Today we’re discussing a topic that’s near & dear to my heart: LOS ANGELES!
My love affair with LA began at thirteen years old, when I visited the city for the first time. The eternally-sunny weather & the gotta-get-somwhere-yet-still-chill energy had me hooked immediately. As I was making my first-ever designer purchase on Rodeo drive ( a pair of pink crystal Chanel earrings…. yeah, I had STELLAR taste at thirteen, HA ), I knew I had found my future home.
&, I’m not alone in my infatuation with this city. It seems like half of the DMs I receive on a daily basis revolve around LA: what to do, where to eat, where to shop, where to enjoy a cocktail ( or 5 ). I do have a more general Los Angeles guide, but sometimes it’s more fun to put these recommendations into context.
I’m partnering with Abercrombie & Fitch ( wearing their perfect-for-summertime denim ) to share with y’all how I would do a four-day staycation in the city I’m lucky enough to call home: Los Angeles, California.
A&F is the quintessential west-coast brand, so who better to bring around LA with me? You can pick up my full Abercrombie & Fitch look online, which I’ll link below. I’m into the all-white ( these high-waist white jeans are COMFORTABLE and are actually high enough in the waist area to be flattering ) looks lately.
shop my Abercrombie & Fitch denim + tank
I’ve chosen four different areas of LA to explore over the course of four days: Venice, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills & West Hollywood.
A local tip: spend the day in one neighborhood/area at a time, so traffic becomes somewhat of a non-issue ( it’ll always kind of be an issue, HA ). I can’t tell you how many of my friends have visited LA with grand plans of traversing the entire city, seeing the sites in a day. LOL. COMICAL. Y’ALL ARE FUNNY.
Los Angeles is…. HUGE. Like, really, REALLY, large. On top of that fact, the traffic here is legendary, in a bad way. It’s quite shocking how terrible it can be, honestly, and it seems people don’t understand completely until they experience it for themselves.
Traveling four miles from point A to point B in most cities is relatively simple; for example, it might take you 10-15 minutes MAX to travel 4 miles in my Texas hometown.
But, if you catch yourself out between the hours of 4-7pm, or in a particularly traffic-ridden area, 4 miles can feel like DAYS. So, in short: keep it simple. I’m going to make things easy for you, giving you the way I’d spend an entire day in each of the areas I’ve selected.
Sound good? Let’s DO LA GUYS, ahhhh, I’m excited.
Day 1: Venice
Where to Stay: AirBnb!
Yes, hotels are fun & all, but Venice has a vibe that begs you to stay there like a local. There are TONS of rustic Airbnbs in the Venice area, from beach-side locations, to on Abbot Kinney, to around the canals.
Breakfast: Butcher’s Daughter
I’m sure you’ve heard A LOT about Butcher’s Daughter from many-a-blogger here in LA. It’s a nice go-to for breakfast or brunch, and it’s on Abbot Kinney, which offers loads of entertainment for an after-breakfast stroll.
Lunch: The Rose Venice
This place is T R E N D Y, let me tell ya. Foodies flock here for The Rose’s unusual twist on classic foods. I just go for the ambiance and the drinks, honestly.
Day Drinking: Waterfront
If you’re vacationing in Los Angeles, and you’re over 21 ( duh ), you deserve a cocktail or two. Lately, my friends and I have been going to Waterfront in Venice during the day on the weekends. There may be a little bit of line, so go early!
What to Do: Enjoy the Sun
Walk down Abbot Kinney for some elevated shopping or walk down the boardwalk for some intense people watching ( two VERY different vibes, HA ). Also, the Venice canals are super cute. Whatever you do, make sure you spend the day outside!
A staple. A classic. I still, after YEARS of eating at Gjelina, absolutely love it. Make reservations. Get a few apps & the mushroom pizza, and end with the butterscotch dessert!
Going OUT out: The Lincoln
This is one of my favorite spots to grab a drink with friends at night! The Lincoln always has a good vibe and a chill crowd, which is VERY Venice.
