Here we are again! Long time no see!
But we’ve been away for a while… okay, three weeks isn’t that long… still, felt a bit off track to blog tbh. Now that all our travel pictures have been edited and our lives are unwinding a bit again, I wanted to share our three week travel to the Southwest US with you guys. Since you do a lot in three weeks time, I’m not going to write one big blogpost, but share the different parts of our travels, starting with one of our major cities, Los Angeles.
I’ll set up a full itinerary with all the stops we made, but for today I’ll focus on L.A. and the things we visited during our stay. Hope you enjoy!
3 week itinerary
These are all the main stops we made and things we did. I’ll be covering most of them in different blogposts. I’m thinking of doing the national parks together and separate posts for the cities. But we’ll see how it works out.
- Los Angeles
- Palm Springs
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Montezuma Castle
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Horseshoe Bend
- Monument Valley
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Zion National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Las Vegas
- Death Valley National Park
- Sequoia National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Santa Cruz
- San Francisco
So let’s start off with Los Angeles, the city of angels… or more likely, the city of Victoria’s Secret angels and celebrities.
Los Angeles Itinerary
We landed quite early in the morning, leaving us with almost a full day ahead (and a bit of a jetlag), so we started with a relaxing stroll at Venice Beach and some shopping. On our next day we got up early to visit the Warner Bros studios and booked ourselves a tour which was really worth it. Afterwards we went to Griffith Observatory and looked at the Hollywood sign. We also did some luxury window shopping at Rodeo Drive. Really loved that one.
Things you must do
There is so much to see, do, experience, … in Los Angeles. Unlike New York, this city has a more stretched out and relaxed vibe. They say you’re either a NYC or LA kind of person and I am most definitely one of the first. I’m really glad I visited LA, but I wouldn’t head over there again. I can’t really say why, but it just didn’t suit me. Nevertheless, I really did enjoy our stay there.
If you search the web, you’ll find hundreds of things to do when you’re in LA and all seem pretty cool. This city is definitely more focussed on ‘the young and hip’ and has loads of cool places. Venice Beach and the Venice Canals are one of the highlights of the city and also bring a bit more history and culture into your visit. Knowing these canals were built in 1905 to recreate the feeling of Venice, Italy.
These canals were really fun to walk by – and a bit of a maze – and we saw some amazing houses on our walk. So I really recommend visiting if you’re into viewing those typical American houses. And it’s also quite calm in those canals (since there are no cars), so you can really enjoy the scenery.
Venice Beach actually wasn’t my cup of tea. We walked the Venice Boardwalk for a while and I can see why some enjoy it so much, for me it was a bit too much hippie.
Also a must-do for everyone, is visit some movie studios. I mean, Hollywood is the place to be if you’re a lover of the big screen. There are so much studios to visit and I believe they all are amazing. You have the Universal Studios who focus more on the entertainment part and offer some experiences like a rollercoaster I believe. Then you have the Disney Studios – do I need to say more? – and the Warner Bros Studios. We chose these last ones since they offer a real classic studio tour where you can visit sets and props. You can choose different kind of tours that vary in length, but we took a simple one to fit in our tight schedule.
What I loved most about this visit is the relaxed vibe and visiting the movie sets of some of my favorites, like Jane the Virgin, SATC, Spiderman, Batman, Mars Attacks, A Star is Born and FRIENDS!
As a luxury lover I really looked forward to strolling Rodeo Drive and visiting the Anine Bing store (not near each other). Rodeo Drive, known as one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world, was really impressive. They designed the street to give a European feel to it, especially the classic, short part of the street and it hosts all the major designers like Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, … And they had such amazing boutiques! Of course, it would be stupid to shop over there as a European since the prices of luxury brands are so much higher in the U.S. So don’t go there if you’re planning on buying a Chanel bag. Even at Anine Bing the price ended up higher than in Europe and she is an LA based designer.
Seeing the Hollywood sign is also a must-do. We didn’t have enough time to do the hike to the letters, but took satisfaction in viewing them from far at Griffith Observatory. If you really want a nice picture of the Hollywood sign, this isn’t the place to do it. You do have an amazing view of the city and climbing those Hollywood hills is quite a fun thing to do!
We also went on a drive through the Beverly Hills to spot some amazing houses (maybe celebrity houses) and drove Mulholland road. By car is the best way to visit this city, since it’s so stretched out.
We stayed at The Tangerine (you can find it here), a classy ‘motel’ with a vintage vibe to it. This was a really great place to stay, since we had our rental car and were able to park it in front of our room. Also, the room was really spacious and they had this mini pool (very American) that was heated. Since it was quite cold when we visited, we didn’t go into the pool, but it all looked pretty nice.
This hotel was near the Warner Bros studios in Burbank. We ended up walking to the Studios in about 7 minutes, so it was such a good location.
Places to eat
We ended up dining twice in the same restaurant that was like 10 meters from our hotel. It was a Mexican Restaurant called Don Cuco and it was AMAZING. First, I really LOVE Mexican food and consider myself now a specialist in repeating there dishes, tacos, fajitas, burritos, … you name it. So if you aren’t the biggest lover of beans and such, maybe Mexican isn’t for you. But we really loved it so much. And the Margaritas were amazing as well.
The next day we had lunch at Olive & Thyme which was also located right across our hotel. It was a bit crowded – something we now know is custom to eating in the US – but very good and fresh.
Ways to travel
There is only one way I guess to travel to the US from Europe (if you don’t want to end up forever on a boat) and that is by plane. As most of the times when we travel from Belgium, we took the plane from Shiphol, Amsterdam. We flew KLM airlines, we’ve had many good experiences with them over the past years, on a direct flight to Los Angeles. I can only recommend there service!
In LA we mostly drove ourselves with our rental car which we picked up at LAX. Driving LA isn’t hard, the streets are very wide, but you do have a lot of traffic on the highway. Still, didn’t find it as frustrating as our Belgian traffic… Parking in LA isn’t an impossible job, but you do have to watch out. At some places they will tow you immediately and that’s no fun when you’re a tourist with a rental car. So it’s worth it to spend a little more on valet parking if you can.
So hope you enjoyed my share on LA. There is so much to do in this city, it feels like I’ve only talked about 1% … Did you ever visit LA or are you planning to? What would you visit during your stay?