California Dreaming

I spent the last 5 days between Los Angeles and San Diego. As my first time on the West Coast of the USA I fell in love. You get the exciting city atmosphere mixed with sunshine and beaches. Its truly unique from other places I have been in the United States. My only regret was not staying longer. Here are my recommendations:

Los Angeles

We stayed with family near Venice Beach which was a great central location. On the first day we walked down from Venice to Santa Monica, stopping for some breakfast burritos on the pier. I honestly have no idea what the place was names but there was a bunch of breakfast spots there. Most of them catered towards tourists and were tasty and easy for a quick bite. I am going to be honest, it was not anything life changing but would do the job. Once in Santa Monica we walked around downtown in the Promenade, stopping in Alo Yoga to check out their latest pieces. From here we headed off to see the celebrities at a live filming of the CONAN show!

Getting tickets to Conan... 

Was super easy. You actually just go on the website and sign up. The hard part comes the actual day of. You have to get there around 11:30 am if you want to premiere seats. As well, the overbook the show so you want to make sure you get to actually go. We got there at 11:30 but could have gotten there later. The upside was that we got good seats. BRING SNACKS and COFFEE or other warm drinks. You wait outside in a "waiting area" that is basically a parking garage and can get cold. At 1:30 the CONAN people come out and give you tickets. You then have 1.5 hours to grab food before you come back. There is not many food places in the area but you can walk about 0.5 miles and get something. You come back at 3 and they line you up to go! One of the cool things is that you get to walk through Warner Brothers studios. If I had to do it again I would probably try and do the WB tour because that seemed interesting. The actual taping of Conan lasts an hour and is a pretty cool experience. You will laugh plenty and maybe even get a free t-shirt!

 

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Disneyland

Last year we went to Disney World and wanted to make sure we checked out Disneyland, cause why not. It was a fun experience but I have to admit not as "magical" as Disney World. Its more of a theme park experience similar to other theme parks and less of a Disney Experience. We got the one day Park Hopper and thats all we really needed. We hit a lot of the rides and got to see everything. 

 

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Downtown LA and The Arts District

On Saturday we woke up and headed over the Abbot Kinney for Blue Bottle Coffee and Blue Star Donuts. I got a Lemon Poppy Seed donut that was absolutely amazing. From there we headed to downtown LA and Grand Central Market which is a mixture of old and new food places. It was great getting to wander around downtown and see the different areas. We checked out the MOCA (museum of contemporary art) and enjoyed a Golden Road Brew at the market (highly recommend if you like beer). 

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From downtown we headed to the Arts District. I loved walking around and seeing the different grafitti, shops, and galleries. After that we headed to Angel City Brewery. This was a great space with delicious beers. It had a huge area for people to hang out and chat or play cornhole. This is a must-do if you are into craft beer. I tried the Nite Terrors and Public House Saison. 

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From there we headed to Korean BBQ. If you LOVE meat, like me, this is a MUST DO. We went to Moodaepobbq and spent $30 each, which was the highest level, for all you can eat. It was a tasty experience. You cook the meets they bring you on a little flame in the middle of the table. We left feeling very full and pretty stinky. Fair warning, the smell of the BBQ will stick to whatever clothes you are wearing. 

San DIEGO

After our few days in LA we rented a car and headed down to San Diego. Along the way we stopped in Manhattan Beach for breakfast and to check out the beautiful views. 

 

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Upon arrival in SD we headed to La Jolla Cove to check out the famous seals. While there were a lot of people there also watching the seals this was an awesome experience getting so close to sea life. 

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After the cove and checking into our hotel (Hilton Residence Inn) we headed to Balboa Park. This is huge park that is split by a highway. On one side there are plenty of museums and attractions as well as cactus and rose gardens. Its a great place to walk around or duck into a museum that interest you. 

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TACOS... thats what every said we HAD to have in San Diego. There were many choices but I think we ended up with a real winner. We went to La Puerta in the Gaslamp Quarters. The best part was that they have happy hour EVERY night until 7. It was half price drinks, starters, and quesadillas. AWESOME. I had a mix of tacos as my meal and some guac with chips to start. As well, I indulged in a few margaritas. I highly recommend this place. The bartenders were awesome and the vibe of the place was chill. 

Mission Beach and Sunset CLiffs 

The next day we headed to Mission Beach in the morning and rode bikes up and down the boardwalk. At the end of the boardwalk are some rocks that we walked out on them. It was a beautiful morning and great way to wake up. 

