Los Angeles Travel Guide
I was so excited to head to the West Coast a few weeks ago with two of my good friends from my sorority. Though I'm an east coast girl, a part of me has always felt I belonged on the West Coast, so going there always feels a bit like going home. We decided to head to L.A. and spend a day exploring Joshua Tree with a focus on farmer's markets, healthy eating, hiking and lots of beach time.
We found an adorable Airbnb on Venice Beach. I love Airbnb's because they're inexpensive, you typically stay in more residential areas so get a real local feel, and you can cook, which is great to keep costs down, sample the local produce, and good for any dietary restrictions.
When we arrived, we found out our host had seriously undersold the location. Steps from the beach, and a half a block from Snapchat's new headquarters (digital nerd alert!), we got to spend every morning on the beach. My friend from DC and I stayed on east coast time which means we were up by 5AM every morning to watch the sun rise, make breakfast, and head to Moon Juice to get a new drink to start the day.
We spent our first few days close to Venice, going to the canals, the farmers market, and checking out the great street art along Abbott Kinney.
Unfortunately, our Joshua Tree plans were sidelined when we realized Coachella was happening the same weekend and it was the same route. Not to be discouraged, we chose to take a road trip to Santa Barbara, one of my favorite places ever. It was an amazing day filled with more farmers market finds, lots of shopping on State Street, some sorbet at McConnells, hiking, and sunset on the beach.
Our final day we spent going hiking, exploring the boardwalk, shopping around Abbott Kinney, and getting creative for dinner to use all the food we had left to make something delicious.
It was an active yet relaxing trip and so nice to reunite with my friends from across the country. I loved everything we did while we were there so have put it all below in my guide!
See below for my LA Guide!
Type: Airbnb! Live like a local. Save money on food. Cook local produce.
Area: We stayed in Venice to be right on the beach yet close to the action. Santa Monica is also great if you’re looking for some beach time and great nearby hikes and restaurants.
Eat (and Drink!)
- Juice: Moon Juice! They let you sample before you buy and you can add shots like ginger into any of the drinks. They also have some fun dusts, though a tad pricey.
- Coffee: I'm not much of a coffee drinker but my friends liked Flowerboy and Bru, a cute airstream trailer right down the street from where we stayed.
- Cafe Gratitude: Great salads and organic fare, a bit pricey but a blogger dream.
- Butcher's Daughter: They have one in NYC too, but the LA one was simply beautiful and so delicious!
There are so many beautiful hikes in LA, you really can't go wrong, just pick a distance and view you'd prefer. My favorites:
- Runyon Canyon
- Griffith Observatory
- Los Liones Trail to Parker Mesa
To Santa Barbara! My list of Santa Barbara favorites includes:
- Olive Oil Tasting at Ranchos Olivos (adorable farm, amazing people, cute dogs)
- Santa Barbara Farmers Market: They have local musicians play throughout the market and you can swipe your credit card at the beginning to get chips to use throughout the market. Most delicious dates!
- Shopping on State Street with a stop for McConnell's Ice Cream (their sorbet is great too!)
- Douglas Family Preserve Hike: The most beautiful coastal hike. About a mile along the cliffs, stunning views of the beach, the mountains, and the ocean.
- Arroyo Burro Beach: There's a great lunch spot here and dogs for days since it is a dog beach that even has its own doggy wash! Amazing view, lots of fun climbing areas, just a little rocky so bring shoes!
- Abbott Kinney Street Art Walking Tour: You can do a formal tour here, but we simply walked around Abbott Kinney and checked out all the amazing street art (while hopping into some stores for shopping!). There's such a range here, and I love that the street art gives the area such a unique vibe.
- LACMA: I really don't like art museums. I can appreciate them but can't stare at a painting for more than two minutes. When my friend dragged me here I was hesitant. But the building is beautiful and there are some insanely cool experiential exhibits that made it feel more like a theme park then a museum. I'd highly recommend it.
- Venice Boardwalk: There are such eccentric people along the boardwalk it is worth it to go. Check out Snapchat's headquarters and new Spectacle machines, get you fortune read or some henna, and grab some boardwalk food (fish tacos anyone?!)