48 Hours in LA
I love LA. The endless summers, convertibles, laid back style, trendy restaurants, healthy food, brilliant sunsets, and the iconic southern California lifestyle really makes me wish I had a second home there sometimes. LA is a state of mind and no matter where you go in the world, you can’t take it with you.
Unfortunately, living in Japan, I don’t get to travel back here often enough, but we usually make an effort to catch a weekend layover on every trip back to Japan. It’s not a lot of time, but it’s enough to get a feel. Writing this post brings back so many great memories and makes me miss this city tons. So here are some things we love to do with 48 hours in LA. I see now it mostly all revolves around food….
Hiring A Fun Rental
Half of our time in LA is usually spent cruising down the coastline, so renting your dream car is pretty much one of the most unforgettable ways to explore the city.
In-N-Out Burger Run
Nothing says welcome to California quite like sitting in that fast moving line at In-N-Out burger and then downing that Double Double like there’s no tomorrow. In-N-Out tastes way better too when I can only eat it once a year.
We love staying in West Hollywood. It’s in the middle of everything and has the best vibe. Our favorite hotel of choice is The Orlando Hotel. It’s a boutique hotel and is also quite affordable and located within short walking distance to a ton of shops and restaurants. And it also happens to be right across the street from Magnolia Bakery!
This NYC treat has made a name for itself out West. The location in West Hollywood is so charming and I personally prefer their cupcakes to Sprinkles. The bakery is prettier and they taste a lot lighter overall. And don’t forget to try their specialty Banana Pudding.
Santa Monica has been one of my favorite places in the world for as long as I can remember. There is just no place like Santa Monica! And perhaps the best thing about Santa Monica is that even after all the years I came here growing up, not much has changed with this place.
It still looks and feels exactly the same which is a wonderful feeling as time passes. Walking the promenade, watching street performers, or hanging out at the pier and renting some roller blades to ride down past Marina del Rey are some of my favorite things to do.
Strolling Down Venice Beach
Taste of Taco Trucks
I swear I actually eat quite healthy, but short trips to the States really test my temptations. Korean BBQ taco trucks are all the rage now and well, I can’t help myself sometimes. And neither can my husband. Although to be honest, I didn’t really care that much for the Kalbi tacos we had in Santa Monica. I’ve had way better and the Bulgogi tacos at Kogi are supposed to be a lot better.
Drinks or Dinner at The Roosevelt Hotel
As often as we’ve been to LA we never actually went to the Roosevelt Hotel before our last trip. It’s an icon and the home of so much old Hollywood history. Also if you’re a fan of Jimmy Kimmel, you can see who’s on and perhaps wait in line for a few hours to snag a last minute pass. We almost did this but decided against waiting. 48 hours in LA is not long enough!
Crashing the Oscars
Catching a play at The Pantages Theater
We recently saw The Book of Mormon and it was a ton of fun.
Cruise the PCH & Stopping Off at Duke’s Malibu
Nothing beats driving down the PCH, especially during sunset. We also love stopping at Duke’s Malibu for a drink or lunch along the way while sitting at a table next to the water and taking in the Pacific’s breathtaking views. I kinda like the vibe of this place. Plus, a long time ago back in 2006 we looked into this place to host our wedding reception….so pretty.
Hiking to the Hollywood Sign
Drinks at The Bazaar at SLS Beverly Hills
The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills is definitely worth checking out at least once. The decor is over the top, but The Bazaar is pretty interesting and the food is excellent. This place is a bit dressy and it’s sometimes hard to come across a table on a weekend. But the liquid nitrogen Caipirinha is impressive and the candy bar is also fun.
As for staying at the hotel itself, I was not that impressed with the SLS Beverly Hills. Back in the day, I can see how this place was all the hype. But we even got a suite upgrade and I felt like the room had a dirtier history than I’d care to know about. Little things were off and it was just too stark modern for my taste. But The Bazaar is worth a stop. Besides, the Morton’s and Fogo de Chao are right next door if you’re super hungry for a nice steak dinner.
Book Soup is like the LA version of Shakespeare and Company. Worth checking out.
Eating Some Delicious Vegetarian
Crossroads Kitchen was some of the best food we’ve had in LA. Ever. We wanted something healthier so we decided to try Crossroads Kitchen because of the stellar reviews and because it’s vegetarian. We actually lucked out because we flew into town and literally made no plans at all for dinner. Little did we know, we showed up with paparazzi waiting outside the door.
We walked in, it was super packed, but somehow we managed to snag a great seat. Dining out in LA is always an interesting experience because you never know who you’ll sit next to either. Our dinner entertainment came in the form of the chatty comedian sitting next to us who wouldn’t shut up about all his money. But it was an interesting night and the food was to die for….
Baking a Cake at Duff’s’ Cakemix
Right across from Crossroads is Duff’s Cakemix. When I first saw this studio, I had a five-year-old moment of excitement. The studio is so trendy and better yet, the entire day reminded me of an episode of Blind Date. Remember staying up late in high school watching daters hook up at random places like this around LA? I do.
Well, this place is the epitome of an LA Blind Date episode. But it’s perfect for girlfriends and families too. We decorated a fondant cake and Daniel even spent twenty minutes sculpting a chihuahua model of our dog. He’s never baked in his life, but he had the best time too. I have a ton of fun pictures from our excursion here so this week I’ll write a post on Duff’s and link it back.
That said, I’m not sure if there are any gluten-free alternatives. I have a slight wheat allergy so although I had the time of my life decorating the fondant cake, I couldn’t eat that much of it. I gave it to a friend though :(.
Jewish Deli Excursions
LA is home to some pretty awesome Jewish delis such as Langer’s and Canters. And well Canters has been in a number of TV shows and movies over the years (including my favorite show Curb Your Enthusiasm). Both of these places are iconic establishments in LA.
Hollywood Hills Garage Sales Hunting
We drove around Hollywood Hills in search of garage sales and stumbled upon a movie producer’s home. She had a ton of vintage magazines and interestingly, an original script from the movie Field of Dreams which is now on my coffee table.
Actually, Bull Durham is one of my favorite movies of ALL time but Kevin Costner plays a similar role in Field of Dreams so I figured this was the next best thing. But as I browsed around the sale I chatted with the producer who also worked on the set of Bull Durham!!
Too bad she didn’t have a script from that movie, but she also agreed about how brilliantly BD captures the culture of Southern baseball…and how gorgeous Susan Sarandon is. Seriously a great way to spend an afternoon.
Brunch in Brentwood
The Brentwood Country Mart is one of the more upscale complexes in LA and I’m not sure why it’s so famous. Nevertheless, I read about brunch at Farmshop so we decided to go…and we went twice. We liked it that much! I also discovered the wonderful world of homemade chocolate Almond Milk LA. I wish this could be our weekend brunch spot…
Watching the Sunset From Santa Monica Pier or Griffith Observatory
This view never gets old. I’ve watched this sunset almost every year since I was 14. Hope to get back here soon again.