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We are happiest when we are by the beach.

If there is one thing we have learnt on this trip, it’s that we both love being by the coast. We love being able to wake up and spend our morning walking along the beach, coffee in hand, listening to a good podcast. That is how we spent almost every morning in LA before heading into the city, exploring the streets, the shops, the tourist attractions and indulging in delicious food.


Saying goodbye to our rental car and hello to LA buses.

Our morning started cold and wet as we jumped in our rental car bound for Los Angeles. To brighten our day, we grabbed coffee with Christmas gingerbread cookies and enjoyed the last leg of the Highway 1 route, driving through Malibu and into Santa Monica. We popped into our hotel at 10 am to drop off our bags but ended up being able to check in early. Once our room was sorted, we got back in the car and started driving towards the drop-off location at LAX. We had some time up our sleeve, so we took a little detour via the Venice Canals.

After dropping off our car and catching the bus back to Santa Monica, we went to tick off the most well-known tourist attraction in the area – Santa Monica Pier. Thankfully the rain from the morning had passed, leaving sunny blue skies for the afternoon. We walked the pier, and the beach, then walked up Main Street and had lunch at Alfalfa. We walked back along the beach, stopped at Trader Joe's to grab food for dinner and caught the bus back to our hotel.


Walking the beach, the shops and the streets.

We started our second day in LA with a walk along the boulevard from Santa Monica to Venice Beach. We grabbed a coffee from Menotti’s Coffee Stop, which is up there with some of the best coffee we had in the US. We walked up the Venice Fishing Pier, watched the surfers and soaked up the sun. What a great way to start a day.

After our morning on the beach, we headed over to Beverly Hills. We started on Rodeo Drive, window shopping for all the things we could not afford. We really don’t belong on a street lined with high-end brands. At the end of Rodeo Drive, we visited the Beverly Hill sign and walked down N Canon Drive, admiring all the gorgeous houses along the palm tree-lined road. We stopped in the Will Rogers Memorial Park at the end of the street, then walked back to the Beverly Hills sign via N Beverly Drive.

We then decided to walk 45 minutes to the public art installation called Urban Light, stopping at Wholefoods to grab a late lunch and by another scenic, palm tree-lined road appropriately named S Palm Drive. We arrived at Urban Light at sunset, walked through the light poles and took some pictures. We checked out the Levitated Mass public art installation and the La Brea Tar Pits. Once the sun had set, the temperature dropped very quickly and neither of us was dressed for the cold, so we got on the bus back to our accommodation, where we had a budget dinner and a packet of Trader Joe's popcorn waiting for us.


Taking full advantage of staying by the beach.

Another day in LA, means another morning spent walking along the boulevard from Santa Monica to Venice Beach. We stopped at Great White Café for coffee and a delicious Great White Breakie. Then we walked through the streets of Venice and back up the esplanade.

For our afternoon and evening, we decided to treat ourselves to an indulgent late lunch/early dinner, which is something we haven’t done in quite a while. We booked a table at Elephante and spent a couple of hours drinking cocktails and wine with delicious pasta and dessert. The restaurant also has a view of the ocean and being there in the late afternoon, we got to watch the sunset as we finished our meal. We then walked down the beach and along the Santa Monica Pier, soaking up the last colours of the sunset and heading back to our accommodation when it got dark.


Dragging ourselves away from the beach for just one day.

After a very indulgent night out, we decided to have a slow morning on day four. We then caught a bus and the metro into Downtown Los Angeles. We walked from the Metro to The Last Bookstore and wandered the labyrinth of books before dragging ourselves away in search of coffee. We ended up at Blue Bottle Coffee, and then checked out the gorgeous Bradbury Building before popping over the road for lunch at Grand Central Market.

After lunch, we walked across the road to the Angels Flight Railway, which takes you up the very steep hill to the next block. Along Grand Avenue we admired The Broad and the Walt Disney Concert Hall from the outside and walked down through Grand Park to the towering City Hall in the distance.

We contemplated heading over to Hollywood, which Bec visited years ago but Clark has never been. However, on public transport, it was going to take an hour to get there and another hour back to our hotel, and as we were losing daylight we decided we could go without this trip, instead heading back to Santa Monica. For dinner, we walked down to a restaurant near our hotel called Hurry Curry of Tokyo. We then took the long way home, walking a couple of blocks to enjoy all the beautiful Christmas light displays.


Soaking up the sun, the sea breeze and the sounds of the ocean.

We planned for our final day in LA to be a relaxing one. We had errands to run, and as our time on the coast was almost over, we wanted to soak it all up. We both woke quite early, put on our activewear, and caught the bus down to Santa Monica. We walked along the beach once again and stopped for coffee at Menotti’s. We walked from the café to the Venice Farmer’s Markets, grabbing a chocolate croissant to enjoy on the way. We then walked through the Venice Canals and back out to the beachfront.

We had only planned to spend the morning at the beach, but the sun was so warm we couldn’t drag ourselves away. So, we stayed on the beach all morning, walked up to Main Street to have lunch at Library Alehouse and treated ourselves to some ice cream from Sweet Rose Creamery. We walked back up the beach and past the Santa Monica Pier. Having spent almost all day walking, we were very ready to put our feet up, with an easy dinner, in bed, in our hotel.


We were really happy with our accommodation at the Ocean Park Hotel. This budget hotel has small, private rooms with shared bathrooms. The rooms have a bed, sink and bathroom vanity, a chest of drawers, hanging space, a fridge, a microwave and a TV. The hotel is located in Santa Monica, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from the beach. Not quite walkable, but there is a bus right out the front that goes to the beach and connects with other bus services and the metro to get to Downtown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and other areas of LA. There are a few restaurants, cafes and markets within walking distance, and the area is quiet and safe. It was by far the most affordable place we could find that offered us the comfort, safety and amenities we were looking for.


We are up to our final destination on our journey down the coast of California – San Diego.


When planning our travel destinations, we pin our bucket list of sites to see and recommended places to eat and drink on Google Maps. We are then never lost for ideas when travelling, and can easily share these lists for our friends and family to use as well.

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