As part of our quick vacation, we drove the approximate four hours to Los Angeles where we mainly stayed for the duration. The drive out to California was scenic–for me– as I never saw desert land and mountains like that before.
Driving into Los Angeles was nothing short of what I’d expect the city to be like. The one feature that rang truest to me were the streets, just like in the movies.
Now that it’s been a month since we’ve visited there, I’m going to try my best to keep this post in as chronological order as possible!
We arrived to our Airbnb which was aptly titled the “Marilyn Monroe suite.” So Hollywood. It was absolutely beautiful, in a very quiet and clean part of town, just minutes away from the Grand Central Market (a personal favorite, officially).
The outside of the Airbnb had a beautiful balcony with a small fountain below; the sound echoing off the building walls to add to the calming atmosphere of the place.
We wanted to make the most of our first night there, which turned out being Record Store Day. Thankfully, my friends and husband were down to go to a record store–which was reminiscent of an old favorite movie of mine–Empire Records!
We spent a good hour, hour and a half in there. I didn’t purchase anything but I worked really hard trying not to! There was so much I could have scooped up but opted not to.
Around the corner was Smoke’s Poutinerie. Hello! Canadian gal here… this was my one chance to finally show my husband and friends why this stuff is what Canadian blood is made of!
I’m going to say this now… these were as authentic as I’ve ever gotten while stateside. Even with the use of Wisconsin cheese curds, it was still everything because of the brown gravy.
After we were exploding at the seams, we figured we would see the Hollywood Walk of Fame at night! I feel most people would prefer to witness it in the daylight when everything is easier to see, but something about going at night was really exciting for me!
I literally kept pointing out every name, even those I didn’t know which I’m sure was making everyone crazy! I was having one of those “I can’t believe I’m walking where I’ve always watched on the Travel channel” moments. Yes, it’s a lot grungier in person, yes there are a lot of “crazies” or homeless around but man, the night life was so much fun!
We watched awesome live shows all along the streets and popped into a bar called the “Snow White Cafe.” As usual, I always need to know the history of a place by the time I walk out the doors. The Snow White Cafe opened its doors in 1946. There are lots of old paintings from the Snow White Disney animated movie all over… some of which you can tell are years old and untouched since it’s first day. The best part? The actual artists from the movie are the ones who did the artwork for the cafe!
Once we had a drink or two, we finished walking the Walk of Fame. We saw the Chinese Theater, which was really dark! Mirna believes some event must have been happening inside as it was gated off, too. She said it’s typically lit up and you can walk through the front.
I understand it’s one of the most sought out landmarks in Hollywood but personally, I couldn’t help but feel a much deeper appreciation for the aesthetics of the El Capitan Theatre. Any pictures I attempted to take could not do it justice. The art deco was absolutely awe-inspiring walking by.
Once we finished up walking around, we figured the night was still young and decided to check out one of the things on my bucket list… LACMA’s Urban Light!
For starters, as we were walking up to it, there were two things I realized: 1) the lights were absolutely beautiful and 2) they were a lot smaller than I imagined! It was pretty busy but nothing that got in the way of some of our photo ops.
Once we exhausted ourselves of pictures (some cornier than others), we called it a night!
The next morning, we drove out to the LA Farmer’s Market to have breakfast and get some souvenirs.
We wanted to try something new, as part of our goal for trying different types of cuisine. We went “Middle-Eastern” with our palates this time and tried ham and egg boreka at Moishes. They were totally different but so delicious!
We also had to try some of Bob’s Coffee and Donuts around the corner.
After the LA Farmer’s Market, we went to The Grove just to walk around and see a new area. I did buy a new wooden phone cover but that was really it.
Once we saw all there was to see at The Grove, we took a drive up through the Hollywood Hills to see yet another thing on my bucket list! Since I was a kid, I dreamt of seeing the Hollywood sign in person. The place of “the stars.”
We goofed around for a bit while up in the hills. The view was incredible.
We made the scenic drive back down through all the beautiful and historic houses. I tried to imagine the commute for the residents but how incredible rewarding it must have been to know those were the places to call home.
