Me and my colleague Debbi went on a business trip to Dallas last week and we decided to combine the work with a fun weekend in Los Angeles, the city of angels. It was my first time in California and I was pretty excited to go. We visited one week exactly before the Oscars, so we hoped to see some stars as well (we didn´t).
A Weekend in Los Angeles
Here is the summary of the LA weekend:
Airport & how to get to Los Angeles
We had a direct flight from Munich with Lufthansa (12 hours) and luckily could get some sleep. When arriving to Los Angeles Airport (Lax) late afternoon on Friday, it took us more than an hour to do immigration. Distances in Los Angeles are very long and everyone told us to rent a car which we neglected to do. We took the Flyaway bus instead that goes directly to Hollywood Vines metro station. The ticket is 8 Dollars (pretty cheap compared to a taxi or uber). You can pay the ticket only with credit card which for me as German is pretty weird for such a small amount ;). Unfortunatley we got into rush hour so it took us 1,5 hours to arrive to Hollywood.
It was raining like hell (I always thought that LA only has amazing weather?!!) when we finally arrived to Hollywood. We took the metro from Hollywood / Vine station for one stop until Hollywood / Highland station. A single ticket is 1,7 Dollar (day ticket 7 Dollar). It was shocking to see how many homeless, junkies and weird people were inside the metro station and we didn´t feel really safe, especially not having our luggage with us. I expected Hollywood to be glamorous but actually it is not.
Walk of Fame Hostel
All hotels in Hollywood were really expensive so we decided to stay in the Walk of Fame Hostel (Website) . Prices were still expensive for a hostel (45€ per night for a shared 4-bed female room with no private bathroom), probably there was an Oscar surcharge already ;). The hostel is located directly on the Walk of Fame in the heart of Hollywood. Check-in was easy and our room was basic but clean (as was the whole hostel). Breakfast was surprisingly nice with different bagel options, fruit, muffins and toast as well as orange juice and coffee. At night it was kind of noisy since some guests were having a party in the hostel.
At the reception there was a board where you could find the main attractions and how to get there as well as some hiking tours. We used these helpful information and planned our days accordingly.
On Saturday morning we followed the hiking tour instructions of the hostel for the Beachwood Canyon Trail (up to the Hollywood Sign). We took the metro to Hollywood / Vine station again and then the Dash bus (50 cent) up to the Beachwood Cafe (Beachwood Dr. & Westshire Dr. station). The Beachwood Cafe is a nice cafe and works perfectly if you wanna rest when coming back from the hike. It is a 20min walk up through a residential area. When we arrived we were the only people and finally (after some drizzling rain in the morning) also the sky cleared up and we had sun. Yeah! We took a lot of pictures and enjoyed the great view.
After the hike to the Hollywood Sign we wanted to go to Rodeo Drive for a “Pretty Woman” feeling ;). Following the instructions from the hostel, we used the bus from Highland / Sunset (about 15min walk from the hostel). We jumped on the 302 bus (included in the metro dayticket). After a while we realized that the area got worse and worse until we finally got aware that the bus is going to the wrong direction. Oh no! We got a little bit scared because you could clearly see that it was not the place where we should be as 2 women alone. As a result we crossied the street and wanted to take the bus back. There were weird people hanging around and the bus was going only every 20min. So we decided to walk. How happy we were when we arrived back to Highland / Sunset!!
After jumping on the right bus this time, we left the bus at Beverly Gardens Park and walked to Rodeo Drive. What a difference! Luxury shops and upscale restaurants everywhere. It´s so much fun watching the posh people and to walk around the area. We did a stop at the Cheesecake Factory to try the original cheesecake. What a sin!! We shared 1 piece for the 2 of us and it was super heavy (600 calories and some cake pieces even end up at 1600 calories!!) and we couldn´t finish it.
I was kind of disappointed about Hollywood itself. There is not much to see or to do. We walked down the Hollywood Blvd. and saw the Walk of Fame stars and the Dolby Theatre where they already prepared for the Oscars. But apart from that there is not so much more. The area looks really shabby and dirty to be honest and you see junkies and homeless people. We visited the Farmers Market on Sunday as well, but also there was not so much to do.
All in all it was nice to see Hollywood & Beverly Hills, but I wouldn´t go again. I always imagined Hollywood as a special and glamorous place but I really got disenchanted.
Since we had to go back to the airport on Sunday lunch time we didn´t have enough time to see Los Angeles downton or the beaches (Venice Beach & Santa Monica). Distances were just too long (it takes almost 1,5 hours to get to Santa Monica) and also we had rainy weather again (we probably had the only 3 rainy days during all the year!).