It’s time for a brand new Travel Diary series!
I’ve just returned from spending 9 days in the USA celebrating mine and Tyrone’s 10 year anniversary. We kicked off the holiday with 5 nights in Los Angeles and then we flew over to Las Vegas for 4 nights.
I feel like I have loads to talk about and as well as the Travel Diary posts where I share photos and stories, I’m also going to be sharing some more tips and advice posts, as well as post all about our experience using Virgin Holidays for the first time (*Spoiler* – We were very impressed. #NotSponsored #IWish)
So without further ado, let’s get straight into our first full-day in LA; visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
We woke up around 5am on our first full-day in LA (thanks, jet lag) so we decided to make the most of it. Our first day in LA was the only day that we didn’t have any activities booked in so we decided to jump on the Metro and see where the day took us.
We stayed at The Garland Hotel which is located near to Universal Studios Hollywood. It was a gorgeous hotel that I recommend highly, and one of the biggest benefits of staying at this hotel is the free shuttle trolley that they run every hour to Universal Studios and the Metro station for Universal Studios.
So on the first day, we took the trolley and hopped off at the Metro station. We purchased our Tap cards for $2 each and then paid $7 each for a day pass. The Metro in LA is a hell of a lot easier to use than the New York subway and it’s a great way to get around the city. LA is huge and isn’t a walkable city and the Metro is a cheaper and often faster alternative to using Uber.
The first stop of the day was the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We actually got there just before 8am so none of the shops was open and it was super quiet. We were told that it comes alive at night but we just didn’t get the chance to go back in the evening.
I’m going to be completely honest here and say I wasn’t that impressed by the Walk of Fame. It’s nowhere near as glamorous as you imagine it to be. I was told before I went that it smells of wee but it didn’t, or at least it didn’t first thing in the morning. It’s worth going just to tick it off your list but all I’m saying is lower your expectations.
After a swift visit to the Walk of Fame we jumped back on the Metro and headed to Santa Monica. It took about 40 to 50 minutes on the Metro from the Walk of Fame to Santa Monica, but it’s actually a really nice journey because it’s like a tram and therefore it goes along the roads. It was lovely to sit back and watch the city go by.
The Metro station in Santa Monica is about a 10 minute walk from the famous pier, so that was our first stop. I was instantly hit by how beautiful Santa Monica is and what a contrast it was from the Walk of Fame area of the city.
We walked along the pier to the end of Route 66, ate doughnuts and watched people fishing off the pier. A playful seal came to say “Hello” a few times. I guess he was attracted by the fishing bait.
We’d never been in the Pacific Ocean before so after our walk along the pier we dipped our toes into the water. The water was so cold so the dip was short-lived!
We then took a walk along the seafront to Venice Beach. It’s just like you imagine it’s going to be with people rollerskating along and cycling with their speakers in their baskets. We saw lots of surfers and met a few friendly dogs who wanted attention. I felt like I was living the dream!
Once we got to Venice Beach we watched some of the skateboarders doing tricks. It reminded me of the film Lords of Dogtown which is a true story based on a group of skateboarders from Santa Monica. We also checked out the Muscle Beach but there was only one person working out.
We then headed inland a little bit to check out the Venice canals and go for lunch. We wanted to try a place called Lemonade as we’d heard their mac and cheese was amazing.
And I can confirm that it’s probably the best mac and cheese I’ve ever tasted. We also had some spinach and pesto pasta which was also delicious, and of course, the lemonade was amazing too.
Since being back in the UK I’ve discovered that Lemonade have a cookbook with all of the recipes in so you bet I’ve ordered myself a copy! I can’t wait to try and recreate that mac and cheese!
After lunch, we took a stroll down Abbot Kinney Boulevard which has been referred to as the “coolest block in America”. It was full of really cute shops and restaurants. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, this is the place to go!
Eventually, we made our way back to the beach and took a very slow walk back to Santa Monica to get the Metro. We’d told ourselves that we weren’t going to do too much walking on the first day because we didn’t want to wear ourselves out straightaway, but that went completely out of the window! It was just so lovely walking along the beach and stopping occasionally to do some people watching. The summer in the UK wasn’t that great so it was lovely to feel the warmth of the sun.
After popping in a huge supermarket (we are OBSESSED with American supermarkets!) we took the Metro all the way back to Universal Studios. By this time it was dinner time, and we discovered that there was a branch of The Counter (one of our favourite places we ate in New York) nearby. So we took an Uber over to The Counter for dinner and basically order the exact burger combinations that we had in New York. It bought back lots of wonderful memories.
We ended up having an early night, but we’d managed to stay up later than we had done the night before. I feel like we beat the jet lag quite quickly. I just wish the same could be said for when we returned to England!
In the next post in this Travel Diary series, I’ll be sharing our experience of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. I promise that, unlike my other recent Travel Diary series, it won’t take me 6 months to get this post to you!