Travel Guide: Los Angeles

June 16, 2016

Los Angeles is known for its endless summer, beautiful beaches [and even more beautiful beach bodies], fancy restaurants and glamorous lifestyle. It’s the center of the entertainment industry and the place you go hoping to spot your favorite celebrity. Probably one of the most coveted travel spots, Los Angeles has a ton to offer visitors and residents.

The first time Casey took me to LA was 5 or 6 years ago on a surprise birthday trip and to visit with one of my close friends, Ashley. We stayed in the West Hollywood area and tried to jam in every touristy and trendy spot we could in the four days. Look, we were babies!:

Los Angeles Hollywood travelguide

The primary purpose of our most recent trip was to attend Ashley’s breathtakingly gorgeous wedding at the Hummingbird Nest Ranch. Remember her bachelorette party weekend to Costa Rica earlier this year? Anyway, if you watch Vanderpump Rules, this is the place where Scheana and Mike Shay got hitched. The venue was incredible. Ashley was stunning. It was such a beautiful evening!

The Hummingbird Nest Ranch wedding

Dress  //  Clutch  //  Heels  //  Bracelet  //  Earrings  //  Lipstick

The Hummingbird Nest Ranch

Hummingbird Nest Ranch wedding

 

Harley came with us to Cali. We had a sitter watch her while we were at the wedding. Luckily, my friend set me up with her friend’s regular nanny, so I didn’t have to stress about leaving her with a complete stranger.  Traveling with a toddler on a very long flight and adjusting to a three hour time difference can be a bit intimidating to say the least…and then to do it all over again coming home is even more terrifying! So with that being said, Casey and I thought it would be best to stay longer than just the wedding weekend. We spent an entire week there, splitting our time between Marina Del Rey and then down the road in Santa Monica. Other than Harley’s academy award worthy meltdown on Rodeo Drive the very last day, she happened to be amazing the entire trip and was such a champ! Taking a break from work and preschool to spend quality time together was exactly what we needed.

We truly had such an incredible vacation, so I wanted to share some of the highlights with you guys, along with other recommendations.

WHERE TO STAY:

Marina Beach Bungalow

We stayed in the cutest little bungalow, about a block and a half away from the ocean.  It was our first experience renting from AirBnB and for sure won’t be our last! We absolutely LOVED this spot!

Marina Del Rey travel guide

Best place to stay on Venice Beach

Marina Del Rey rental home air bnb

airbnb marina del rey bungalow rental

It was a 1 bedroom bungalow with a full kitchen. We never ended up meeting the owner, Thomasina but she was extremely responsive and pleasant to deal with via phone and text messaging. She had a Pack ‘n Play that we kept next to our bed for Harley to sleep in.

The location really was perfect! We were in walking distance to the Marina del Rey Beach, Venice Beach, restaurants, Starbucks, and Abbot Kinney.

marina del rey pier

Jaime Cittadino, Harley Cittadino

Similar Tunic  //  Earrings  //  Sandals

venice beach boardwalk

Feed Me Tacos & Tell Me I'm Pretty tank

Tank  //  Sneakers  //  Jacket  //  Sunnies

venice beach boardwalk, Los Angeles Travel Guide

The Huntley Hotel

huntley hotel santa monica

Casey Cittadino, harley cittadino

the huntley hotel california

santa monica huntley hotel

The Huntley Hotel, breakfast in bed, Los Angeles travel guide

casey cittadino, jaime cittadino, harley cittadino

harley liv cittadino

Mara Hoffman leaf print dress, mara hoffman swing dress

Heels  //  Bag c/o  //  Earrings c/o  //  Dress [runs large]

The Huntley room view

free people v neck tee, one teaspoon denim shorts

Tee  //  Bralette  //  Shorts

The Huntley Hotel rooftop

After four nights in the bungalow, we moved 10 minutes down the road to The Huntley, which was the designated hotel for all of the out of town guests attending the wedding. It’s very clean and modern with super friendly staff. Also located right near the beach, so a great location in Santa Monica for sure. Most of the hotels located on/near Santa Monica beach are rated 4 and 5 Stars, so naturally are very expensive. The Huntley’s average price is $475 a night [we paid less because we were part of the wedding block], plus $39 a night for parking [if you have a rental car], and $5 for each glass of milk that your child is begging for! 😉

Casey and I are all about staying in fancy shmancy hotels, but when we do, we usually use our timeshare points or some other type of reward points. When traveling with Harley we care more about having space and a separate area for us to hang out in while she’s down for the night. It’s almost impossible to get her to go to sleep in the hotel crib when we’re literally feet away from her. The first night she just stared at me, like “Mom, I can totally see you! Get me out of here!” Spending more money on a suite just wasn’t an option.

