Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

I have visited Los Angeles thrice in the past three years and for three very different reasons. My first visit was in December 2016 to spend a day at Universal Studios. During my second visit, I was attending a conference at Long Beach in October 2018. My latest visit was last month to meet two of my closest friends. There are so many things to do and spots to see in and around LA that a trip or two is not enough! In this blog, I have blended my experiences in the most concise way possible and I hope you enjoy it!

Where Did I Stay?

During my visit to the conference, I stayed at the Westin Long Beach. For my recent visit, I stayed over at my friend’s place in Pasadena. My suggestion would be to plan your stay based on your itinerary as tourist attractions are scattered all over and around LA.

Where Did I Eat?

While I ordered quite a few times on Uber Eats, I wanted to point out some cafés I really enjoyed.

Crepes De Paris (84 S Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena)

They’re well-known for their sweet and savory crepes.

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Crepes de Paris

Sprinkles (9635 S Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills)

The Beverly Hills location has a Sprinkles ATM where you can “withdraw” a cupcake similar to withdrawing money at the ATM.

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Sprinkles ATM

The best part? The ATM is open 24 hours and restocked with fresh cupcakes and cookies! P.S. – They also have vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free cupcakes.

Great White (1604 Pacific Ave, Venice)

A casual café restaurant that’s well-known for its fresh ingredients and amazing decor.

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Breakfast at Great White

What Did I See?

Universal Studios

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Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is a theme park and a film studio that offers plenty of rides ranging from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Simpsons Ride, WaterWorld, Jurassic World and much more!

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

They even have a Studio Tour that takes you through four acres of the studio showcasing some interesting sites on the way. While you can choose to do what you want, spare a day here to enjoy it to the fullest!

Long Beach
The sixth-largest city in California, Long Beach is right on the coast and will give you a very small-town kinda feel. Surrounded with tall palm trees and the Pacific Ocean, it was a delight to stay here for a few days. It’s about an hour’s drive from LA when there isn’t much traffic.

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Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach is a few miles south of Long Beach. The pier at the beach is one of the longest on the West Coast, measuring about 1850 feet in length. Here’s where I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets too! It’s a little less crowded than the other piers so you can plan to walk on the pier to watch a sunset and then grab a meal right as you get off it!

Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a 15-block sidewalk that has over 2500 stars on it. Now, you might end up spending a lot of time here looking for your favorite starts but here’s a little tip – the area around the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theater is where the major ones are (you’re welcome).

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Hollywood Walk of Fame

The TCL Chinese Theatre even features handprints from some major celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Robert Downey, Jr., the Harry Potter cast, and many more! Needless to say, my phone is filled with pictures of stars and handprints from this trip!

Urban Light

Even if you’re not a museum person, my advice would be to visit the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to see the Urban Light installation at the Wilshire Boulevard entrance.

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Urban Light

The installation that was opened in 2008 consists of restored street lamps all the way from the 1920s! I went there in the night to see them all lit up and it was a delight to my eyes. If you want a picture of yourself here without people photobombing the image, visit very early in the morning!

Beverly Hills
Home to several Hollywood stars, Beverly Hills features the Beverly Gardens Park, Rodeo Drive, and the historic Greystone Mansion.

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Rodeo Drive

A quick stroll around Rodeo Drive and you’ll walk across some of the most expensive and luxurious brands around the world. You can also spot some expensive cars like the Rolls Royce! A fun fact – the House of Bijan which is the most expensive store in the world is located here and requires a reservation to shop!

Venice Beach and Canals
Venice is a buzzing beach town known for its funky shops, murals, and bohemian spirit. Venice Beach is a favorite surf-spot for the locals and a relaxing spot for tourists to walk around and enjoy the cool breeze.

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Venice Canals

The Venice Canal Historic District is well-known for its man-made canals, built to look like the canals of Venice, Italy. The neighborhood consists of residential houses right on the canals along with bridges and sidewalks that help you navigate through the canals. Imagine stepping out of your house and getting this view every single day!

Santa Monica Pier

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The Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is a large pier in California that’s over 100 years old. It’s about a 45-minute walk north of Venice Beach and quite crowded at almost all times! You can walk on the pier till the end or do fun things like ride the Ferris wheel, visit the aquarium, trapeze over the pier and cycle. Want to know an interesting fact? The pier marks the end of the famous Route 66 connecting LA to Chicago!

Griffith Observatory

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Griffith Observatory

If you’re into Astronomy, you must have heard about the Griffith Observatory! The Observatory houses various interesting exhibits like the Tesla Coil, Foucault Pendulum, Zeiss Refracting Telescope, etc. The Tesla Coil isn’t operational all the time though. There’s a schedule posted for when it’ll be in action; if you’re interested in seeing it live. From the open deck, you’ll get splendid views of Downtown LA, the Hollywood Sign, and even the Pacific Ocean on a clear day!

Pasadena
Pasadena is a pretty little town located north-east of LA and surrounded by the mountains.

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Sunset at Pasadena

Don’t be fooled by its size, because Pasadena has more restaurants than you can imagine! It’s buzzing with life, every corner you turn.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • I cannot talk enough about the LA traffic. It’s always “rush hour” in LA. Account for traffic, whether you’re driving or riding in an Uber.
  • Public transportation isn’t the best, but it can sometimes help you avoid traffic. Here’s more information on different metro lines in LA.
  • While traveling in public transportation, be aware of your surroundings and take care of your belongings.
  • If you plan your trip early enough, check for flights going to Burbank instead of LA. It’s a very small airport in Hollywood but you’ll avoid the traffic going from LAX to LA!
  • While the entry to the Griffith Observatory is free, the show tickets cost about $7 for adults and the parking costs about $8 – $10 per hour. You can also hike up to the Observatory!

Of course, I had more on my “to-do list” but not enough time to cover it all. Do you have any interesting suggestions for LA? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

4 Comments on “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

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