When visiting Los Angeles there is always an experience to be had. It can also be overwhelming to try to figure out what to do when everything is a must. The last time I did the “tourist” trip I was nine-years-old and don’t remember much. I started traveling to Los Angeles for work about five years ago. Each time I landed for my normal two days, I wanted to sneak off and find a hotel to stay and explore. I would get little tastes of Hollywood, Disney, or the beach but they turned out to be just a tease. The pricey flight is what always held me back, or so I thought. The truth is, you can find great deals from the east coast and even better deals if you’re closer. The Sicilian and I headed out to LA for 2 nights/3 days and here are all the things that should be on your list.
Where to stay
We stayed at Loews Hotel in the heart of Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd next to the Hollywood and Highland Center shopping mall. When we walked into our room, I was in awe of the view. Outside our window was the actual Hollywood Sign! Each time I entered or walked through our room, I couldn’t help but to stop and take in that view. The King bed was super comfortable and the extra seating with a full-size sofa bed allowed us to to get cozy with a bottle of wine after a long day. One of my other favorite features about the room was the vanity in a separate room from the shower and toilet. I was able to sit and put on my makeup in peace without being in The Sicilian’s way. Loews Hollywood is a pet-friendly hotel with VIP (very important pets) service.
Tip: Call the hotel the day before you arrive and ask for an early check-in if you’ll be arriving before 3:00 PM
Tip: Stop by the concierge for a list of all the amazing things to do in Hollywood. We knew what we wanted to do and they helped us map it out.
Food and Drink
H2 Kitchen & Bar offers a relaxing, social space to plug in, conduct meetings, and grab a cocktail. The luxurious, modern aesthetic of the lobby continues into the lounge area with leather bar and club chairs, and a Swarovski chandelier. The innovate small plates from Executive Chef Mark Ching include the signature Crab Cakes, Spicy Poke Tacos, and Duck Confit. H2 also boasts an impressive wine list and fresh handcrafted cocktails such as the Lost in Translation and Lucy’s Belvedere Ball. When we were on the run in the morning, we would grab something at The Bodega. They have Starbucks coffee and many beverages to choose from including craft beer and wine, paninis, artisan pastries, pressed juices, luxury candies, chocolates and more.
We met some interesting people while having drinks and wound up staying up later than we wanted. Then again, we’re on vacation…. Who needs sleep! Since Loews in connected to the mall we often walked over to shop and eat. We were super excited when we found a Cabo Wabo Cantina, Sammy Hagar’s place! We’ve been wanting to go there and we met some friends there for dinner. You’re in LA, you should have real Mexican food!
Tip: Loews connects to the mall on the fifth floor of the hotel.
Tip: The House Classic Strawberry Margarita is to die for at Cabo Wabo Cantina
You will love walking down Hollywood Blvd. to people watch and of course see the iconic places. Walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and find your favorite stars. You may even be surprised to find your own name!
Stop in the Famous Dolby Theater (This is where they have the Oscars) and take a photo on the staircase!
The locals are really friendly! This is Lola, she was soaking up the sun as she napped. If I could take her home I would have!
If you’ve never visited Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, it’s a must do. Plan on at least an hour to walk through the three floors. I was surprised that there were props to take photos with the wax statues and it was so much fun. You’ll find all your favorite celebrities very happy to take photos with you! We got pretty silly and I still laugh when I look at the photos. There were so many photos, it was hard to choose which to share.
Tip: Buy tickets online or look for someone on the street giving out coupons to get your tickets cheaper.
There are many choices for great experiences so we decided to create a game plan to see a lot. We grabbed our Mazda and headed down to Santa Monica Pier passing by the famous Beverly Hills sign. People were pulling over to take photos but we wanted to get to the pier. You will need at least a couple hours at the pier to see everything but you can easily spend an entire day there because there is so much to do. You’ll find plenty of food from food carts to restaurants and lots of yumminess to quench a sweet tooth. If you’re adventurous, they have a Trapeze School, which I would have loved to do but I missed the last class. So be sure to check out the website before you go.
The street entertainment all over the pier was really cool, from an all kid rock band that were jammin to an old guy in his shorts rapping. There’s also an arcade and rides including the historic carousel. If you’re a Disney Cars fan you’ll find the iconic Route 66 sign (it ends at the sea) and all the Route 66 gear you could buy.
Once we were done on the pier it was time to hit the beach. It was too cold for me for swimming but I did put my feet in the water!
Tip: Make sure you have towels with you in the car to clean off all the sand from your feet!
On our way back we took the long route and first drove down Rodeo Drive. You can find all your luxury brands and more there! We then drove up through Beverly Hills to see the beautiful houses. If you grab a map of the stars, you can drive by the celebrities houses. The views are amazing at each bend and curve and you’ll be in awe.
There’s still so much for us to see in Hollywood so we’re planning a trip back this year. Staying at Loews Hotel was very convenient because no matter where we went on the Boulevard we were able to stop at our room. I was able change or drop things off without going out of my way. When we had to say goodbye to Hollywood, we hit the road for Vegas!
Hollywood was my Peace, Love, and Happiness!
What is on your to-do list in Hollywood? Book your Hollywood Vacation Today!