LA is one of my favorite cities, hands down, and I suspect it may become yours, too…
Behind all of the traffic, the wide wealth gap and the grit and grime is a Los Angeles that is rich in culture, character, and beauty.
Think about it, you’re 25 minutes from a gorgeous beach and the same distance away from the rugged hills and canyons with sweeping views of the entire city…
…and then there’s everything in between.
You see, the “everything in between” is my favorite part about LA — ethnic food, rooftop bars, and the creepy history of the city’s past, to name a few.
48 hours in the City of Angels
My girlfriend Betty and I just got back from a weekend in LA for Labor Day. This was my 21st visit to LA, so by now, I feel like I have a pretty decent handle on what’s good and bad about the city. That said, I’m not naive enough to think I know everything about LA, so for any of you locals that are reading, please post your best recommendations.
If you’ve never had In-n-Out, just get it out of the way as soon as you land. There’s a location right beyond the gates of LAX airport that has the best plane spotting views you’ll find anywhere in the world. With that said, In-n-Out is good, but Shake Shack is better 😉
Depending on where you’re staying, the other parts of LA are within an hour drive (depending on traffic) or less so I’d say go with the best value hotel or Airbnb you can find. My recommendation is the Sheraton Grand in Downtown.
Where to eat
LA has no deficit of great food. If you’re in the Downtown LA area and are looking for a crowd pleaser, go to the Grand Central Market where you’ll find ridiculous BBQ at Horse Thief BBQ. If Asian is more your style, head over to Hotpot Hotpot in the city’s Monterey Park section or Hae Jang Chon Korean BBQ Restaurant all you can eat KBBQ in Koreatown.
Looking for Pho? Hit up Blossom or Pho Broadway (more authentic vibe)…
Mexican? Giusados or B.S. Taqueria (get the street corn)…
If you want to get the quintessential “Malibu experience”, rent a convertible and drive the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH to the cool kids) up to Geoffrey’s, which has stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, though the food is very expensive and quite average. You pay for the views 🙂
For a full list of my LA recommendations, click here to access my custom Google Map.
Caffeine and adult beverages
Ahhh, two of the world’s vices — coffee and alcohol. What are the best places to grab a cup of joe or a nice drink? I’d recommend Intelligentsia for the coffee and Perch or Public School for the drinks. Perch has the rooftop vibe and great views of the city and Public School is more casual and great for groups.
By the beach? Check out The Venice Whaler in Venice Beach for a great time.
What to see…
Where to begin…
Hollywood (Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater) is touristy as hell and honestly not worth your time. Instead, check out the Griffith Observatory, hike Runyon Canyon, or visit the Getty Villa. In fact — and I’m going off script here — if you can swing it, make the two-hour drive to San Diego for the day for some great beaches and even better tacos 🙂
Whatever you choose, all of these places are awesome and well worth the journey!
Good to Know…
Before you head out to LA there are a few things you should keep in mind. Parking is horrendous and chances are if you rent a car you’ll have to shell out the extra coin to valet your ride at the hotel. This is what I did at the Sheraton Grand and it was so worth the $46 per night — full in/out privileges, call ahead car retrieval, and covered parking.
Downtown is sketchy but generally fine. DTLA 2018 is not DTLA early 2000’s…things are a lot better and it’s actually quite booming. New condo buildings going up each time I come back! The homeless situation is sad and pretty pronounced, but use your typical street smarts and you’ll be fine.
Santa Monica and Venice are the hotspot beaches, but Manhattan/Huntington Beach and Marina del Rey are also great options and most likely less crowded. Driving to the beach? You can park there! The cost is around $12-15.
Lastly, LAX gets super busy, obviously, so when you’re taking the cab/Uber back to the airport, be sure to request to be dropped off at Arrivals on the lower level. You’ll save a ton of time.
Honestly, there’s so much more to explore in LA. What are your best tips?