La La Land

Prior to two weeks ago, the furthest West I’d been in the US was Omaha, Nebraska. This has long been an annoyance of mine since I was so very much interested in California when I was in high school. Fully vaccinated and planning a trip home for my birthday, I decided to add on a detour to LA before I returned to NYC. I went out and spent four nights in Hollywood, learning the lay of the land and hanging poolside with the locals and visitors alike. It was a palm tree filled dream come true, and I’m already planning my next trip to the West Coast. Extra special in that it was my first real travel “post-Covid,” LA will hold a special place in the heart for many reasons.

I arrived late Tuesday and kicked off Wednesday with a walk, shopping at my favorite thrift store on Melrose, and then reading by the pool where I met some plenty of tourist friends and some locals. THat night I went to a fabulous dinner near the hotel before finding a wacky sci-fi bar to drink with my new friends at.

Thursday morning I hiked Griffith Park Observatory and fell truly in love with LA. The rolling hills and views of the sprawling city were breathtaking and the vegetation is so different from anything on the East coast I was enjoying taking it all in. That afternoon I admitted defeat as a walker and rented a car, driving down Rodeo for coffee at a friend’s recommended spot before going to Venice Beach. I spent hours wandering oceanside, exploring the canals (Californication fan), and soaking in the sights of the boardwalk. I eventually went back to Hollywood to clean up for rooftop drinks paired with probably the best guac I’ve ever had.

My final morning in LA I drove up PCH trying not to wreck the rental while I watched the hordes of surfers in the waves. I hiked Los Liones, another recommendation, and marveled at the coastline from above and distant LA. I drove back and (sadly) returned my car before heading to Santa Monica Pier, a gorgeous and posh area full of sunny sights, where I met my NYC friend (an LA native) for margaritas. We ended up bouncing from SM to the hotel rooftop pool, then out in West Hollywood for rooftop drinks at EP&LP followed by dinner at Pump. It was the perfect end to a perfect vacation in the sun. I slipped away in the night for my 7am flight back to NYC and adjusted time zones by meeting up with my East coast friends for drinks into the night.

A perfect return to travel, LA was so much more than I expected as a New Yorker. I miss the palms and the dry heat but I know I’ll return before much time has passed!