 

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Sunset cliffs was a beautiful view as well. We headed there next and just walked along the cliffs getting a great view. From here we were hungry and headed to Little Italy for some lunch. We got Napizza which had some great healthy options after days of eating a lottt of food. We then canceled that health out by getting Salt and Straw ice cream. SO many different flavors and it was delicious. If I get the chance to go to San Diego again I would make sure you check out the Zoo. Apparently it is amazing (best zoo in the world) but we were here limited time and wanted to get some nature in!

Tourist in your own City

Growing up near Washington DC you take your access to the museums and monuments for granted sometimes. You forget that people are out there saving money so they can make a trip to the Nation's Capital. Now that I live in DC I have had the opportunity to explore other parts of the city and learn some insider locations. Here are my recommendations:

Eastern Market

This is a mix of a farmers market and open air shopping in Southeast DC. As well, the surrounding neighborhood is full of cute and tasty restaurants and shops. I recommend hitting up brunch and then checking out the market. My favorite part is the free samples of fruits and veggies!

 

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Artechouse

If you are into art at all this is a different type of museum you can check out. They use technology for different light installations. It is a small area and the installation is a pretty quick trip so I recommend going at night and taking advantage of the bar. That way you can sip drinks and then check out the displays. 

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Compass Coffee

This locally brewed DC coffee company is my absolute favorite. Since it is currently winter I am sipping on Americanos but during the summer you have to check out their cold brew. It is so creamy and smooth before even adding milk! They now have locations all over DC that you can check out. 

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DuPont Circle Area

Checking out the Dupont Circle area is always fun. It is about a mile from the White House and chalk full of restuarants and shops. On a nice day you can sit in the circle and enjoy a nice picnic lunch. 

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The W Hotel - POV Restaurant and Bar

At the top of the W Hotel is the "best view in the city." Head up there at night for a clear view of the White House and Washington Monument. It has a fancier vibe so you may need to get dressed up but it will be worth it when you are sipping on cocktails overlooking the city. 

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Washington D.C. has so much history. Make sure you take it all in whether you live nearby or you are making a trip to see it!

She wears a Red Sox Cap

Boston. Home to history and Chowda. I spent the last weekend up there for different events and a little bit of tourist-ing. The weather was absolutely amazing from the perspective of a Maryland girl because 72 degrees in August was perfect temperatures for outdoor activities. 

I stayed with a friend in the South End and hit up a Kenny Chesney concert and game at Fenway Park while we were there. If you are in the South End here are the two brunch spots we hit up and my review of them: 

1) The Beehive - While we enjoyed brunch outside on the Patio this is apparently a hot spot during the winter where the basement bar has a stage and promises to keep you warm and away from the cold weather outside. I have to say the best part about my brunch was the drink. I got a Morning Queen Bee which was grapefruit, Tito's, elderflower, and sparkling wine. I was just craving a burger so I indulged in the breakfast burger which came with Frites, a homemade combo of a potato chip and a french fry. Overall, it was a good time and a fun atmosphere!

2) Tremont 647 - We headed over here on Sunday before the baseball game and missed out on wearing pajamas to brunch, which is apparently a thing here. My food here was absolutely delicious. I got huevos rancheros and a side of a single Orange Ricotta pancake. I absolutely recommend the pancake. The flavors were amazing. To add to the fun I had a Big and Strong Mimosa which was an excellent addition. 

Kenny Chesney

I love me some Kenny. We took a bus from Boston out to Foxborough and Gillette Stadium for the concert. It was an amazing time tailgating and a fun time at the concert.

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Fenway Park

Even if you are not a baseball fan I highly recommend catching a game here. It is a more "intimate" stadium full of friendly people and fun. My only regret, not getting a hot dog before the stands closed. Being a visiting fan in enemy territory was not even that bad!

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Being a Tourist

On Monday, after the thrill of the other events had worn off and the Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones had been watched we headed out to do some tourist stuff. We started at South Station and did our own walking tour. Some guided tours that did sound cool were the Freedom Trail tour and the Duck Tours. My favorite stops were Faneuil Hall Markets and grabbing a relaxing spot on a bench in the Public Gardens. I wanted to make sure I got some Boston Chowda so we stopped at Quincy Market for a delicious bite to eat. 

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