Being an east coast girl and not having the opportunity to go to the west coast as much as I would like to as a travel enthusiast, there’s definitely something to be said about the allure of Los Angeles in California. That is why when the opportunity came up to visit my brother in L.A. for a weekend, I took it upon myself to make the most of my 72-hours in the City of Angels. What I learned is that location, a sense of adventure and an energetic spirit are important when having limited time in the city. Here are my top three tips to enjoying and spending time in this vibrant city, especially when you're under a time crunch.
#1 Stay and Play
My hotel of choice for my visit was the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, right in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame. Open since 1927, the hotel was the first to host the Academy Awards in 1929, and it has since kept its glamorous appeal. Not only does the property count with recently renovated rooms, but also it’s a haven of entertainment, which I discovered as I explored the property on my short time there. Have a glass of sparkling and enjoy a snack and people watching while overlooking the David Hockney-designed swimming pool at the Tropicana Bar, or even craft your own burger at 25 Degrees restaurant for lunch. In the evening, Spare Room offers hand-crafted cocktails, a great selection of whiskey and two private bowling lanes which can be reserved in advance. For a classy scene, kick back at the historic lobby for a cocktail or get crafty at Library Bar, where you say what tastes you would like to explore in your cocktail and the seasoned mixologists will whip it up for you. I found out the Roosevelt was perfect for my quick stay, due to the fact that it’s a stroll away from shopping and entertainment options and also offers a unique dining and nightlife scene that everyone can enjoy.
#2 Be An Explorer
Los Angeles is known for star-studded events, so it’s only fitting that you explore the glitz and glam background of the city. While there, I took a tour with L.A. City Tours, which offer a variety of behind-the-scenes options and tours of the Hollywood Hills and stars homes. My time was limited, so I opted for a 2-hour tour that showed me Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills, the Sunset Strip and the background and homes of around 45 Hollywood stars. For me, it was fun to hear all about Gwen Stefani and Katy Perry’s adventures, to see their homes along with other celebrity mansions and to hear some fun stories and get to take a picture of breathtaking downtown and the area from the Hollywood Hills. Another great and fun option is to explore Madame Tussauds Hollywood, a wax museum located like on Hollywood Boulevard. There, you can take fun pictures with celebrity wax sculptures and marvel at how they were created. After a day spent exploring, stop by Hollywood and Highland, where shopping and dining are tops, with a variety of options to indulge on a cocktail at like Grill on the Alley, casual Johnny Rockets and Hard Rock Café. Another fun idea is to take pictures with the people dressed as famous movie characters all around the Hollywood and Highland area. Have cash on hand to tip and expect to see Spiderman, Batman and Wonder Woman all walking along the strip ready to take fun pictures with you.
#3 Get Local
I was lucky to have my brother as a host for my short trip, so it was great to see the city from his eyes. If you’re limited on budget, buy a metro card and take the subway, which transports you right into Downtown Los Angeles and locals-friendly areas such as upbeat Koreatown and Los Feliz. Downtown Los Angeles features picturesque and artistic murals in the area, perfect for pictures, and one of my favorite stops was The Last Bookstore, a used bookstore and record store which also features a maze and unique art installation. When hungry, walk on over to Cole’s, where you can enjoy a delicious French Dip sandwich and have a blended coffee at Urth Caffe. Dine on Mediterranean food at Spitz in Los Feliz, and enjoy their happy hour. Take the metro all over and go shopping at Amoeba Music, a haven of used books, records and CDs. If you’re lucky to be in town for some good music, catch a show at the Fonda Theatre and grab a craft beer at the Blue Palms Brewhouse right next door. After my whirlwind and exploring-packed trip I realized Los Angeles is a city with a deep heartbeat full of culture, fun and entertainment that you can surely experience in a few days, so it’s better to make the best of it and throw your full energy into it. You’ll leave glad you experienced it and ready to come back with more time to experience it.