Making the Most of Two Days in L.A.

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We just got back from a wonderful road trip up Highway 1 in California and Oregon. The weather was beautiful – no humidity, mosquitos or rain. The trip began in Los Angeles, and while we have been there before, it’s impossible to see everything in one visit!

In this post, I’ll recap what we did, where we ate, stayed and how to make the most of your time in a city where traffic sometimes throws a wrench in your best laid plans.

Where We Stayed

I chose to book through Airbnb this time for our two nights in Los Angeles. Hotels can kind of be pricey and since we were heading out after a studio tour on day 3, picked a spot that was just a few blocks away from that. Our host, Kathy, was lovely! We talked with her a little bit when we checked in to “The Lavender Cottage” and discovered she used to work for CNN and knew Anderson Cooper. She now does lighting for theater and retail stores, but has worked in the film/TV industry for a very long time.

Included with the room were two bikes! We didn’t use them, but this would be a great option for someone wanting to explore the immediate area.

Where We Ate

Cinnaholic. If you watch Shark Tank, you may remember this vegan cinnamon roll place from an episode a few years ago. I made a note of it and we stopped to get some on our way to the Nixon Presidential Library. Holy Cow were they good!

In-N-Out, obviously! Haha. It doesn’t get more West Coast than In-N-Out burgers, so we had two meals at the famous joint. Personally, I think their special sauce is pretty gross. The first meal there, I’d asked them to leave it off but that didn’t get communicated and I scraped most of it off after tasting it. Adam liked it, but to me it tasted like a mixture of pickles, onion and mayo. Bleh. The second meal there was way better as they got my order right.

We also had dinner at an amazing Lebanese place in Culver City called Almaza.  I had falafel with hummus, rice and Adam got the chicken shawarma. The portions were huge, food was excellent, but the service was somewhat lacking. Maybe it was an off night, but they were slow to take our order and slow to bring our check. I would still eat here again, but that was definitely a down side to the restaurant.

I also had a birthday cake milkshake from Milk Bar, owned by Christina Tosi from Master Chef. It was good; a bit over priced and more just for Instagramming in my opinion. If I went back, I’d try the actual cake, but it’s really not all that different from other dessert shops.

Shop my look: Striped Dress, Converse

What We Did

Our plane landed around 8:30 am PST, so that gave us a full day to explore. Last time, we went to President Reagan’s Presidential Library and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go to Nixon’s this time. It’s about an hour drive outside of L.A., but if you enjoy history or politics, worthwhile to go. I know I learned a lot!

Shop my look: Free People Denim Jacket, Striped Dress, Kate Spade Cat Purse, Converse

Once we left there, I drug Adam to an AMAZING library that had an aquarium, huge children’s department and several stories of materials. We also checked out The Last Bookstore in downtown L.A., which was a mad house of people trying to take photos for Instagram.


Most of the first day was gone by the time we got done in downtown and West Hollywood, so we decided to check in to our Airbnb for the night.

Day two started off with a hike behind the Hollywood sign. I am really glad we waited to do this hike then, because it was overcast and breezy and it was a tough trail to climb. If you are interested in doing the hike, get out there early as parking was FULL when we left and the crowds were increasing. Here’s the link to where we parked (Bronson Canyon) and the actual hike we took. Make sure you summit Mt. Lee to get behind the sign – another path takes you to a viewpoint of the front instead (which is also nice, but if that’s where you go thinking you’ll be behind it, that’s not the right path to take).

We then did a little location hunting, seeking out some filming locations for The Office and Silicon Valley.

From there, we ended our day at Santa Monica Pier and walked down to Venice Beach. The cultural vibes between the two are so different! Santa Monica is much more upscale and Venice has a hipster vibe.


Day three, our final morning in L.A., started off with a tour of the Sony Pictures Studio. Last time we did the Warner Brothers Studio Tour and decided to take a different one to see how they compared. I felt like Sony had more history – their lot had many classic films (like Wizard of Oz) filmed there and our tour guide was the voice of Young Tod in Disney’s Fox and the Hound.


