One Day in L.A.

guide to los angeles

I mentioned in my New Year's post that C and I are planning a ton of short weekend trips this year - we are aiming for one trip each month! We kicked off our year of U.S. travel with a quick trip to the City of Angels. Neither of us had ever been to L.A. before, and if we're being honest, it wasn't at the top of our travel lists. However, we knew it was a place we should experience and I'm glad we did!

To me, Los Angeles kind of seemed like Dallas with palm trees. It was a big, spread out city with a lot of traffic. That being said, the weather was phenomenal, the food was fantastic and the shopping was top notch. Being only a quick 20 minute drive from the beach was an added bonus - we were able to spend some time at the coast and it was definitely a highlight of the trip for me.

We only spent one full day in L.A., but I thought I'd still share my tips anyway. You know I do my research on the best places to eat and the best things to do....and it really paid off on this trip!

santa monica sunset
Sweater Dress (sold out), Similar Here and On Sale!

Travel Tips
• Budget for Transportation. L.A. is veerrrry spread out and traffic is nuts, so Uber rides can get expensive. If you're going to be in town for several days, renting a car might be a good option (but parking is a little sparse, so be prepared).

• Stay Somewhere Centrally Located - as I said above, L.A. is huge. A lot of the things we did were 20 or 30 minutes away from each other, so staying at a hotel close to one particular activity wouldn't have made sense in the long run.

• Plan Your Trip According to Area - since it is such a big city, try to plan your activities and meals accordingly. For example, eat breakfast close to where your first activity will be, so on and so forth. This will save you a lot of travel time and Uber money!

• Bring a Pair of Flip Flops - I had to buy a pair on the board walk haha!

california views

Favorite Eats
Connie & Ted's - we ate here on our first night in town. It was obviously a popular spot because it was packed (luckily we had reservations). We got there before our table was ready but they had a great lounge area with a cocktail waiter to help the time go by faster. The cocktails were superb! I ordered the fried oyster sandwich...the oysters themselves were delicious but they got a little lost on the sandwich as a whole.

Alfred Coffee - after seeing Alfred all over Insta, I knew I had to make this coffee shop a priority! We visited the Beverly Hills location. It is soooo cute and so instagrammable...check out that heart wall! I ordered a hazelnut almond milk latte and it was one of the better almond lattes I've had in a while. We also got the Alfred Breakfast Burrito (egg whites, chicken chorizo, avocado and tots)...YUM is all I have to say about that.

Lemonade - again, after seeing so many people talk about Lemonade on social media, I had to give it a try. It did not disappoint! In all honesty it was my favorite meal of the entire trip....still thinking about it over here! I got the Spicy Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl. I loved that it was a healthy-ish choice - it was packed full of protein and flavor, and it filled me up for the entire afternoon. If you don't already know, a Poke bowl is basically a sushi bowl. Like a burrito bowl, but a sushi bowl. Raw fish, edamame and other sushi ingredients on top of rice and topped with some seasonings and dressings. If that isn't your thing, they also have hot (i.e. cooked) dishes, sandwiches and salads, as well. Of course, Lemonade isn't called Lemonade for nothing! They have several unique flavors of fresh pressed lemonade - I got the watermelon good!

Ladureé - I've talked about these macaroons many-a-time on here before! I always stop at their shop in NYC, plus they were all over Paris. They are my favorite macaroons EVER, so if I see a store, I always pick some up! The Rose is my favorite flavor.

Sidecar Doughnuts - it has basically become a requirement to find the best local donut shop whenever we travel. Your girl can appreciate a quality donut! I got the tasted like a blueberry cake donut at first, but then the sweet and tangy huckleberry kicked in. I was very pleased! C got a buttermilk was good, but it kind of just tasted like state fair fried food.

Uovo - after visiting Rome, pasta has become a new favorite that we crave regularly. Uovo came highly recommended...they actually fly their pasta in from Bologna, Italy! I ordered the carbonara and C ordered the Tonnarelli alle Vongole (clam pasta). Both were absolutely scrumptious! C said he thought it was better than what we ate in Rome....not sure I agree, but regardless, it was delicious. It was very rich and upset my stomach pretty bad, but I'd still go back in a heart beat. The service was also impeccable. It is a very small and very busy restaurant that does not accept reservations, but they have their process down to a science - we only had to wait 20 minutes or so on a busy Saturday night!

