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If I had to decide on a city in the states to settle down in, it’d be LA. I knew this before I’d even had the chance to visit for the first time a few years ago. After visiting again in 2018, my answer is the same. LA is life! I had just four days to spend in my favorite city, outside of Paris, and a long list of things I wanted to do while I was there. I figured I’d share my 4 day Los Angeles itinerary with you in case you have a similar amount of time or less.
Getting to/around LA
DCA>LAX – 12,500 AA miles
LAX>DTW>DCA – 14,000 Delta Skymiles
Rental Car – ~$100 (I prepaid for gas on top of $57 reservation for 5 days)
Los Angeles Itinerary
After landing at LAX and picking up the rental car, we immediately went to check in at Hotel Hermosa, an 18 minute drive from LAX at the time. It was still early so we wasted time until check-in by having our first meal at In-N-Out Burger. It was my first time having it and I ate every crumb. Unfortunately (for some, not me) there are no chicken or turkey burger options.
After visiting the first time a few years ago, Planet Dailies had become our go to restaurant. Because of this, we went to The Grove to do some window shopping (I scored a great pair of Banana Republic jeans) and to eat. It turned out that Planet Dailies is no longer there, but Mixology101 still is. We had a small dinner and cocktails because hello, happy hour.
We ended the night at a random hookah spot we Yelped. Hookah is our thing so no matter where we are in the world, we’ll be laid up in a hookah lounge at some point. There was absolutely nothing special about it except for someone having her bare feet on the table and everyone else on laptops. I recommend looking for one in your price point that may interest you.
I was looking forward to nothing more than Runyon Canyon. I just typed it into my Apple Maps and once we got to the exact entrance and saw we couldn’t park, we drove back down the hill to look for street parking. It wasn’t hard to find parking…but at the same time it was. I recommend getting there at a decent time and on a weekday.
I took the paved route up and through the canyon but I’m used to seeing people (namely celebrities) on dirt paths. I either came in on the opposite site of the mountain or missed some hidden path. Next time I’ll find the exact one I want.
After Runyon we decided ride around a bit, which became our thing to do each day. We checked out the homes throughout Laurel Canyon for a long while before heading back to the hotel to change. We were heading to San Diego this night to see a music performance.
I tried to avoid heading to San Diego during rush hour but please believe that 2 hour drive easily turned to 3+. We stopped at The Boiling Crab for dinner (I had the crawfish, potatoes, and corn with a Modelo). After chowing down, we headed about another hour to downtown San Diego for the performance. Because we were early, we had a few drinks during happy hour at a local bar.
We didn’t leave San Diego until about 2am this particular morning and were exhausted. However, there was no time to waste this day recovering. We then checked in to the Inn At Venice Beach before hopping on the road. I wanted to spend the day in Malibu but that was much easier said than done.
I thought we could spend a few hours at a winery but couldn’t find one to tickle our fancy. After googling several times “what to do in Malibu?” we decided on having lunch. Duke’s Malibu seemed to be the best option even with a long wait and being valet only. The drinks? Weak (like one shot weak) but delicious. For my second beverage I went with the champagne so as to know exactly how much alcohol I was being given. I passed on any appetizer and went for the Fish n Chips once we were seated in the dining area. It’s also okay to eat at the bar as their seating is first come, first serve.
Lunch at Duke’s took no time and while I wanted to drive down the coast, I know they were still dealing with complications due to the mudslides and that soon I wouldn’t be able to go further down the highway. So we settled on driving through Calabasas.
Know that Calabasas for the most part is heavily gated. I’m talking gates everywhere. There is a Boiling Crab restaurant located in the area so if you just want to hang in Calabasas, that’s something to do, but as far as trying to do a drive by on someones house…not going to happen.
At dusk we attempted to go to the Griffith Observatory, which is something I was super excited to do. Unfortunately there wasn’t a single parking space and a long line of cars driving up and down the mountain looking for space. I’d recommend hiking your way up and will go out of my way to hike Griffith Park during my next visit.
Because the Griffith Observatory was such an epic fail the evening prior, it’s where we went as soon as we left the hotel. It should be on anyones Los Angeles itinerary.
Parking was still crazy but we happened to come upon a spot that was a short walk to the observatory. We got a few photos, checked out the museum, and then headed to Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles because #STARVING.
I got the Obama special at Roscoe’s and it was delicious. I would definitely return although many items on the menu are pricey. After lunch we then went for our daily drive, Thank goodness it wasn’t my day to drive because have you driven through the Hollywood Hills? We started in Beverly Hills but then moved on up. How’d we know where to go? 80% of it was me searching for homes in the hills on realty sites and the other 20% was looking at maps so we that didn’t hit dead end streets while ascending further into the hills.
For dinner we opted for The Nice Guy. Now this is one of those places where the lighting is damn near nonexistent due to the celebrities needing their privacy. The next time I visit I’ll make reservations for Craig’s (a month in advance at least) but I really enjoyed both my drinks at The Nice Guy LA. Reviews are iffy and all pretty much say the food is amazing but the service, not-so-much. Well, I had good service and great food and drinks. I didn’t have to question how much alcohol was given and for the prices we were paying, we deserved the whole bottle. No celebs were spotted but this is clearly the spot for the who’s who of Los Angeles.
We ended the night at another hookah spot. Again, nothing to write home about expect for the fact that they used fully glass hookah pipes. The pull was amazingly smooth and has me wondering if I should invest in one.
The next morning was our last a great opportunity for having a good breakfast before returning that rental car and heading home.