Guide to L.A.
Ever since my two close friends from high school both decided to go to college in Los Angeles, I had been somewhat stalking flight rates for during my Fall Break. So, last month, I got to live out my many month long dream of exploring L.A. with some of my closest friends. Although I was only there for a long weekend and we tried to stay pretty close to USC for most of the time because my friends were occupied with studying for midterm exams, I was able to begin to understand why this city captures the heart of so many. Whether you choose to dive into the vibrant food scene here or simply just decide to walk around to explore, all of the places listed below will not disappoint.
Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney
This area is top notch for exploring. Whether you are wanting to just stroll along the water or grab some coffee along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, this area of L.A. has it all. Venice Beach is the ideal spot for people watching, whether or not you even step foot on the actual beach. A short walk away from the beach is Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the most quintessential Californian street ever. With cute coffee shops, brunch spots, and little boutiques with ethically made clothing, this street was such a fun one to explore for the afternoon. Although most of the shops and restaurants on this street are on the pricier side, we all really enjoyed just being able to pop in and out of shops while sipping tea and people watching. This street also has the most adorable murals.
Olvera Street and Cielito Lindo
Olvera Street is definitely a place to stop if ever in the L.A. area. It is one of the first neighborhoods in L.A. and is so lively with the sounds of music and the smell of traditional Mexican food filling the street. At the very end of this street lies one of the tastiest little spots, Cielito Lindo. Two words: avocado sauce. This sauce is a mix between salsa verde and a creamy avocado dressing and tastes good on anything you get here. In fact, one of my friends who I was visiting here first had this sauce on a trip to L.A. with her family a couple of years ago and has been talking about it ever since. Many of my friends decided on their house special, beef taquitos, and I opted for the soyrizo burrito, a delicious vegetarian burrito, with a side of the avocado sauce. While many places in L.A. are on the expensive side, you can have a delicious meal here for less than $5. Could not recommend this stand and area of L.A. enough.
Located in “The Village” area of USC, this coffee shop was a super convenient and delicious stop during my stay. Although this place was a little on the pricier side, their almond milk matcha was one of the best I’d ever had.
We discovered Chichen Itza out of our desire to eat at a nearby off-campus spot. The food here is fresh and flavorful and the location is perfect if you are in the USC area. I loved the fish tacos and my friend loved her pork tacos. Located in a casual environment with reasonable prices, Chichen Itza is perfect for a chill night with friends.
If in search of a place that screams “L.A. vibes,” Honey Hi is your spot. I discovered this place through a recommendation made by food blogger queen Lee From America and it was such a dream. Even with the atmosphere of accents of blush pink and succulents lining the room, you could tell this place was meant for the matcha-loving millennials. But, this atmosphere was not just for show; the food was incredible, extremely creative, and as locally and ethically sourced as possible. My friend and I split the shakshuka (a dish made with tomatoes, roasted vegetables, and poached eggs) and it was one of the best meals I have had in 2018. It was served with a delicious gluten-free bread, making it even more divine. My other friend had the pancakes made with brown-rice flour and they were some of the fluffiest pancakes I have ever tried, hands down. I would also recommend the matcha with coconut milk, however, because it is pretty strong and comes unsweetened, I would also suggest asking for a side of honey to go along with it. Yes, this place is a bit on the pricier end of the spectrum, but 100% worth it, especially as a treat. We even saw Father John Misty pick up a to-go order from here so I guess you could say it is celebrity approved as well!
Being able to explore L.A. alongside my friends who will at least be spending the next 4 years there was such a happy time and I cannot wait to hear about more of their favorite places to go in the city as the years go on. I hope that this guide gives you a glimpse into some fantastic places to stop, especially if you happen to be staying at or near USC.
I hope everyone has a lovely week!