I’m not sure whether it was listening to the surf-inspired lyrics of The Beach Boys or getting lost in pages of Sweet Valley High books, but growing up I’d always longed to visit California. And for my 30th birthday, I did.
First stop was Los Angeles. And what surprised me about the city was, well, how much I liked it. While everyone sings the praises of the much hipper coastal city, San Francisco, L.A had been portrayed to me as characterless and seedy in comparison.
Sure, you wouldn’t walk some areas alone late at night and it’s hard to get around, but it’s also a fascinating city full of juxtaposition, nostalgia, dreams and eccentricity.
One of my highlights was our hike to the Hollywood Sign (we used this guide), which provided incredible views over the city.
Santa Monica, with its sun-drenched beaches, vibrant historic pier and abundance of shops and restaurants, was the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon before people watching at nearby Venice Beach.
And of course, I found time to pretend to be Julia Roberts on Rodeo Drive *cue intro to Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman*
One of the most exciting things about visiting California, was going to In-N-Out for an Instagram-famed Double Double. It did not disappoint.
More hamburgers were in store when we visited Petit Trois – a Hollywood bistro owned by celebrity chef, Ludo Lefebvre. They don’t take reservations, so there was a short wait for a table, but the food and atmosphere were worth it.
We stayed at The Hollywood Roosevelt. Do get in touch if you’d like a copy of my full itinerary! Join me in my next post, when I’ll be in Palm Springs.