I have wanted to go to L.A for literally about 10 years, but never found the right opportunity/chance to book a trip there. So when 2019 started I promised myself this was my year to go. Everyone who has ever been has always said to me ‘you would love L.A’ so I was very intrigued for find out just why everyone saw it as a ‘me place’.
Myself and my sister Lucy decided to book for 9 nights which I think, now looking back on the trip that this is the right amount of time to go. L.A is so big and everything is very widely spread out so really you just want to base yourself in L.A otherwise I feel like it would be very rushed. I would of loved to have gone to Palm Springs, Laguna beach etc but I really feel like you need a lot longer to be able to fit that in. Just an excuse to book a trip back hey?!
We did a fair bit of research on hotels to stay in in L.A, Lucy has already been a few times so knew the area that we should stay in, (West Hollywood). However we ended up deciding to book an airbnb as we thought it might be quite nice to cook some nights, have our own space etc and I’m really glad we did. It was a really cute place and perfect for us but you can hear everything from the house next door so I wouldn’t recommend it for that reason. However the location was PERFECT! A 2 minute walk to Melrose, full of coffee shops, cute boutiques, workout classes and foodie spots…everything you need on your doorstep!
I’m going to do a few sections below of recommendations for food, what to do, etc!
Vegan Restaurant Recommendations:
- Crossroads – Right on Melrose, quite dark interior and no outdoor seating but amazing food. Went twice and had the ‘eggs benedict’ the first time and the breakfast burrito the second time. Both so good!
- Gracias Madre – Amazing Mexican restaurant, which I recommend for dinner. It gets quite busy so would recommend booking. We booked the first time and then decided to go back on our last night and didn’t book but you can sit at the bar and order some guac and margaritas while you wait for a table. Definitely sit outside. Great vibe, great cocktails and insane food!
- Café Gratitude in Beverly Hills – Expensive but beautiful interior and delicious food. More of a healthy vegan food spot. Would really recommend for breakfast.
- Plant food and wine on Abott Kinney Boulevard. Try and book a table outside.
- If you end up doing Deliveroo at any point – Fresh Brothers vegan pizza is probably the best pizza I’ve ever had, you won’t believe it is vegan. We also ended up ordering deliver of Craig’s, which isn’t a vegan restaurant but has a vegan menu. I would of rather gone there to eat though but you need to book at least a month in advance.
Things to do:
I really recommend doing a few hikes while you’re in L.A it’s a great way to see the city, get in some exercise and made me feel less guilty for all the food we were consuming while out there! – Runyon Canyon is a great one to do – If you uber to the start of the trail put in the North Fuller Avenue entrance as that drops you right at the start.
We also did the Griffith Park trail to up to the Griffith Observatory which was a good one and you get a good view of the Hollywood Sign from there too.
Definitely do a day tip to Malibu. We went at lunch time to an area called Country Mart first to look at all the cute boutique shops and then went to a place called Malibu Farm which is so cute. Definitely book this one – Book the restaurant at the start of the pier, not the café and ask for outdoor seating. Beautiful views of the sea and the interior is insane. There wasn’t really any vegan friendly options but we just had some drinks here and enjoyed the sunshine and sea views.
We then walked down to Nobu, which again I would recommend booking. We actually hadn’t booked it but were told we couldn’t be put on the waiting list for a table until the whole party was present (we were still waiting on three girls) so we did end up waiting for a table for a good hour and a half and the bar does get very packed. However they made up for it in giving us an amazing outdoor table and we even saw dolphins swimming past at one point! Was probably my favourite evening. Expensive, but worth it. Even if you end up just having a few nibbles and drinks.
We did a day in Beverly Hills which was lovely and definitely a must. It’s pretty close to West Hollywood so doesn’t take all day. We had a stroll down Rodeo drive, window shopped and had lunch at the Beverly Hills hotel which it iconic and stunning. Book the Cabana café for lunch. They do limited vegan options but do accommodate. We also ended up going to the cupcake atm, which is just off Rodeo drive, (called Sprinkles, you may of seen it on instagram) unfortunately the one vegan cupcake they offered was out of stock so we didn’t end up getting one.
Venice Beach/Abott Kinney Boulevard:
I would recommend doing a day down here as it’s about 45 minutes from West Hollywood. Abott Kinney Boulevard is really cute to have a walk down, few cute shops and coffee shops etc. They have an amazing healthy food store called Erewhon Market which is great to have a look in. They do so many amazing vegan food brands and products! Very expensive though.
Venice beach broadwalk is really close by to Abott Kinney (walking distance) so you can also do that, a lot of people rent electric scooters and go all the way down to Santa Monica Pier, which I would of loved to have done but the weather wasn’t the best the day we went and was way too windy unfortunately. I would of also loved to have explored Santa Monica for the day but we just didn’t have great weather the whole time we were there and I feel like you need a hot day to hang out at Santa Monica beach etc.
Coffee places I recommend are Alfred’s coffee, they have a few around the city but I always went to the one on Melrose as it was a 5 ish minute walk from our flat. There is also one called Carrera Café which has all the cute coffee art work and is more of an insta place. I didn’t rate the coffee but the sketches are cute.
For girls out there who want to get a blow dry, I would recommend Dry bar, they have a few dotted around the city and also Blown in Beverly Hills, which is literally next door to Café Gratitude. Blow dry and brunch = ideal morning!
We did Universal Studios one day, which Lucy really wanted to do. It wasn’t the top of my list but that’s just personal preference. I find it’s really expensive £120 per person and you spend the day queing up for rides. Also two of the rides were closed on the day we went which I wasn’t very impressed by. Personally I don’t see the fuss about it but if you do choose to do it, go have lunch beforehand at a place called Sun Café as it does great vegan food and there aren’t really any vegan options at Universal.
We also did dinner a The Nice Guy which is a really famous restaurant in West Hollywood but personally I don’t see the hype. It’s really dark inside, you aren’t allowed to take any photos (no food photos!) and there just wasn’t a good atmosphere in there. Really overrated in my opinion.
I would really recommend renting a car while in L.A unless you are happy to get ubers everywhere because I don’t think the public transport is great in L.A and everything is very spread out. We didn’t rent one because we have a friend who lives out there who has one but I think it’s worthwhile to do. Parking is really easy out there and it gives you a lot of freedom. However if you decide not to ubers are really cheap so that’s a plus.
So it turns out everyone was right, L.A is a ‘me place’. I did love it. Staying in an airbnb really made it feel like you lived there and I could see why it attracts so many people. Unfortunately the weather was really bad while we were there, I’m talking rain on a few days, and temps of 13 degrees (packing 6 bikinis was really optimistic haha) so I would recommend going in July/August as you want good weather. Apparently it’s Grey May and June Gloom which I hadn’t heard of before but got told that by everyone in L.A! However if I liked it as much as I did without the weather being great, just think how much I would of liked it with amazing weather…I probably wouldn’t of left!
Hope you guys enjoyed all my tips and review – sorry it’s SO long! Comment below if you have any questions about anything I’ve written here.