We also got to go on the set of The Goldbergs, see cars from Ghost Busters, Breaking Bad and my favorite, tour the Jeopardy set! The tour took about two hours and was definitely worth it. It is an all walking tour, so no carts like the one at Warner Brothers.

If You’ve Never Been 

Obviously, there are some top spots I’ve left out because I have been to L.A. before! If you are looking for other things to do, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame or attend a taping of a live event, check out my older post with what we did back in 2016.

making the Most of Two Days In

19 thoughts on “Making the Most of Two Days in L.A.

  1. Joanne Troppello

    July 22, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Great post. Looks like you had a great trip! 🙂

  2. kathrynanywhere

    July 23, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Looks like fun! A bit of the non-tourist sutff.

  3. Stacey

    July 23, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Omg this sounds so amazing! I am totally wanting to plan a trip to Cali here soon! I’ve never been but this post made it even more enticing

  4. Kegan

    July 24, 2019 at 6:58 am

    Highway 1 is my favorite! So magical and that trip from Oregon down to Bug Sur is amazing. Not sure if you had a chance to check out Point Lobos but def. put it on the list for next time!

    1. Kelly

      July 24, 2019 at 9:11 am

      We drove all the way to Portland and made several stops, but that wasn’t one! Definitely adding that to our list if we get back out that way again. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Brittney Mason (@theprettyplus)

    July 25, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Oh my goodness, you really did pack in SO MUCH in just two days. I have never been! I am itching to go now!

    1. Kelly

      July 25, 2019 at 1:17 pm

      I always have a huge, fast paced list of things to do everywhere we go! I probably wear everyone out, haha.

  6. Jennifer Campbell

    July 25, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    That is a ton of great stuff for just 2 days!!! I kind of want you to be my travel planner!

    1. Kelly

      July 25, 2019 at 1:35 pm

      Why, thank you! I’m super detailed – I even print out a list with all the places and addresses of things for each day, haha.

  7. Georgia

    July 26, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Sounds like a fun trip! I had no idea you could hike up to the Hollywood sign – I’ll definitely put that on my list if I visit LA!

  8. Eghe

    July 28, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    I haven’t been to LA but definitely want to go. It definitely was the place to go this summer since I few people I knew went this summer. However, no one got stay in the cottage where a former CNN host lived. That is pretty cool.

  9. Jenna

    July 29, 2019 at 12:12 am

    That children’s library 📚 😍 adding it to my list of places to check out next time we are in L.A. I haven’t seen most of the things on your list yet, I’ve been waiting until the boys are a bit older. For this year’s trip though, the children’s library will be perfect.

    1. Kelly

      July 29, 2019 at 9:22 am

      It is a gorgeous library!! And maybe when you go, the aquarium will be done – they were renovating it when we went so all the fish were elsewhere, haha.

  10. The Social Tumbleweed

    July 29, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Ive heard how ‘instagrammable’ that Last Bookstore is, was it worth it? We’ve been to LA a couple of times but never made it there. Haha

    1. Kelly

      July 29, 2019 at 3:12 pm

      Ok, so I loved the bookstore because I’m a librarian and love all things bookish. However, SO MANY people were in the bookstore trying to take photos for Instagram that it was kind of annoying and hard to get any of your own. It’s worth a visit, but maybe go right when they open or during the week to avoid the crowd. We were there on a Saturday and it was very busy.

      1. The Social Tumbleweed

        August 2, 2019 at 6:52 pm

        Oh wow, okay I’ll take note. Thanks!

  11. kstump6

    July 31, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience! We are headed out to California next summer and starting to plan out where we want to stay / what we want to do


    August 1, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    There’s sooo much to do in LA. I live here and I swear I still haven’t done a fraction of the things there are to do…like visit the last bookstore lol So glad you had a fun trip girl!


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