Los Angeles. Ahh, the City of Angels! Hollywood was my one place that I needed to visit. A huge movie nerd, palm tree enthusiast and the idea of celebrities and athletes roaming a bustling downtown nightlife, 7 days a week, had my itching to indulge! I’ve also had a slight obsession with California and the older I got, the more I craved LA. This was a trip of a lifetime!
A Distant Downtown LA at Sunset
Our first time to California, was also our first time using Airbnb (which we are now obsessed with). Our experience didn’t start off too well, but we made out much better in the end. The first place we booked cancelled on us a few weeks later. We were forced to search for a new place to stay and we’re bummed out that our first choice wouldn’t be where we ended up. A total blessing in disguise, as we wound up steps from Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame.
Hollywood Walk Of Fame
This trip was also our first time using Uber, which was an experience as we tried to navigate through LAX to find our ride. We eventually got checked-in to our home for the week and started exploring! We walked down the boulevard and snapped some photos of our favorite stars lined along the way. It was an early night for us after the flight and to ready ourselves for our hike the following morning.
The hike to the Hollywood Sign was one of my favorite things I’ve ever done! I didn’t want to come back down! After doing a ton of research before hand, we found the perfect starting point for the hike up Mount Lee. You can read all about it in our Hollywood Travel Guide. We took an Uber to the drop off point and started or trek up the mountain. The trail we took had a fork in the path, allowing you to continue towards the sign, or veer left to visit the Wisdom Tree. Of course, we had to take the long way and get our wisdom on!
Wisdom Tree - Mount Lee - Hollywood, California
Heading back towards the sign, continuing up Mount Lee, you pass Warner Brothers Studios on one side and are engulfed in panoramic views of Hollywood and a distant downtown Los Angeles on the other! We took a little break as we approached the sign to Facetime all of our family. We couldn’t help but to brag about the sights before us.
Warner Brothers Studios - Burbank, California
Downtown LA from Mount Lee
As you near the sign, a fence separates you and the 45 foot tall letters. Originally built in 1923 to advertise a new housing district in the hills, “HOLLYWOODLAND”, it was shortened to “HOLLYWOOD” in 1949 to represent the entire district. After years of deterioration and then restoration, the Hollywood Sign continues to be a tourist magnet and local hiking favorite.
Hollywood Sign from Behind Fence
I MADE IT!
We forgot our flag, but FIRE UP CHIPS!
I could go on and on just about this hike alone, but we did a lot more with our time in LA than just that. We did a Downtown LA Walking Tour; which I highly recommend and is reasonably priced. We did the LA's Beginnings, which began at Union Station. Here, you get a short history of the building before heading out and exploring some other LA landmarks. A few places we were able to see included Chinatown (on Route 66), the building were OJ Simpson was sentenced, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the movie-famous Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain.
Chinatown, Los Angeles
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, Los Angeles
Another cool site to check out, is the free elevator ride up to the observation deck of Los Angeles City Hall. After riding up 27 floors, you come out to stunning 360° views of Downtown LA. We even got to catch a helicopter land on another rooftop just across from us! I also may have planned our trip dates around a Pistons and Clippers game 😉, because the world-famous Staples Center is a must!
Los Angeles City Hall w/ Observation Deck
Downtown LA , 27 floors up!
The following day we rented a car from the now defunct Skurt. Another one of my favorite things I have ever done! We cruised through Beverly Hills, Venice and down the Pacific Coast Highway along Malibu, in a Mustang Convertible. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Beverly Hills, California
Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California
We also made a quick stop at the world famous Hollywood Bowl and spent a day at Santa Monica Pier. Just a bunch of touristy things that made me absolutely fall in love with the city, just like I knew I would!
Santa Monica Pier - Santa Monica, California
Pacific Coast Highway
Venice Beach, California
One last thing I will touch on is 1iota. 1iota is the main source for free tickets for events happening in the area. There are a ton of TV shows, movie screenings, etc. that you can sign up and try to win tickets to. We were lucky to score a pair of tickets to a Jimmy Kimmel taping! Filmed inside Hollywood Masonic Temple, we were audience members for a taping that included Gigi Hadid and Robert De Niro. There is definitely something for everyone and it's a great FREE option to spend some time.
Capitol Records Tower at Hollywood & Vine
Rooftop View from our Hollywood Airbnb
Crusin' down PCH
Again, I could go on and on about this trip, but I will spare you all. I don't think anyone wants to read as much about this one place, as I could talk about it. This was an unforgettable trip and I was lucky enough to share some of this again, with a pair of my grandparents when they visited me in Phoenix. La-La Land, it's everything I dreamed of and more!