Hello all you amazing people! As you may have seen on social, me and Mark just came back from an amazing trip to LA California. This blog post is essentially just telling you a bit more about what we got up to!
Unfortunately, it rained every day except one and so wasn’t the hot sunny place we imagined, it was very cold and rainy (meaning I couldn’t wear many of my outfits), but it was still amazing and fun.
We first got the train down to London from Leeds. It was quite a long time travelling (especially on the Tube) but we made it and managed to fly on time.
We flew with New Zealand Air, who have some incredible flight deals, and it took us around 10 and a half hours to get to LAX. Unfortunately, me and Mark had seats surrounded by 8 kids which was very noisy, but the flight went by soon enough.
The queues for LAX passport control were so long, there was even a queue to get out of the airport! (yes you read correctly). It was a bit chaotic compared to here in the UK! I think in total we had 4 different queues just to get through passport control and to leave the airport. (At least they have good security!)
As you know, the states are HUGE and since Mark can’t drive (yet), it was my job to hire a car and drive us from LA to our hotel in Long Beach. It was so dark and I was tired after the flight but managed to get us to the hotel. The car I had was a GMC terrain SUV which was a whole lot bigger than my little fiesta back home. After a few days I adjusted and actually quite enjoyed driving it. I found that driving an automatic was so much easier than a manual. How have I only just experienced it now?!
One thing I will say about driving out there is that the roads are busy all day and all night. Everyone drives everywhere so there wasn’t a quiet period like back home in the UK. Make sure you have your wits about you too because cars will cut in front of you in the tiniest gap, and maybe try and hook up a GoPro if you drive along the coast because it’s soooo pretty!
The next day was our anniversary so we decided to drive into LA and park up before getting the tube to Hollywood where all the touristy things were like TLC Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Boulevard. It began to rain so we grabbed a brolly, bought a hoody and tried to make the most of it. It didn’t stop raining for quite a few hours so after a bit of exploring we had a little visit to Hooters for some wings and then a cocktail in the Hard Rock Café. Other people had the idea of escaping the rain too which meant there was a nice atmosphere.
Later on we saw the most incredible view of the Hollywood sign from Griffth Observatory which I 100% recommend. It’s free and you can really see quite far out. Some people actually go hiking though the park but since it was just so rainy, it wasn’t recommended.
In the evening, to celebrate, we ate a luxe buffet at Dekadance in downtown La. I strongly recommend visiting here as the views were just incredible from the 69thfloor and it’s such an easy and central location. The manager actually arranged for a cake saying “Happy Anniversary” to be sent to us which was just a lovely gesture. Here’s the link if you want to check them out: https://dekkadance.com.
We decided to try and see as much of California as we could. I drove down to Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and then over to San Diego. I loved all 3 places, though we could only spend a few hours in each. Laguna was my favourite if I had to pick because that was exactly how I’d imagined California beaches and it was nice and quiet.
Unfortunately, we only had a couple of hours of sunlight in San Diego due to the horrendous traffic getting there. It was truly stunning, especially watching the sun go down in the harbour.
There were loads of people rolling round on these hired electric scooters which looked sooo fun! We didn’t try as instead, the cheesecake factory caught my attention (you guys know I love my food) and we had a little cheeky piece of cheesecake before looking for somewhere to eat. Yep, I have no qualms about eating dessert before my main meal ahha. There were tonnes of flavours to choose from but in the end I decided to try a cherry one.
I recommend eating a meal in the Gas Lamp quarter in San Diego as there’s just so much choice!
Of course we had to visit Disneyland! It was very pricey but was so magical!! Not to sound sad but I couldn’t sleep the night before as I was excited.It’s something that most children dream about going to, yes I may be going for the first time as an adult but it was just as fun!
To make my experience complete I bought some rose gold mini ears which I wore all day and all night. You can’t go round Disneyland without minni ears!
Unfortunately, and typically, the castle was under construction, so I couldn’t get the cute photo I wanted but it was still so much fun!
Since we went on a weekday there was no firework show, but the rides were fun and it was just a great day and a chance for us to be a big kid! If you’re on a budget you can bring food with you (as the food is quite pricey-as expected) and there are lots of picnic/bench areas.
We recommend the Incredi-Coaster and Cars ride in Adventureland and the Space Blaster ride in Disneyland. (The park is split into those 2 separate parks with the idea that most of the families with small children will probably go to Disneyland, and the older kids will go on bigger rides in Adventureland.
It was a great day and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip!
Another fun packed full day, we headed over to universal studios. Again, it rained but it was just amazing.
By far, the best bit was the Harry Potter section. Their creation of Hogsmeade/diagon Alley and the castle was amazing.I actually felt like I was about to go and buy my wand and couldren!
You can buy butterbear, get pictures with the Hogwards express, go look in the souvenir shops, nut by far the best bit was the Harry Potter simulation ride. It was by far the best and most memorable ride I’d ever been on. It was so well thought out and we actually returned for another ride at the end of the day. I’m not going to say anymore but you’ll see if you go!
