The Best of Los Angeles, California
October 3, 2019
by Madison Stringfellow
A trip to the Golden State should be on your list of things to do! Los Angeles, California is one of the top cities in the United States. Hollywood has drawn tourists to the West Coast for decades and for good reason. LA holds an allure, unlike any other place. From it’s attractions to places to eat, Los Angeles is a land of adventure.
Nestled in the hills of Los Angeles, California is an attraction for all ages. Griffith Observatory is a space and science-related museum with stunning views night and day. The observatory is packed with interactive exhibits, a popular one being the telescope that gives views of planets and stars. Within the dome is a theater that offers shows unlike any other. My personal favorite is Lights of the Valkyries; a show that dives into the history of Vikings spiritual beliefs in the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). The observatory is perfect for solo travels, couples, and families!
Santa Monica Pier
No matter the time of year, the Santa Monica Pier will always be roaring with street performers and delicious treats. Marking the end of Historical Route 66, the pier holds a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, and carnival games. At night the attractions glow, giving a magical contrast against the ocean sunset. Sit back on the beach and relax while listening to the waves crash and watching the pier come to life!
Possibly the most free-spirited place I have ever laid eyes on, is the one and only Venice Beach, California. Artists display their work, and skaters give their best shot at plummeting down the skate ramps. Graffiti sculptures hold center stage, constantly being remodeled by crafty spray painters. The boardwalk extends from Venice to Santa Monica and there are plentiful bike and skate rentals. Take a walk through Venice Canals while enjoying fried dough or a slice of pizza!
The Hollywood Sign can be directly spotted from Hollywood Blvd. However, if you’d like to get up close and personal, the Hollywood Sign Hike is for you. A series of trails runs through the canyons and hills of Griffith Park, connecting the sign and the observatory. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as the hike could take a few hours. It’s completely worth the views of the sign and the skyline of Los Angeles.
Places to Eat
In N Out
Oh, In-N-Out! It is worth the wait. While standing in line you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of trays being filled with food or search for the Not-So-Secret menu on In-N-Out’s website. The original menu stays true to the chain’s origin, first opened in 1948. It boasts just a few choices, though they do not disappoint. The In-N-Out located next to LAX is my personal favorite. There you can enjoy your meal while watching jets fly in from all over the world. It’s the perfect date or family attraction!
Hugo’s is a perfect stop if you are vegan or gluten-free! Their menu is impeccable, with a variety of different foods to choose from. You can customize your dishes any way you’d like while staying within your health goals. There are two locations; one in West Hollywood and another in Studio City.
Ooooh! Carrera Café is the perfect stop when on a stroll down Melrose Ave. The mural on the exterior immediately catch your eye and are a perfect photo op. When ordering a latte at this café expect detailed foam art. Styled in the form of famous faces or LA scenery, a cup of coffee from an edgy shop will make the perfect addition to your photo collection.
DRAG QUEEN CENTRAL. If you’re looking for a fun setting to kick back and have a drink, Hamburger Mary’s may just be your place. Located in West Hollywood, you can’t miss the vibrant rainbow colors this restaurant/bar sports. Drag Queen Bingo is a popular event; giving a fabulous show and gummy bear shots to die for.
Outside of Los Angeles
If you have the time and accessibility there are some notable places to explore outside of Los Angeles city limits.
Malibu is home to many celebrities with an obvious allure. The beaches of Malibu are located off the Pacific Coast Highway. Cliffs meet the sea in a surreal collision of elements. If you’re looking for a quieter place to relax and escape all the hustle and bustle of LA, Malibu should dominate your itinerary. Depending on your location of accommodation in Los Angeles, Malibu is anywhere for 45-75 minutes drive away. Some of Malibu’s top beaches are El Matador State Beach, Zuma Beach, Point Dume, and Malibu Beach. In the winter months, whales and sea lions are likely to be spotted! Hiking is popular and can be enjoyed at Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, Point Dume, and Point Mugu State Park.
Located in Orange County, Laguna Beach is a calmer oceanside town lined with boutiques and cafes. Beaches are tucked away down boardwalks and hidden between coves. The royal blue water offers refreshment on a hot summer day. 60-120 minutes away depending on the location of origin and traffic. Some of Laguna’s top beaches are Victoria Beach, Crescent Bay, Pearl Street Beach, and Table Rock Beach.
Only a 2-3 hour drive away from the coast, Joshua Tree is a national park like no other. Resting in two deserts (Mojave and Sonoran) it is home to a unique tree. The Palm Oasis is worth the detour and the Cholla Cactus Garden is extraterrestrial (just make sure you wear shoes that protect your feet)! Cluttered with massive boulders and Yucca Brevifolia trees, Joshua Tree is a bucket list item. You can easily make Joshua Tree a long day-trip or you can revel in it by camping for the night! The desert sky gives a view of the stars that light pollution makes impossible to see in any metro area.