For anyone who knows me, I went to school in Los Angeles. Although it’s not on my radar to live there anytime soon, it will always be special. Most of my friends still live there. I have family nearby. For all intents and purposes, it was a significant chapter in my story. And recently, I visited for my class reunion.
What made this trip extra special was taking along my boyfriend, who has never visited Los Angeles, let alone California. This meant sculpting the perfect itinerary for a first-time visitor. But in two days. Okay, less than two days. And, let me tell you, we ended up visiting places even I hadn’t been to! And, we didn’t even go to In & Out once. (I know. I know. What kind of tour guide am I?)
For Day 1, I took him to the spot that screams Los Angeles. Hollywood. Now, the Hollywood Walk of Fame or the TCL Chinese Theatre is fine and all. But they are most certainly not Hollywood Hills. Or Beverly Hills. Or anything you envision when you think Hollywood, really. And, unfortunately, I think Brandon’s glamorous visions shattered very quickly. Namely, they became visions of Elmo and Mickey Mouse streetwalkers looking to pose with you for money. (If you know, you know.)
So, we immediately grabbed an Uber and headed to the Grove. There, we walked around, took in the shops, and ate lunch at Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill. We headed over just a couple of blocks to the Petersen Automotive Museum. (This was a first for me.) It was only blocks away from the La Brea Tarpits. (Yet another first for me.) That was surprising since it was only blocks away from where I had my internship at E! Entertainment. (Who knew?)
But, the best part of my day was reuniting with my best friends. We had dinner at SOL Mexican Cantina in Playa Vista. Okay, how cute is this area? And the food was delicious! That night, we visited campus for appetizers, drinks, and frolicking the grounds. It was surreal to see how much had changed.
We actually went back to campus on day 2, for a larger, more informal alumni BBQ. After spending time with friends and touring the campus some more, I took Brandon to Santa Monica Beach and Third Street Promenade. This was always the place I’d go to in college when I needed to just get away. It’s chock-full of inexpensive shops, eateries, and just blocks away from the beach. We had dinner off the promenade and called it a night. If we had more time and energy, I would have loved to make our way to Venice Beach.
That said, although I imagine my list of must-see places would be very different for others, this trip was perfectly us. It melded new memories and places while sharing and celebrating with my friends.
I was supposed to visit again for a baby shower, but alas, COVID-19 has had its own way. But, I can’t wait to go back, meet the newest member of our tribe, and hopefully add Beverly Hills, Venice Beach and Calabasas to our adventures.