We’d decided to spend a few days around the Laguna area, and chose the beautiful Corona Del Mar near Newport Beach. It’s a small, affluent neighbourhood with incredible sunset views.
They also really like Halloween around there.
We had lunch at Zinc Cafe & Market [350 Ocean Avenue], another pretentious-yet-undeniably cute and healthy cafe. Afterwards, I ate my bodyweight in frozen yoghurt from CDM just down the road [3333 East Coast Highway].
My dancer itch needed scratching, so I tried a spinning/pilates class at Defy Gravity Studio [3100 East Pacific Coast Highway]. It was a tough and rewarding workout, and the instructor had that undeniable American enthusiasm. I chose the intro offer of $17 for a class, and would return if ever in the area.
The evening was spent packing for our early drive up to LA. In hindsight, we both agreed we would’ve have spent another night exploring the Laguna Beach area.
We set off early, having been warned about the evils of LA traffic. The rumours were true, it was intense. THERE WERE SIX-LANE MOTORWAYS of speeding, undertaking traffic (the latter which is legal in the US. Crazy).
Thankfully we didn’t die, and safely made it to our Airbnb in Santa Monica. A quick walk to the pier gave us chance to see another beautiful sunset.
Not wanting to spend my life driving in LA traffic, we decided to take a Rastabus tour. Best decision ever. It was a little pricey at $89 each, but we looked fucking cool:
We did every single LA cliché…
- Venice beach
- The Hollywood sign at Griffith Observatory
- Beverley Hills and Rodeo Drive
- The Walk of Fame
Everything was on-time, our driver was informative and charming in equal measure, and there were complimentary cold bottles of water throughout the day. Perfect.
We were dropped off at Santa Monica pier, and spent the evening exploring the shops.
We finished with a couple (of hundred) drinks at The Craftsman Bar and Kitchen [119 Broadway] where the poor top-knotted, heavily tattooed barman had to tolerate an inebriated British girl teaching him classical ballet positions. Bloody tourists.
I grabbed an Uber to Jilly’s Jazz class at The Electric Lodge [1416 Electric Ave] which was great fun. Very different to my usual Pineapple classes, but wonderful to sample other teaching styles.
The dance studio was at the top of Abbott Kinney, a ridiculously-cute street full of independent boutiques, healthy eating cafes, spiritual stores and donut shops.
Our evening was spent at The Comedy Store [8433 Sunset Blvd] for some open mic comedy. Um. Having previously visited and loved the London venue, we were disappointed. Maybe American humour is just different?! It was also really cold, so much so I ordered a cup of tea. What a gangster.
Our last day in LA! We’d been advised to go on at least one studio tour, and heard that the Warner Brothers one was the best.
It did not disappoint. We were taken around numerous exterior and interior sets. but my personal highlight was the Friends set…After the whole London Friends Fest debacle, I FINALLY drank coffee at Central Perk… I also won an Oscar. This is my winner’s face (incidentally, these are also my bedroom eyes).I rewarded myself with an In-n-Out burger.Then off to LAX airport we went, with an emotional goodbye to our rental car.But we weren’t too sad, because we were off to motherfuckin’ Las Vegas, baby!
- Stay in Santa Monica – it’s much nicer and safer than LA itself. LA is HUGE (stating the obvious) and a lot of it is actually quite rough.
- A standard alcohol measure is bigger in the US than the UK. I learnt this the hard way. Damn you, vodka!
- I’d definitely recommend taking a tour to see the main tourist spots, so you don’t have to worry about traffic or parking.
- The Walk of Fame is an overly populated, generally dirty main street. It’s good to visit… once… but maybe not more than once.