We knew we wanted to try to visit the LA area sometime in the next year or so, but when we just happened to get an email promoting cheap flights from CLE to LAX right when we were trying to figure out what to do for Andy’s birthday, we jumped at the opportunity to go now. February is such a perfect time to get out of Cleveland and see some sun for the first time in months. While I’ll admit LA does actually get cold (into the 30s at night!), we were still so excited to see temps rise into the 60s and even low 70s during the day and sunshine, oh the sunshine!!
We spent the first couple of days in downtown LA and then drove to Huntington Beach to stay with friends there for a couple of days. I have to say, we were both very pleasantly surprised by how much we loved this trip. I expect that we’ll be going back to LA as often as possible now.
The Standard Hotel
We stayed for two nights at The Standard in downtown LA, which is an uber hip, super stylish hotel with a good restaurant. The chef, Micah Fields, was on the latest season of Top Chef (and he was our one celebrity sighting). We had breakfast here twice and it was excellent. I especially loved the belgian waffle.
Our room was really nice and I loved the stripes on the wall. But, um, the shower is all glass… ALL glass. As in completely see-through from the rest of the room. So that’s awkward.
One of our favorite things in LA was Angel’s Flight, which I first read about here. The shortest railway in the world, it takes about a minute and costs just 50 cents each way. It was built in 1901 to carry bankers up steep Bunker Hill. It’s a lot of fun and I’m so glad we did it. They say it has carried more passengers, per mile, than any other railway in the world, and I’m pretty sure it’s probably also the cutest railway in the world.
No trip to LA would be complete without going to In-N-Out. Or so they say. And you know what? I liked it. Andy wasn’t super impressed, but he eats cheeseburgers all the time. This was only the second cheeseburger I’ve had in maybe four years, so I thought it was pretty fantastic. I even ate the tomato, which in some ways is as remarkable as me eating meat.
Sprinkles Ice Cream
So everyone has heard of Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills by now, but you may not know they also recently opened an ice cream shop next door. Of course I had to try it. I originally thought I’d try the cupcake top ice cream sandwich, but I ultimately decided to go with a red velvet waffle cone with triple chocolate ice cream. The staff was super friendly and nice, and they even offered to take our picture! I couldn’t convince Andy to use the cupcake ATM next door, even on his birthday, but he said the best birthday gift he could have gotten is walking down the street eating ice cream — without a coat — in February!
For Andy’s birthday dinner we decided to try The Parish, which was recently listed as one of LA’s best new restaurants. It was excellent and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re in the area — the perfect combo of upscale food in a relaxed, cool atmosphere.
I’ve heard a lot about Bottega Louie, so when I realized it was only a couple of blocks from our hotel I knew we would have to stop by and take a look at the macarons they are so famous for. It’s gorgeous, with macarons in every color of the rainbow. I wanted to take home one of everything, but somehow accidentally never tried anything. Next time!
Silver Lake and Griffith Park
On our last day in LA we had lunch with a friend at Simple Things Sandwich & Pie Shop, which is a cute little place with really good sandwiches and salads. I wish I’d tried the pie. Our friend recommended that we have a walk around Silver Lake and drive up to the nearby observatory in Griffith Park. I am so glad we did both of these things. I adored Silver Lake. I wish I’d taken pictures, but it’s the cutest neighborhood tucked right into the hills, with lots of shops and restaurants to walk to and streets lined with fruit trees and cacti. I can’t wait to go back to spend more time here.
Griffith Park is a gem. We drove up up up to the top of quite a steep hill with no idea what to expect at the top. It’s breathtaking. There are sweeping views of the whole city as well as the Hollywood sign. It really feels like being in the wilderness right in the middle of the city. I even saw a coyote!
We had an amazing time in LA and I can’t wait for our next visit!
Everyone we talked to was really nice and friendly and the traffic wasn’t even as bad as I expected. Ummm, some friends asked us to tell everyone we hated it so no one else moves there, ha!
Tomorrow we’ll share pictures from our trip to Huntington Beach.