Thursday, October 23, 2014

Exploring: Los Angeles

I am so excited that Hope is letting me share my recent trips with you! It's been a good Summer and Fall for travel in my family. First the Jersey Shore, then Connecticut and most recently, Los Angeles.

My husband Ben and I took our first trip without our new baby, Jack. It was a sort of anniversary trip, because our wedding anniversary was the next week, but most of all it was to see our favorite funny man, Craig Ferguson! We were only gone for two nights, but we packed a lot in!

We arrived in LA from Pittsburgh after one layover quite tired and low on cell phone battery (we later found the usb charger in the glove box of our rental car). So we decided to just head straight for our hotel, The Ace Hotel in Downtown LA. It is one of the coolest hotels I have ever stayed in and probably will ever stay in! It was hip beyond belief, with local artists work on the walls, a photo booth in the lobby and so many fashionable people in every space! Our medium sized room was laid out unlike any hotel room I've known. I loved the use of space and the attention to detail. All of the normal hotel appliances, like the hair dryer, iron, etc. were in matching canvas bags, the mini bar had local and artisanal snacks and drinks, and the TV was interactive. That night we also ate at the hotel's restaurant, LA Chapter. We started our meal with homemade ricotta and figs and that set the tone of the meal...everything delicious. After a filling meal we headed back to our room for some shut eye to prepare for a busy day of exploring LA.

On tap for the day was the Original LA Flower Market, a lovely way to spend $4 and browse isles and isles of flowers, then the Grand Central Market for breakfast, more on that to come! Then we left Downtown LA and headed to museum row on the Miracle Mile. We spent time exploring the outside of the LA County Museum of Art, which has some fabulous modern art outside of the actual building. Then we walked around the famous Tar Pits, followed by a quick lunch of tacos from a food truck!

It was nice to explore a bit of LA before standing in line for hours at the CBS Studios to see Craig Ferguson. But it was well worth it! We were in the front row and got to see not only Craig, but Scary Spice, Ben Schwartz and Sir Ben-freaking Kingsley! We could not have gone for better guests! Our last stop for the day was Santa Monica Pier for a dinner of tacos, yes more tacos. I couldn't get enough! This time we had fish tacos and they were so. so. good.

For our final day in LA I really wanted it to be relaxing. We took our time enjoying the last bit of the hotel and sleeping in our own bed, without a baby. Then we had one of my favorite meals of the trip at Republique! I am dying to go back there for pastries, lunch and dinner! We spend about 30 minutes at the (busy and crowded) Chinese Theater and Walk of Fame so that we could say we saw it, and then since it was Ben's first time in California I wanted to take him for a drive on Highway 1. We drove to Malibu and stopped at the beach so he could dip his toes in the Pacific Ocean! It was nice to not have a destination, but we ended up with more time than we expected, so on our way to the airport we made a last stop at Venice Beach to watch the sun start to set. From there we hopped on a late flight home and were in Pittsburgh by noon the next day.

I can't believe how much we packed into a two day trip, but I honestly didn't feel rushed at all! It was definitely helpful to have planned so much of it beforehand and it was just a matter of plugging the addresses into googlemaps. Speaking of technology, a huge component of my planning for this trip was Instagram, I started following several LA-based Instagrammers/bloggers who geotag a lot of their photos. It was as though I had a local telling me personally where to eat and what to visit! Definitely an invaluable travel resource that I will absolutely use again! I can't wait to return to the Golden State...maybe a drive from Big Sur to San Francisco next time!

Stay tuned for posts about where I ate in LA!  

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