Day 2: Santa Monica
Where to Stay: Shutters on the Beach
Shutters has been a well-known hotel for quite some time. Santa Monica hotels can be a bit tricky, because there aren’t that many great ones, but trust Shutters for sure. You’ll get the complete Santa Monica vibe there.
Breakfast: The Hive
One of my STAPLES! I love The Hive for both breakfast & lunch. It’s not at all sceney/annoying & all about quick and healthy food. I’m never disappointed by The Hive. Get an acai bowl for breakfast or, if you go for lunch, get the Flying Turkey Wrap. They also have green juices for a midday pick-me-up!
Lunch: Little Ruby
A trusted, healthy-ish, & booze-friendly spot, Little Ruby is a great mostly-outdoor restaurant to grab a bite and a drink with your girlfriends! I’ve been to this place pre-Bungalow ( see below ) more times than I can count.
Day Drinking: The Bungalow
This is a daytime bar I LOVE to hate & hate to love. I recommend experiencing the The Bungalow at some point, preferably after brunch & a few cocktails. The line can get long, so either go early or get a table ( if you have a big group, a table is the best option, as it can also get very crowded inside ).
If you’re visiting, & you’re looking for a place with an insane male-to-female ratio ( there are legit 5 dudes per girl here ), definitely stop by Bungalow. So, if you have the patience to converse with the plethora of chads, brads, and kevins, chances are you won’t be paying for a single drink all day, LOL.
What to Do: Relax!
I’m not going to recommend walking the promenade or going to the pier, because, honestly, these high-traffic areas are my nightmare. I know that they’re a tourist thing, but we’re doing things like a local around here.
If I find myself in Santa Monica on the weekend, it’s typically to RELAX, have a few drinks, and enjoy time with my friends.
This place at sunset is STUNNING. Definitely make sure to book a table online before your trip. As far as ordering, I recommend the truffle pizza, the pasta that includes truffle, and the squid ink pasta!
Going OUT out: Main Street
This area of Santa Monica is often over-looked by tourists, but main street is lined with bars, restaurants, & shopping! There’s a bar called The Victorian that gives me college frat house vibes ( its not for the faint-of-heart on the weekends ), and is a good place to start the bar-hopping excursion, as it’s usually pretty alive come Friday night.
Day 3: Beverly Hills
Where to Stay: Montage Beverly Hills or the Beverly Hills Hotel
I’ll worn you: neither of these options are affordable. At all. BUT– if you’re one to spend a little extra money while on vacation, have at it. The Montage is one of my favorite hotels in LA, because its BEAUTIFUL, but also because its situated in the heart of Beverly Hills proper. It’s literally in the middle of everything.
The Beverly Hills Hotel is an absolute institution here in LA. They go ABOVE & BEYOND for their guests, but you’ll definitely be paying for that type of service. The property is absolutely stunning. I’d recommend stopping by the BHH for a bite at the Polo Lounge or by the pool, regardless, because it’s something to see.
Breakfast: The Ivy
In typical Beverly Hills style, start out the day with a boujee breakfast at The Ivy. This restaurant is an absolute CLASSIC. Following your complimentary-upon-arrival glass of champagne, I recommend grabbing an almond milk latte ( the mugs are the size of bowls ) & the pancakes.
This is also a good lunch spot!
Lunch: Il Pastaio
If you’ve seen a paparazzi photo or video of Kendall Jenner, Haley Baldwin, Justin Bieber, etc, chances are you’ve seen Il Pastaio without even realizing. This italian spot seems to be a celebrity favorite. It’s very good, I will admit. They also have lots of gluten-free modifications for their extensive pasta menu, which is a BEAUTIFUL thing.
Definitely grab a glass of wine and some pasta while the paparazzi stalk the location & all the celebrity tour buses pass.
Things to Do: Shop!
Realistically, you won’t be doing “lots” of shopping around the Beverly Hills area ( bc expensive ), but if you’re looking to buy yourself something luxurious ( or window shop & lust after all the beautiful things! ), Rodeo Drive is the place to do it. The surrounding streets ( Beverly & Canon ) have plenty of slightly more affordable places to shop ( Planet Blue, & Other Stories, Intermix, etc. )
BH has and endless number of unreal, boujee restaurants, but I have to suggest Sugarfish SOMEWHERE in this guide. The Beverly Hills Sugarfish is noticeably less packed than the other locations around town ( because Beverly Hills slows down a lot after around 7pm, which is why I love living in this area! ). This STAPLE restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so “less-packed” is KEY.
