Los Angeles, California, the City of Angels and the City of Dreamers. This summer is my very first time in L.A., and obviously expectations are high. Hopes of celeb sightings and pretty pictures are abundant, but only one of those dreams was accomplished.
I’d like to break down my L.A. trip day-by-day for you, giving you guys my first impressions and favorite things I’ve done as well as the things I’d avoid next time around. Honesty is my only policy…
SANTA MONICA PIER
First up on the itinerary was the Santa Monica Pier. Situated at the bottom of Colorado Avenue, the pier is very family friendly. I recommend going out early, around 10:00 or so because the crowds were light and the lines for rides were practically non-existent. The weather that day was beautifully overcast with a slight breeze, a pierfect morning. (get it?)
The Ferris wheel is a definite must, and the view was beautiful. We saw, what I believed to be a rowing competition, in addition to surfers, beachgoers, and the skyline. It also gave us a beautiful overview of the pier, and was a pleasant break from the people below.
Obviously the pier is home to lots of arcade games, bringing out the inner child in me. Kevin was a better basketball player, winning a plush toy (for Coco), while I was better at throwing soft baseballs at pins. We also found that we suck at ring toss. There is absolutely no skill involve and is very, very frustrating. A newborn baby has about as much luck of tossing the ring on the bottle as we do.
Another must for Santa Monica Pier is enjoying some delicious treats. At the entrance to Pacific Park, located beneath a giant purple light-up octopus, is an abundance of carnival-type foods. From ice-cream to funnel cakes, it contains all the quintessentially American festival foods. Definitely splurge on something sweet.
Later that night I returned to Santa Monica Pier, keen on looking at the neon lights at least once. The atmosphere is drastically different. While the morning flaunted a family-friendly atmosphere, the evening was full of teenage groups, and was overall much sketchier. I’d recommend avoiding that unless you think it’s your cup of tea. It was definitely not mine, but nevertheless, the lights were pretty.
A short bike ride away is Venice Beach, which is home to some very interesting things. While Beverly Hills may hold one side of the stereotypical California spectrum, Venice Beach seemed to hold the other – bodybuilders, skaters, smokers, and quirky artisans. We parked along North Venice Boulevard, which appeared to split Venice Beach in half. To one side was an array of shops, Muscle Beach, and a skate park, while the other was much more peaceful. After taking some time walking through both, I prefer the side with less activity.
As we walked along Venice Beach, the less populated side, everything was more pleasant, so we took some time to walk through the sand. Kevin and I took time to snap a few pictures at an iconic lifeguard tower. Dozens upon dozens line the shore and are very VSCO worthy.
Day 1 was my first exposure to the L.A. atmosphere, and I can’t wait to share the next few days with you guys. Look out for more posts and pictures very soon.