Having vacationed to visit my cousins in Los Angeles for the last 17 years, I have become a bit of an expert on how to spend the perfect long weekend in LA. When our Founder Elise asked me to work on this project, I was thrilled, and the first thing I said was “I already have like three itineraries ready!” - the hardest part was narrowing down the list of places to see!
If you only have a weekend in LA, or you’ve lived there for years and still haven’t had the opportunity to experience the area, below is an itinerary complete with trendy spots for food, photos, and fun.
Breakfast at…Eggslut or Gjusta
Start your weekend with breakfast at Eggslut, famous for its variety of egg-based meals, including mouthwatering egg sandwiches. If you’re not a fan of eggs, get a bite to eat at Gjusta, a delicious bakery with an adorable outdoor seating area. Their toasts and baked goods are heavenly and picture-perfect for Instagram.
Walk or bike along…Venice Beach Boardwalk
Grab breakfast then walk or bike along Venice Beach Boardwalk, taking in the beautiful Pacific Ocean and Venice’s unique culture. If you’re a fan of people watching, head to Muscle Beach, known for its assortment of street performers and health fanatics, sure to make you feel guilty for not hitting the gym as often as you’d like to. As you walk along the boardwalk, enjoy the scenery and indulge in the ridiculous variety of foods!
Stroll down…Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Walking distance from Venice Beach is Abbot Kinney Boulevard, known as “the coolest block in America.” If it feels familiar, you may recognize this famous street from movies and television shows, likeCalifornication andChef! Stroll down Abbot Kinney Boulevard browsing the popular shops, local merchants, and variety of art on display. Throughout the year there are fun events and festivals held on the block, including live music and food trucks. Even if there isn’t a special event when you’re visiting, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is usually crowded with people and always an exciting place to walk around.
Take a break and relax at…Santa Monica Pier
Just a few miles from Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney Boulevard is Santa Monica Pier. Similar to Venice Beach, Santa Monica pier is always bustling with people and entertainment, home to thrilling oceanside roller coasters and attractions. After spending the morning in Venice, you may want to take a break to recoup; grab a drink on the patio at Shutters, a luxury hotel with a restaurant and cozy sitting area open to the public, and sip on your drink while enjoying the stunning view of the beach.
Experience a shopper’s paradise at…Third Street Promenade
Off of Santa Monica Pier is the Third Street Promenade, buzzing with people and every clothing store imaginable. I’ve spent hours browsing through the popular shops and fantasizing about ditching my clothes for an entirely new wardrobe. If you’re hungry or need another pick-me-up there are plenty of food and coffee options in this area.
Dessert at… Salt and Straw
End your busy day of exploring and experiencing LA’s lively coastal cities with something sweet. Treat yourself to a handmade scoop of ice cream and a fresh waffle cone at Salt and Straw, some of the best ice cream in Los Angeles.
Breakfast at…SunLife Organics inMalibu Country Mart
Start your day with breakfast at Malibu Country Mart, a cute outdoor mall with boutiques and places to eat. I suggest getting an acai bowl or smoothie at SunLife Organics, one of my personal favorites. SunLife radiates California energy with its natural ingredients and healthy menu, perfect for your weekend in LA.
Surf or Sunbathe at… Malibu Beach
Malibu is known for its celebrity mansions and beautiful beaches. Head to one of Malibu’s famous beaches to catch waves or spend the day relaxing in the California sun. If you like stepping out of your comfort zone, schedule a surfing lesson, or just sunbathe and watch as the surfers do their thing.
Lunch at...Malibu Farm Pier Cafe
Located on a pier in Malibu, Malibu Farm is the perfect place to grab lunch overlooking the ocean. Whether you sit inside at the restaurant, or opt for a lighter meal at the outdoor cafe, you’ll have a beautiful view of the water. Make sure to order an iced coffee or juice which are served in lovely mason jars. I also recommend their cauliflower crust pizza and fish tacos.
Hike…Malibu Creek State Park
I could spend the whole day at the beach, but if you’re looking for a more active afternoon, take a hike of Malibu Creek State Park. You’ll experience scenic mountains and creeks, with rolling hills and wildflowers, a popular spot for camping and filming major movies. Malibu Creek was affected by the recent wildfires, but is still safe for hikers and a beautiful place to visit.
