After our awful night staying on Hollywood Boulevard we moved to a new hostel in West Hollywood. Arriving there we were immediately happier, the area had a much better vibe to it and there was plenty that we wanted to see and do within walking distance (a rarity in LA!). We set out straight away to explore.
Melrose Avenue stretches for miles and is home to everything from vintage stores and cute cafes to high-end designers. I was pretty excited when we spotted the Paul Smith store with it’s iconic pink wall!
This is a weird Insta-phenomenon where girls line up to take pictures against a (now famous) plain wall. So hipster that it made Martin immediately angry!
We kept walking until we arrived at one of my Los Angeles must-do’s – a trendy vegan Mexican restaurant called Gracias Madre.
Usually pretty expensive but on weekdays they have an amazing happy hour so we treated ourselves to a couple of (fancy organic) margaritas and some delicious appetisers to share.
It also turned out to be a great place for celebrity spotting. Martin – in what would become the highlight of his whole LA trip – met the lead signer from Incubus, the first band he ever saw live! I felt pretty smug about my restaurant choice after that….
To continue on with our day of awesomeness, that evening we walked up to the Sunset Strip. This section of Sunset Boulevard has been famous for decades, known mostly for it’s rock history and live music.
The most notorious club is probably The Viper Room – Johnny Depp was a part owner for 10 years, actor River Phoenix famously died outside it following a drug overdose in 1993 and Pussycat Dolls began as a burlesque troop here regularly performing before becoming a pop act.
The other famous club and live music venue is Whisky A Go Go. Open since 1964 it’s a Los Angeles institution and the Doors, Janis Joplin, & Led Zeppelin have all played here. It’s also known for being the club that gave many rock bands their “big break”, the most famous of which being Motley Crue.
Every Tuesday they host Ultimate Jam Night, a showcase of new bands and old-timers playing original music and covers of rock classics. It also happens to be free entry hence why it’s the club we decided to go to!
We had a great night listening to some really talented musicians and also chatting to a few of the friendly staff (shout out to Larry the bouncer!). The Sunset Strip is definitely an essential LA experience.
There was so much more to see and do in WeHo, and it’s especially a paradise for shopping. The Grove is an amazing retail space (shopping centre doesn’t seem like the right choice of words to describe it!), there’s an excellent farmers market and there’s also West 3rd, a street full of small up-and-coming boutiques & restaurants. It’s definitely an area I would choose to stay in again if I was back in LA.
Before we packed our bags and moved out to Venice Beach, I had a couple more places on the Los Angeles tick-list to see…
Such as Rodeo Drive! You can’t visit LA without seeing it at least once. We walked the length of the street and it is pretty beautiful with all it’s designer boutiques and palm trees.
My favourite was the totally over-the-top menswear designer House of Bijan which I’ve only now realised is known as the most expensive store in the world! It even has a custom yellow Rolls Royce permanently parked outside with it’s own personalised parking meter.
Other than a few photo ops, Bevery Hills has nothing to offer travellers on a budget so we didn’t hang around too long.
I left central Los Angeles feeling like I’d seen everything I’d hoped for, with a few unexpectedly good surprises thrown in too! Three days was plenty to cover all the main tourist attractions and because we stayed in two areas we managed to cut out a lot of travelling through the (crazy) LA traffic.
We jumped in an Uber and headed out to Venice Beach ready for something completely different…