18/05/2019

Tips To Visit Los Angeles, California


The do's and don't's of visiting Los Angeles.

Last time I visited my boyfriend, we dedicated two days to vising L.A. The trip was only supposed to be a visit of the Aquarium of the Pacific, which was my Valentine's day present for my boyfriend, but we extended it into a two-day adventure to see different parts of the city.
However, Los Angeles is intense. I don't know what people who live there think, but as an outsider, the city can feel quite overwhelming, because of how big and busy it gets if you stick to popular areas. So if any of you plans on visiting L.A. in the future, read on! Here are my tips and thoughts about travelling to L.A.

FACT N.1: LOS ANGELES IS BIG. 
Do: dedicate a half day to each area
Don't: plan to do it all in one day
When you research what to do and see in Los Angeles, it's easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many cool places, must-see museums, restaurants, cafés, beaches, hikes, shops... And it would truly take days and days, in my opinion, to make the most of the city if you want to see it all. However most people don't always have a lot of time, so if you have a short trip planned to L.A., my advice is to pick carefully the places you want to see, and organise your days by location. For example, for a nice beach day I suggest exploring Santa Monica and Venice beach in one morning or afternoon, and then head more inland for the rest of the day. Break down your day in two chunks, and in each chunk, plan two or three main sites that are close to each other. That way, you spend more time exploring, and less time driving around.

FACT N.2: TOURIST HOT SPOTS WILL BE CROWDED.
Do: get up early and book tickets ahead when possible
Don't: turn up to popular areas in the afternoon if you know you don't have a lot of time to explore
Luckily, we did not experience this so much this time, but generally speaking, expect a lot of people in the tourist areas like Santa Monica (I've seen it twice, and both times it was crowded as hell), Hollywood Boulevard or the Griffith Observatory. It's easy to know which are the most popular spots, and whenever possible, visit them early. If you visit a museum which charges an entrance fee (some museums are free, so have a look at those first!) check if you can book tickets online to avoid queues. Booking for restaurants is also a good idea. You can never be organised enough! 


FACT N.3: L.A. IS EXPENSIVE, SO BRING ON THE $$
Do: Decide what you are willing to spend on and how much you need to save up.
Also do: Compare prices before you arrive (aka research the coffee shops where you won't pay $6 for a latte.) 


I find the US incredibly expensive in general. Everything from petrol to groceries cost so much more than the European capitals I've lived in. And in the middle of a hype city like L.A., you can expect costs to be even more considerable. There are so many temptations, like cool coffee and donut places, but I'd advise to be reasonable and don't spend it all on little things. Depending on where you go, parking can already eat up a good part of your budget, so be mindful of the types of expenses that you'll have. Whenever possible, calculate how much money you can dedicate for different things: food, attractions/museums, petrol, parking, and so on. I know holidays are a time to splurge a little bit, but always be prepared for the true cost of things to avoid unecessary stress and do the most with what you have!

FACT N.4: TRAFFIC IS MAD. PLAN AHEAD TO AVOID IT.
Do: Travel early in the morning to get there.
Don't: Travel long distances or busy areas during the day.

This one's from my boyfriend! As the designated driver for the whole trip (I don't have a driving licence) he was very conscious of traffic. Especially because he lives around there and knows how bad it can get! So if you're driving around L.A., make sure to always use a GPS app to find out what the best route is for each destination. The city is crammed all day, and it is rare to have smooth traffic at certain peak times. Remembering this when you plan your days will help you out, so that you don't make too many plans for one day and realise that travelling between places is making you late for certain things. Although we have not done it ourselves, if I were to stay in L.A. for a good few days I would probably look into hiring a bike (for short distances) or use public transport to go from one place to another. That way, you don't spend all your petrol slowing down in traffic. And it helps with pollution too, so that's a double win!


WHAT WE DID - FUN THINGS TO SEE IN L.A.


THE BASIC INSTAGRAM SPOTS: VENICE BEACH (& SANTA MONICA)

One spot I definitely wanted to see in Los Angeles was Venice Beach. I won't lie, I mostly picked it because I saw pictures of the area on Instagram, and it looked awesome. Not that I would workout on the beach or eat overpriced avocado toast (although the latter, maybe...).
Finding parking around Venice is a bit tricky. You do have quite a few parking areas, but they are small and fill up quickly (and you also have to pay for them) so it's something to keep in mind when visiting. Once you're all set, it's easy to find the main hub of the area, with its little cafes (special mention to Eggslut, which was unfortunately closed the day we went.) and shops. The beach promenade is a must-see, and quite a sight to behold. The tourists mix up with the locals: people working out, dog-owners having a walk, loud shops selling questionable clothing and ice cream parlours. I feel like it's the kind of place where it would be hard to fit in if you don't relate to the whole vibe, but it's a fun spot to watch from an outside perspective!


