Before last month, I had never traveled to the west coast. Scratch that, I had never traveled anywhere west of Texas in the US, so when my boyfriend, Kyle, gave me an excuse to go to Vegas, I jumped at the chance to go to Los Angeles and visit my best friend from high school.
I had so many things planned for L.A. – going to a beach in Malibu and going on a wine safari being the top two priorities. Too bad L.A. had other plans. It rained during almost our entire trip, so we had to do research while we were already in town and ask some of the locals for some of their suggestions for things to do in Los Angeles in the rain.
While I’m still disappointed that I didn’t get to drink wine with a giraffe, our time in L.A. was the perfect end to a week away from reality, and we did our best to not let the rain dampen our spirits.
Los Angeles is a huge city with so, so much to do. Everything is spread out and traffic is horrendous, so don’t get too upset when you don’t get to accomplish as much as you wanted in one day. L.A. is a city that was meant to be explored at a leisurely pace. If you don’t get to do everything you wanted in one visit, it’s a perfect excuse to plan another trip.
RUNYON CANYON HIKE
Before going to Vegas, I had never gone on a proper hike before, so when my friend, Tra, suggested we do the Runyon Canyon hike, I felt liking a hiking veteran. That all changed when I actually did the hike. I can’t tell you what trail we took, but homegirl was challenged to say the least. I had to stop a couple times to catch my breath. That aside, the views were gorgeous. You can even see the Hollywood sign from a distance. If you’re wanting to get outside, I highly recommend going on one of the many hiking trails available in Los Angeles.
WARNER BROS. STUDIO TOUR
If you’re a fan of movies and TV shows, you’ll love the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. It’s a guided tour through the Warner Bros. lot where they show you where many films and shows were made. You’ll visit the backlot with many outdoor sets that were used for films like La La Land, Annie, The Greatest Showman, Spider-Man, a few of the Batman movies and also TV shows like Gilmore Girls, Friends, Shameless, Pretty Little Liars, Big Bang Theory and more.
You’ll get to see how the same set was used for multiple different movies. You’ll see actual props and costumes used in films and shows, see the Batmobile collection, see the Harry Potter and DC Comics exhibits (you can get sorted into your house!) and sit on the Central Perk couch from Friends. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how movie magic happens and even get to experience it firsthand. It’s such a neat experience, and all movie buffs should make it a priority to go.
THE LAST BOOKSTORE
If you’re a bookworm like me, you’ll feel like you’re in a dream while you’re exploring The Last Bookstore. Not only do they have new and used books of every genre, books are displayed in artful ways from book tunnels and sculptures to areas being arranged by color. They also have rooms for artists to sell their artwork, and they’re host to a variety of events.
THE GETTY MUSEUM
The Getty Museum was a rainy day recommendation by many, and it did not disappoint. We were only able to spend about an hour and a half here, and it went by so fast. There’s so much to see and do. I definitely recommend getting an mp3 player so you can listen to some of the experts talk about certain works of art while you explore the museum. If you find a something that interests you, you can put in the corresponding number, press play and learn more about it.
Admission to the Getty Center is free. You just have to pay $15 for parking.
MOCA (MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART)
I’m not going to lie – there’s a lot about contemporary art that I don’t understand, but there are many pieces of art at the MOCA that are worth seeing. It’s fascinating to see people’s creativity and how they turn something that’s seemingly simple into a work of art.
There are a few different locations, and we went to the one on Grand Avenue. If you go on Thursdays, admission is free from 5-8 pm, but the regular adult general admission price is $15.
If you’re looking for a place to grab some craft cocktails in L.A., Clifton’s should definitely be a priority stop. I don’t want to give away too many details because honestly, it’s just something you have to experience for yourself.
I’m happy to say I did not have a bad meal in L.A. Tra loves food as much as I do, and he made a list of restaurant recommendations that he sent over before our trip. We also found some gems of our own along the way.
We visited the downtown location for Yuko Kitchen, which was absolutely bright and beautiful even on a rainy day. It’s a Japanese restaurant with a variety of options from rice bowls to noodles to sushi. They also have an excellent happy hour menu that we took full advantage of. The Chicken Karaage and the Garlic Butter Rice – 10/10 recommend. I also sipped on a Hard Strawberry drink that I’m almost convinced didn’t have any alcohol in it because it was so good.