The universal studios tour was so interesting and fun. Yous sit on a trolley train while a tour guide takes you round looking at sets like wisteria lane and Jaws. It was really fun, though I’d have liked to actually see the inside of a stage set,If you’re a huge movie fan like me then you need to go! The tour is included in the ticket price so it’s good value for money.
Mark of course had to stop for a Duff Beer in Krusty/Simpsons land but bring your wallet as a pint was 15.50! You can also buy huge donuts and a Krusty Burger! How cool is that?!
When the park closed at 6, we decided to stay in universal city for dinner. We stopped by Margaritaville for a cheeky margarita and some fish tacos which were just delicious!
Valentine’s day! We had a nice breakfast in the hotel, then we drove up to Rodeo drive for a browse round the shops. I thought t was really nice that the shop assistants weren’t like in Pretty woman looking down their noses at us- they were really nice and friendly. I spotted a gorgeous Bvulgari watch I wanted but unfortunately, I didn’t have a spare £14,000 like most people haha. One day….
We had a sneaky drive round Beverly Hills too but the real real big houses were gated off so we could only catch a glimpse. The ones we did see though made our houses look like little monopoly houses. They were stunning.
The next stop was Malibu where we just had the most amazing view of the sea while spotting our future home…. Just kidding but a girl can dream right!? We stopped at a placed called Paradise Cove which was a small section of beach and a really cute café. We had an absolute feast for lunch there called the BBQ meat feast and it came loaded with barbeque kobe beef ribs, sausages, chicken, sweetcorn, chips and salad. It was such a huge portion that we just couldn’t finish. This place is a must see if you ever visit California because sitting and eating looking out onto the sea (especially on valentine’s day) was just so romantic. The staff were nice and actually gave me a pretty pink rose for valentines!
We then had a quick brose round the Grove shopping centre which was so nice and relaxing. I recommend going at night because the water fountain and lights just make it so nice and chilled.
The final stop of the day was one for Mark’s bucket list-the shooting range. It was really straight forward and before we knew it we were in there catching the bad guys. I actually managed to hit the head of my target on my first go but I will say that it’s actually such a skill and a whole lot harder than it looks. The gun is powerful and hurts your hand a bit. Mark also tried the shotgun too! Needless to say he loved it and managed to hit the target really well. It’s definitely worth trying out if you’re adventurous! You never know, you may have a natural talent!
We started the day by exploring long beach where, yep, you guessed it! It rained! We didn’t let it stop us exploring though.
We drove up to a place called Melrose for brunch. It was a fun/quirky neighbourhood in West Hollywood with some nice cafes and shops. We tried to stop at Urth café but it was too busy, so we ended up at Le Pain Quotidien. I had avocado toast and added egg and smoked salmon which was yes “Basic” but yummy!
After that we drove to Venice beach and walked along the beach. It was very touristy with shops selling shorts, bikinis, tank tops etc. It was sad to see quite a lot of homeless people, but the beach was nice and clean, and it was fun watching the skateboarders at the skate park.
Since it was our last day we wanted to see as much as possible and so headed over to Santa Monica pier. It was a classic pier with rides and snacks. We had a nice relaxing drink and escape from the cold at the Mariasol bar on the end of the pier where we had the most delicious homemade salsa and chips. We would’ve liked a bit more time to explore Santa Monica but decided to head into downtown LA to “SpaceLA” to look at the city from high up and to ride on the glass slide down 2 floors. Unfortunately, though the slide was closed because of the bad rain, and when we got up there, there was nothing but thick fog so we couldn’t see anything at all. Literally nothing. We decided to treat ourselves to a glass of champagne and me some chocolate strawberries while we waited for it to turn to night and for the city lights to appear. Before long the fog had gone, and we saw the amazing and huge city. Again, it was raining so we couldn’t take too many photos but it’s a really lovely view and we would recommend going. Here’s the link to the place: https://oue-skyspace.com
For our final meal we planned to visit a Brazilian restaurant but Mark felt a little sick so instead of risking wasting an expensive meal we headed over to California Pizza Kitchen where I had a yummy shrimp and courgette pasta. It was still nice and it was half the price of the Brazillian.
On our last day before returning the car we headed out to a nearby Denny’s diner for breakfast. It was really busy, but we were seated really quickly. Just typically it was glorious sunshine and we were told that the rain we’d seen was unheard of for LA. (of course it was the week we went). I was greedy and got a breakfast dish and 2 sides and we were just stuffed. American breakfasts are great as you can walk in starving knowing that you’ll walk out with a full belly.
Nearby was the Pike outlets and we had a quick browse round the shops before getting back to the car hire shop in good time. It was a quick and easy returns process and I was just so pleased that I’d managed to drive it without any major issues.
Unfortunately, the time had come to fly home. Honestly the days went so fast and we were out of the house from 9am until 10/11pm. It was an expensive trip but it was so worth it.
Next time we hope to visit San Francisco and Vegas.
Have you guys ever been to LA? Did you enjoy it?
Thanks for reading