48 Hours in Los Angeles: My way

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This is not one of those ‘must see in LA’ lists, nor is it an off the beaten path list. These are the places and sights that I enjoyed (and detested) most while visiting this glitzy California city. So, it’s LA, my way!

Hollywood walk of fame:  One place where, I guarantee, you will never spot a celebrity. However, you don’t have to be star struck to enjoy this top LA tourist spot. It’s in your face tacky and kitschy yet fun. Go for an hour, take the mandatory picture with your favorite “star” and get out before the place gets to you.

Meeting the stars!

Meeting the stars!

Hollywood starry tour:  You still won’t spot a star, but, you will see their million dollar mansions, well groomed pets, 100k+ cars and well-manicured yards. I love exploring neighborhoods, so this was a neighborhood tour I wasn’t going to miss. Again, take everything the guide says with a pinch of salt. “Julia Roberts lives here”, translates to, “she used to live here before you were probably born”! Nevertheless, a fun tour that takes you around the prettiest parts of Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. If nothing, it’s good eye candy stuff.

One of the mansions

One of the mansions

Rodeo Drive: Squeaky clean, over the top, grand, luxurious shopping experience. Ahem, window shopping experience. Great if you can actually afford the marked up prices but even better if you cannot. This place is a window shopping paradise. Take a stroll down the street and take in the impossibly clean sidewalks and too thin to be true shoppers dripping in brand names. The cars along the sidewalk alone are worth a walk down this famous shopping strip.

Venice Beach: You will either love it or hate it. I belong to the latter category. The sketchy characters, their sketchier bull dogs, the lingering smell of questionable substances, tacky souvenir stores and loud patrons killed it for me. The messy parking situation only added to my woes. Definitely, not my cup of tea but I can see its appeal to many people. Skip it if you think you dislike the same things that drove me away from here in fifteen minutes. Go all out if you like the kitschy hippie vibe.

Santa Monica Pier: The better behaved sibling of Venice beach. Crowded and cheesy yet lively in a nice way. Especially, if you are travelling with kids, this is a must do. This spot will be the highlight of their trip, unless you are going to Disneyland right after!

Little Tokyo: Now, we are talking. Skip the now almost non-existent Chinatown (save that for SFO) and go for LA’s very own Little Tokyo. My obsession with Japan may be playing a role in making this my favorite spot in town but just the smells and sights are worth a trip. Hole in the wall ramen joints, sushi on a conveyer belt, Japanese souvenirs, Hello Kitty merchandise, aaah this is Disneyland for me!

Hollywood sign hike: When all the glitz and glamor of LA gets to you, and if you are anything like me, it will, take the hike up to the Hollywood sign. Just make sure you take your pictures with the sign before you go all the way up because once you are up there, you can see the sign only in its backside glory.

The sign hike

The sign hike

LACMA: Conveniently located on the museum row for an afternoon of museum hopping. Check the schedules out for the special art exhibitions that are on. Don’t forget to stop for a picture in the much photographed, Urban Light, which is a permanent exhibit. If you get lucky, you may also be able to enjoy the local food truck scene across the street. Check for schedules.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard: As upscale as hipster vibe can get. Boutiques, coffee shops and antique stores galore, this ‘too cool for even LA’ block is fun to explore and shop around. It is brimming with unique furniture stores, apparel, juice bars and food. Plan to go here on a Friday when this neighborhood hosts the Food Truck Friday when the trucks add more color to this already vibrant neighborhood.

Farmers Market: Because I never miss a chance to visit the local farmers market. If you enjoy local food markets and eating around food, don’t miss LA’s best. This farmers market is unique in the sense that it extends into a mall with main stream stores. Container Store even! So when you are done exploring and eating, you can drool over Elfa shelves.

In-N-Out: I longingly glanced at the In-n-Out in Phoenix as we were driving to the airport to catch our last flight out of Phoenix. To Charlotte. Our new home. I loved them when they were a mile away from home, and, I love them even more when the closest one is over 1500 miles away. There is no way, I would visit a city with In-N-Out without paying homage to my favorite chain burger. My favorite is from their “secret” menu: Hamburger animal style which translates to a freshly grilled patty topped with mustard caramelized onions doused in animal style sauce on freshly baked buns.

Bottega Louie: What’s not to love about this place? One luscious layer of white after another unfolds as your walk past the deli filled with pastel delights into the main dining room with high ceilings and intricate ceiling details. Just when you feel like you are in a fairytale, a rustic brick oven on a subway tiled wall grounds the space. Perfect marriage of elegance and rustic charm. Of course, the food is delish.

Macarons

Macarons

Go for their brunch and get the lobster hash which is eggs benedict with paprika spiked hollandaise sauce. A must eat at place for me the next time I am there.


Ramya picRamya Malisetty, an IP lawyer, loves French food, Japanese culture, Merlot and King Charles Cavaliers. She obsesses over making a perfect bed, labeling everything in sight, Shabby Chic décor and preparing elaborate meals. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband. Read about her foodie jaunts and fashion tips on her blog Wardrobe Menu.

 

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