Travelling the United States of America: Los Angeles

Los Angeles

The city of angels – or not so! Lifestyles of the rich and famous with a mixture of sun and surf

 

Day five – arrived in LA (no drama, yay) 

We had an early flight from Vegas, which went quick because I was chatting to an older guy who is a huge believer in Scientology and then we were back at LAX, this place again. We worked out an airport shuttle bus to our hotel – Dunes Inn on Sunset – would be cheaper than an Uber with all our bags. Although the lady selling tickets for the bus was rude, it was all organised and we got to our hotel in good time.

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Downtown LA

Most hotels in the US have a standard 2-3pm check in, so we dropped the bags off and went for a walk to explore. This hotel, although not the nicest going round and reminded as of a place people go to have affairs, it was cheap, close to the train station and in a prime location! With Denny’s down the road we were set.

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Eating our way through America

The public transport in LA is pretty easy, we got a weekly pass for the metro (for about $30) and off we went to Hollywood Boulevard, which was only a few stops away. Although people say Hollywood Boulevard is too busy and dirty, I love it! All the shops, the entertainers, the walk of fame, it is all great to me.

Andddd they have a Hooters, which if you like chicken wings is music to your ears! So time for BBQ wings, blue cheese sauce (proper blue cheese sauce) and a gummy bear shot to get us going! At least one thing you can guarantee at Hooters is the service is good!

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Hollywood sign view

So check out the Chinese Theatre, the Dolby Theatre and all the famous hand and foot prints in the concrete. If you want a nice distant view of the Hollywood sign, head up the stairs next to the Dolby Theatre where all the shops are and you will see a bridge from one side of the shops to the other, up on the bridge is a nice view of the sign!

To book tours and get all the latest information on what to do in LA, you will find in at Hollywood Boulevard, or on the train! They have brochures and all useful information, this is where I found how we were getting to the baseball that night. Whilst at Hollywood Boulevard we also booked our spot on the TMZ bus for a few days time.

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Chinese Theatre

We headed back to the hotel to check out our room, it wasn’t huge like Vegas but it served us fine. The rooms were clean and it was a great location.

Next stop, baseball! LA Dodgers vs San Diego Padres at Dodgers Stadium, we headed back to the train and to our favourite station, Union Station.

It was all very well organised, from the train there were signs to direct everyone to the bus terminal outside where we got a bus to Dodgers Stadium! I recommend the bus big time! The banter on the bus was brilliant, everyone was so excited.

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Walk of Fame

Dodgers Stadium was impressive! We did get lost finding our gate, but it was good to see different parts of the venue. First stop was to get the LA Dodgers hat and a foam finger, also a standard tourist move. Once we found the gate we received free portable phone chargers as a promo, what a win! Especially when travelling – hot tip: buy a portable phone charger for travelling.

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Go Dodgers

Our seats were cheap but we could still see everything, great view! Another hot tip: food at the baseball is average and expensive. But the atmosphere was good – even though the game was pretty boring, and Dodgers got smashed.

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#1 fans

Although baseball wasn’t my favourite American sport I had been to, the atmosphere was good and the experience was still worth checking, maybe if the game was better I would have liked it more. I also learnt about a baseball tradition, which was playing the “Take me out to the ball game” song towards the end of the match. This is when everyone gets up and sings, they love it!

The busses were packed and we did wait a while, but it saved getting an Uber all the way back.

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First baseball experience

This was the night I discovered my true love, cheesy jalapeno Cheetos from the 7/11 next to our hotel. I asked the two guys working behind the counter for a recommendation and this is what they gave me. I was in love, they also loved my enthusiasm for those chips!

Day six – do I say more,? James CORDEN! 

First thing we did on our full day in LA was Denny’s for breakfast! The meals are huge and the sides that come with your meal are just as big and it is so cheap, so fill up and get ready for a big day!

