Where to Stay and What to Do in Los Angeles

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A few weeks back you may remember me saying that I would be doing a LA Travel Guide Part 2: What to Do and Where to Stay in Los Angeles.  Well, then life happened, I was deprived of sugar, and consequently lost all will to do anything productive (dramatic but true). So today I put on my big girl panties and decided to follow through on my word.

I don’t know what your budget is for planning a trip.  Everyone has different opinions on where to stay in Los Angeles an how much to spend. I know some people who would rather blow their wad on a 5 Star Hotel while others choose to rough it in the hostels. Parker and I decided to “meet in the middle”.  You will NEVER find me in a hostel, but I’m more than happy with a 3 Star. We planned to equally split our time between West Hollywood and Santa Monica. Since we knew we wouldn’t be spending much time in our hotel room in WeHo, we choose a middle of the road hotel.  It was in a great location but didn’t have the fancy amenities. However, we knew that Santa Monica would be our more #treatyoself part of the trip. So aesthetics and amenities definitely were a priority.

Where We Stayed

Elan Hotel

This was exactly what we needed – a clean facility, a king bed, and a warm shower.  The decor was simple , but the service was impeccable. I would compare it to an Embassy Suites- complete with a continental breakfast every morning which was definitely a money saver. And it was the perfect location. The Grove and 3rd Street were all within walking distance.  Any toher restaurant we had reservations at was less than a 5 minute Uber drive. I would definitely stay there again for price and convenience sake!

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We knew we wanted a “splurge” hotel and had originally planned on Shutters.  However, we just couldn’t make it work with our budget.  So we opted to stay at the Viceroy (see pictures above) and save almost $200 a night. Let me clarify- the Viceroy isn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination.  That just shows how expensive Shutters is. It is exactly one block North of Shutters and less than 5 minutes from the beach.  We rented free bikes from our hotel and spent all day Friday and Saturday biking through the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, and Third Street Promenade. We would definitely stay here again- beautiful decor, spacious rooms, the most attentive service staff, luxurious amenities and a perfect location.

Hotel Tip: I booked our trip through Expedia, and accidentally double-booked the trip.  Of course, it was non-refundable.  It was literally a NIGHTMARE trying to communicate with Expedia, because they had to then communicate with Viceroy.  Finally, I ended up calling the manager at the Viceroy, explaining the situation, and he was so gracious and cancelled our 2nd trip without question.  He told me in the future, to always book directly with the hotel because they will usually match Expedia’s (or any 3rd party) prices and are much easier to communicate with.

Uber Tip: I would not recommend renting a car- it’s expensive to park overnight at your hotels AND parking in LA is a NIGHTMARE.  Parker and I were both shocked because it seems that the Uber rates in California are actually cheaper than Dallas.  It only cost us $26 to uber from LAX to our hotel in WeHo (and it took us an hour to get there in rush hour traffic).  Our hotel had quoted us $75 for a car service, so this was definitely the cheaper option.  


What To Do

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Jimmy Kimmel Live!

About a month before our trip, I entered in the lottery for tickets to a live taping of Jimmy Kimmel.  About two weeks before our trip, I found out we would be attending! I suggest apply for every date that you will be there so hopefully you get picked for one of them! If you end up attending a live taping, here is my advice: They suggest you dress as if you were going to a “nice dinner” but we saw people wearing anything and everything.  However, we both wore nice jeans, button down/blouse, and heels.  But if you want a chance at getting on TV, it’s obvious the crew seats people according to appearance.  The producers had reserved seats in the 3rd row, and consequently that was the row that they choose to line the walkway for the musical guest with. I would also advise you getting there as early as listed.  There aren’t very many seats in the audience, and I don’t know how anyone without priority tickets even made it in. Warning: You will be standing for a WHILE- totally regretted my shoe choice. Next time I would wear cute sandals that are more comfy (granted, the pair of wedges I was wearing are not shoes I’d wear for long periods of time anyways).

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Hollywood Walk of Fame

If it’s your first time to Los Angeles, it’s always fun to stop by the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theater to snap a pic with your favorite celebrity’s handprints. Also, it is right next to the Dolby Theater, where the Oscars take place every year. You will probably find some of the best people-watching in all of La La Land here!

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Hike Runyon Canyon

This is truly what made me the most jealous of Los Angeleans (literally had to Google this term haha).  You can do this hike in about an hour and a half, so tons of locals will get up and do a morning hike before heading into the office.  It’s completely dog friendly and has the most gorgeous views of Downtown LA.  It is very populated and exposed, which makes you feel safe.  I obviously hiked with Parker, but I would have felt equally safe hiking it with another girlfriend. There are several different routes you can take, but this was the starting point that we utilized: 2001 N. Fuller Ave.


For all of our restaurant and bar recommendations, check out my first LA Travel Guide.  Comment below with other recommendations of where to stay in Los Angeles and restaurants we must try. I’m always looking for new adventures!

Cheers, Erin



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