From there, we headed downtown to los callegones de Los Angeles where I had wished to take more photos. It is so busy and hectic, just trying to look at everything was all I was thinking of at the time! It was a giant flea market that filled an entire block riddled with bargains.
A lot of “knock-off” name brand items but hey, not going to lie that my $10 Anastasia Beverly Hills brushes and $5 Kylie Jenner lip kits are totally BOMB.
While we were on a roll, we figured we’d also go to Little Tokyo, which was another place I really wanted to see while in the area! It was everything. There were lots of kawaii treasures and Boba tea shops. Inside the little mall had anime stores and even a couple people in cosplay.
While in that area, we really wanted some good old soup! These bowls were HUGE! You could only pick one size. Jose and I got really spicy soy based soups to the point that our sinuses were totally cleared up by the end of it!
Inside the area where we had soup, there were little shops, as well. We got a few little candies and looked at all the manga, magazines, and treasures.
By this point, we were pretty whooped. We went back to the Airbnb where I was so tired, I collapsed on the couch for a small nap while Eddie watched a documentary. Mirna and Jose went to the pool on the top floor.
Once we were rejuvenated and refreshed, we headed out via Uber for the Yard House! This was another great night to be had!
I don’t have any other photos from that night but just know when you drink half-yard beers, it’s a really great one. We walked from the Yard House to a taco food truck where I had the world’s most delicious quesadilla! We took an Uber back home and hung out on the balcony talking about basically everything before heading to bed.
We were honestly impressed at just how much we were able to pack into 5 days of vacation. I had just started my job again so I knew paid vacation didn’t kick in for another year and with Summer coming up, I was really limited as to how long I could take off. We definitely made the most of it!
Our next day was a little more “chill” but equally as fulfilling. We wanted to try a breakfast place in Grand Central Market called eggslut but apparently, everyone else in LA had the same idea.
Instead we got lattes from a cute coffee shop and some good old Mexican breakfast food.
After we were all full, we planned the day to see some beautiful cliffs and meet up with my sister-in-law, who has been traveling SoCal for months now.
It was SO nice to see her after not being able to for a while. Tatiana has gotten more womanly and more beautiful with each day and I’m so proud of her.
We drove down the coast with her, stopping at certain points to take in some fresh air and really see it for ourselves.
Eventually, we decided to check out the Santa Monica pier which I’ve wanted to do for as long as I could remember! Before we went there, Eddie and I just HAD to get our hands on an In-N-Out burger! The burger was everything but the fries were surprisingly mediocre. Both in which I was perfectly fine with at the cheap price tag!
We finally headed to Santa Monica. We rode the rollercoaster–twice–, saw Ronnie from Jersey Shore (remember, “stahp it, RAHHHN?” Anyone? Anyone? No? Okay.), got my fortune read from a Zoltar machine, watched scripted break-dancers, dyed my mouth blue with ice cream, fit 5 people in one sweaty photobooth, and finally walked into the Pacific Ocean.
After about 4 hours of coast travel and Santa Monica hangs, the night was creeping in and we were all feeling a little chilly.
We parted ways with Tatiana as she had about a 3 hour drive back home to go. We drove towards our Airbnb where I was able to get a glimpse of Rodeo Drive, nonetheless!
Once we were back, we changed into some comfy clothes to start chilling for the night, as we had to wake up early to fly out of LAX the next morning. Around 8:30pm, we decided to hop in an Uber to Grand Central Market again where it was almost closed. The pizza place was open so we had some pizza and conversation. (Of course, I had forgotten my camera but hey, at least I had my phone). It was the perfect ending to a day of sunshine and a long trip packed with tons of events.
I still can’t believe all that we did but every single second was so worthy for my memory bank. I’m so fortunate to have met Mirna and Jose, who without them, wouldn’t have been as amazing or as perfect a trip. We can’t wait to invite them over to our “neck of the woods” but until then, this trip will forever be a favorite of mine.
Until next time, Cali!