One massive recommendation when you’re in LA is obviously Griffith Observatory, the views of LA are breathtaking, I could spend hours up there taking it all in! You can see the Hollywood sign, but if you want a good view and good photos of the sign, take the massive hiking trail there, massive is no joke. One day I will get time to do it!

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Incredible view

So that was our first stop after breakfast and after the Uber driver drove us to the opposite side of Griffith Park – although interesting to see – we finally made it and could take in the amazing views. Watching La La Land on the plane it was interesting to see the locations from the movie!

After getting 1,000,000 photos of LA and the Hollywood sign we decided to work back to our hotel. It was a hike but along the journey we took a short cut down a cliff face, saw a coyote and took in all the amazing houses with their gardeners and probably Olympic sized pools in the backyard.

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Look to my right and I see the Hollywood sign

Back to the hotel, after that huge walk on a hot day, and it was time to get ready for James Corden’s Late Late Show!! We scored tickets for free by going to his show website and putting a request in, make sure you do this a month or two before you go!

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Beautiful houses in LA

This is filmed at CBS Studios located near The Grove. Before the show we headed to the Farmer’s Market for lunch. They have so many great stalls and amazing food, definitely worth having a look! I went to Nonna’s Empanadas and got a mac and cheese pasty as well as a Mexican style one. They were yum. They have so many different fillings to choose from, which were incredible and you can tell they are homemade.

Then it was time to wait in the heat for a few hours before the show started. To work out the audience for a live show, tickets holders have to line up super early,  but more reason to make friends in the line. We met people from Canada and the UK!

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Griffith Park

So if you get tickets for the James Cordon show and you have ‘priority’ on your ticket, that means great things! Once we entered the CBS lot we were sat undercover in rows of where we would be seated, and we were at the front. We thought this could mean good things. While you wait you have the opportunity to use the toilet, which I highly recommend – and you can browse the gift shop. They also have a carpool karaoke cut out that you can get a photo with.

After waiting – at least not in that sun – we were taken to the studio and seated as allocated by our wrist bands. Heads up, if your wristband is gold, this means great things for you! We were sat right at front row on the comfortable arm chairs, what a win!

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The Late Late Show with James Corden

As they film, they do a few takes and you just have to make sure you cheer and clap as loud as you can to get James up and about! It was so much fun and I recommend doing to a talk show if you get the chance and plan ahead!

The episode we were on can be seen below. We witnessed Dami Lovato have a riff-off with James and also Rupert Friend and Charlie Hunnam joined the show. Charlie is very very beautiful in person! Sitting front row he even gave us a cheeky thumbs up in the ad break!

At the end of the show Reggie was doing his end of show song and serenaded Hayley! Overall it was such a great experience and was so much fun to be apart of.

 

After the show we headed to Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill because we couldn’t leave the US without trying a grill restaurant. It was decked out western style and the menu options were endless! I got the all American baby-back ribs with a side of loaded mashed potato, yumm the food was great! The mashed potato in America is so good, a must try!

You can’t finish the night at The Grove without shopping, so that is actually what we did! The Grove has so many great brand name shops and many celebrities have been spotted there regularly.

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Love that American food

 

Day seven – road trip  to San Diego with a few disasters!  

Day seven can be read by visiting my blog here.

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San Diego

Day eight – Universal Studios adventures and roof top bars

Time to get up and become a big kid for the day and head to Universal Studios! Having great access to the metro meant we could get on and head straight to Universal City. I suggest staying near this train line! First stop before Universal had to be breakfast, we stopped at Hollywood Boulevard and headed to Mel’s Drive In, I felt like I just stepped into the movie Grease, love the American diner though! The Mexican scrambled eggs was pretty good, but Denny’s was still my favourite.

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That globe photo

Next stop Universal Studios! If you are catching public transport, once you get off head up the hill to the open bus that will drive you up the very steep hill to the entrance, don’t attempt to walk! Don’t forget to get your tourist photo at the globe on your way in, also don’t feel bad about yourself if there are young flexible cheerleaders who pose cheer style next to you, you still look good in  your snap!

