For our final 3 days in LA we moved out to the Samesun hostel on Venice Beach. Even better, our friend Ally flew out from London to meet us and spend the next week travelling through California with us!
I think all of us were surprised by just how good our hostel’s location was – right on Windward Avenue (which has the iconic VENICE sign) and less that one block from the beach.
The obvious first thing to do is to walk along the famous Venice boardwalk. However, unless you’re in the market for tacky printed t-shirts or medical-marajuana there isn’t much going on along here.
In my opinion, skip the boardwalk and head for the skate park instead. We all spent hours here watching the guys attempt tricks for their huge audience.
Martin and Ally also came down here on the Saturday morning and were even more impressed by all the kids showing up the big boys!
Venice beach itself was always surprisingly quiet, which just makes for even better views across the sand.
Sadly the bar scene along the front is pretty non-existent. After 30 minutes searching for the perfect place (aka. beach view + happy hour) we gave up, bought a box of beers and made our way back to the hostel. We set up camp in the common room with a few new friends and toasted our descision as we watched the most amazing sunset unfold through the window.
After dark, we loved local spot Hinano for cheap burgers and an even cheaper happy hour. It’s a proper American dive bar with live music, pitchers of beer and sawdust on the floor. Exactly what we needed for a great night!
The best part? On the walk home you can even have a pose off with Arnie!
We began the next day of sightseeing on Abbot Kinney a few blocks back from the beach. This street is one of the trendiest and most hipster in all of LA – think minimalist watch makers, Le Labo and cafes selling green juices for over $10.
We pulled up a seat at the bar in The Brig to wait on the famous Kogi food truck arriving, the one place that has topped our foodie to-do list for a long time.
Kogi is legendary in LA and is credited for starting the whole food truck trend. Their use of social media to connect with customers back when they began in 2008 was an innovation and made them superstars in the industry.
When the truck pulled up outside there was a queue already forming. We quickly made our selections from the menu of Korean-Mexican-fusion dishes and headed back into the bar to devour them.
(Still sunburned – 5 days after San Diego!)
I had the tofu tacos, Martin went for the kimchi hotdog, and Ally put us both to shame by ordering one of every taco on the menu! The food was fantastic, I’m so glad we took the time to track them down.
We spent the afternoon exploring Santa Monica, about a half hour walk along the beach from Venice or a very easy cycle. Famous for the pier and amusement park, it also has a much busier beach than Venice and a real family-friendly atmosphere.
We stopped off for some quick beach gymnastics…
…before checking out the extremely busy pier.
For our final night we left Venice Beach and headed east to meet up with a couple of Ally’s LA friends. They took us to the super trendy Salazar for dinner, a Mexican restaurant located in what looked like an old petrol station. The downside of going somewhere “so hot right now” is that we had to wait an hour and a half to get a table, and when we were finally seated they had ran out of loads of menu items. Including guacamole!
What we did eat was great though, as was the company. It was so nice to chat to some locals and hear about what it’s genuinely like to live in LA. I don’t know if I could do it, but I’d definitely go back for another holiday!