Last year, one of my best friends and I decided to take a trip to sunny Los Angeles. Since neither of us has a ton of vacation time, we took this trip over Memorial Day weekend, meaning we only had three days in the “City of Angels”.
Even after dealing with a cancelled flight, meticulous itinerary planning made us fit in everything we wanted to do and more!
If you need ideas for your trip to LA, see below for everything we did and what I recommend!
Due to my cancelled flight, I didn’t arrive in LA until Friday morning (I was supposed to get there Thursday night). I grabbed a Peet’s Coffee at the airport, my friend picked me and took me to the hotel to freshen up, and we were off with our day.
First stop: Farmer’s Market
For our first stop, we checked out the Farmer’s Market. They have so many food options here, which means it is a perfect lunch spot.
After you are done filling up with fuel for the day ahead, walk around The Grove– LA’s famous shopping mall. It is connected to the Farmer’s Market and is definitely worth checking out.
Second stop: LACMA
Our next stop was the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, most famous for the Urban Lights pictured below. If you are short on time or don’t want to spend museum admission, grab a quick shot with the lights since these are free to visit. However, if you enjoy Art Museums like us, there is a lot of impressive art you won’t want to miss!
Third stop: Alfred’s
Since I’m a sucker for a good Matcha Latte, I wanted to check out Alfred’s, which is a tea and coffee shop. We went to the Melrose Place location.
The matcha latte was delicious, and the tea shop was adorable! This is the perfect stop for an afternoon caffeine boost.
Fourth Stop: Walk of Fame
Although often ranked as the most overrated activity in LA, the Walk of Fame is worth going to if you have never seen it before. This was my first time in LA, so this was something I wanted to do. While walking down Hollywood Boulevard, be sure to check out the Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre (the venue for the Academy Awards).
Fifth (and final) stop: Pink Taco
After a long day on no sleep, we were exhausted. We went back to the hotel to freshen up then headed to Pink Taco on Sunset Boulevard for dinner.
Mexican food and margaritas are my go to, so this was a must on my list. The food and atmosphere were both great, and no reservation was necessary to grab a table. We ate quesadillas and an order of chips, which were both tasty. By 9 PM, we were exhausted and went back to the hotel to sleep for another busy day.
The bar at Pink Taco looked lively, so if you aren’t exhausted early like we were, it seems like a great place to stick around and have a few drinks.
It was Day Two in Los Angeles! The perfect weather and excitement for the day’s itinerary got me right out of bed.
First Stop: Blu Jam Cafe
If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly looking for the best French Toast wherever you are. Look no further than the Blu Jam Cafe’s crunchy french toast. It is covered in corn flakes and served with fresh fruit. This is the perfect indulgent brunch to start your day.
There are multiple locations- we went to the one on Melrose. They do not take reservations, and we heard that there can be a wait, so plan accordingly. We didn’t have to wait for a table for two around 10 AM.
Second Stop: Warner Brother’s Studio Tour
If you only take one suggestion from my itinerary, this should be it. The WB Studio Tour is worth every penny. I learned so much on this tour about the filmmaking process and even got to tour a sound stage. They drive you through the backlots that you will recognize from so many of your favorite shows and movies. See below for a picture of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls.
Note: You will need to buy tickets far in advance for this tour. We booked this about 2 months out.
Third Stop: Hollywood Sign
There are multiple different viewpoints for the Hollywood Sign, so when you go on Google, pick whichever one suits you. We were able to find one that got us close, but it involved a long drive up windy roads. I’ll always cherish this amazing shot that I got from our viewpoint.
Fourth Stop: Ice Cream from Salt & Straw
I am somewhat of an ice cream snob. I am always looking for the best ice cream in whatever city I am in and am picky about many aspects- texture, taste, consistency. Salt & Straw gets a 10/10 in my book. I got a Sea Salt Caramel flavor, and the ingredients were mixed perfectly. We ate this as an afternoon snack since the brunch filled us up for most of the day.
Fifth Stop: Driving Around
This one isn’t a “stop” as much as us driving around to see some sights before dinner. We drove through Beverly Hills and got out to see the sign and the famous street. We also took a drive up the famous Mulholland Drive. There are lots of sights to see, so you can also use this time to venture and see your own interests!
Sixth Stop: In-N-Out Burger
No trip to the West Coast is complete without a stop at In-N-Out. There are many locations throughout the city to choose from. Admittedly, I believe it is an overrated establishment, but it worth the stop for the 1) Bragging rights (hey, your friends back home will still be jealous), and, more importantly in my opinion, 2) A cheap meal.
Seventh (and final) Stop: Griffith Observatory
For those who don’t know, the Griffith Observatory is completely free to visit. I wanted to go up at night to see the lights of the city. There is a lot you can learn in the observatory itself since it is a museum, and the building is stunning.
It was our final day is Los Angeles, and we still had one big item on our agenda- Malibu. Initially, we were going to cross this off our list due to our limited time, but I’m so glad we didn’t. We had plenty of time to fit in everything we wanted, and more!
First Stop: Greystone Mansion
Before heading out to Malibu, we stopped at Greystone Mansion. Another free activity, you may recognize the grounds from Gilmore Girls- this was Chilton Academy. Countless other films and TV shows have been shot here as well. Since you can’t go inside, walking around the grounds takes around 30 minutes.
Second Stop: Santa Monica
On our way to Malibu, we stopped in Santa Monica. We grabbed a quick lunch, walked around the shops, and ventured to the pier. There are many different types of food and shops along the main strip, so there is sure to be something for everyone.
The Santa Monica Pier should be on everyone’s list. Although we were there on a cloudy day, it was still a great experience walking down the pier and seeing all it had to offer.
Third Stop: Malibu
After Santa Monica, we continued driving down the coast to Malibu. There were so many beautiful beaches and houses to look at along the picturesque drive. There are multiple pull off spots along the way. We chose to get off at El Matador Beach (pictured below). This felt like such a California experience, and it was amazing to see the beach and the countless beautiful rock formations. You will need to pay a small fee for parking and then you are free to explore.
Many people on the beach had picnics, which is a great idea if you would want to pack a lunch and bring it down. We had just eaten in Santa Monica, so we did not bring any food.
Fourth Stop: Craig’s
For our final dinner in LA, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at Craig’s. This is an American restaurant know for its celebrity sightings, and there is sure to be something on the menu for everyone. We were lucky enough to see Taron Egerton and Richard Madden while dining.
I ordered the BBQ Rib’s, which were delicious, and my friend ordered the Honey Truffle Chicken, which she was reported was phenomenal. We ended the meal with Oreo Cheesecake. If you are looking to treat yourself on your last night in LA, look no further than Craig’s.
Note: You need to make a reservation a month in advance if you are interested in dining here. We knew this was a non-negotiable restaurant for us, so we fit it into our itinerary far in advance.
As I mentioned, we were able to fit everything we wanted into a tight three-day schedule. I hope that these suggestions are helpful, and feel free to send me a message if you have any questions on any of the activities- I will be happy to help!
My final suggestion is for the hotel. Whenever I travel, I stay in boutique hotels. They are a better value than other hotels, but safety and cleanliness is not comprised. I also feel that they have more character than a standard chain hotel.
We stayed at BLVD Hotel & Suites in West Hollywood. We had a great stay, and it was convenient for everything we wanted to do.
Thank you for reading my itinerary for Three Days In LA, and let me know what you think in the comments!