What a place! So many great worlds, rides, food and everything else! They have boards so you can plan your rides and where you go first. The studio tour is great to go behind the scenes, Simpsons World is a personal favourite and Harry Potter land was the best part of the park! Last time Harry Potter it was getting built so I was so excited to spend time exploring! The ride, although is a long wait was easily the best ride at Universal. All the shops and the attention to detail was incredible!

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Ready for Hogwarts

Hot tip: No matter what they say, you will get very wet on the Jurassic Park ride. With so many food outlets at Universal don’t go to the stock standard food carts, go to a restaurant in the different worlds! They have so many different options and although they probably cost a little bit more, they are worth it! We had lunch at Three Broomsticks in Harry Potter land. The line was long but inside it was set out so perfectly, I felt like I was in a different time! I tried the stew in a bread bowl with the butter beer pudding, the pudding was so sweet but so good and the food was at least a healthier option!

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Duff Gardens – gorgeous girls

If you are a Walking Dead fan, you will love the walk through ride they have! Not only did I get spear tackled by Ashlee after she was grabbed by a walker, but I think I didn’t stop screaming the whole time! It was set out just like the show and it was actually terrifying! Kudos to the zombies for staying in character.

Universal is such a huge day, you do spend time in line so if you are an social like us you will find a lot of time to talk to new people in line, and if you are from another country, Americans are definitely up for a chat. Spring was also a lot busier than when I went in winter the first time.

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Harry Potter Land

Before you leave, don’t forget to get a giant donut from Lard Lad in the Simpsons world!! That was part of an early dinner/snack, it was so delicious and so fatty at the same time! Make sure you get another Instagram photo with it though!

By the end we could barely walk properly, but it was a great day! We got soaked on the Jurassic Park ride, lost breath from screaming on all the rides and made fun of ourselves in every photo we were in on the roller coasters.

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Childhood favourite

But it was was a Friday night so it was definitely a must to check out a bar! Before leaving I heard about a new rooftop in LA that was owned by an Australian! Called E.P & L.P it was a really cool rooftop that definitely gave off Melbourne vibes and had great views! We met another Australian at the bar and made use of the photo booth with some new friends. One place you will always make friends, the toilet! We made friends with a very drunk and very funny American who introduced as to her family and just wanted to hang out with us! This is why I love travelling, making random friends!

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One big donut

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Hogwarts!

After a few vodka, lime and sodas it was time for a late night dinner, Denny’s?? We ordered steak and mash and so much food! Although our waitress spilt milk all over our table and all through our handbags, we did feel extremely sorry for her and still enjoyed our Denny’s experience just as much, if not more!

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Denny’s is the best

Day nine – Rodeo Drive and drunk club crawls! 

Another day and another day I was so thankful we stayed near the metro. We headed down to Hollywood Boulevard to find someone to book a club crawl through and the costume shop we had heard great things about.

No one in the main area were selling or knew where to buy club crawl tickets, so instead we headed past all the Hollywood museums and down to the costume shop – hot tip: if you want a GPS and don’t have WiFi, download the Trip Advisor app and download the maps of the cities you are visiting so when you have no internet you still know where you are! They even pin point your movement!

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Spending my life savings

Along the way, what do we spot? A girl selling club crawl tickets! She gave us a great deal and some good advice on what to drink to get very drunk, it is called Adios Mother F#$%^@. So if you want to go on the club crawl head towards Hollywood Toys and Costumes and they have a team down there.

Next stop, only the best costume shop ever! Hollywood Toys and Costumes is easily the biggest costume shop I have ever seen, if you have any dress up parties coming up when  you get home, head there! The staff are super friendly, they let you try things on and yes they have the most ridiculous costumes you could think of!

