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Tuesday, April 15

I’m in love with Los Angeles and I don’t care who knows it!

We decided to be fun people for Spring Break. It’s a lot of work being fun people, by the way, especially when one of the fun people comes down with croup the first night of Spring Break (we’re looking at you, Owen). But in the end it all worked out and the week was a blast! First we headed to Los Angeles for a few days and then skipped on down to Anaheim for some theme park fun. I’m going to share two posts about the trip and today we’re starting with LA!

hollywood sign from griffith observatory by @janemaynard

Here’s the deal with Los Angeles. The only times we’ve ever gone up there have been for quick day trips for a specific reason – going to an event and then heading home – or driving through to go somewhere else. So, whenever we go, we’re on a schedule and all we think is, “How does anyone live with all this traffic?” and “Why would anyone want to live in a city essentially just made of traffic?” and “Holy Freeways, there’s a lot of traffic.” I was soooo biased. I have uttered the words “I hate LA” more times than I care to admit. I totally did not know what I was talking about.

LA is AWESOME. There, I said it. I am in love with Los Angeles. It’s quirky and huge and fun and there is so much to do. Seriously, we had a blast and can’t wait to go back! Granted, we {amazingly} didn’t sit in any traffic the whole trip, but LA is truly a city filled with all kinds of wonderful gems, especially edible gems. Here’s a quick rundown of where we stayed, the fun stuff we did, and the food we ate, in case you find yourself visiting the City of Angels! (Thanks to those who gave tips, they were super helpful and we definitely need to venture back to do it all!)

hotel angeleno by @janemaynard

Where We Stayed: Hotel Angeleno
We stayed in a suite at Hotel Angeleno, located on the 405 smack dab in between Bel Air and Santa Monica, sitting in the shadow of the Getty. Our room looked to the southwest, so we had a peek of the freeway and the skyline and a full view of the ocean and the Getty. It was beautiful. The hotel has shuttles to nearby sites, a pool, and free wine at 5:30 every afternoon. There is also a restaurant on the top floor with amazing views. The building is round, which was fun and made for an interesting-shaped room, and the rooms were very nice. The location of the hotel was super convenient, with easy access to so many of the great things that LA has to offer. Oh, and free parking! Woohoo!

hotel angeleno morning view of the getty by @janemaynardThe Getty is at the top of the hill. This is what we woke up to, with the golden sun shining on everything.

hotel angeleno view from the room by @janemaynardThe only thing we lost off the balcony was Owen’s binky. Fortunately we were over the pool area and the binky was recoverable. Also, it didn’t kill anyone below. Win-win.

Fun Stuff We Did

  • Griffith Observatory and the Travel Town Museum at Griffith Park. If you have kids interested in trains, Travel Town is a must! Owen was in heaven. On Sundays they also have live steamers that you can ride on. We got there too late to ride the steamers, but we did get to see them scoot by, and there is still a train ride in the regular Travel Town museum area even if you miss the steamers. We ended up simply driving by the Griffith Observatory – the kids were pooped and since it was the weekend there were mobs of people, but the view is AMAZING and we plan to go back with the kids on a less-busy day for a show at the planetarium (if you have people under 5, you have to make sure to get there for the first show of the day).

travel town museum at griffith park by @janemaynard

travel town museum at griffith park by @janemaynard

  • La Brea Tar Pits. The tar pits were fascinating and the kids had a great time at this small and accessible museum. Plus, seriously, the tar pits are just plain cool. Note that you can walk around the park and see the actual tar pits without paying admission to the museum, but you’ll learn more if you go to the museum and it is very interesting. We bought an annual family pass, which also gives us access to the LA Natural History Museum, which we will definitely be visiting.
  • The American Girl Store. Our girls got American Girl dolls for Christmas, so we surprised them with a visit to the store. We thought about eating at the cafe but it was very pricey, so we decided to let the girls each choose one thing in the store and get their dolls’ hair done instead. We just didn’t tell them about the cafe and they were in heaven. We probably spent an hour in the store!

the la american girl store by @janemaynard

  • The Getty Museum. We just spent a couple hours at the museum but it was beautiful. We went to the Getty near the end of our trip, so the kids were feeling a bit restless. But I am really glad we took them and I’m sure we’ll return! The exhibits are wonderful and the views cannot be beat. The museum is free, parking is $15 and you can park twice in one day. We also want to visit the Getty Villa in Malibu, which is supposed to be beautiful as well. The Villa is also free but you need to get tickets ahead of time.