If you’re looking for a good Persian food restaurant in L.A., Sadaf is the one. I had never had Persian food before, so I didn’t know what to expect, and I was a fan of everything we had. There were four of us, so we ordered family style. We shared a Dolmeh appetizer, which is cooked grape leaves stuffed with a bunch of goodness. We also shared the Juicy Chicken, a Shish Kabob with marinated beef filet and veggies and some Zereshk Polo rice with barberries. Everything we had was delicious, and the seasoning they have on the table – use it on everything! It’s so good.
I was skeptical when Kyle first suggested going to CoCo Curry House, but I shouldn’t have doubted him because it was so good. We went to the location in Koreatown, and I let him order for the both of us. We had two Japanese curry plates topped with chicken breast cutlet, some dumplings and some spicy teriyaki fried chicken. This was one of my favorite meals in L.A.
I love me some good Vietnamese food, and Blossom delivered on just that. We went to the location downtown, and I had some Mira Cabernet that was delightful. For dinner, I had the Com Suon Nuong, which is a grilled pork chop rice dish. Y’all, it was absolutely incredible. Probably one of the best pork chops I’ve ever eaten in my life.
On our last night in Los Angeles, I was in the mood for some Thai food. A Google search brought us to Chinatown where we ate at a Thai Fusion restaurant called Bang Na. Our server was seriously the nicest person. Kyle ordered a boba tea, and they were out, so he gave him a tea without the balls on the house. He asked me twice if I wanted some, but I’m not a fan of tea, so I said no. Instead, he brought out a drink with a little shot (non-alcoholic). He said to take a sip of the drink without the shot then pour it in, mix it up and take a drink. The little shot changed the color of the drink and made it taste completely different. I don’t know what it was called, but it was so good.
For dinner, I had the SS Crab Curry, which is deep fried soft shell crab made with curry. It was so good. Our server also gave us a free dessert, which was a cup of the Kanom Tuay. It wasn’t the best, but we ate as much as we could of it, and it was so generous of him to give us complimentary drinks and dessert. Honestly, I can’t recommend this place enough on the service alone.
We also passed by this pretty fountain on our walk. It’s in Grand Park.
KOGI BBQ TAQUERIA
Kogi was a recommendation from someone Kyle knew, and I’m so glad we made the journey. I was intrigued by everything on the menu, and I was a fan of everything we had to eat. We each had one of their world famous short rib tacos, which was delightful. Then we shared a Kogi Dog, which was a hotdog that had all sorts of stuff on it, including kimchi, and a Pacman Quesadilla, which had a plethora of things in it and was topped with three different sauces. The Kogi Dog was my favorite, and Kyle loved the quesadilla.
SALT & STRAW
This is easily the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life. From now on, if anyone asks me what my favorite ice cream is, it will specifically be the Chocolate Caramel Potato Chip Cupcake ice cream from Salt & Straw. We went to the location in Venice, and while the service was absolutely horrendous, the ice cream was tasty enough for me almost not to care. Kyle had the Avocado & Oaxacan Chocolate Fudge ice cream, which was also good, but not life-changing good like the flavor I had.
When we arrived at Tra’s apartment in West Hollywood, he and his partner, Kauveh, greeted us with donuts from California Donuts. Kyle was pretty hyped about eating donuts in L.A. because of an article he read. They got us four donuts – a green tea-flavored donut, a strawberry donut and a unicorn donut and panda donut whose flavors were unknown. They were all really good, but the strawberry was my favorite. The unicorn looked almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
I’m not a big cinnamon roll person, but Cinnaholic may convert me. They have cinnamon rolls like you’ve never imagined with flavors and toppings that you think would only belong on ice-cream. You can choose your own frosting and toppings or get one of their own creations. I had the Birthday Cake cinnamon bun, and it was amazing. It was topped with chunks of cookie dough, marshmallows and sprinkles.
Porto’s was an extra special visit because I got to meet up with my blog friend, Lauren from Lot 48. You will have to wait in line to enjoy your desserts, but it’s worth the wait, and they have a huge variety of choices. Kyle and I shared two potato balls, a fruit tart and a chocolate éclair. The fruit tart was my favorite, but everything was so good, and I highly recommend the potato balls.
Even though it rained for most of our Los Angeles trip, we still managed to make the most out of our time there. We definitely put our taste buds to work and found some great eats, and we also managed to get in a little nature, a little culture and a little taste of Hollywood.
Have you ever been to Los Angeles? What are some of your favorite things to do there?