We got into LAX early Friday morning, and caught an Uber to our hotel. Fortunate for us, our driver was full of recommendations and useful information on catching as much sightseeing as we could on our short weekend trip. It was a beautiful day in Los Angeles with temps in the 80’s. It was nice to escape the cold temperatures and snow that NC was experiencing when we left.
We stayed at a gorgeous Hilton, a few blocks up from the Staples Center, one week after the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, and 8 others. That night would be the first Lakers game since the crash.
Upon settling in, we hit the streets to find some food. We discovered an outdoor patio and had a couple of drinks, and some delicious Mexican fare. Delicious is an adjective tailor-made for the nachos. Maybe not-cho opinion, but definitely mine. 😉 But seriously… we made the decision to drive into Hollywood and find a tour bus to show us around. We walked Hollywood Boulevard checking the names on all the stars etched into the sidewalk. Shannon got a photo with her hands placed in Marilyn Monroe’s hand prints, in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. I stumbled upon an “I love LA” t-shirt for $5, and walked away singing the 1980’s Randy Newman hit of the same name. The rooftop ride on the double-decker bus was beautiful. We were guided through Hollywood and shown just about everything we could take in. A particular highlight for me was the Sunset strip. I got to see, close-up, the Laugh Factory and the Comedy Store where just about every famous comedian of the last four or five decades got their start. The Whiskey a-Go-Go, host to so many famous rock and roll bands, and the Viper Room, where actor River Phoenix died during the 1990’s were also on the tour. It seemed surreal. Towards the end of the tour, we got an obligatory photo in front of the Hollywood sign.
I was surprised how many street names I was familiar with: Melrose Avenue, Vine Street, Hollywood Boulevard, and Santa Monica Boulevard just to name a few. I caught glimpses of places our tour guide didn’t even mention: The Sunset Grill made famous in a Don Henley song, and The Peach Pit, which was the hangout for the kids on Beverly Hills 90210. Exhausted from travel and our day in the city, we grabbed a couple of slices of pizza, and ventured back to lay low in our hotel to get ready for the next day.
Our next day began with a nervous Shannon getting ready to attend BlogHer 2020, a blogging conference. I enjoyed a relaxed morning with a wonderful breakfast buffet at our hotel, followed by some time on the hotel rooftop, taking in the views of the city. Los Angeles was beautiful that day, as I took pleasure in some down time around the hotel, and a couple of nice hikes on the city streets to explore my surroundings. Throughout the day, I was able to share Shannon’s thrills of being at the event with each text she sent. She arrived back in the late afternoon, very excited for all she experienced at her conference. We walked down the street to a small Irish Pub where we enjoyed great atmosphere, drinks, and delicious pub cuisine. We capped off our night with a nice bottle of wine at our hotel rooftop, before turning in to prep for our upcoming, long day of travel.
The next morning, we took a stroll to have coffee and grab a breakfast sandwich. LA has an eerie peacefulness to it, in the early morning hours. Sometimes the pace of the city, the not so pleasant odors, and the more prominent issues like homelessness and crime can seem a bit daunting. All in all, a quick weekend in Los Angeles was worth the longer flight, to experience the sights and more positive aspects that the city has to offer. We highly recommend it.