needed to be there very early in order to actually have the opportunity to see it. As the museum opened up at 10am I arrived at 9:30 am and there was already a line outside!! Luckily the time passed by quickly and immediately after entering I needed to enter my name into the queue for the exhibit.
Breakdown on how lining up for this exhibit works: First you line up outside for the Broad Museum as a whole, and once inside you line up at little kiosk to get your time for the exhibit. Although I was there at 9:30 am, I had an approximate 2 hour wait. This gave me lots of time to explore the museum as I would receive a text message 15 minutes before my turn.
Although these are the only pictures I have to show of the actual museum, as I managed to delete all my pictures when switching computers, there were really unique exhibits from this ballon dog pictured above to feeling like I was Alice in Wonderland with the giant table.
After exploring the museum for 2 hours, it was finally my turn for the Infinity Mirrored Room! Once you get inside the exhibit, you are only given 45 seconds inside to basically take as many selfies as possible. It truly is an amazing exhibit – as you can see in the picture it looks as if there are lights on the floor, but it is actually water reflecting the lights hanging from the ceiling so be very careful not to drop your phone in that 45 second photo panic. This exhibit has become so popular that it can also be found in New York City and is soon coming to Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).
The Last Bookstore
Next stop on my list was The Last Bookstore. This is a famous bookstore due to its creative book architecture (if that makes any sense). Definitely a fun place to check out, many different genres of books available to buy as well.
Grand Central Market
My last stop in downtown L.A was the Grand Central Market, just in time for lunch! There was a great variety of ethnic foods, sweet, savoury, whatever your heart desired! I opted for Sarita’s Pupuseria (pictured below and in Lala Land). If you have never tried a “pupusa”, this is your chance – they are absolutely delicious! Pupusas are a traditional El Salvadorian food that kind of look like a tortilla, but are filled with meat and/or veggies and/or cheese, served with coleslaw and a tomato based sauce on top. I also couldn’t just try one stall, so I also decided to get a mojito flavoured popsicle on my way out. Try as much as you can!
Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park & Tongva Park
From here, my time downtown was done and I headed over to Venice Beach. I decided to take an Uber to save time as public transit would have taken me approximately 2 hours and I was short on time. Once I arrived to Venice Beach, the first thing I did was go lay in the sand. Not only is the beach beautiful but they also had a spectacular flag exhibit picturing every single country. Tourists from all over the world were happily posing beside their flags, ecstatic that their countries were being acknowledged all the way in Los Angeles.
After spending some time on the beach I decided to walk down the boardwalk all the way to Santa Monica and Pacific Park. There were loads of shops and food stalls on the way, plus incredible views. If you have time, I definitely recommend renting a bike and visiting the surrounding areas. It took me approximately 45 minutes to walk from Venice Beach to the Santa Monica Pier. After walking around the pier and Pacific Park, I walked to Tongva Park just a few minutes away from the pier. It was really nice to walk around and I recommend that if you are in the Santa Monica area you take some time to visit the park as well.
I watched the sunset on my way back to Venice beach and before calling it a night, I stopped at a food stall close to the hostel and opted for an “elote loco” (a.k.a crazy corn on the cob with chili, cheese, and butter) and churros for dinner – maybe not my most nutritious choice, but I have no regrets.
Just like that my 48 hours in L.A have come to an end. I will definitely be back soon and if you are thinking about making a trip – book now and go, you will not regret it!
Hostel: Samesun Venice Beach – LITERALLY ON THE BEACH, such a perfect location! Also had a bunch of nightly activities but I only had one night here and had an early flight so I couldn’t participate 😦
- If you’re short on time – take UBER everywhere!!
- A lot of my ideas for things to see and do I found through social media pages, specifically Instagram, Pinterest and a couple of travel blogs.
- I love travelling by myself but always be open to making friends, it’ll make your experience that much more fun
Other Places to Check Out:
- The Getty Museum
- Runyon Canyon Park
- OUE Skyspace
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Malibu (+ Malibu Wine Safari)
- Universal Studios
- Disney Land
- Walt Disney Concert Hall