How to Make the Most of 3 Days in Los Angeles

I went to Los Angeles to visit my friend Danielle who goes to University of Southern California. Unfortunately I got tonsillitis for the forth time this year (I’m getting them out Thursday) while I was there so I didn’t get to do much but I figured I’d tell you about what I did do and what I would have done if I hadn’t gotten sick and had gotten more than two days to spend there. 

Highlights: 

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I went to Los Angeles to visit my friend Danielle who goes to University of Southern California. Unfortunately I got tonsillitis for the forth time this year (I’m getting them out Thursday) while I was there so I didn’t get to do much but I figured I’d tell you about what I did do and what I would have done if I hadn’t gotten sick and had gotten more than two days to spend there. 

Highlights: 

Griffith Observatory is really beautiful. It has a great overview of the city and a lot of really nice hiking trails with more views of the city. It is definitely worth a stop if you are looking for a nice overview in LA. There are things to explore inside as well but it was such a nice day and I didn’t much time so I stuck to the outside. Going is free other than parking which is $10 an hour or they do have free parking at the bottom of the hill by the Greek Theater.

Santa Monica Pier was the first place I went in LA while I was there. I went for about an hour and just walked around the pier and on the beach. It was beautiful but I didn’t feel like it lived up to all of the hype that I have heard. I talked to some locals while I was there and they recommended Venice as well they said there’s more people watching and fun things to see.

View from the Scenic Stop on Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive – I didn’t get to explore as much of Mulholland Drive as I wanted to but I wish I had because what I did see is was amazing. There’s a great view of the city and you can see the Hollywood sign as well. You can drive most of the way from Santa Monica to the Beverly Hills area on this windy scenic road which I would recommend doing if you have the time.

Canyon Lake Drive is the best place I went to see the Hollywood sign and the best picture I got of me with the sign in the background. There’s not a ton to do there other than take pictures with the sign and go to a small park but if you are looking for an iconic LA picture this is the place to be. Put 3000 Canyon Lake Drive into your GPS to get to this location.

Driving around Beverly Hills and West Hollywood – If you love looking at big houses and beautiful stores which I definitely didn’t have the money for then check out Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Honestly this was my favorite day of the trip I loved driving around the beautiful neighborhoods and seeing streets like Rodeo Drive and Sunset Boulevard that I had heard about for so long.

Shopping

Melrose Avenue – When I thought about what I wanted to do in Los Angeles shopping specifically vintage shopping is something I really wanted to do. I found my favorite place to do so in Fairfax on Melrose Avenue. I went to a thrift shop called Wasteland and Buffalo Exchange (If you haven’t been it’s one of my favorite thrift chains and I have found some really amazing things there).

Bars

There were only three bars that I went to in LA since I was sick most of the weekend days I was there. We ended up going to the bar on the roof of my hotel the Broken Shaker which was expensive like most rooftop bars but it had an AMAZING view of downtown so I would recommend stopping by just for the view. It gets crowded around 10:30/11 so try to go before then so you don’t have to wait in line. After that we went to the Golden Gopher which was the bar across the street from the hotel I was staying at. It had really really cheap drinks that definitely did the trick they were 75% vodka and 25% mixer for $7. It was the perfect pregame place since the club we went to after The Reserve had really expensive drinks that weren’t worth the money. We liked the club even though some of the men were a little pushy they ended up eventually taking no for an answer and leaving us alone.

View from the Broken Shaker

Where I stayed

I stayed at the Freehand Los Angeles. It was located downtown in a great location and was by far the nicest hostel I had ever stayed in. I shared a room with three other women and it ended up working out really well. There was a Whole Foods and a CVS a block away so I was able to get lots of food when I wasn’t feeling well enough to go out. The smoothie bowls were great and there was a ton of vegan foods so I had a ton of options.

Food

Most of what I ate came from Whole Foods but I did go out to eat three times while I was in LA. I got Ramen noodles at the USC Village which weren’t great but was a great area to hang out. We also got Mexican food at Tocaya Organica which was really easy since all of the meals started off vegan and then you could add meat and cheese so I knew I could trust that the food was safe. The last meal I had was at California Chicken Cafe it was okay but I wouldn’t go back there if I visited LA again. I was expecting it to be like Nandos and it ended up being far from it. As far as dietary restrictions LA was one of the best places I’ve been as far with dealing with it and having a ton of options. They aren’t quite where Europe is with listing the possible allergens in food but people were really attentive when I told them I had an allergy and I didn’t get sick at all while I was there.

What I would’ve done:

  • Venice Beach and canals
  • Disneyland and Harry Potter World
  • Laguna Beach
  • West Coast Highway 

Transportation

Transportation in LA is really hard. I ended up renting a car which costed a fortune and I didn’t feel well enough to use it most of the week. The days I did use it, however, it was 100% worth it! If I had taken Lyfts everywhere or the train I would’ve wasted a lot of time and wouldn’t gotten to see half of what I did see. So my recommendation would be to bite the bullet and rent a car and if you can wait until you’re 25+ to go to the city so that you don’t have to pay astronomical young driver fees (I ended up paying an extra $50 a day).

COVID-19 Disclaimer:

I did this traveling in late February/ early March before COVID-19 became a big threat in the United States. I did my best to distance myself while I was sick even though I wasn’t contagious my immune system was still low and I didn’t want to risk getting COVID-19 and spreading it to people who are more at risk than I am. Please don’t travel now unless it is absolutely necessary. Stay inside and distance yourself as much as possible only go out if absolute necessary (for work or groceries or medication). Please stay healthy and safe and keep in mind that health is a gift and that other people don’t have that basic luxury that others do so please be considerate of that!

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