Many people confuse Los Angeles with Hollywood - probably one of the most famous places in the world, but just a small part of Los Angeles, an enormous city that can engulf many of the US's other cities and still have space left over.
Los Angeles is the Mecca for wannabes, could-bes and might-bes, and it's the Hollywood sign, one of the most recognizable signs in the world that draws them here. It's a symbol of failure and tragedy for many, hope and success for others. It's been featured in countless movies and TV shows, and it is cherished by Angelinos whatever their connection to it and the city.
Los Angeles is unique in the fact it has no real center, it is like lots of little cities in one big city, unkindly called urban sprawl by some people! With 4 million people in the city and 10 million in LA county, one of the great things is you never feel hemmed in! Because of the vastness of the city, the best way to see Los Angeles is to split your stay into two areas for example: inland and the beach. With that in mind, here’s an ideal morning spent inland in Los Angeles.
Start with breakfast at the 101 Coffee Shop (6145 Franklin Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028) in Hollywood. This gorgeous retro diner isn’t what you would probably expect to find in a Best Western Hotel but it’ll take you back to diner glory days of the 60s. Not only a historic landmark, it probably comes as little surprise that its starred in movies, in particular Swingers. Order the Mickey Fitz and wash it down with plenty of coffee. You’ll need the energy for the rest of the day.
Next stop is the Griffith Observatory (4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027) This museum is situated inside Los Angeles favorite outdoor space - Griffith Park. Whether you consider yourself a space nerd or not, there is plenty for everyone to do at the Observatory. You can just wander around the grounds and admire the view of the city, and the Hollywood sign from here. Or enter the Observatory (free!) and check out the astronomy themed exhibits including a Tesla coil and a camera obscura. Or... weigh yourself to see what you would weigh on other planets and touch real moon rocks! There is an excellent planetarium show with live narration (about $7 for an adult), which is well worth the price if you can afford it. If you have plenty of energy left, you can walk the trail that starts just near the parking area for amazing views of the city. Just be sure to take plenty of water, sunblock!
After the Observatory, if you haven’t brought a picnic to enjoy in the park, then head back down to Los Feliz (pronounced Los Fey-Lease) to one of my favourite outdoor restaurants - Home (1760 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027). There truly is no place like Home - the food is very good and plenty of variety whether you want sandwiches, salads, burgers, wraps. The highlight has to be it’s wonderful patio so be sure to ask to sit outside and bring your sunglasses - if you are lucky, you will spot a celebrity especially during the weekends.
After lunch if you have time explore Los Feliz - original home of Walt Disney studios, childhood neighborhood of Leonardo DiCaprio - check out the boutique shops, pop into the wonderful Skylight Bookstore on N Vermont Blvd or sit and watch the world go by with a coffee at H Coffee house or Blue Bottle Coffee both on Hillhurst.
Interested in getting more information about Los Angeles? Check out the rest of Clare's guides: