Los Angeles and Newport Beach
My 13-hour flight from Syd>LA was great, I had both seats next to me free so I was able to write and relax a lot more than I would be seated next to strangers. As soon as I walked through the doors at LAX the heat hit me, it was only 6.30am and it felt like it was at least 30 degrees Celsius outside. The first stop was visiting Santa Monica Pier, to which I was shocked that it wasn’t as magical as in all the films I have seen. It was still good to visit and grab a coffee from Bubba Gump though!
I highly recommend visiting any Farmer’s Markets you may come across (they are typically held on the weekend), there is a lot of food and unique handmade items to buy and it’s a great experience seeing the local community.
I spent a lot of my time at Newport Beach, which I instantly fell in love with. On one side of the road is the long stretched out beach with holiday houses right next to the sand and then a few streets in the opposite direction is the port where all the boats are kept. I loved walking around there, everyone was friendly and there were some great restaurants and shops! One of the famous tourist spots was the takeaway shop with frozen bananas covered in chocolate which I tried and was pretty yummy for only $3.50 (USD).
Close to Newport Beach was Huntington Beach and Seal Beach, all beautiful places to eat, shop, swim and relax. A lot of people hire bikes and ride on the footpath next to the sand which was what I did a few days and I absolutely loved it, until my tire went flat and I had to walk all the way back…!
I highly recommend going to Bear Flag Fish Co. opposite Huntington beach for $2 Taco Tuesday. They have fish tacos that are literally the most amazing things I have ever eaten!
Sorry to burst your bubble but downtown LA isn’t as glamorous as the media makes it out to be. Unlike Beverly Hills where all the celebs live and there were the high-end shops that I didn’t even dare walk into (in most cases you had to pre-book appointments to actually enter the shop!).
Hollywood was dirty, with a lot of homeless and way too many tourists. I only spent two hours there and that was enough for me. The stars on the ground were pretty cool, but they go for miles and everyone’s walking on them and the homeless are sleeping on them, so it’s kinda gross. You also have to be very careful with your bags, because if there was any place in California for pickpocketers it would be the main strip of Hollywood. Another important thing to remember is that the traffic in LA is insane, so unless your staying in Hollywood or close by, you really need to plan ahead and think if it’s actually worth visiting because you could be in traffic for over two hours when your only a 30min drive away.
Personally, I would recommend visiting all the beaches up the coast and next time I want to visit San Diego on the train!