Give my latest YouTube video a watch to see what I got up to on a two week trip to California. I wanted to create an easily accessible list of recommendations, but also to share some photos I took of our trip, so I’ve broken it all down below day by day so that you get an idea of our itinerary as well. I hope it might be useful for any of you planning a trip to California as well. Enjoy!
Day 1 – LA
- Griffith Observatory (amazing views of the city and of the Hollywood sign)
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
- In-N-Out Burger (we went to the Hollywood one)
- West Hollywood – Cocktails & Mexican food at The Abbey
- West Hollywood – giant frozen Margaritas at Fiesta Cantina
We stumbled up on an adorable garden centre with loads of amazing cacti. I had no idea they come in so many colours, shapes and sizes!
Day 2 – LA
- Donut Friend in Highland Park – the best donuts ever. GO THERE.
- WEDDING DAY – the rest of the day was spent celebrating our friends’ wedding.
Me in my Vogue V9075 tropical jumpsuit:
Day 3 – LA
- Downtown LA:
- Disney Concert Hall
- Little Tokyo
- Pershing Square
- Beverley Hills
- Urth Cafe – we went to the one in Beverley Hills but there are three other locations. This food was seriously good and such a brilliant antidote to all the burgers and Mexican food we had been eating, as the menu at Urth Cafe is full of fresh, healthy ingredients. It was delicious!
Day 4 – LA
- Venice Beach (Venice boardwalk, muscle beach, venice canals)
- Santa Monica
- Lemonade in Santa Monica is a great spot for lunch. The Poke bowls were amazing.
- We went to a restaurant called Ink.Well for dinner. It was quite upmarket, with a dark and mysterious vibe. The food was absolutely delicious and all designed to share. It was pretty pricey though! If you want to splash out for a special occasion it’s a great option.
- Later that night we went Bowling at Highland Park Bowl, which is LA’s oldest bowling alley. You can see the mechanisms that move all the pins around – the decor was amazing and much more atmospheric than your typical, neon lights bowling alley like at home.
Day 5 – Driving Route 101
We drove Route 101, which is the coastal road linking LA with San Francisco. However, the weather was horrendous, and the “incredible coastal views” were hidden by mist and fog. It was pretty stunning in it’s own way, but since it wasn’t quite the experience we were expecting, we eventually decided to ditch route 101 and take the freeway, which is much faster. We did stop at Malibu, Santa Barbara and Lake Cachuma. I wish we had had more time in Santa Barbara as it was beautiful!
Day 6 – San Francisco
- Alcatraz – this is such a must!! It is so worth the money and the audio tour around the prison building is fantastic. They narrate it with prisoners voices in your head.
- Lunch at the crab stands on Taylor Street on Fisherman’s Wharf (watch out for the GIANT seagulls who will try and pinch your food).
- Walk around the Aquatic Cove / Aquatic Park Pier for amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Fran sky line and Alcatraz.
- We caught the tram from Powell-Hyde Cable Car Turntable. It was great to see the staff manually push the tram around the turntable, but it took aaaaages for the queue to move so I wouldn’t recommend getting on there if the queue is too long.
- China Town (the biggest one outside of Asia).
- Lombard Street (the road is so curvy it almost zig-zags down the hill).
- Climb up the Greenwich Street steps to get to Coit Tower. It’s a picturesque, off the beaten track route and you get amazing views on the way up as well as at the top.
- China Live – delicious dim sum!!!
The weather changed in an instant and suddenly we were in a full blown rain storm!
Day 7 – San Francisco
- Sea Lions at Pier 39
- Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Centre & walk to the west for great views from another angle.
- Eat the Burrata pizza at Delarosa. There is a huge lump of Burrata on each slice of pizza and it is utterly divine.
Day 8 – Napa and Sonoma Valleys
- Napa and Sonoma Valley tour with Grey Line, $99 pp. We went to three wineries:
- Nicholson Ranch – Estate winery – 3 wines and a re-taste. Beautiful tasting room and picturesque setting and you get the chance to walk around the vineyard.
- Madonna Estate – Estate winery – hilarious host – tasted approx. 5-6 wines.
- Sutter Homes – mass production – tasted approx. 5 wines. Pretty gardens and house.
- Lunch at Oxbow Public Market. We chose to eat Tacos and Nachos from C Casa and it was so fresh and tasty.
Day 9 – San Francisco and driving to Yosemite
- Fabric shopping at Britex Fabrics.
- In-N-Out Burger (again)
- We stayed in Tenaya Lodge, which was so picturesque and has great facilities.
Day 10 – Yosemite
- Yosemite National Park (beware of the long winters and the need for snow chains!! We were there in March 2018 and no one was allowed in the park without snow chains on their tyres).
- Tunnel View (viewpoint with incredible views)
- Lower Yosemite Fall (you can follow a train through the forest to get close to it)
- The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (we had a quick look around and it has some lovely, cozy but simultaneously grand lounge areas in the hotel and we cheekily used their nice clean bathrooms. Win).
Day 11 – drive back to LA
- Fabric shopping at The Fabric Store.
Day 12- LA fabric shopping
- Fabric shopping at Mood Fabrics.
- Fabric shopping in the Fashion District. The fabric shops we found were on Maple Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets.
- Sonoratown does seriously good Mexican food. You can takeaway or it has a few seats. It’s the perfect lunch spot after exploring the fashion district.
Congratulations for making it to the end of this monster blog post!! I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting.
Until next time.
Lizzie B x