The sushi at Sugarfish is truly something to behold. It’s an LA favorite. You have to experience the “trust me” menu in-person, because it’s just not the same when you get it to-go. You HAVE to eat here.
Day 4: West Hollywood
Where to Stay: The London or Petit Ermitage
The London has an elevated vibe, whereas Petit Ermitage is more intimate, but I love both of these hotels!
The London is ritzy & is located on Sunset, so you’ll be surrounded by all the energy of West Hollywood.
Petit Ermitage is the CUTEST hotel ever. The sunny rooftop is such a nice touch, and a great place to enjoy a drink or tea time in the afternoon. It’s magical.
Breakfast: Toast Bakery Cafe
A total crowd-pleaser. I’ve had a long-standing obsession with Toast since I was living in LA as an intern in college for a bit. The love affair isn’t fading anytime soon. My friends and I frequent this Toast on Sunday mornings, because it’s a perfect hangover-friendly breakfast spot. I always get an XL iced coffee & the two-egg breakfast plate.
Lunch: Joan’s on Third
Trust me. It’s a must. This quick lunch spot is everyone’s favorite. Get the Short Rib Sandwich, the Chinese Chicken Salad, or the Butter Lettuce Salad ( I remove the cranberries & add chicken ). After lunch, grab a latte + a pastry inside, and make sure to browse the little grocery store area!
Day Drinking: Skybar at Mondrian
If you want a poolside day drinking margs, Skybar seems to be a fan favorite. It’s on Sunset, so you’ll be surrounded by plenty of other spots for a daytime drink as well. I love a good hotel pool situation.
Things to Do: Explore + Shop
I recommend exploring Weho on a Sunday, so you can stop by the Melrose Trading Post, a flea market at the Fairfax High School. Ya gotta go. If you head to West Hollywood on another day, you can always shop the Melrose area for cute vintage finds and lots of trendy shops.
If you want to hang out somewhere a little more elevated, Melrose Place is a beautiful street with high-end stores ( & a Glossier! ) and cute coffee shops/juice places. Definitely stop into Alfred Tea Room for the photo in front of the pink entrance, HA.
I’m annoyed for being so West-Hollywood-girl right now, but then again I don’t care. I LOVE DELILAH. It’s a total scene and I’m here for it. You’ll definitely have to make reservations, and it isn’t cheap, but this 20’s-esque dinner spot combines good food with an intimate setting and many-a-celeb sighting, if that’s what you’re looking for.
After dinner, Delilah turns into more of lounge than a restaurant. It’s a V I B E.
I usually order the burger or the salmon, both with the french fries. The drinks are amaze as well.
Going OUT Out: oh, so many clubs/lounges
West Hollywood has a number of nightlife options. Looking for a rooftop spot? EP & LP is your place. In terms of “clubs,” I’m partial to Hyde, because I’m used to going there. Other popular spots are Bootsy Bellows, Blind Dragon, & Doheny Room. If you want to do it BIG, there’s always 1OAK ( *nervous laughter* ).
I also like spending a-little-more-chill late-nights at Delilah ( after a late dinner ) or Bar Marmont.
Whew– glad I finally had the chance to sit down & really THINK about what I would recommend to all of my friends ( y’all, of course ) if I had to narrow down my guide to specific locations in a realistic time-frame.
Of course, there are so many other restaurants, hotels, bars/clubs, & sites to see in LA, and I could list them endlessly. This city really is teeming with energy, opportunity, and new things to experience. I’m SO HAPPY to live here.
I highly recommend spending a few days in Los Angeles, ASAP, friends.
You can always check my story highlights on Instagram for all the places I frequent ( including workout classes, salons/spas, etc ) in real-time. Things are always changing around here.
LOVE Y’ALL. Talk soon. x