Los Angeles, California. Pretty much everyone has thought about visiting this city at some point. You always see it in movies, celebrities live there, nice weather, palm trees… why wouldn’t you want to check it out and see what all the hype is about? After always traveling to the east coast, I finally made it out west.
There are a lot of things to like about L.A. The traffic is not one of them. What I did learn while driving there is that the speed limit does not exist. You just go with the flow of traffic. During the day it is slow, but late at night it’s a smooth ride. Being from the Midwest, I knew nothing about microclimates. I was quick to learn, though. My friends who live there taught me to always bring a different set of clothes in the car. Always have a jacket and different bottoms with you. Some places are super hot and sunny. Then you could drive a few miles away and it’ll be windy and cloudy. It truly is amazing. If you’re going out for the day, I recommend looking up the weather for the area you will be in. For people who aren’t used to it, there is a big homeless population there due to the nice weather all year round. Downtown can be dirty and grimy, but there is a lot of beauty to see. And there’s dogs! Everywhere. I swear everyone in L.A. owns a dog and I absolutely love it!
My favorite thing about L.A.? The beaches. I would’ve loved to have grown up near a beach. Who wouldn’t? Pack some towels, pack a lunch, grab the football, and head out to one of the many beaches for the day. Sounds pretty good to me! During my time in L.A. I went to 3 beaches: Santa Monica, Playa Del Rey, and Venice. As you can imagine, Santa Monica is a busy place. On a warm weekend day, you will find pitched tents up and down the beach. Families and friends gather for the day to take in the rays, throw back some drinks, and play in the waves. Then right there, is the famous Santa Monica pier. It is a high tourist destination, packed with people taking in the view and boardwalk food. My favorite beach however, was Playa Del Rey. It is less crowded and much more peaceful. My friends and I would go out there for hours and listen to music, talk, layout, and throw the football around. Now that is the life. Not to mention, the beach is a great place to make new friends. It’s a carefree environment that allows conversation to flow easily. One day we were out there and met three new people who we went and had dinner with at a shack near by and then went back to watch the sunset. The spontaneity of that day gave me a taste of what it’s like to live in this city. Californians have a way of just going where life takes them and embracing the unknown of each day. It is one of the many things that inspired me while I was there.
L.A. is like that woman that hugs you the first time meeting you and right away you feel like you’ve known her forever. The city embraces individuality and talent. Everywhere I looked, there was art on the buildings and sidewalks. Some of the art can be seen in the popular murals always posted on Instagram, but there are so many more than that. There’s an energy there that drives you do want to do something with your life. Even if that means simply getting out of bed and going on a morning hike to start the day. Speaking of hikes, that’s another awesome thing about California. There is the city, the beaches, the hills for hiking, and then even mountains off in the distance. You get a little bit of everything all in one place. Not to mention there is always something to do there. If you are planning a visit to Los Angeles, add the Griffith Observatory to your list. It’s free to go hangout on the property and then it’s only maybe $5 to see one of the shows inside one of the dome rooms. This is the place to come if you want to get a view of downtown at night. It’s breathtaking. If you do what I did, I came early enough to check out the observatory and see one of the short shows, then caught a view of the Hollywood sign as the sun was setting and ended with a view of downtown all lit up in the distance. Definitely a must see! Of course when you’re in L.A. you have to make your way to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and take in all the names embedded along Hollywood Blvd. While you’re checking that out, stop and do some shopping or take a break and grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants. No matter what you decide to do on your trip, you are sure to enjoy yourself in this electric and inspiring city!