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Rodeo Drive

So it wouldn’t be a trip to LA without stopping at Rodeo Drive, shopping paradise! The streets are super clean, the palm trees even look fancy. So if you do buy anything in Rodeo Drive, make sure you do what I did, buy your purchase and get your picture under the Rodeo Drive street sign, just so you can feel rich for a moment, then go somewhere cheap for lunch or dinner because you have spent well over you daily limit!

Even the Ubers are fancier in Rodeo Drive, we got picked up in a white BMW, to get dropped off that the most fanciest place everrr!! In N Out burger.

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Best burger

But you need to try this burger place, they make amazing burgers! The one on Sunset Boulevard is always super busy so if you go with anyone get them to order while you spot for a table. Some couple called me over for their table, bless! The burgers are cheap and the food is good and apparently they have a secret menu if you ask them.

Then it was time to get ready for the club crawl!!

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Beautiful views

As part of the club crawl we went to the following places:

  • The W Hotel – (free shot) a nice outside hotel bar with open fire places and a really chill vibe to start, this is where we met Andre a guy who goes on the crawl every weekend because it is cheaper than one club entry! What a great call.
  • The Room – (free shot and pizza) another bar, pretty small but really busy. This is where we tried the Adios Mother F#$%^@ and that nearly set us for the night, it is a very very strong drink. We made a group of friends here, they followed us to the next place!
  • Couture – (free drink) more of a club, pretty quiet but played awesome RnB music! We met three brothers from Canada, really fun people!
  • Lure – (free drink) huge club that was packed! Awesome music and so much room to dance! Got free light up wands. We stayed for ages with our Canadian friends, but we found Andre at the right time as we were leaving so he took us to get pizza, this is where we met a guy from a record label he was lovely!
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Celebrities love the drive thru here!

What a great night…. except I lost the light up wand in the Uber.

Day ten -TMZ and downtown LA

Woke up, not seedy. That is a bonus! But it was straight on the train for our TMZ tour. The TMZ tour is based off the American show and really it is a good way to see all the hot spots in LA and possibly spot some celebrities. For just over $50USD you could have a great time and see loads of celebrities.

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View from the top of OUE

We did have a great time, I won a pointless cup for answering a correct question, but we saw zero celebrities. Being a Sunday I thought Sunday brunch was a sure thing for celebrities. Ohh well, we still saw some cool sights, like where Hugh Grant got caught doing some questionable things with a prostitute and where all the cool people eat (two separate places, not the same).

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Beautiful sunset

After all that spotting of zero celebrities it was time to eat, especially because we skipped breakfast! With iHop down the road from Hollywood Boulevard it was definitely worth heading down there. So many pancake options, but you know what? I was going to  be different so I chose the chicken and waffles. A strange combination but actually pretty good, probably not a staple though.

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Let me take you for a ride on a big jet plane

Before we left to go to Mexico we had to get all out last minute shopping out of the way. Hollywood Boulevard has loads of shops from Victoria’s Secret to Sephora to Forever 21, so maybe take your credit card.

With NBA on that night we thought we would head down to the Staple Center and watch The Lakers. We had good seats for the next day but we thought we would try, yeah don’t do that! Buy your tickets beforehand, they are super expensive at the gate. They didn’t even have tickets up the top available!

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Downtown LA sunset

Instead we walked into Downtown LA and went to the OUE Skyspace – the observation deck at that hugeeee white building in the middle of downtown. The view from up there was amazing! You could see the Hollywood sign, the water, the hills and everything else! Definitely worth checking out, we went at sunset so it was beautiful up there. For a little extra you can also do the glass slide, which hangs out of the building and curves around to the lower platform. It is all glass so you can see how high up you are! It was worth doing, but it went to fast that you can’t really see anything anyway.

Another great food place to try in LA is 800 degrees pizzeria! A great place, they make your pizza however you like. You choose the dough, toppings and everything in between, then they cook it in a wood fire oven at 800 degrees (probably around 400 celsius), hence the name.