IF YOU LOVE FISH: AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC, LONG BEACH

Granted this is pretty niche, but it's one of those places, a bit like Universal Studios or Disneyland, which you visit if you really like the experience. I've been to a few aquariums in my life, and this is one of my favourite. The species are very diverse, and I love the life size whale in the main hall. They have an incredible variety of jellyfish. Like, really impressing. One tip I would have is to bring your own snacks for the visit, as food there is super expensive and not really appealing. 


CLASSIC L.A.: THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN

Ever since I first visited my boyfriend, I've always wanted to see the Hollywood Sign. It may be cliché, but it is a dreamy sight! This time, my wish was finally granted and we drove to the Park Hollywood viewpoint. Our original plan was to hike to the sign (although it is forbidden to go near the sign, there are multiple walks that take you on top of the hill all around it.) However, my boyfriend had a terrible flu while we were in L.A., so we took the car and got as close as we could. 
The Park Hollywood viewpoint is accessible via car. You will meander through dozens of uphill streets filled with beautiful houses and villas, probably belonging to those lucky people who made it in the cinema industry. There is a street to park right across the park from which you can see the sign, but make sure to go early as it can get crowded. We headed there at around 11am and found a spot. There is a big green space overlooking the hill and the sign, so plenty of opportunities to take photos that will remind you forever of that iconic moment!


Have you ever been to L.A.? Or is it on your bucket list?
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18 comments:

  1. It definitely is on my travel list - I have never been to the US, with the exception of stopping at an air port once for two hours on our flight to Mexico.

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    1. Where in the US would you like to visit the most? xx

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  2. wow Julia what a trip!!
    how long have you stayed? I'd stay at least two weeks in my mind. I love the graffiti scenes in Venice beach and i remember my American friends in college saying how huge was LA.
    Thanks for the pics, I really enjoyed scrolling through them<3

    Cate ღ 35mm in Style

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    1. We stayed for only two days, because my boyfriend lives down in San Diego. We'll definitely go again, but two weeks seems like a really good time if you want to see everything in one go. I'm glad you enjoyed! xx

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  3. Oh wow it looks amazing, I'd love to visit one day xx

    Gemma • GemmaEtc.com ❤️

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    1. It really is amazing there, no matter how overwhelming it can be in some areas! xx

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  4. Oh gosh wow, what a magical place! It looks like everything I thought it might be and more, I love your photos Julia :D often I just travel to a place and attempt to be spontaneous ie see it as I go but it sounds like it is definitely useful to have a plan in place, especially travelling here, as there is so much to see!! It looks an incredible adventure, I love the aquarium and the snap of you standing next to all the fish and turtles, it looks magical there :D xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara

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    1. Traveliing to an entirely new place, and especially a place you won't get a chance to visit often, definitely needs some planning so that you make the most of it. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post Elizabeth, thank you for reading! xx

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  5. i'd like to visit LA one day ! it looks so nice!

    https://www.clairetalksbeauty.com/

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    1. It really is a place worth visiting at least once! xx

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  6. Wow, the pictures are amazing. I liked reading about your trip as well. I imagine the prices and the traffic is very annoying. Anyway, it's obvious that you've had a great time and that's the most important thing. x

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    1. I'm happy you enjoyed Anca! There are definitely some downsides to L.A., but how could it be otherwise in such a big and bustling city? It still is fantastic to explore! Thank you for reading! xx

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  7. It looks as though you had such a fabulous time there Julia, I'm so happy for you! Totally with you on wanting to see the Hollywood sign by the way haha, cliché or not! Hope you have a fabulous weekend :)

    aglassofice.com x

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    1. Thank you for the lovely thoughts Gabrielle! Seeing the sign was amazing, a bucket list item ticked off! xx

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  8. Hi Julia,
    Where are you from Spanish maybe?
    I,m Spanish and some relatives have visited LA and say the same as you.
    What about the kodack theatre?
    Did you see the Walk of Fame?
    Anything about lodgin? Amy particular área ti avoid either for being very expensive or dangerous?
    Thanks and keep It Up!!!
    María José

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    1. Hi Maria Jose! I'm French/Portuguese :)
      Didn't see the Kodak Theatre, however we drove through the Walk of Fame, it's a busy street but there's lot to do, it's worth stopping by at least once! And for accommodation we stayed in a hotel in West Hollywood, I would recommend an area like Santa Monica or Venice - I'm sure there are lots of airbnbs in that area! Thanks for reading! xx

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  9. I've heard so many bad things about LA traffic haha - I still definitely want to visit at some point though!

    Jasmine xx



    Jasmine Talks Beauty

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  10. You are looking beautiful in all outfits. Love your earrings.
    WHOLESALE GEMSTONES JEWELRY

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