LA Travel Diary: Part 1 Santa Monica

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It feels like such a long time ago, but our LA trip was the best introduction to summer.  We spent an extended long weekend there at the end of May, 5 days of sunshine, bike rides, and ocean views.  We took sooo many of photos on this trip, so that means I have tons to show you.  So much so, that I’ve broken it down into two posts.

This was our second time in LA, so we had a little bit of insight as to where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see.  We stayed in Santa Monica at the Bayside Hotel, right near the beach.  It was cute and cozy and a great spot to come and go from.  We were walking distance from everything in Santa Monica, the pier, Main Street, and even to Venice Beach.  I think my favourite thing to do was people watch.  Whether at a restaurant, walking the boardwalk or shopping, there was always something interesting to see.

We made the decision of not renting a car in order to save a little bit of money, which in LA is crazy… just do it, rent the car, it’s worth it.  I will say though, we did manage fairly well without.  It helped that one of the train lines had just opened an extension that came to Santa Monica instead of just ending in Culver City.  So we were able to take that train into downtown LA, then switch trains to whatever direction we wanted to go in.  It meant a lot of sorting out train schedules and tentatively missing one (which definitely happened), but ended up being a good way to view different areas of the city while the train was above ground. Most often the length of train ride was very similar to the length of driving time to each destination we planned to go to, I checked 😉

Here’s the breakdown of our itinerary of our first couple of days in LA, with focus on Santa Monica.

Stay: This was our second time in LA, so we had a little bit of insight as to where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see and decided we wanted a beachy feeling to start and end our day, so Santa Monica was a great choice. We stayed at the Bayside Hotel, footsteps to the beach.  It was cute and cozy and a great spot to come and go from.  We were walking distance from everything in Santa Monica, the pier, Main Street, and the train station.

Eat: Santa Monica’s Main Street is filled with cool shops, coffee houses and restaurants.  We could’ve eaten at every place and had a good meal.  Some of my faves for coffee/breakfast were Dogtown Coffee (went twice!), Urth Caffe (chai lattes!!), and M Street Kitchen.  I loved AREAL so much so that we went twice, once for a late lunch, and once for a nice dinner.  Had pizza both times, they have a wood burning oven and the patio is the best, with strings of lights and greenery.  We also went to a couple of bars since A wanted to watch the NBA finals games, so we tried Rick’s Tavern one night, and Brick & Mortar another.

Shop: Of course there’s cool shops on Main street in Santa Monica, Muji (a Japanese department store, I bought the softest cotton scarf and a classic trench coat there), Planet Blue, and The Closet Trading Co.  But there’s also the 3rd St Promenade.  It’s an outdoor shopping mall with all the regular shops we know.  Including Cotton On, one that A and I had gone to our first time in LA and definitely visited again.  Think kinda cheap and cheerful, similar to H&M.

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