I came back from California last weekend and I am now sharing my very last article about this California road trip : a Los Angeles city Guide with tips for Santa Monica, Los Feliz, Malibu, shopping on Fairfax etc.
First let me give you a tip to go to Los Angeles : WOW Air. I flew with WOW Air from Berlin to Reykjavik and then from Reykjavik to Los Angeles at the end of August and I can truly recommend it. Many people don’t know WOW Air or they compare it to the low cost Airline Ryanair but those two airlines have got nothing similar except the price.
WOW Air is the cheapest way to go to Los Angeles from Europe and let me tell you that you will want to save on your flight tickets as a California road trip / a week in Los Angeles can be VERY expensive. For the price you don’t have everything included like in the other airlines. There is no entertainment system and no meals included in your flight tickets. Sounds horrible, but it isn’t, you just need to know it before your flight and organize some things yourself. You can buy food before your flight if you don’t want to spend money in the plane or you can just buy something on board they have sandwiches, pizza, warm meals etc that are not too expansive and there are plugs next to your seats so that you can plug you phone or your computer or whatever you want so that you will be able to play games, watch movies or work on something.
Unlike other low-cost airlines, nobody will annoy you during the flight with loud ad announcement. The crew was to and from Los Angeles very friendly and helpful and the aircraft is a very normal aircraft with no broken seats, windows or whatever 😉
What I really like also is that there is no huge transit time between connecting flights and if a flight is delayed I have heard that the other plane mostly waits which is good as for Los Angeles for example, there is not a flight everyday.
Now comes my city guide. After 11 days on the road we stopped in Los Angeles for a week to discover and enjoy the city.
Most people stay in Los Angeles for 3/4 days but I knew this would not be enough. Many people don’t like Los Angeles but I think it is because they don’t know the city and they expect it to be like New York or Paris with many things to see. The thing is if you expect this, you will be disappointed. Yes people don’t walk in Los Angeles and yes there are not many historic buildings beside in downtown for example. The reason you go to Los Angeles is for the lifestyle! So here is my very own Los Angeles guide :
Santa Monica and Venice Beach
Our apartment was based in Santa Monica and while Angeles told me before I arrive not to stay in Santa Monica because it is too far away from Los Angeles I am really happy I stayed there and I would recommend anyone have it’s base in Santa Monica; It is very convenient. Since you need to have a car anyway Santa Monica is perfect as there is the beach and you are a 15 minutes (25 minutes) drive away from Los Angeles.
Santa Monica is the most famous beach in Los Angeles,probably because there are many things to do there next to the beach, the Pier is indeed home of many entertainment nights, a amusement park : Pacific Park and and aquarium.
The city center, that is 5 minutes walk from the pier, is also very pleasant with great shops and great restaurants. I can recommend three good addresses for Food :
Ivy at the Shore
1535 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
135 Colorado Ave Santa Monica, CA 90401
Blue plate Taco
1515 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Santa Monica is also very close to Venice beach, we went to Venice walking (yes walking :D) and it took us around 30 minutes. You can also go by bike as there is a bike path by the beach.
Venice beach is super cool for an afternoon. You go to watch the skaters, spend an hour on the beach, buy things you don’t need but that really fun on the pedestrian street and just do people watching. Not too far from the beach and for a more quiet atmosphere, you can go through the famous Venice canals that gave Venice it’s name.
Malibu – the surfer beach and healthy eating
Malibu is from far my favorite place in Los Angeles. It is so big and therefore different everywhere. You have some nice places where you can eat very healthy like for example the Malibu farm that serves organic and fresh food on the pier or Nobu a celebrity’s favorite for sushi, both with great views over the ocean.
Malibu also has got great beaches to enjoy a beachday, to paddle or to surf like for example Malibu surfrider beach (we went there for two days in a row, we liked it a lot) next to the Pier, Point Dume or El Matador beach, that looks very european with sea caves and large rocks.
Malibu also offers great shopping experience at the Malibu country mart, an outdoor boutique mall with high end retailers.
Southern California is now also a destination for wine and Malibu has got many wineyard around the Santa Monica Mountains. I really hope to have more time to do a wine tasting next time. The Malibu wine safari tour for example looks like something super fun.
We passed by Los Feliz while on our way to the Griffith Observatory to see the Hollywood sign. We loved the vibe in the neighborhood and decided to come back after our hike to explore it a bit.
Los Feliz is an upcoming district in Los Angeles with many cool shops and restaurants mainly situated on Vermont Avenue. Definitely worth a detour if you are around. Check out all the hidden gem’s of Los Feliz on Discover Los Angeles
West Hollywood : Shopping on Fairfax and Melrose avenue
For fashion lovers, Fairfax and Melrose avenue are the two coolest street in Los Angeles. It is indeed on Fairfax that you will find the coolest street wear clothes and on Melrose that you will find both affordable and expensive cool clothes.
Since shops are open and parking is free on Sundays, the best day to go shopping is Sunday, start your day at the Fairfax Flea Market (entrance is 3dollars), grab something to eat at the Farmer’s market and then do window shopping on Fairfax and Melrose. Don’t forget to go to Supreme, Sorella (my personal favorite), Wyld Style L.A, DASH (just because), Reformation, Fred Segal, and Wasteland for luxurious vintage shopping.
Beverly Hills : Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive, is Beverly Hill’s shopping street. It is one high end store next to the other, many palm trees and many tourist. Not such my cup of tea BUT, why not walking the street up and down if you feel like and stop at Sprinkles, two blocks from Rodeo Drive. It is where there is the famous cupcake machine. So cool!! If you don’t like cupcakes, they sell also cookies and ice cream and it’s delicious.
Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to go to Downtown Los Angeles but you can see pictures of how it looks like on Nomadic Notes.
*UNPAID ADVERTISEMENT – In collaboration with WOW Air