California Dreaming

Happy Friday friends!  Today I’m sharing a much overdue post about one of my favorite cities, Los Angeles, where we visited over this past Labor Day holiday. If you’ve ever been, you know what I mean when I say the city is bursting with cool things to do. From unique museums, Rodeo Drive shopping, and classic Hollywood sightseeing, there’s a little something for everyone. This was our second time visiting, and even when staying for nearly a week this time, I still feel like we’ve barely brushed the surface. Not to mention the restaurant scene is exploding right now with emerging chefs from all over the world making it one of the most exciting food towns in the county.

Where to Stay
We decided to try Airbnb for the first time, and ::drum roll:: it was a great experience! The house we rented was in the heart of Echo Park and equipped with a pool, a gas fire pit, and a wrap-around deck with views of the Hollywood sign. Our newest pooch Zoe, who’s small enough to fly in the cabin with us, came along and certainly appreciated the extra space as well. We even cooked dinner in one night, which was a nice break from dining out every night.

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Zoe basking in the sun on the deck of our Airbnb.

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The beautiful Echo Park was right around the corner from our Airbnb. A film crew was setup here one afternoon — so LA!

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Pool time with my Zoe girl!

 What to Do
One of our favorite things to do in LA is to check out the Melrose Trading Post, a market held every Sunday in the parking lot of Fairfax High School, offering handcrafted jewelry, local artwork, vintage tees, and antique pottery. Admission is only $3.00 and it’s a great spot to find a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

On our must-do list was hiking Runyan Canyon. Luck would have it that Los Angeles was experiencing a heat wave during our trip, so the 90 degree sun made the hike particularly challenging. BUT once made it to the top there was a nice shot of the Hollywood sign, as well as an amazing view of downtown LA, so it was 100% worth it.

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Something that’s been on my bucket-list was to see a taping of a live television show, so we were able to snag tickets for Dancing with the Stars from On Camera Audiences.  We’re not really fans of the show, but it was still interesting to see the behind the scenes of a live tv show.

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The judges — you can see Simon and Heidi sitting in their chairs.

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The GOAT Julia Roberts. If you ever see a taping at the Dolby Theater, definitely take some time to look around at the photographs from past Oscars.

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While you’re in the area, peruse the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Touristy yes, but still super fun!
You may know by now that we’re those weird childless Disney fans, which means we can’t make a trip to Southern California without checking out Disneyland. East Coasters will probably gasp blasphemy for this statement, but it’s actually our favorite of all the Disney parks!

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The money shot!

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A must.

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Dole Whips are LIFE.

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California Adventure Park.

Warner Brother Studio — we did this during our last visit, but it’s certainly worth another mention… please check it out if you visit LA! The tour takes you through a working prop room, a variety of film sets, some of which included Gilmore Girls and The Big Bang Theory,, and a huge costume display.  They even have a replica of Central Perk from Friends.

Where to Eat

Grand Central Market
A huge, amazing food market in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. A must visit!

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Enormous taco platters from Tacos Tumbras a Tomas.

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The BEST ice cream from McConnell’s.

Osteria Mozza
The “it” restaurant right now, co-owned by Nancy Silzerton (of the famed La Brea Bakery), Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich. Osteria Mozza was featured on an episode of Mind of a Chef. It was too dark to take pictures sadly!

Night + Market
Do you like Thai food? Okay trick question because doesn’t everyone? A cool hole-in-the-wall joint in the Silver Lake neighborhood. Super friendly staff considering how busy they always. The food is authentic and delicious.

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Beef Curry

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Crispy Rice Salad

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Shrimp and Green Beans Stir-fry

Melrose Umbrella Co.
Funky cocktail bar with an umbrella theme — dangerously good cocktails! A very “see and be seen” feel.

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Sqirl
A cute little cafe with a Los Angeles hipster vibe and delicious homemade jams.

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Sorrell Pesto Rice Bowl + Green Goddess Salad

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Brioche Toast with Ricotta + Jam

 

…Last but not least, I CAN NOT go to the West Coast without my In-N-Out fix. And yes, animal style all day everyday!

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Thanks for reading friends! Do you have any favorite spots in LA that I missed?!