Los Angeles is a city that goes on and on and on.
When you visit Los Angeles there is a lot to see so you must narrow down your choices of everything you could visit when you only have a few days to explore the city. We spent 3 nights and 2 days taking in Los Angeles, which for our family was just enough to get a taste of the city.
Our time spent in LA was broken up because we spent one day driving out to see Sequoia National Park so first we stayed in an Airbnb for 2 nights in the Mar Vista neighborhood which was residential and made parking easy and the second time we stayed one night about a 20 minute walk from Venice Beach. When thinking about where the most important areas of the city we wanted to visit we choose these seven sites:
Santa Monica Pier
Drive down Sunset Blvd
The difficulty with visiting all these locations is that they’re far from one another and driving in Los Angeles can be stressful with all the traffic. You definitely need a car to get around the city and you need to plan a lot of time to get from one place to another.
Day 1: Beverly Hills, Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, and Santa Monica
On our fist day in the city we decided to drive around the city and see Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, and check out Beverly Hills. It was perfect for enjoying a relaxing day after traveling so far from Las Vegas.
We didn’t stop and walk around Hollywood because it was far too touristy and crowded and you get an idea just by driving by.
We walked around Rodeo Drive and looked at all the high-end shops and then grabbed lunch at a little Italian take-away place, Il Fornaio, and enjoyed relaxing in Beverly Hill Gardens. T particularly enjoyed the art sculptures.
Afterwards, we stopped at the ice cream lab to get the famous made-to-order liquid nitrogen made ice cream. It was fun watching them make the ice cream on the spot and we got the Salt Lick Crunch combination which has pretzels and salted caramel- yum!
Later we drove around the neighborhood and wanted to see some famous people’s homes but we couldn’t bring ourselves to buy a map of all the famous home locations that people were selling on the side of the road. Although we do think we sited someone famous in their car as they were well disguised with a fashionable big hat.
After a morning of meandering and an afternoon of relaxing in Beverly Hills we drove to Santa Monica Pier. We had enough time to enjoy some time on the beach (Luca even took a swim!), and watch the sunset from the Pier. The beach was crowded but we there was a friendly family seated next to us who shared their beach toys to T. While walking along the pier we enjoyed a frozen lemonade and pretzel.
Day 2: Venice Beach, Griffith Observatory
Our second day in Los Angles, our Airbnb was located close to Venice Beach. So we walked down to the beach going through the Little Venice neighborhood, walking over the canals and then walked along the boardwalk. We definitely enjoyed people watching. We watched the skaters practice at the skate park, amateur basketball players start a game, body builders working out at the gym and saw a spontaneous show that had gathered a crowd on the boardwalk. We then drove to downtown Los Angeles. We looked for Neapolitan style pizza and we found one located on the UCLA campus – 800 Degrees Pizza. We were definitely in college town and it was interesting to see the contrast of culture between downtown LA and Venice Beach!
We finished the evening by going up to the Griffith Observatory. Getting there was difficult because it’s on the other side of the city and there is constantly so much traffic. The Observatory is free and you don’t have to enter to get the spectacular views of the city. Just park your car and walk around the are – but it does close. The road that leads up to the observatory will be blocked off. So make sure you get there before 1o pm! We just made it in time and enjoyed the spectacular view of the crawling city at night.
We know there are many many things we didn’t see or do. But with such a short time we felt like we hit the most famous sites and felt like we got a good taste of LA is like.