Pann's Diner - we stopped at Pann's on our way to the airport on Sunday for a little brunch action. It is what it old greasy diner....but it was a fun experience and it hit the spot after eating such rich food the night before. It has actually been in several movies and had a great 70s Hollywood vibe to it! You can see a bit of the inside in the picture of Cole sipping his coffee below. I liked that they offered a "Champagne Brunch" special - you could add mimosas (with refills) to any meal. I wouldn't make this restaurant a priority, but if you need food before a flight and don't want the standard airport garb, Pann's is a good option.

Alfred Coffee Beverly Hills

Alfred Coffee
One Shoulder Satin Top ($14 and going fast!) | Jeans | Cognac Pumps | Prada Sunnies | Gucci Bag | Lips, color is Caramello

Laudree Macaroons

Lemonade Poke Bowl

Sidecar Doughnuts in LA

Pann's Diner LA

Pann's Diner LA

Favorite Sights & Activities
• Urban Light - Have you seen No Strings Attached with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman? You know the scene with the all light posts where he tells her he loves her and she starts hitting him? Well, that light post display is called "Urban Light" and it is a part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I thought it was such a cool piece of public art! And in all seriousness, it was Basic White Girl heaven. Selfies galore, photos makes a good Insta!

• Venice Beach - Venice surprised me a bit....the boardwalk area kind of reminded me of the Oklahoma State Fair mixed with the Jersey Shore. Basically, it was a little more trashy/party than I envisioned. However, the beach was beautiful and surprisingly clean! It was also cool to see Muscle Beach (the gym on the beach), even though the equipment was very worn down and the guys working out were just trying to show off. I wish we would have had the time to rent bikes or rollerblades to ride between Venice and Santa Monica!

• Santa Monica Pier - We didn't actually walk onto the pier because it was SO BUSY, but we did walk along the beach and watch the sunset. It was absolutely beautiful with the water, sand and mountains. The beach is seriously a mile wide so it is a hike to get to the water. There is also literally a highway between Ocean Avenue and the sand, so you have to cross on a people bridge. I would definitely recommend watching the sunset from here, it was well worth the hike!

• Hollywood Walk of Fame - We visited the walk of fame first thing in the a.m. If we're being honest, it was my least favorite part of the trip. We maybe spent five minutes here. It was kind of dirty and there were homeless people and salespeople everywhere. I would say if you're short on time, this isn't worth the trip, unless you're already close by. If you do go, definitely look up where on the street certain stars are, if there are any specifics you want to see. I chose MK&A and Britney Spears - luckily they were next to each other!

LACMA Urban Light
Jumpsuit (OBSESSED - I ordered a tall and wish I would have gone a size down) | Cognac Pumps | Gucci Bag | Kendra Scott Necklace

LACMA Urban Light

Venice Beach

Venice Beach
Similar Sweater Dress

Santa Monica Sunset

Hollywood Walk of Fame
Cognac Pumps
Where to Shop
• Rodeo Drive - I mean obviously! I had such a blast strolling down Rodeo and pretending to be rich and famous, ha! I wanted to dress the part so I wore classic pumps and all my best designer pieces. I always feel a bit intimidated going into designer stores if I'm not planning on buying anything, but this time, I was in the market for a new handbag. It was so fun to shop knowing I was going to bring something home. Of course I had to stop and take a picture in front of a Porsche. There were so many cars on that street that probably don't even exist in Oklahoma. It was a fun experience!

• 3rd Street Promenade - this area is basically like an outdoor mall in Santa Monica. They have all your regular stores and more, Zara, Athleta, Abercrombie, Anthro, Lulu, etc. It was definitely a popular place to hang out; there were teenagers, families and street performers everywhere!

Rodeo Drive Outfit

Rodeo Drive Shopping

Rodeo Drive

A Few Things I Wish We Would Have Had Time For:
• Hiking to the Hollywood Sign (it is a ways away, so this would be a good half day trip)
• Riding Bikes or Rollerblading between Venice & Santa Monica
• Eating at Egg Slut (looks SO good but was too far out of the way for us this time around)
• Shopping at The Grove
• Visiting another beach, like Malibu

Beachy Sweater Dress

Santa Monica Beach House

Santa Monica Sunset

Have you ever been to L.A.? It was fun and I'm glad we went, but I don't think I would necessarily go back. Like I said, it reminded me too much of Dallas. I did however love how close it was to the beach + the mountains on the horizon made for beautiful views! If we went back, I think I'd venture out into Orange County, Laguna or Malibu for more of a relaxing beach vacation.

I'm already packing for our next trip...we leave on Wednesday for somewhere much, much colder than California! Any guesses? Stay tuned to Instagram and Instagram Stories to find out and follow along on our adventure.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

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