Two out of four days down in the city of angels and we still hadn’t gotten over the excitement of walking the same streets of the rich and famous. Day three was a pretty chill one as the manic nature of travelling had begun catching up on us. Used to packing up after two days, landing in LA for a bit longer was a welcomed breather and we used the remainder of our time there to recuperate and take full advantage of the sizzling sun. However taking it slow didn’t mean doing nothing, oh no, there was still places to see and sights to take in, this time just at a more leisurely pace!
We started out our day by testing out the public transport and catching a bus to Silver Lake, the so called “hipster” area of town, to grab some breakfast. The perfect place to epitomise the chill atmosphere we were craving, this little neighbourhood was a haven away from the crazy busy highways and tourist dominated main streets of the city, not to mention it was home to some of the coolest coffee shops I’ve come across. We stopped at Sunset Junction coffee shop for a plate of the best and biggest blueberry pancakes I’ve eaten.
Stomachs full and satisfied we took a stroll around the neighbour hood, mostly to walk off the enormous quantities of food we’d just inhaled but also to take in the artsy murals and shop fronts lining the main street.
Now, I don’t know about everyone else but personally, a trip to America is never complete with out a little retail therapy and having been so good so far, it was time to indulge the shopaholic monster that lives in me and hit up the high street. A sucker for the aesthetics, our choice of bank account suicide was The Grove Mall, the prettiest, (and most expensive but we’ll ignore that for now!) outdoor shopping centres. We had to take an Uber from Silver Lake but 20 mins later we were standing in the middle of a little town-like complex gazing into the windows of the one place I was really struggling to do without during my travels; the mothership, Zara. I don’t need to bore you with the details, I think we all know what happens when we go shopping, but if you take one thing from this, it must be that The Grove has a food court that is to die for, I’m not exaggerating. It’s called the farmer’s market and when I say you can eat whatever your heart desires, I mean it. As the sun went down on the most relaxing day so far, we decided we fancied an evening drink and so ventured a few blocks away to a cute speak-easy- themed cocktails bar called The Know Where Bar.
The end of our LA stay was coming to an end and we had saved the best till last. Getting up bright and early we Uber-ed our way to the coast and started our final day on Santa Monica Pier. One of my favourite spots from our trip, this location didn’t get of to the best start with us. Leaving Hollywood we were in our shorts and t-shirts sweltering in the back of the car, arriving in at the pier, we were reaching for jumpers and wishing we had more layers as the clouds hung low over the ocean. Nevertheless, we took in the atmosphere and the abundance of talented buskers littering the boardwalk and enjoyed our time. Just when we were deciding whether Venice was an option on this gloomy, grey morning, the sun decided to grace us with its presence and Voila!, it was back to how we had gotten used to it; hot, hot, hot!
The walk from Santa Monica to Venice beach takes about 40 mins but the connected promenades makes it super easy and enjoyable to walk along and bask in the heat. Venice boardwalk is rather difficult to describe. Quirky, eccentric, colourful are all contending phrases however it is quite tacky and basically consists of loads of vendors selling Venice merchandise and Marijuana. Despite this, if you turn to your right and walk forward, the beach is wonderful and if you want to witness something really spectacular, get there to see the sunset! Venice also has the skatepark and Muscle Beach which are both quite cool to see.
Venturing a few blocks inwards away from the ocean is definitely a good idea in this area as you come to Venice high street full of luxury boutiques and the good old “health cafes” ready to take your $7 for that tiny cup of matcha. We stopped at The Butcher’s Daughter after I dragged Benj through the streets in search of the Victoria’s Secret models’ fav LA spot. We only had coffee here as it wasn’t time to eat yet and as much as the aesthetic and patio are lovely, eating seeds for dinner is not quite our idea of a yummy meal. Heading back to the beach and witnessing that amazing sunset I was telling you about, we jumped in another Uber and made our way back to the city.
Two hours later, after watching cars crawl along the freeway and listening to our driver/aspiring musician’s entire album, we made it back to West Hollywood desperately needing a wee and a burrito (weird combo, I know). We had come to be familiar with Mexican food as American’s really are massive fans (there’s a taco/burrito place on almost every corner in the States) and decided on a Cactus Taqueria beef burrito.
Bags all packed, our last morning had arrived and we had a few hours to kill before our bus to San Diego that afternoon. As always, our primary concern being food, we went in search of a coffee and pastry. Paramount Studios was just around the corner from our accommodation and just a little way down from its front gates is a little hidden gem of a breakfast place. Elaborately named Coffee + Food, this spot on Melrose Avenue is well worth a visit and has the most delicious chocolate croissants. Breakfast demolished, Uber booked (no surprise there!) it was time to investigate the Los Angeles Greyhound bus station and see what people this wonderful mode of transport had in store for us this time.