My first full day in Los Angeles had me busing around Hollywood and Beverly Hills with stop-offs at cool places like the LACMA and The Grove and we also caught our first glimpse of a Hollywood celeb or two!
Waking up bright and early after a good sleep, my anticipation rose as me and my Aussie mate discussed our plans for our first full day in LA (the first of just two). Carless, (neither of us were game enough to brave driving the LA roads,) we opted to scope out the area by bus. One of the main stops for the Starline Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus was just a ten minute walk up Hollywood Boulevard from our hostel (Banana Bungalows Hollywood), and after a quick stop in Starbucks for a much needed coffee and bite to eat, we crossed the road to the Pantages Theatre to hop on the bus.
There are multiple ticket options for the Hop On Hop Off bus which are valid within different time slots; 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours. There are also 6 different routes around LA that you can take, each with on-going commentary in a handful of languages that fill in you in with interesting facts and information about notable places you drive past and stops for you to hop off at. We initially bought the 48 hour pass which we then decided to extend to 72 hours, on our last day (I may write a pros and cons blog post about taking the sightseeing bus on a later date). For our first day we wanted to travel on the Red Route (approx. 2 hours), which included stops at the Dolby Theatre, Chateau Marmont, Santa Monica Blvd, Rodeo Drive, The Grove and the LACMA.
The first stop was the Dolby Theatre, which just happened to be holding a very special ceremony for a very special someone – LL Cool J ring any bells?! Yup, our first day out in LA and we spotted LL Cool J getting his hand print down on the Walk of Fame and also saw none other than Queen Latifah getting chased down Hollywood Boulevard by a pack of hungry paparazzo. For a girl from little ‘ol New Zealand, this was pretty surreal! (Check out my upcoming vlog to see the blurry footage haha).
Millions of Milkshakes
Our first hop off was to visit Millions of Milkshakes to grab just that, a milkshake. Endorsed over the years by a stream of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan and Pamela Andersen, it’s a create-your-own milkshake heaven, which is now unfortunately no more! After being open since 2008, the store closed it’s doors at the end of last year. So unfortunately you won’t be able to pop in for a milkshake anymore. Sad face. Plus side? They were pretty pricey!
It was then back on the bus for us, with milkshake in hand as we cruised through the streets of Beverly Hills and dreamily peering through shop windows of all the beautiful stores on Rodeo Drive, housed with items we could never afford. We hopped off at the the Farmers Market but after a quick look around decided we wanted to see the lamp post art installation at the LACMA (Los Angeles Country Museum of Art) (hello, every romantic film based in LA). So we trudged back the museum to have a squiz and take a few photos.
A big regret of mine was not actually going inside LACMA to have a look at the art. I love museums and art galleries and I know that many friends get frustrated at me because I spend too much time looking at everything, it’s one of my favourite things to do while travelling (just try stop me every time I go to Paris, you can’t). I’m not too sure my travel buddy was too keen to go in though, and at the time it was getting late and we wanted to see The Grove before it got too dark. So after a few snaps we walked back to The Grove to check out the shopping area I had heard so much about and seen many a vlog of.
We made it to The Grove in the late afternoon, where a cool January breeze had picked up – a relief after a fairly warm day. We wandered through all the shops (Topshop was a must for me,) including my first peek at an American Girl Store and I’m not going to lie, I was a little creeped out, but that’s just me. We satisfied our sweet tooth with a trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar and then headed over to the Farmer’s Market to fill our tummies. I grabbed an impressive looking and great tasting hot dog from the food marketplace area.
We finished eating, headed over to Trader Joe’s to buy snacks for the following day and then waited for the next bus to take us home-bound. We drove down Melrose Ave by night and decided to get off the bus by the Chinese Theatre to check out the atmosphere at night. We also checked out Ghirardelli’s for some chocolate and browsed some of the stores for late night shopping.
With hungry tummies we headed back down Hollywood Boulevard towards our hostel, stopping in a cute little Japanese restaurant for dinner (and trying to figure out the whole tipping business). It was on our way home from dinner that we spotted our next celebrity. None other than Aussie guy, Luke Hemmings from the band 5 Seconds of Summer, who was paying a visit to the famous Fonda Theatre, just up the road from our hostel.
Yeah. That guy. Haha.
Feeling exhausted from our big day out we headed back to our room to rest up for another early start the following day!
READ: My flight from Auckland to LA
WATCH: My flight from Auckland to LA