view from the getty museum by @janemaynard

  • Westwood Village. On our last day we stopped in Westwood Village for lunch and ice cream (see below). Westwood Village is an adorable neighborhood with movie theaters, food and more right next to UCLA. It was lovely sitting at a table on the sidewalk enjoying our food.

westwood village by @janemaynard

The Food We Ate
We ate sooooooo well while we were in LA. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

  • Plan Check Kitchen + Bar: My sister told us we had to eat at Plan Check, a burger joint similar to Unami Burger but better, according to Anne. Every last bite was scrumptious. I don’t think you can go wrong ordering anything off the menu. My sister says pig candy is a must, which we didn’t know until after, but thankfully Nate got a taste of it on his burger.

plan check kitchen + bar by @janemaynard

  • The Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax: When we left the Bay Area, part of me mourned the loss of the Ferry Building in my life. I LOVE THAT PLACE. The Farmer’s Market in LA is different from the Ferry Building but every bit as wonderful. It’s my new Ferry Building. So much food, so much ambience, so much history. The tater tots from Fritzi’s…I didn’t know tater tots could be good, and not only were they good, they were stellar. Moishe’s gyros pita was flavored perfectly. Bob’s Donuts were to die for. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I honestly could have spent all day just at the Farmer’s Market. Love love love love love. My dad told me after we visisted that when he was growing up, my grandmother also loved going to this Farmer’s Market. That makes me love it even more.

the farmer's market at 3rd and fairfax in LA by @janemaynard

  • Milo + Olive: We ordered pizza from Milo + Olive in Santa Monica as recommended by friend Gaby. Nate’s assessment: If the French made pizza, this would be it. The crust was seriously like eating a perfect baguette. And then they had this thing called the garlic knot, which we thought would be garlic bread but was in fact a piece of bread filled with cloves of garlic and baked to sweet, delicious perfection. Cate couldn’t get enough of the garlic knot! Awesome food.

milo + olive pizza  by @janemaynard

  • Diddy Riese: When we checked in at Hotel Angeleno, the receptionist told us we should take the kids to a place nearby called Diddy Riese. The whole trip we kept planning to go but never making it. The last day, as we drove out of town, we finally went. We grabbed lunch at the Flame Broiler down the street and then walked over to Diddy Riese for dessert. I did not know that ice cream sandwiches could be so good. They make homemade cookies and then put together your ice cream sandwich based on the flavors you choose. The cookies were divine. I could have eaten 4 sandwiches and been happy.

diddy riese in los angeles by @janemaynard

There you have it, Los Angeles in 2 1/2 days with 3 kids! This was just scratching the surface and I can’t wait to get back!

A portion of our hotel costs were covered by Hotel Angeleno. All opinions are my own and we still spent plenty of money on our little jaunt to LA! 😉


16 Comments »

  1. 1
    debbie rough

    so fun!!!! it really is a fun city!!! so much to do!!!!

  2. we did the same thing with our kids a few years back. such a fun weekend trip! wish i was closer so i could try all your food recommendations!

  3. 3
    Jane

    We live in Westwood, and yup, those are pretty much our favorite things too! Next time, I recommend you spend visit the Sawtelle area down the street from Plan Check for ramen, soup dumplings, shave ice or snow ice, or cream puffs. That is my favorite eating area of all of LA. 🙂

  4. All of that looks so good, and now I am starving.

  5. We lived in LA when our first son was born. He was a Thomas fanatic so we were at Travel Town at least once a week. We also lived a block away from sushi row on Ventura Blvd. Sushi heaven! Such good memories.

  6. 6
    Rachel U

    Now I want a trip to LA! Sounds so fun! I love the Getty!

  7. So fun, Jane! Love the overview of your trip! I will have to check out some of those fun spots you mentioned with my family! LA is only two hours away… but we usually head down South towards San Diego for day trips!

  8. We are going to CA for vacation this year, we decided on San Diego, we’ll have to see if we can visit LA next time! Looks fantastic!

  9. I knew your hotel looked familiar…I’ve passed it a million times. I LOVE LA! It was a great city to grow up in. We did everything. 🙂

    • I think that hotel is sort of landmark, huh? so fun! and what a great place to grow up, especially if you actually take advantage of everything the city has to offer!

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