Remember back in October when I was planning our trip to California? Well we went… in December (and had a fabulous time!) and here I am in April finally getting around to writing about it…insert embarrassed emoji face here.
Robert has the week between Christmas and New Years off every year which lines up perfectly with my Christmas break. We decided this was the perfect time for a trip, and California was not only a destination on both of our bucket lists, but it was also far enough away and big enough to justify spending an entire week there. In true Laurin fashion I had planned our trip down to a T, we would fly into LA, spend two days there and then drive up the coast to San Francisco, stopping in Carmel for a night to break up the drive.
We headed to the airport the day after Christmas, said goodbye to Renly and boarded our flight to Atlanta. We were both hungry when we landed in Atlanta and decided to grab some lunch before boarding our flight to LA. We unknowingly cut it a bit close which ended up working out in our favor. When we arrived at our gate, the flight attendants were in a tizzy trying to accommodate a group of French teenagers who were flying standby. Only one of the group spoke English so they didn’t want to be split up. When Robert and I arrived, they had already given our seats away to some of the group and ended up putting us in the only two available seats left, which just so happened to be in first class. Win!
After a second lunch, some wine and a delightful nap since our seats laid completely flat, holla, we landed in LA, well rested and excited to start our trip! After waiting in line at the rental car company for the better part of forever, we made our way to our hotel, the Figueroa in downtown LA.
The boutique hotel had a lovely lobby.
The rooms were small and somewhat sparse but clean, decorated in a sort of boho-chic theme. Robert is used to larger, more traditional hotels and didn’t love the Fig, but I thought it was quaint.
The staff recommended a local Mexican restaurant for dinner, El Cholo.
Robert and I both enjoyed our meals and went to bed early, full from dinner and ready to hit Hollywood the next morning! I woke up bright and early the next morning only to find poor Robert had been up vomiting the entire night. He is convinced it was food poisoning, but before you cross El Cholo off your list you should know that ALL of Robert’s family had the stomach bug prior to us leaving, so who really knows. He was a pitiful sight so I walked a few blocks to a grocery store to buy him some gatorade and a few slices of toast. After a few more hours of sleep, Robert rallied and we headed out to Hollywood Boulevard.
As expected, it was crowded and touristy, but certainly a must see if you are in town for the first time. We walked along the Walk of Fame, saw the famous handprints outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, walked up and down some neat piano stairs and visited Sweet, a giant candy store.
When our stomachs started rumbling we hopped back in the car and headed to North Hollywood. As a lover of all things Bravo (guilty) I was dying to get a look at Lisa Vanderpump’s reality show restaurant Sur.
It was underwhelming from the outside, and not open yet so I didn’t get to check out the inside or spy any celebrities. Bummer, but probably for the best as I would have felt obligated to eat there and have heard the food is terrible. Instead, we ended up at Mendicino Farms Sandwich Market where we were able to enjoy our lunch outside with a view of the Hollywood Sign.
Robert felt like a new man after his grilled cheese and ham sandwich and we headed to the Hollywood Hills to try and find the famous sign.
We were only able to get so close, but it was fun to drive the winding roads and check out all the gorgeous houses and views. After lots of selfies, we made out way back down to Beverly Hills and drove through Rodeo Drive.
I was impressed by the designer stores (hello window shopping!) and even Robert enjoyed it thanks to the ridiculously expensive cars everywhere you looked.
We ended our day at Venice Beach where we watched the sunset and walked along the boardwalk.
The Boardwalk was more than a little seedy at night, and it was there we got our first taste of the MANY homeless people we would encounter throughout California, really sad. We never felt unsafe, but if you decide to check out Venice Beach I would definitely recommend going during the day.
Neither of us were particularly hungry for dinner and Robert was in bad need of more rest so we headed back to our hotel and called it an early night, eager to make it to the Original Farmers Market and The Grove before we left town the next day!