Los Angeles is one of the largest and most popular cities of California and with large cities, comes a large amount of things you can try to look to do. With a last minute trip over there that I decided to take at the end of October during the Halloween weekend, I only had a short amount of time to enjoy the city (3 days but 2 full days for the most part). Whenever I’m flying over to a place, I want to be able to see as many things as I can in a crunched time as I spend money to fly over and then whenever I choose to rent a rental car.
I finally flew on a plane after 10 months not doing so!
Many people have had experiences of having layovers in Los Angeles and making it a weekend trip if they’re driving from the nearby West Coast states. If that’s the case for you too as you’re reading along, here are a few things that I suggest you try and check out in Los Angeles.
1. Rent an Airbnb
Staying at a nice comfortable place is always the first thing that you should look to do when you’re staying over in a city, let alone in Los Angeles. It may not be the most affordable thing but sometimes you’ll find good deals for such pretty locations, and why not make the most of your time by being somewhere comfortable and cozy?
I didn’t stay in an Airbnb for this weekend because I stayed over at my sister’s apartment, luckily. However, as I helped her plan for one of her paint and sip events that she hosts (it was Pumpkin Paint and Sip), I found her a gorgeous Airbnb in Silver Lake to host it in, in its backyard. This gorgeous Airbnb is located atop of California hills and when you park outside, you can see the city below. In the backyard, it has a hammock, a bonfire, and a place to sit on and its view overlooks a body of water with many trees and a city street. The city lights glimmered at night.
If you have a day to stay overnight, rent yourself an Airbnb where you can stay in during a wonderful morning or somewhere to hit a cozy night in. Maybe get inspired by checking into one with pretty views all around too. If you haven’t used Airbnb first, I recommend you use my link here to register for an account and claim the offer to get up to $50 off for your first stay.
2. Explore a flea market
The flea markets in California are truly something. This may not be something to cross your mind at all, but if you love to support small businesses and love to shop for unique trinkets or to try artisan foods and goods you can’t always find from where you’re from, then I recommend you check out a flea market here in Southern California.
My sister works in flea markets during the weekends for her business. Some of the flea markets she goes to are: Los Feliz Flea (as shown below here), Melrose Trading Post, and Silverlake Flea.
3. Have breakfast at Ostrich Farm
What’s a vacation without having some good breakfast to have? I don’t know about you, but I love a good delicious breakfast to start my day off. I came across this place as I was just looking for any “brunch” places (love those kinds of restaurants!) and I found Ostrich Farm, located in Echo Park. Upon driving there, parking can be very limited to find but it was an early morning during a weekend day and I got lucky to find some parking a few feet away from the place by a meter.
You’ll find a white painted building with a minimalistic style to it. During this time of the pandemic, I wasn’t able to dine inside but it is nice to just sit down outside too. Ostrich Farm is known for their popular cocktails and comfort food. This restaurant also has a variety of delicious options that are healthy (Agave syrup instead of sugar in coffee? Check!) and they also love being sustainable themselves. (Paper straws? Check!)
I ordered their smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel dish (also called as a “Lox”). It was so good and I loved the number of toppings that went on there!
4. Have lunch with Dave’s Hot Chicken
This was recommended by my sister and her boyfriend and I must say, it’s one of the best chicken places I’ve tried. I believe it’s only in California as of now. Dave’s Hot Chicken uses some of the best quality chicken prepared in brine and it’s then deep fried and blended with spices to create mouthwatering chicken goodness. Their menu may just be chicken tender and chicken tender sandwiches with a few good sides, but I guarantee you it’ll be some you’ll never forget the taste of — because it’s that insanely good!
5. Have dinner with Monty’s Good Burger
Another recommendation, but this time from my oldest sister. If you’re a vegan, you’ve definitely got to put this one on the list. This is yet another restaurant only to be found in (Southern) California. Monty’s Good Burger has all these plant-based options and most famously known for their Impossible patty, a hamburger that will make you think you never tasted anything like it before. On their menu, you can also find organic shakes, sodas with pure cane sugar, vegan cookies (tried the Middle of the Brownie and that was good!), and their uber palatable sauces. I really loved their onion aioli sauce!!
6. Drive and hike the Santa Monica Mountains
The Santa Monica Mountains is so worth the drive and I recommend giving it a few hours to get there and to explore all the wild beauty it offers. The Santa Monica Mountains is just an hour drive from the city of Los Angeles and it has many hiking trails, so count this drive as also an adventure for hikes.
What makes Santa Monica Mountains unique is that it is one of the 5 rare places in the world to have the mild Mediterranean climate. Therefore driving up these mountains, you might get glimpses of vineyards as those can really be enriched in a climate like here. As part of a national recreation area, there is wildlife that lives out here and may possibly even be spotted (bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions!). The drive to Santa Monica Mountains can be a very steep drive (with some spots on the mountain drive containing no guardrails at all — take precaution driving there), but the views all around are so beautiful and photo-worthy! You can even see the Pacific Ocean in the distance in some spots too.
A blog post on a hike I did here (it’s the Grotto Trail) and more information on driving these mountains will be coming soon.
7. Watch the sunset at a Malibu, California Beach OR go visit Malibu Pier
After completing a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, I opted to go to a beach nearby so I can soak in my sore legs and feet and that felt amazing. Malibu is very close to the Santa Monica Mountains, which requires a drive through the Pacific Coast Highway, a highway that is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the country. There are several miles of beaches to explore alongside Malibu, California and even some beaches could inspire you to just pull over to the side, as I did when I saw many cars lined up outside this random unnamed beach I came across.
Go soak your feet as the ocean waves crash, sit on the sand, and just watch the sunset go down until night time and you can end the day in Los Angeles this way. You won’t regret it. It’s definitely a perfect moment for solitary.
If you want to visit a Malibu beach with a pier where you can have more options to get a drink, food, or have a nice spot to do some fishing, consider visiting Malibu Pier. Malibu Pier is an iconic family-friendly location that has shops and cafes lined up on it. It was built in 1905 and once used to serve as a lookout station for the U.S. Coast Guard. It was restored a few times after being heavily damaged by storms.
There are also smaller beaches by Malibu Pier where you can have access to using the staircases. The parking is limited by Malibu Pier though and you have to pay for parking usually ($10 flat fee), so you may have to wait until a car leaves to get a spot in the parking lot.
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