TGIF friends! Today I wanted to put together my LA travel experience into a post for you guys so that you know exactly what to do & what to skip when you visit! I traveled to LA a few weeks ago, where we split our time between Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood. I actually had a much greater love for the whole LA area this time around than I did when I was last there in 2017! FYI, none of these recommendations are right in the inner city of LA. Throughout all of the time I have spent in CA, I have not actually spent enough time in the inner city of LA to share any favorites with y’all!
Where I Stayed
This month, we stayed at the Beverly Hilton. Overall, it was fine. The room was nothing special and looked like it hadn’t been updated in years. The biggest issue was that there were only like 4 outlets total, and none of them were near the beds, lol! That is totally a first world problem, but these are the things I pay attention to when I’m in hotels. Luckily, the hotel was in a super great location in Beverly Hills and felt busy/safe! They also brought us macaroons on the first night, so that’s kinda hard to beat.
What to Do
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
We did this in 2017, but it was so great that I totally would’ve done it again this year! The tour was overall just so fun and such a unique experience. You see a ton of show/movie sets, props, costumes, and much more. The whole film/tv/celebrity feelings is one of my favorite things, so this is definitely on my must-do list!!!
Live Show Taping
I have wanted to do this SOO badly! We got the chance to go to a Family Feud taping on this trip. It was truly one of the coolest things I have ever done! I loved every minute of it. The tickets are completely free, you just have to sign up enough in advance to grab a spot. We used the website mytvtickets.com to get our tickets. Family Feud was such a great show to see – Steve Harvey sits and talks to/takes questions from the audience on every single “commercial break.” He is hysterical but also so down to earth, so it’s a really interesting experience. I also loved the feeling of being back stage, seeing all of the off-camera things, and just being a part of the day. I think any show would give a lot of the same feelings!
3rd Street Promenade
This is such a fun part of Santa Monica! The street is really pretty, and on a warm evening, it’s really nice just to walk and window shop. You can also do some actual shopping if you’re in the mood (who isn’t?)! They basically have any store you’d see in a typical mall, but you’re on the coast and in perfect weather.
We decided at the last minute that we wanted to go walk around The Grove! I would plan to spend more time here in the future. This is apparently a big celebrity hotspot, but we didn’t see anyone we knew. It’s basically an old market that has continued functioning with little food places, bakeries, and old shops all throughout the market. The streets surrounding it are also all fun stores/shops, from Laduree to Nike! It’s all walkable and really fun. They even have some green space in the middle with a bunch of blankets and pillows for you to borrow just to hang out on the lawn. Count me in!
Hollywood Homes Tour
This is super fun if you like the Beverly Hills fantasy and celebrities! We picked a random tour group that we found on the streets of Hollywood (they pretty much all go to the same places). You ride in an open van through the main streets of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the steep hills with all of the gigantic homes! The tour guide also points out tons of celebrity homes and who lives there. So fun!
Dolby Theater Tour
We also randomly decided to tour Dolby Theater, which is right on the Walk of Fame. This was unexpectedly one of our favorite parts of our most recent trip! Dolby Theater is the home of the Oscars. You have a 30 minute walking tour where you get to see an actual Oscar, the theater, the areas where the celebrities mingle before/after the show, and the hallway where the winners have their only private moment after winning the Oscar before they go onto interviews and all of that. We loved our tour guide and had so much fun doing this!
Hollywood Walk of Fame
This is where you see all of the celebrities’ stars! I didn’t want to put it on the “skip” list, because I do think it’s fun if it’s your first time! I’d probably only do it once though. If you have the chance to see a star ceremony, I think that would be so worth doing!
Where to Eat
We ate here in 2017 and then again this year because it is THAT GOOD. By far the best meal of both trips! If you like Italian, you seriously can’t miss with this place. And you have to order the pumpkin tortellini.
This is one of the restaurants in the Beverly Hills Hotel, which was the first hotel in Beverly Hills. Just being there is a really cool experience – I can’t even imagine how fun it would be to stay there! We ate at the Polo Lounge, which was perfect in every way. The food was delicious, and the atmosphere was to die for. You have to sit outside. It’s a bit pricey but so worth it. Make sure you keep an eye out for celebrities brunching or signing deals!
The Ivy has several locations. We ate at the Santa Monica one, but if you’re a fangirl like me, you should go for the Beverly Hills location. The food was yummy!!
This restaurant sits right outside of the Tiffany’s on Rodeo Drive. You can now seriously eat breakfast at Tiffany’s! The food was pretty good, but it didn’t match the Polo Lounge. While eating, you have the best view of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. If you’re a Pretty Woman fan, this is so lovely.
We ate here solely because when I did my research, this was number one on several lists for celebrity sightings. If you can’t tell by now, that’s one of my favorite things to try to do when in LA! The restaurant is in an odd location where you wouldn’t expect to run into famous people, but that’s part of the charm. We did see one semi-famous person while we ate dinner, and when we left, the paparazzi was waiting outside. I think there’s a great chance you’ll run into someone you love at Craig’s!
What I’d Skip
We did this when we did the Dolby Theater tour, but this one was for sure not worth the money. I’m pretty sure you could walk in the theater alone and learn as much without having a guide.
Santa Monica Pier
The pier was super crowded both times we visited. I don’t know that I’d never want to do it, but I wouldn’t again. There are places to eat and little shops, but I think it’s more fun to explore the space by 3rd Street Promenade. I think I’d just walk down and grab a churro, then leave!
So happy to get this guide out for you all! We had so much fun doing all of these things on our trips. I hope this helps you plan for a trip sometime!!