Romantic Weekend Getaway in LA
My husband and I recently took a road trip to Los Angeles to celebrate our two-year wedding anniversary. I was heads-down in work for the weeks leading up to it so he decided to plan the whole trip and surprise me - and boy did he! Below are things we did and highly recommend the next time you’re in LA.
Rent a house in the Hollywood Hills
My husband surprised me with renting a house in the Hollywood Hills. He was very clever with the grand reveal too. He started out by saying our hotel wouldn’t let us check in until 2:30 so he looked on Google maps to see what was nearby. He said Elvis Presley’s house was just up the Hollywood Hills and we should drive up and see it. We’re climbing up the winding roads, passing gorgeous houses and getting panoramic views of LA until we basically reach the highest point and a dead-end. We pull up to a house that actually appeared very simple and modern from the outside compared to its neighbors. He said “This is it!”, paused, and then added “actually, this is our house...for the weekend”. I was in total shock! When our host opened the door and greeted us my jaw dropped at the breathtaking views behind her. Best.surprise.EVER!
This was one of the first modern-style homes built in the 1950s and has been used to film movies. We took advantage of the space to do a photo shoot - check out my Hollywood Date Night Outfit blog post. We definitely enjoyed watching the sunsets and seeing the City of Stars glow at night!
Spend a day at Universal Studios
I may write a separate blog post on our day at Universal because there’s just so much to do! In a nutshell, you should definitely visit Harry Potter World. Even if you’re not as into Harry Potter like I am, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be leaving a Harry Potter World fan. If anything, you’ve gotta try the Butterbeer :)
The other highlight is the Studio Tour, unique to Universal Studios in Hollywood so it’s a MUST. It’s an hour long guided tour on a tram where you get to visit all the sets used in so many movies and TV shows we’ve all seen. You may even spot actual filming taking place!
See the taping of a show
Check out 1Iota and request tickets for a show you’re interested in seeing. You may need to request tickets for several days until you finally get them (and you’ll only find out the morning of). Two years ago we went to America’s Got Talent and were seated two rows from the front so we appeared on TV when the show aired! This year we got tickets to Jimmy Kimmel. It’s actually an intimate audience of only 200 people so it is really engaging and cool to see Jimmy right there in front of you. We also got to see guest star Lena Dunham. Do you like the show, Girls? I find it hilarious!
Have brunch at The Beverly Hills Hotel
The Beverly Hills Hotel is gorgeous and provides great opportunity for celebrity sightings. We haven’t stayed there but it has an amazing pool area and cute gardens with instagrammable decor. They have several bars and restaurants on the property. We went to the Fountain Coffee Room for brunch which is extremely small, seating perhaps 10-15 people max. I recommend getting there no later than 10:30-11am before there is a wait (they don’t take reservations). While we were enjoying our meal we recognized Mr. Chow of Mr. Chow Restaurants sitting directly across from us. You could tell he is a regular there as the staff greeted him by his name and were asking if he’d like his usual (order).
Walk around The Grove
I think The Grove is the perfect place for people watching, shopping, and dining. There’s even a Dominique Ansel Bakery, which we discovered when we were in New York, and in my opinion makes the best lattes! We strolled around the shops and their really cool Farmers Market. It was crowded over the weekend but very festive with fun fall activities and decorations.
Savor the nightlife at these hotspots
Tesse - Restaurant
We went to dinner at Tesse, a modern French-American restaurant located on Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood. The restaurant serves food family-style and recommends 3-4 plates per person, but honestly that was enough for the two of us! Definitely order the bone marrow spaghetti - it was so good and just melted in my mouth!
Catch LA - Bar and Restaurant
We also had dinner at Catch LA, a great seafood restaurant that sits on a rooftop on Melrose Ave (also in West Hollywood). The decor was stunning with little lights everywhere! I recommend not coming too hungry. We had a reservation but the time is usually a “suggestion” and they always end up running behind - sometimes an hour or more. However you can hangout and enjoy some great people watching while sipping on delicious cocktails at their bar.
Employees Only - Speakeasy
Make reservations to go to Employees Only after dinner for some of the best cocktails in town. It’s located on Santa Monica Blvd and inconspicuous, but just keep an eye out for the guard standing out front. They took us to their back room which is honestly the best area to be seated. It’s small, dark, and intimate with an impressive bar. We sat at the bar and watched the bar tenders make all sorts of yummy drinks. I had the Colonial and it was delicious. Plus, their ice cubes are etched with their logo. A unique touch that makes for an interesting idea if you’re having signature drinks at your wedding… ;-)
The Nice Guy - Bar & Lounge
Last but not least, go to The Nice Guy. This place is a popular hangout for celebrities and therefore they have a ‘no photos’ policy so as to not deter them from showing up. We didn’t encounter any celebrities, but it was a hoppin’ and boppin’ place with a DJ spinning great hip-hop and 90s music and people dressed to the nines. They do have a photo booth in the back where we took photos but they’re too embarrassing to post here (my hubby would be so mad!). Maybe I’ll post them in my stories (shhh!) ;-)
Ride a scooter from Santa Monica to Venice Beach
On our last day we drove to Santa Monica. They closed down the main boardwalk area for some family fun activities leaving the street wide open for bicyclists, roller skaters, and yes, scooters too! We downloaded the Bird app and got $5 of credit to give the scooter a try. With the app we located some nearby scooters, scanned their QR codes, and off we went - that easy! I’d never ridden one before but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. We decided to ride 3 miles south to Venice Beach along a path that’s right on the beach! I could do this any day. We then rode back to Santa Monica and I was craving a smoothie, so we stopped by a juice bar called Nektar and both got the Pink Flamingo. So refreshing!
Do you want to see more travel posts like this? What are your favorite spots in LA? Share them in the comments below!