I went to LA April 29th (Friday)-May 3rd (Tuesday). *TIP* Great time to fly to LAX because, my ticket was only $200 and it had no stops. I went about 6 years ago so I had a lot to catch up on and a lot to see for the first time.
I have compiled a list of must dos and sees. I am a college student so this list does help you get the best bang for your buck.
- In-N-Out Burger: I know, basic- everyone always says to go to In-N-Out but c’mon, it’s cheap and good. There is always a line especially, around lunch BUT, don’t worry it goes fast. When you go here- GO FULL OUT, and forget about the diet. You have to get the full experience with the burger (I recommend a double), fries, and a shake (The strawberry shake is my favorite). The fries aren’t the best but still good with a milkshake;)
- While you are in LA you MUST have Hawaiian food. If you live anywhere else (besides Hawaii) you have to try it. I went to a place called A-Frame, on my first night in LA, and it was uniquely delicious. It is a small place with communal tables so, call ahead! The menu was a bit difficult to understand if you are not familiar with Hawaiian food (that’s where the communal tables come in handy). I expected the menu to be filled with seafood but, it was not. The Musubi I had was this delicious pork wrapped in seaweed. The Pork Belly Lechon was savory and so were the sauces (very different than Cuban Lechon). The fried chicken was tasteful and again, so were the sauces. To top it off, the dessert- it consisted of these pieces of pound cake with cinnamon sugar that you dip in this sinfully delectable melted chocolate.
Hawaiian food is also a great choice for lunch. Ahi poke makes for a healthy, delightful lunch option. One of the days I took a drive to Santa Monica (*TIP* A CAR IS NECESSARY TO GET AROUND IN LA), and I had a fresh and delicious bowl of ahi poke at a place called Seasalt Fish Grill. Along with it being tasty, it is also affordable ($9 for a poke bowl).
- Donuts!!!– You wouldn’t think LA has a lot of donut shops but, it definitely does. You have the choice of going to an overpriced gourmet donut shop or a cheaper version. I stopped at this little hole in the wall and spent around $2 on 3 donuts. If you like donuts, heres an article that can help you out. Since everything is far, traffic sucks, and you’re on a budget- a quick pit stop at any donut place should be fine.
- Mexican Food– Uh, Hello… who doesn’t love Mexican food? And you bet LA has some great Mexican food. My hotel was in Culver City so, I went to an authentic Mexican restaurant near by. I ate at Casa Sanchez ; it was delicious, friendly, authentic, and had a live mariachi band. You know it’s a good restaurant when you see people from that culture eating there. I had a combo of a chicken taco and a chicken enchilada and it was perfect. This was a sit down dinner, reasonably priced for the quantity and quality provided.
- Chinese Chicken Salad– I did not know LA was famous for Chinese Chicken Salads until I searched it up. My friend who lives in LA took me to have a wonderful and refreshing Chinese Chicken Salad at Feast from The East.
- There are a lot of places I didn’t get to go to and a lot of foods I didn’t get to try. For my next trip I have already jotted down some must eats: Including, but not limited to, Korean BBQ, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, and some LA sushi. I wish I found this article earlier on my trip, it has some great suggestions. No amount of time would be enough to have all there is to eat in LA.
MUST SEES AND DOS
- Visit Santa Monica- SM is a must see. It was one of my favorite parts of my LA trip. Last time I came to LA I went to Venice Beach and I must say, I enjoyed Santa Monica significantly more. I didn’t dare touch the cold water but, I definitely enjoyed the view.
- Manhattan Beach- Much smaller than SM but, still a must see. I went just in time for the sunset and it was spectacular. I ate at Rock’NFish and had some deliciously fresh fish while, enjoying the sunset. Do not miss the opportunity of enjoying some ice cream at Manhattan Beach Creamery, trust me- it is worth breaking your diet!
- The Hollywood Sign– How to get the perfect picture with the Hollywood sign as a backdrop. This article, gives some picture spots you can go to. I went to Canyon Lake Drive (park your car by the dog park called Lake Hollywood Park) and got some awesome pictures.
- The Getty Center- You have to pay for parking BUT entry is free. I have never been to a museum like this. You can spend all day just admiring the architecture, gardens, and views of LA. I cannot wait to go back to this incredibly surreal place. The Getty Center makes you feel like you are in this beautiful and perfect other dimension.
- Griffith Observatory- The observatory has some great views. I went during the day but, I have heard it is much better at night. Admission to the Observatory buildings, grounds, telescopes, and parking is always free. The programs at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium do cost money ($5 for students).
- LACMA- The largest art museum in the western United States, with the famous lamp posts (they make for great pictures). This museum is huge and full of wonderful art. Only $10 for students!
- Chinese Theatre, Wax Museum, Hollywood Walk of Fame- ONLY if you have never been to LA and want to do something touristy. I did the Walk of Fame, Chinese Theatre, and Wax Museum on my first visit to LA. Anyone will tell you (especially, natives), that it is not worth it and there are so many better things to see. I think it’s something fun to do once and knock it off the bucket list. When you go, you may even get to see a movie premier red carpet event. When I went, I got to see the red carpet premier of Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (from a distance, of course).
-If you are traveling to LA in spring keep an eye out for the Jacarandas. I was in awe of these beautiful trees. This article gives some great insight on Jacarandas and where you can find them. I found a lot of them in Santa Monica.
I am by no means an expert on LA or a local; just simply sharing what I have learned from my visits.