24 hours in Los Angeles
Last month, I planned a few vacation days in Palm Springs, California. When I booked our flight tickets, I quickly realized the Montreal-Palm Springs flights options were very limited, but the easiest (and cheapest) way to get there is still to land in Los Angeles and rent a car. And, if you are connecting in LAX, might "as well" enjoy it a little!
Due to the time zone changes (Montreal-Los Angeles flights often arrive late morning, local time) we rented a car (no choice here ... Los Angeles is a city where car is king, public transportation is not optimal and all the main attractions are quite far apart, so unfortunately, a car is a must when you want to visit Los Angeles and, especially, while time is running out!) and we immediately made our way to Dominique Ansel - The Bakery, the first West Coast location of the Cronut Inventor.
At Dominique Ansel Los Angeles, you can choose to eat in the "restaurant" section located on the 2nd floor or simply in the "pastry" area located on the ground floor. There's always a lineup, but it's moving fast enough and it's worth the wait. Do not miss the Cronut of the moment, and if you are not too jet lagged, the "frozen smores" lollipop, an exclusivity of the Californian pastry, is a must.
After an hearty lunch, we head to our hotel for a few hours of rest and to enjoy the weather. And, in Los Angeles, it is (almost) always warm and sunny ! At the very cool London West Hollywood hotel, you (almost don't need your car) as you can walk to Santa Monica Boulevard, where restaurants, shops and trendy cafes follow one another (a favorite spot is Salt & Straw ice cream shop, located a short walk from the hotel) .
This luxury boutique hotel is unique for several reasons: first of all, the two mascots are ... English bulldogs who live permanently in the hotel. Winston and Churchill welcome guests in the lobby and we will see them for the (short) duration of our stay. It's original, let's face it, and pretty cute! What other hotel can say they count two adorable dogs among their staff? I also particularly liked the gorgeous rooftop pool which offers incredible views of the popular "Hollywood Hills".
Also, big plus: the breakfast is included (it should always be, in my opinion!) the rooms are huge and they all have a nice balcony to enjoy the weather and the view ... without having to have to leave the comfort of your hotel room! I just love it. I also found out that the Boxwood on the Roof restaurant had just opened on the rooftop of the hotel, right next to the pool. They serve everything we want to eat when the mercury climbs: ice cream, a huge variety of sundaes, cocktails, salads and a "raw bar".
A visit to Los Angeles is not complete without a stop at the Griffith Observatory. We wait until the end of the afternoon, when the sun (and temperature) begins to drop, to enjoy without being struck by the heat. There are several ways to get there: by car, bike or on foot! Indeed, several hiking trails are accessible from all over the city and allow to go to the most famous observation site in the country. A great opportunity to hike through the Los Angeles hills and visit one of its main attractions!
Good restaurants abound in Los Angeles: Pizzeria Mozza, Spago by Wolfgang Puck, The Bazaar by Jose Andrés, Republic LA, etc, but it's in Venice Beach that we go thee days to discover the new and very interesting restaurant concepts that recently opened. The Butcher's Daughter (a vegan restaurant with an evocative name!), Gjelina and her delicious and unpretentious take-out pizza counter, Superba Food + Bread and her decadent brunches, etc. Venice Beach is definitely cool and worth the trip. Even if Google Map plans a 30-minute drive between Los Angeles and Venice Beach, double that, as well as all your other trips in this ultra-congested city, by the way!
Here are few other suggestions:
Los Angeles Grand Central Market: This indoor market located downtown is the perfect place for foodies. You can do groceries there as well as eat, have a snack, a drink, an ice cream among others - the gourmet counters are not lacking and are all more attractive than the others!
The Hollywood Sign: Did you know that it is illegal to get (too) close to the famous HOLLYWOOD sign perched in the hills of Mount Lee? It is necessary to be well advised and to stick to the "official" points of view of the city, to avoid a salty fine.
Beverly Hills: The city of Beverly Hills is independent of the greater Los Angeles area and has its own police department, city hall and other services. It is impressive to walk there to admire its gigantic houses and streets lined up with trees perfectly identical and beautifully cut (yes, yes). We just walk on Rideo Drive and we put ourselves in "Pretty Woman" shoes.