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:
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!