My Favorite Things to Do in L.A.

Before coming home, I had one last stop: visiting one of my best friends in Los Angeles.  I stayed with Nic at her place in Silverlake, a really cool neighborhood in Hollywood.  Here are some of the most enjoyable things I did:

Checking out the beaches

Despite living in a beach town in Thailand, I’m still not tired of going to the beach.  Beach trips in January are a bit different, but you can still appreciate the serene beauty of the ocean and surrounding area.  My second day in town, I headed to Venice.  While my first order of the day was shopping, I kept walking down to the beach.  It was a grey, drizzly day, but the beach itself was still pretty nice.

While it is a bit of a drive, a much more beautiful beach is El Matador in Malibu.  Nic was kind enough to drive there, and we both took in the stunning sunrise.  As I walked down the beach, I saw plenty of photographers taking pictures.  I wasn’t the only one who wanted to capture the gorgeous early morning light!

Visiting museums

Any regular reader will know I really enjoy visiting art museums.  When I heard about The Broad, with its pieces by Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Basquiat, and many other artists I really like, I knew I had to go.  What I didn’t know is that everyone else in L.A. wanted to go, too!  It took about an hour to actually get into the museum (they had predicted 3), and an addition 2 and a half to enter the Infinity Mirrored Room.  However, to me, it was completely worth it!

The museum has a fantastic collection of modern art pieces, and is well curated.  Almost as enjoyable as seeing the art is watching fellow visitors take selfies with the art.  I was no exception.  The Broad has many really unique pieces that call for photography.  The Infinity Mirrored Room was easily my favorite part.  An art installation by Yayoi Kusama, the room is truly breathtaking.

Afterward, I headed across the street to the Museum of Contemporary Art.  While I did enjoy it, I didn’t feel the collection was worth the $15 admission fee, especially when the much more impressive Broad Museum was free.

Shopping

I love clothes, so shopping in L.A. was a must for me.  My first stop was Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.  The vast majority of clothes offered here were way out of my budget, but very beautiful to look at.  However, as the after-Christmas sales were still in full swing, I was able to get a cozy, 70’s inspired flannel jacket for half price from Graham & Spencer.

For (sometimes) more affordable shopping, I also really enjoyed checking out the vintage stores in Los Feliz.  This was easily my favorite neighborhood of the few I was able to check out during my time in Los Angeles.  It has some cute restaurants, quirky bookstores, and stores that carry everything from flapper costumes to grandpa sweaters.

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Universal Studios

What’s the point of going to L.A. and not going full-tourist at least once?  Nic and I did that at Universal Studios.  Prior to going, I thought the $100 admission cost would not really be worth it, but I was wrong.

While smaller than the park in Orlando, for a nerd like me, Harry Potter World was amazing!  It’s adorable, and really well done.  I think my favorite part was waiting in line for the main ride, as that was when you got to walk through Hogwarts, seeing talking portraits and artifacts from the books all along the way.  The rides themselves are more tailored to children and not particularly thrilling, but they are still fun and worth one go.  Everything here is very expensive though, and I opted to skip out on buying a scarf and treat at Honeydukes as I had planned for this reason.

(Just a tip: if you want to get sorted, go to the back of Filch’s Emporium.  One of the “students” there will let you use the Sorting Hat for free!)

Other sections of Universal were just as cool. The Simpsons’ area had lots of cool nods to the show, and the Jurassic Park ride was the best of the day.  The Walking Dead walk-through, however, is pretty disappointing.  You’d be safe skipping it if you’re low on time.

One thing you should not skip, however, is the studio tour.  It’s really cool to see sets from movies and television shows like Psycho, Jaws, and even Desperate Housewives.   The Psycho set was my favorite, as you even got a glimpse at Norman Bates himself!  It’s a bit cheesy, but very charming and informative, and the guides keep you engaged.

All my love ❤

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