Having the extra space and full kitchen in the bungalow was so clutch that we kind of wish we would have stayed there the entire time. Perhaps we would have felt differently if we were traveling sans child. The Huntley Hotel is a beautiful and lovely place, so I don’t have anything bad to say about it. I think the price reflects the location more than anything else.

If you are looking for a more upscale hotel, I’d recommend checking out the Viceroy.

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 WHERE TO EAT:

This list is long, but there are SO MANY great spots to go to!

gjelina venice

Venice

Sauce – breakfast

Sunny Spot – fun brunch spot

Zinque – breakfast, lunch, & dinner

Gjelina – SO good! All the veggies are amazing!

Gjusta [same owners as Gjelina] – it won best new restaurant in America for 2015!

Kreation – acai bowls, fresh juice – good healthy spot

Superba Food and Bread – breakfast, brunch, lunch, & dinner

Cafe Gratitude – Vegan

Salt Air – get the lobster roll!

Hotel Erwin – small snacks. Great spot to watch the sunset.

Poke Poke – on Venice beach. Best poke in LA!

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Marina Del Rey

Scopa – dinner

Beach 26 – brunch

The Ritz – lunch

Mendicino Farms – quick lunch/dinner

Sugarfish [in Marina and Santa Monica] – best sushi

Simmzy’s – breakfast/brunch right by beach

Bin 73 – Harley crushed the ceviche here! Cute tapas place right near the pier.

The Cow’s End – breakfast, coffee, smoothies, salads. Also right near the pier.

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Santa Monica

Joans on Third – a gourmet market – good for any meal

Melisse – fancy French dinner

Brick + Mortar

Huckleberry – breakfast, lunch

The Penthouse – located in The Huntley Hotel. Fun place to get drinks too!

Malibu

Mastros Ocean Club – best steak!

Nobu

Geoffrey’s – a MUST GO-TO for brunch or lunch

Paradise Cove – casual private beach place where you can eat/drink from the restaurant on the sand

The Malibu Cafe – food is good [not great], but the venue is GORGEOUS!!! Has life size chess and corn hole. Harley and our friend’s son, Luke had so much fun running around!

Malibu Cafe

Malibu Cafe

Malibu Cafe

Malibu Cafe California, Los Angeles Travel Guide

Malibu Cafe

malibu cafe

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Manhattan Beach

Izakaya

Manhattan Beach Post

Uncle Bills Pancakes

Fishing with Dynamite – amazing seafood/rawbar

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Beverly Hills & West Hollywood

Son of Gun

Urth Cafe – breakfast & brunch

Toast – breakfast & brunch

Blu Jam – breakfast & brunch

Jon and Vinny’s

Cecconis

E.P. & L.P. Rooftop

Republique – amazing brunch!

Laurel Hardware

Petty Cash – fun Mexican

Gracias Madres – Vegan and SO GOOD! Loved the jalapeño margarita!

Pizza Mozza – must go to!

The Griddle – Over the top pancakes. Might have a really long line.

Chateau Marmont

 –

 –

WHAT TO DO!

SHOP

Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice – cutest little shops and restaurants. Stop at Intelligentsia Coffee for a little caffeinated pick me up!

Intelligentsia Coffee Venice

Montana Ave, Santa Monica

Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica – can be “touristy” but is so cute! We loved walking around here and watching street performers. Of course we had to stop in Zara and a few stores. It’s a very lively place!

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

BEACH

Marina del Rey Beach is quiet, but peaceful. We loved watching the surfers!

Marina del Rey pier

Marina del Rey beach pier, Marina Del Rey travel guide

Venice Beach is not my favorite. It’s filled with beach bums [literally], and a ton of touristy shops. Harley and I took long walks along the boardwalk and I didn’t mind walking through Venice Beach, but it’s not really the best spot for small children. It’s crowded, the music is super loud, and there are homeless people left and right. I didn’t feel unsafe or anything like that. Everyone seemed harmless. There was definitely good people watching!

