Hello my Aviator, the road trip through California was a lot of fun. I started off in San Francisco from where I took the Pacific coast highway southbound. My final destination was Los Angeles, where I spend over one week in May. I am excited to show you my highlights and give you travel tips for your next stay in Los Angeles.
The City of Angeles
Los Angeles is immense. Four million people live in a city which is so spread out that you get the impression that it does not seem to be one city. In fact, every part of town is different and has its own vibe. There is so much to discover and my list of things I wanted to do was long. In total, I stayed eight nights in L.A. and this was definitely not enough. On some days I was just relaxing and living like a local. The weather at the end of May was ideal.
Public transportation exists but is bad and unreliable. I used a rental car for my road trip and to get around in town. Parking can be really expensive. Especially in West Hollywood, where street parking is not allowed at night. So you are basically forced to pay a valet parking which costs around 40$ per night. UBER is very popular in the States. It is a convenient and inexpensive way to get around.
My tip: Stay at least for a week, so the sight seeing does not become too stressful. May is a perfect month. Overnight in different parts of town. Do not drive during peak hours and avoid parking at night in West Hollywood.
What did I do?
Griffith Observatory: This Observatory is well-known from movies and gives spectacular views of Los Angeles. The parking situation is horrible and it is a long way up there. I did a really spontaneous meet and greet. Even though that place is so remote seven Aviators showed up. Thanks again for coming!
Hollywood sign: I drove up to the Lake Hollywood Park (3160 Canyon Lake Dr), from this place you have a good view of the sign. The light was nice during sunset.
Venice: My favorite part of town. Trendy places with cool shops, café, and restaurants. Do not miss to visit Abbot Kinney Blvd and the famous and crazy Venice Beach Broadwalk.
Santa Monica Pier: I only took a quick stroll over the famous pier with its amusement attractions. The place was really crowded. I personally did not like it.
Walk of Fame: A must do touristic attraction. You probably will be disappointed by the crappy area around the walk of fame but it is fun to walk on the famous stars.
Beverly Hills: I was cruising along the Rodeo Drive with its luxurious shops and ended up in Beverly Hills, where the rich and famous life. The streets are picture perfect with hundreds of tall palm trees.
My tip: Rent a bike and drive along the bike route from Venice to Santa Monica. Especially around sunset it really beautiful along the ocean.
It stayed at several places in Los Angeles. The costs for an accommodation are expensive in Los Angeles. One night I paid 300$ for a 3-star hotel and it was nothing special.
The first few nights I spend in Venice at a lovely Airbnb. I had my own small bungalow with a nice outside area at a great location. The experience staying at the Airbnb was more personal than a hotel and the hosts Brad and Julien were great.
L.A. is so vast that is why moved to West Hollywood for a couple of days to discover this part of town as well.
The last five days I spend in Venice again. That time I stayed at different Airbnb which is one its kind. The property consisted of two houses with an original airstream and a patio with a hot tub. The property was located right in the heart of Venice close to Abbot Kinney Blvd.
My tip: Book your accommodations well ahead of time. They sell out quite quickly and get really expensive. I killed a lot of time searching for a place to stay during my vacation. The app “Hoteltonight” can be handy for spontaneous bookings.
Six Flags Magic Moutain
I am a big fan of roller coasters. For me, they can not be thrilling enough. As a teenager, I heard about Six Flags Magic Mountain the first time. In total, they have over 15 different roller coasters. I was excited to visit this amusement park, even though I read a lot of negative reviews on the internet. In the end, most of the complaints of other visitors proofed right. It was a rather disappointing fun day.
A lot of rides were closed because of maintenance and due to a short shower in the morning- It was not allowed to bring your own food (I still did). The outlets only offered unhealthy meal options and a regular pizza was over 30$. I did not have the impression that the park was well maintained either. But their rides were a lot of fun. Especially the roller coaster “X“ was a thrill. I visited on a Monday and maximum waiting time for an attraction was 20 mins. That was great.
My tip: If you are working in the travel industry register at Plum benefits. This online booking platform overs great discount on entertainment, hotels, etc. This way I could save 50% on the entrance fee. During my time as exchange student, I have been to L.A. before. I can recommend the Universal Studios a lot.
Where to eat?
Food is not inexpensive in the supermarket and in restaurants. Especially if you want good quality and organic products. To find healthy meal options I use the App “Happy Cow“. Here are some places I can recommend. (not all healthy)
- Abbot’s Pizza company: tasty pizza in Venice
- The Butcher’s Daugther: modern vegetarian cuisine in Venice
- Kreation Organic Kafe: healthy meals, smoothies all day
My tip: Popular restaurants are really crowded during peak hours. Try to do a reservation, so you do not have to wait for a table!
Next time in L.A. I want to take a helicopter flight over the city, do a hike to the Hollywood sign and visit the Getty Center. I also would like to visit all the amazing beaches along the coast line to go surfing. Los Angeles is definitely a place where I could imagine to live for a longer period of time.
What is your favorite city in the United States and what can you recommend to do there? Please comment below!
Happy landings and safe travels!
Your Pilot Patrick