Dinner at…The Malibu Cafe
Dress up and enjoy dinner at The Malibu Cafe located at Calamigos Ranch in the Malibu mountains. The non-traditional open-air restaurant has an assortment of beautiful outdoor seating with a whimsical feel to it. Scattered throughout the ranch are adorable amusements and decorations, such as ponds with paddle boats, giant board games with human-sized pieces, and fun signs. I have fond memories of going to The Malibu Cafe as a child, but even now I recommend it as a unique place to dine and a lighthearted way to decompress after a day in the sun.
Wake up early and hike…Runyon Canyon
If you can get up early, start your day by hiking Runyon Canyon. Whether you’re looking for a morning workout or just a scenic picture to post, this hike has incredible views of Hollywood and is the perfect way to kick off your last day in LA.
Breakfast and Coffee at… Urth Caffé, Verve Coffee, Alfreds Coffee, or Zinque (Melrose)
After your morning hike, you deserve a good cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast. Head straight to Melrose and take your pick of cute cafes. My favorites are Urth Caffé, Verve Coffee, Alfreds Coffee, or Zinqué. Enjoy your coffee or take it to go, drinking as you walk down Melrose Avenue.
Vintage shopping at...Melrose Trading Post
Melrose Trading Post, an outdoor flea market on Melrose Avenue and Fairfax, is one of my favorite places to go when I visit LA. Open every Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm, Melrose Trading Post hosts vendors selling an array of vintage clothing, antiques, collectibles, and other one-of-a-kind goods. After walking through the market, you’ll find an open area with live music and food vendors. If you’re lucky, you may run into celebrities searching for their own unique finds among the vintage denim, colorful sunglasses, and patterned tapestries. Although many of the vendors have started accepting credit cards, I’d recommend bringing or taking out cash before entering the market.
Take pictures at… the Melrose Wings, the Made in LA mural, and The Pink Wall
Show off your bold new statement pieces from Melrose Trading Post by taking pictures in front of some of the most Instagrammed walls in the world. All within ten minutes walking distance are the Melrose Wings, the “Made in LA” advertisement mural, and the Pink Wall, which have become trademarks of every influencer and instagram models’ accounts. Start with the Melrose Wings which you can find across the street from Fairfax High School. Then make your way down Melrose Avenue to the “Made in LA” advertisement mural, to embody the Los Angeles attitude whether you’re from there or not. Finally, if you’re still up to taking pictures, head to Paul Smith LA, a store known for its iconic Pink Wall, to brighten up your Instagram feed.
Lunch at… Taste on Melrose or Joan’s On Third
Stop for lunch at Taste on Melrose or Joan’s On Third. Taste on Melrose is an elegant American style restaurant with a rustic feel, while Joan’s On Third is a gourmet grocery store and marketplace with seating options. Both are highly reviewed, and great for a quick lunch before heading to your next activity. Taste is located on Melrose Avenue, down the block from the Melrose Trading Post and Instagram murals, while Joan’s On Third is in the direction of your next stop- the LACMA.
Immerse yourself in LA culture at… LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
Although you’ll have seen your fair share of incredible artwork just by walking around Los Angeles, from street art to local merchants selling their work, the LACMA is a can’t miss cultural experience. The LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is the largest art museum on the west coast. People often visit the museum to see and take pictures at its “Urban Light” exhibit, which consists of more than 200 antique street lamps of different sizes lined up in rows. This outdoor exhibit is open 24 hours, so if you’re not interested in touring the LACMA, you can go after dark when the “Urban Lights” are lit, which is a beautiful backdrop for pictures.
Walk around… The Grove
The Grove is a trendy outdoor mall loaded with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Walk around, browse the shops, and enjoy LA’s beautiful weather. There are plenty of restaurants in The Grove, but I recommend heading to the Original Farmer’s Market for dinner.
Last dinner at…the Original Farmer’s Market
End your weekend with dinner at the Original Farmer’s Market, attached to The Grove. Open until 7 on Sundays, the Original Farmer’s Market is an iconic Los Angeles landmark, and a trendy spot to grab dinner. At the Original Farmer’s Market, you’ll find an assortment of food stalls and sit down eateries, with foods from across the globe. Some of my favorite spots include Pampa’s Brazillian BBQ, Singapore’s Banana Leaf, and French Crêpe Company for dessert. If you’re traveling with a picky group, you’re sure to please everyone at the Original Farmer’s Market!
These are only some of my favorite places in LA, but there’s so much more to see and experience if you’re there for more than just a long weekend. Whether you take advantage of our itinerary or not, let us know what you think and share some of your own must-see places in the comments below! For more content like this, make sure to follow us on Instagram @paradox.
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