Los Angeles Travel Guide

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PLAY

Santa Monica Pier – carnival

santa monica pier

Disneyland

– 

EXPLORE

The Pacific Coast Highway [PCH] was such an amazing drive! It runs from north to south along the Pacific coastline. We didn’t drive the entire thing [pretty sure you can be on it for 5 hours in one direction], but had the chance to drive it on our way to Malibu.

Hollywood Walk of Fame – if it’s your first time in LA, it’s something cool to do at least once!

Hope you enjoyed my Los Angeles Travel Guide! Would love to hear about your favorite places to go to!

Love, Jaime signature

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19 Comments

  • Reply Samantha June 16, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Love LA!! We used to hang out in Marina del Rey all the time and 3rd street…i had my 16th bday at that Ritz!! Yes, Venice is not the best for kids, but it’s such a interesting place for people watching lol! I’m glad you had a great time!!
    XOXO
    Samantha
    http://www.findingfabulousonline.com

    • Reply jaime_cittadino June 17, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      SUCH GOOD PEOPLE WATCHING!!!! Hahaha!! Definitely entertaining!

  • Reply Nicole June 17, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Love the travel diary! I used to live in Santa Monica before moving to Austin and all of your pictures make me miss living by the beach so bad!

    Xo,
    Nicole

    Nicole Sometimes

    • Reply jaime_cittadino June 17, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Aw! I go to Austin next weekend for the first time!!! Would love some recommendations!!

  • Reply Lauren June 17, 2016 at 11:21 am

    LA has so many wonderful places to see – it can be a bit overwhelming. Thanks for the list!

    Lauren
    http://www.anexplorersheart.com

    • Reply jaime_cittadino June 17, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      It really can be overwhelming! So many great spots!

  • Reply MImi B. June 17, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I take two yearly trips to LA to soak up the sun, food and shopping. I will have to use your blog suggestions on my next trip! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous pics and wonderful tips.

    Cheers,
    Mimi B.

    http://www.mimibanasik.com

  • Reply Kelsey June 17, 2016 at 11:29 am

    I love style guides!! Such great info! I’m always looking for fun things when I visit family out west!

    xo Kelsey | http://www.chasingcinderellablog.com

  • Reply Ashley June 17, 2016 at 11:42 am

    You are just as adorable as ever! Now, I feel like I need to go to LA LA land… thanks for all the suggestions!
    xoxo,
    Ashley
    http://www.afternoon-espresso.com

  • Reply Stefanie June 17, 2016 at 11:42 am

    But really though that Palm print maxi- LOVE!!! So cute thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Tanvi Rastogi June 17, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Looks like you had a fabulous time. Loved your floral dress.

    ∞ © tanvii.com ∞

  • Reply Rach June 17, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Your LA trip looked amazing! I need to visit Venice Beach next time I’m there. And the dress you wore at the wedding is GORGEOUS!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

  • Reply Oh to Be a Muse June 17, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I’ve never stayed at that Bungalow but now I want to! And you’re right, Cali has so many great places to eat!

  • Reply jaime_cittadino June 17, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Aw yay!! Jelly you lived there! Such an awesome city!!

  • Reply Madeleine June 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    What a fun trip!!! Loved your suggestions, will definitely have to try a few next time I am out that way 🙂

  • Reply Morgan June 17, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    That family selfie is the cutest! That’s awesome that y’all were able to turn it into an extended trip past the wedding! Sometimes short trips are more hassle than they’re worth

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

  • Reply Christina Beauchamp June 17, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    What fun pictures! I loveeee LA but haven’t been in a while! This post has me begging my hubby for a trip in our near future!!

    hugs, Christina

    Christina | Fashion & Frills

  • Reply Jenna at Boston Chic Party June 18, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I love the idea of extending a trip when travelling for a wedding. Makes it like a full blown vaca then! Pinning this for whenever I get to LA 🙂
    xoxo, Jenna
    Boston Chic Party

  • Reply Ruthie June 19, 2016 at 9:32 am

    LA can be very overwhelming to tackle especially with family. I love this post. So informative and practical!! Thanks so much love.

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