From what had been the school semester from hell both in terms of academics and personal relationships, my spring break trip to Los Angeles couldn’t have come at a better time. I was two months away from graduating college, and I needed a breather. It was nice to have the complete freedom from everything stressing me out back home and be able to meet up with my cousin, Mason, who lives in Florida, whom I adore, and don’t get see enough of. He is the one responsible for my over-the-top obsession with Lady Gaga.
We stayed at the Kyoto Grand hotel, and grand it was indeed. The night we got in happened to be the same night as the Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre, and boy does LA know how to pack its streets when the award shows come to town. We made the mistake of going anywhere near the theatre to catch a glimpse of the fabulously dressed celebs and ended up going home disappointed. Other than that, we didn’t do any major sight seeing as the night was quickly approaching, we were jet lagged, and we had a whole week to hang out in L.A.
While I do love L.A., I don’t ever see myself settling down in that area. For me, it will always only be a vacation destination. Hate to point out the obvious, but it is a city full of fake personalities, materialism, celebrity, and deception which is quite the opposite of everything I strive for in life.
How do I get around?
L.A.’s metro system is pathetic compared to NYC’s (you know where my loyalty lies), but we ended up riding around for free the whole week because there was never anyone around to check tickets. Illegal? True. L.A. is expensive and you need to save money where you can? Also true. The metro is a good option for getting around to see the major sights, and it provides entertainment in the form of dressed-to-impress trannies and homeless people with well crafted pitches to get you to hand over a dollar.
I would recommend renting a car, but all the horror stories you hear about how bad L.A.s traffic are 100% true, even during the wee hours of the morning, the highways are backed up. More power to you if you choose that route. The best options are to have a friend drive you around everywhere, walk, or if you stay somewhere with a free shuttle, USE IT!
Where should I stay?
Santa Monica is my recommendation since you’re right by the beach. All of L.A. is pricey so if you’re going to pay a pretty penny, it might as well have an ocean view. As one of the USA’s major cities, LA has a good selection of hostels to choose from, but my suggestions include USA Hostels Hollywood (they have free breakfast) or HI-Los Angeles in Santa Monica.
When is the best time to visit?
There really isn’t a bad time to visit Los Angeles, but I recommend November through April, as it’s a bit cooler outside to walk around. Plus like I said, it’s high time in L.A. the first half of the year because award season is in gear.
Places to Go/See
- Griffith Observatory
- Disney Land – Anaheim
- Santa Monica & Venice Beach – Plenty of shopping at Third Street Promenade, restaurants and things to see. My cousin and I actually rode the bus from Santa Monica to Rodeo Drive where we felt completely out of place (1) because we were two broke teenagers and (2) we were sporting beachwear in one of L.A.’s most high class neighborhoods.
- Roam the Hollywood Walk of Fame with all the stars
- Go to a television show taping like Ellen Degeneres, Conan O’Brien, or Jay Leno
- Hike up as close as you can to the Hollywood sign without getting arrested
- Walk up & down Rodeo Drive to get a feel for where all of the A-list celebrities do their shopping
- Fall in love with Pasadena, and if you’re in town at the right time, go to the Rose Bowl.
- Staples Center area at night – great for entertainment, bowling, and bars
- Flea markets galore
“This City” Sundays will introduce you to a new city every week, showcase what I’ve learned and love about that city, and attempt to persuade you to visit on your travels.