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800 degrees

Day eleven – last day, beach dayyyyy and NBA!! 

Last day in LA, the best way to spend it is by the water! We headed down to Manhattan Beach, which was such a beautiful place! A small Californian village with cute boutiques and cosy restaurants, a lot like Laguna.

So head down to the water, walk along the pier and enjoy that sea breeze on your skin! Underneath the pier is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the tide come in, and you can get a candid picture, believe it or not the image of me below wasn’t staged, I had no idea that water was coming – thanks Ashlee – and in the process my thongs on the sand got taken with the wave and I had to chase after them.

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Fishing with Dynamite

Heading back into the main street, you must try the restaurant Fishing with Dynamite, especially if you love seafood. I tried the Yellowtail Tacos, an Oyster and the Maryland Blue Crab Cake, yumm! So much flavour and so amazing.

While along the coast head to Santa Monica and Venice Beach. We got an Uber, but I am sure there is a cheaper way! It was a beautiful drive along the coast to Santa Monica and we headed straight to the pier. So much is happening on the pier, food outlets, shops, performers and the small theme park.Whilst walking around we stumbled across an old very tan man rapping, dancing and singing all new RnB songs. My personal favourite was his version of “Juju on that Beat”, actually hilarious. What a great effort in the heat.

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Nearly lost my shoe

If you head off the pier and along the path that runs alongside the sand, you will find bike and roller skate hire shops. We hired some roller skates and took on the path to Venice Beach – it was cheap to hire per hour. Spending my childhood on these things, I picked it up pretty quickly. Hayley on the other hand was a little bit baby foul to start, but by the end she was a pro. The route to Venice Beach was incredible! Beautiful palm trees, loads of roadside gym equipment, street art and heaps of people out and about.

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En route to Venice Beach

 

When we made it to Venice Beach and it was time for a break and an ice cream. They also have shops along Venice Beach, a bit market style with heaps of different things to look at! Alongside the beach is outdoor gyms and basketball courts where loads of people play full court games, so sit back and just take in all the surrounds!

After our break we headed back to drop off the skates, but along the way we checked out some different street art and all the buskers along the path. Then it was on the metro back to our hotel.

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Venice Beach

 

Our last night in LA and there is no  better way to spend it than going to the NBA! Clippers vs Rockets, top four teams playing,  it was going to be a great game. We had great seats that we purchased off Stub Hub before the trip.

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Go Pro fail

The atmosphere of NBA is just incredible, loved every minute of it! Definitely recommend going, even if you don’t love basketball! Hop tip: eat before you go, L.A Live is located near the Staples Center and has loads of food options. The game was super close and super entertaining. The entertainment started when the Clippers mascot was flying a huge flag and smacked a Rockets playing clean in the face (not sure if it was intentional), then the mascot pie’d a Rockets supporter with a cream pie during the game and the half time entertainment was a winner from America’s Got Talent who did a show with his dog – amazing! The dance cam didn’t feature me – their mistake – but it was still a great night and The Clippers won.

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Keep balanced Hayles

But the entertainment on the way home topped the night. Hayley had a few ‘bad’ moments where she nearly smashed my phone, accidentally stabbed a guy in the head with his own bike brake leaver and ran into a ‘caution wet sign’ that it went skidding across the train station floor, she was having a hard time.

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Go Clippers!

Before heading back to the hotel we stopped at the 7/11 to say goodbye to our friends who worked there and to grab a few packets of those jalapeño chips!

Our week in L.A was incredible. We were non stop everyday. We ate loads of chicken wings, took $600 worth of Ubers, appeared on T.V, saw celebrities, then didn’t see any celebrities, drank even more alcohol and met some more very interesting people.

Next stop……CANCUN!

 

 

Read about the first time I explored Los Angeles.

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Manhattan Beach

 

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