City of Angels
After exploring the deserts of Southern California, we needed some time to chill at the ocean. We said hello to the Californian Pacific nowhere else than at the glamorous Venice Beach. Because we only had two nights in L.A., we tried to make the best out of it with a strong emphasis on relaxing.
Breakfast in Beverly Hills
To beat the traffic, we woke up early and decided to go for breakfast to Beverly Hills. In one of the hot spots of the foodie movement, it is easy to find a place and let the avocado and matcha latte vibe spoil your taste buds. We liked the sunny terrace and of course the food in the Urth Caffé.
On an early Sunday morning, you can chill on the sunny patio sipping your drink and watching the health-conscious locals returning from a dog walk or a morning run. We were wondering whether we would spot any celebrities, but they probably don’t pick up their morning coffee themselves. Or we were just terrible at spotting them 😉
After breakfast, we continued with a walk on the Rodeo Drive. A photo in front of the Beverly Wilshire, the hotel from Pretty Woman movie, was a must. By the time we got to the Beverly Hills Sign, the sun had illuminated it perfectly well for one more photo session.
A short visit to Hollywood
A visit to L.A. wouldn’t be complete without catching a glimpse of Hollywood. We started at the Grand Staircase of the Dolby Theatre, the place of the Oscar ceremony since 2002. We chose our favourite movies from the winners of the Academy Awards and posed for a photo in front of one of the Art Deco columns.
Did you know? At Dolby Theater, there are blank spots for the future best pictures until 2071.
Then we rambled on the Walk of Fame. In the morning the streets just started to fill up. Therefore, it was possible to take a picture with our favourite star without getting knocked over.
We tried to fit into Donald Duck’s footprints in front of the Chinese Theatre. Finally, we headed for the Hollywood Sign viewpoint on the second floor of the Babylon Courtyard.
By that time the streets had filled up and a mosaic of Wookies, Darth Vaders and Harry Potters tried to draw our attention, we were ready to relax and drove back to Venice.
Good to know: There’s a convenient parking lot directly adjacent to the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Parking. Parking is cheaper if you buy something at the Babylon Courtyard and get the ticket validated.
Afternoon in Venice
Together with Copacabana, Bondi, and Waikiki, Venice Beach belongs to World’s most famous beaches. From the time of Charlie Chaplin’s Kid Auto Races at Venice movie, the place has attracted the pretty and the freaks, the poor and the rich, and most of all, the eccentrics from all over the World. Venice is an actual embodiment of the Californian dream.
Because of the cold California current, the water temperature hardly ever rises above 20°C (70°F), so an hours-long splashing in the sea is off limits. That doesn’t make the beach life any less attractive. We took a refreshing dip in the Pacific. The waves didn’t worry us, because a lifeguard tower was always in sight.
We wandered around the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk – a must do in L.A. – and got lost in a kaleidoscope of freak shows, roller skating dance performances and bicycle stunts. On the ocean front walk, we passed by the Venice Skate Park.
Another iconic landmark is the Muscle Beach and its outdoor gym, the place where Arnold Schwarzenegger lifted himself to fame. If you feel strong enough, you can try some equipment yourself, but bring much self-esteem.
Tip: The best time for a stroll along the Pacific in Venice is afternoon and early evening. As the sun gets down, the light becomes phenomenal.
Venice is also known for its vibrant art life. If you have time to spare, check out the colourful facades transformed into artworks. You’ll find them almost around every corner.
Fans of modern architecture shouldn’t miss the Abbot Kinney Boulevard and Venice canals. For us, however, original Venice is only 500 kilometres away from our hometown. So we preferred to spend our evening at the Boardwalk until late into the night.
Good to know: Hotel prices in Venice are horrendous. Be prepared to pay >250 $ per room per night in a good mid-range hotel. We liked our room at the Kinney Hotel, a hip property less than a mile away from the Boardwalk. To get to the beach, you can use one of the electric scooter companies such as Bird. However, we found uber more convenient.
Part 1: From Las Vegas to Joshua Tree
Part 2: Joshua Tree National Park
Part 3: Venice Beach (You are here)
Part 4: On the Road in the Sierra Nevada
Part 5: Yosemite (Coming soon)
Part 6: San Francisco and the Bay area (Coming soon)