I recently read that “a great trip sets you down a path that doesn’t end when you return home” and that statement couldn’t ring more true with my first visit to California last week. I’ll be diving more into that “path” a little later on in the week, but for now, let’s get into my adventure on the West Coast, shall we?
Inspired by both the need to see one of my best friends and the desire to live out my Ingrid Goes West fantasy, I made sure to see as much of Los Angeles as possible during my first visit to the West Coast. The agenda was jam-packed but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
My personal philosophy during a trip is to get a lay of the land as quickly as possible with a sight-seeing tour. It may seem traditional, but any sort of classic sight-seeing tour allows for you to get in some history and understand the layout of a city before you start exploring it on your own. Since LA is extremely massive and diverse, a StarLine tour seemed crucial. Although the tour guide was a bit…. redundant, there were some highlights. Photos at The Hollywood Bowl, lunch at The Farmers Market and strolling though Olvera Street were great first moments in Los Angeles. As an aspiring “Bravo-lebrity” my first full night ended at Pump and Sur in West Hollywood, of Vanderpump Rules fame. People watching has never been better!
Phil’s Deli at LA’s Farmers Market
Abbot Kinney is the perfect Instagram spot
Day two took a detour south, heading to San Diego! After a scenic two hour drive down the California coast, we finally made it. San Diego is stunning. With plenty of sunshine, boats and friendly residents, I could have stayed longer. Before heading into the city, we stopped at Liberty Public Market, a food hall style epicenter with plenty of flower shapes and boutiques too. The true mission was to see Hotel Del Coronado, the famous hotel and San Diego landmark. Charming and quaint, yet opulent, the “Del” was picture perfect. Coronado Island is lined with trendy shops and restaurants. Before heading out of town, we stumbled upon Solunto in Little Italy for a late lunch.
Hotel Del Coronado, the perfect San Diego escape
Cocktails and shopping go hand in hand at Liberty Public Market
Back in Los Angeles for my last full day, the morning began at Gjusta, a Venice bakery and deli known for plenty of local flavor. Following that was a scenic walk around Abbot Kinney Blvd for shopping and photos, it was nothing short of a Instagram gold mine. The afternoon was topped off at Nobu for drinks in Malibu, while jamming to California Girls and yes, Malibu, on the way to and from. A delicious dinner at Osteria Mozza was followed up by a drive to Griffith Observatory. If you find yourself in LA, I believe it’s a must see. You’ll be channeling your inner Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the City of Stars.
As my trip wrapped up, my last morning was spent in Venice and Santa Monica. Venice is home to the laid back surfers and skaters that I’d seen plenty of times in TV and movies. After a breakfast at Rose Cafe and checking out the vintage shops in Santa Monica, I made sure to get a sushi lunch at Sugar Fish before one final drive through Beverly Hills.
All in all, California did not disappoint! Never short on good weather or a colorful photo opportunity, I couldn’t have asked for a better first visit. Having a local show me the ropes made the trip even better. Check out this map to see every spot I hit and stayed tuned for more adventures. I’ll be writing about past and future travels very shortly!