Finding Love for Los Angeles

To be honest, Los Angeles isn’t my favorite city. The lack of history, the strip malls, the traffic- oh dear god, the traffic- combine themselves in a way I find to be overwhelming. But on this visit to the city of angels I had an absolutely amazing time due in no small part to the company: my travel buddy Victoria, as well as our host, Ben, one of my best friends from high school.

Los Angeles Attractions

While Los Angeles may not be my favorite city, here are some moments from the weekend that I absolutely loved.

Waking up to Mexican Food

Los Angeles Attractions

Like any self-respecting gringa, I love me some TexMex breakfast food: from breakfast burritos to chilaquiles to huevos rancheros. Though I was on a strict pre-Asia spending fast, I made room in my budget for a daily Mexican brunch, preferably involving guacamole.

Feeling like a Local in Silver Lake

Los Angeles Attractions

Los Angeles AttractionsLos Angeles Attractions

Ben, our host for the weekend, hangs up his hat in Silver Lake, a young and trendy neighborhood just east of Hollywood. From stumbling upon street art murals to checking out bean-to-cup coffee shops, I really enjoyed feeling like a local in this up-and-coming neighborhood.

Nibbling on Bread and Cheese at a Weekly Wine Tasting

Los Angeles Attractions

Photo credit: Jaclyn Joyce

Los Angeles Attractions

As many long-time readers know, there are few things that bring me more joy than picnics: the combination of sunshine, friends, wine and fresh bread just makes my heart sing. So I loved the local wine tasting we attended atop Barnsdall Park.Los Angeles AttractionsLos Angeles AttractionsOne downside- Victoria and I were crying silent tears when we forked over $28 for a loaf of bread, round of cheese and sausage- in France we used to buy similar picnics for about 5 euros. (And why in god’s name would a loaf of bread ever need to cost $8?)

Here is the link to the wine tasting if you’d like to attend- it’s $25 and held every Friday!

Sunning on top of the Hollywood Tower

On Saturday one of Ben’s friends in town invited us over for a day of strawberries and sunbathing at the Hollywood Tower (also known as the hotel that inspired Disneyland’s Tower of Terror.) Once we had our fill of the pool, we rode a decidedly haunted elevator to the top of the Hollywood Tower where we were the only rooftop guests! We happily frittered away the afternoon snapping  pictures of the Hollywood sign and listening to Sublime.

Los Angeles Attractions

And when we spotted a huge chessboard with a few missing pieces, we subbed in for the bishop and knights and played human chess à la Harry Potter. My friends are, needless to say, awesome.

Savoring the Meal of my Life in Koreatown

Being the not-so-closet foodie that I am, my only request for our L.A. weekend was dinner in Koreatown. For our epic meal we settled on Soowon Galbi KBBQ Restaurant, which must have set a yelp record with 4.5 stars out of more than 1,200 reviews.

Los Angeles Attractions Los Angeles Attractions

We started off with grilled skirt steak as well as a myriad of side dishes, followed by the best, crispiest riced bi bim bop I’ve ever had in my life.

It was such a fun dining experience- I loved cooking our own meat the table! And even better? The meal was less than $25 a person including beer and tip.

Here’s the contact info if you want to check it out yourself. yelp // website

Spotting my Favorite Stars in Hollywood

Los Angeles Attractions

Los Angeles Attractions

The Harry Potter cast’s handprints at the Chinese theater!

Okay, honestly I didn’t really enjoy this activity because I hate crowds and tourist sites but it was something “we had to do.” But I did see some of my favorite stars on the boulevard, like Vivien Leigh, James Franco and Scarlett Johansson.

People-watching at Venice Beach

Los Angeles Attractions

Venice Beach is a photographer’s dream- how can one boardwalk pack in so much crazy? On our 30-minute promenade we witnessed a group of fanatical street preachers as well as a topless parade protesting the fact that women legally have to cover their breasts in public. Oh, Venice.Los Angeles Attractions

Los Angeles Attractions

Los Angeles Attractions

Overall it was an absolutely incredible weekend- thanks so much to Ben for having us and showing us such a great time!

Are you a fan of LA? What do you like to do when you’re there?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

28 thoughts on “Finding Love for Los Angeles”

  1. I’ve never been but it’s on my list, though I’m not really sure what I’d do there. Like you mentioned, it doesn’t have much history and I’m super into history. I’m sure it’s better when you have friends there, though.

  2. What a lovely post with great pics! I have been to LA only once and I liked it. But of course it is way better and very different to visit it with insider friends like you did. Cool!

  3. You really had a great time in Los Angeles. I don’t know if it’s my place or not, but judging by your experience, I guess I would love it. Happy to see you are doing great :)

  4. A lot of my coworkers are from LA (Korea town), so after hearing them talk about it and seeing your post, I would love to visit! By the way, if you stop by Korea while you’re in Asia, you can eat that Korean bbq for no more than $10 a person with a billion glorious side dishes. Yum!

  5. I feel exactly the same about LA. I’m from southern California and people are always asking me very excitedly what LA is like. I tend to let them down when I say that I pretty much only go there for the airport and for visa paperwork!

  6. A lot of people don’t know this, but LA is a foodie paradise. It beats any other major hub in the States. Guaranteed. =) Thanks for not calling it La La Land.

  7. silverlake an ‘up and coming’ neighborhood? i would hardly call $2k+/month rent ‘up and coming’. no history? forgetting all those years of mexican rule and extraordinary battles fought for the state? just stop right now. please don’t stop hating LA, though, because the last thing it needs are more clueless people like you.

  8. It sounds like you had a fabulous trip to La la Land! I used to live there for three years, right after high school, so I often say I grew up there, having to learn about life is so many ways. However, I still harbor a love/hate relationship with the city, so I can completely relate!

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