I remember the first time I came to Los Angeles, I couldn’t wait to leave again, the whole vastness of this large, sprawling city left me cold. However, over the course of a few years, I not only came to understand and navigate this vibrant, creative metropolis, but fell in love with its many different facets, so much so, that myself and my husband have lived here for 3 years! One of the great things about knowing what to do and where to go is when we have visitors. Their LA adventure begins the minute the plane touches down and it’s off we go…………….
What better place to recharge after a long flight, than at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, the Cabana Cafe is a firm favourite, relax into a booth, gaze out over the sparkling pool and take in your first taste of the LA lifestyle.
LA is much more relaxed than other cities when it comes to dress codes, yes the famous Polo Lounge has a slightly stricter policy, but casual and cool is always in style nearly everywhere.Just off Sunset Boulevard, the signage and pink building are unmistakable.
After a couple of hours relaxing at The Beverly Hills Hotel, it’s time for a quick trip to some of the tourist spots, starting with Rodeo Drive, great for a bit of people watching as you cruise by, then it’s on to Hollywood Boulevard to do some actual star spotting, the ones imbedded into the pavement that is.
The best bit of Hollywood Boulevard for me is the feet and handprints that are forever captured in the cement in front of Graumans Chinese Theatre. If you get a chance to go to a movie here, do, the interior is stunning.
The last stop of the day would have to be the Mulholland Drive overlook (at 7036 Mulholland Dr.),there are many places up in the hills that grant you sweeping views over LA, but this is a favourite that shows you the Hollywood Bowl and the Hollywood sign, as well as views towards Hollywood and Downtown.
Stunning EL Matador State Beach just beyond Malibu is worth the early alarm and windswept hair!
A beach day is always a good idea and LA has some great spots whether you want to get away from it all and relax on a quiet sandy beach, lunch on one of the prettiest piers I’ve ever seen, or perhaps you’re more of a thrill seeker and the thought of riding a rollercoaster whilst the waves crash either side of you is more your speed, there is definitely nothing wrong with acting your shoe size now and again!
Malibu Farm restaurant is a pretty spot for some food and views, theres this gorgeous indoor area and an equally fabulous outside dining deck. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, theres a varied menu, which does include some vegan options too
At the far end of the pier theres a more casual cafe and the shop, which has some of the chicest souvenirs . When I first came to Malibu pier, it reminded me of Daylesford Farm in the Cotswolds and lo and behold, they stock the Bamford range of organic products and candles.
Heading towards Santa Monica will take you past Pacific Palisades beach, which is another less crowded area to hang out with the Annenberg Community Beach house and the Back On The Beach cafe, but if you want to join in with more of the hustle and bustle of an LA beach scene, then the area north and south of the pier is for you. There is the aforementioned rollercoaster, plus the ferris wheel and various other attractions, including a huge carousel. Check out the tightrope walkers honing their balancing skills before heading for a late afternoon cocktail at Shutters on the Beach hotel nearby.
As the sun begins to set, head to the rooftop of the Art Deco Shangri La hotel ( which retains many of its original features) on Ocean Avenue for amazing views of there sunset, the outdoor patio is relatively small, so get there early to secure a spot.
With your preferred sundowner in hand, watch the pier come alive as the sun disappears for another day. (It’s pretty much assured it will be out again tomorrow!)
An absolute must, if you’re feeling energetic of course, is the hike to the Hollywood sign. Starting at Beachwood Canyon, its almost 6 miles there and back, so you will have learnt that feast at Beachwood Cafe afterwards.A
The panoramic views as you ascend and from the top are incredible. If you’re feeling extra energetic, why not carry on across to the Griffith Observatory. Early morning, especially in the summer month is the best time, when the air is a little cooler, make sure you take plenty of water, although if you do the Observatory hike, the cafe opens at 10am.
With a city as large and diverse as LA, there are a million and one things to do and see, these are just a few of my favourites and give a perfect overview of the city I now call home.