If you would have asked me just a couple of weeks ago if I had any desire to make the 120-mile drive from San Diego to Los Angeles to hang out in the city, I would have politely answered, “Hell No. There’s no reason to go to LA when you live in San Diego.” But I’ve recently changed my mind.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I took a weekend trip to downtown LA. I’ve been to LA before but typically stay out of downtown. The first surprise was that the traffic wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. This could be because we were strategic about when to leave (that means before the rush hour traffic). It only took us 2.5 hours to get there from downtown San Diego. Indeed, not bad for a Friday afternoon.
The second surprise was how fantastic the Biltmore Millennium Hotel is! Its beauty really does transcend. I felt as if I entered a time capsule.
The Beaux Arts Architecture is a style that comes from the École des Beaux-Arts school in Paris which drew upon the principles of French neoclassicism and incorporated Renaissance and Baroque elements using modern materials. Beaux Arts is showcased beautifully in this hotel!
The rooms are reasonably priced starting at around $149 and quite comfortable. Beware it does cost $50 a day to park, but considering the hotel is quite central, it’s worth it.
The Biltmore has been around since Old Hollywood and they have walls displaying pictures of all the stars who stayed. One of my personal favorites is Shirley Temple.
For a night of good drinks and casual food the Gallery Bar and Cognac Room. The bartenders were a blast and it felt as if the patrons knew each other. I like that in a bar.
Another draw that isn’t high on most people’s radar is David Carlo’s Modern Parlor Magic Show. We started off at the Gallery Bar and then headed over to the show which is in a stunning parlor room. I was so impressed! The guy was mind-reading. I can not wrap my mind around how he did some of the things that he did! Oh and I should mention that he caught a bullet! David was charming, funny, and quite captivating. Check out our Facebook page to see an impromptu interview after the show.
So many good finds, close enough!
- Maison Matho at 4770 Melrose Ave, if you like a good sandwich. Oh my! Took us about 15 minutes to get there and let me say, it’s not the nicest part of Melrose. But well worth it! I’m saying it was the absolute best sandwich I’ve ever had. Fresh and crusty bread, bresaola, sunchoke, preserved fennel, and lemon. Chef Daniel Matho (from the French Alps) opened this grab-and-go making homemade braid daily with a variety of French options such as croissants, tarts, omelets, salads, and of course crusty beautiful sandwiches. I fell in love with the Bresaola sandwich. Would drive back to LA just for that!
- Hiking at Griffith Park
Dinner and shopping at the Row DTLA
We had a seafood tower at Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Fresh and delicious!
Pizzeria Bianco recently opened and we were so sad that we were too late for a slice. But we did get to meet Chris Bianco. Humble, hard-working guy. It was an honor. If you don’t know him. Look him up! As Jimmy Kemmel says, “He’s the Yoda of pizza.” We’ll be back soon to see if that’s true.
- The Walt Disney Concert Hall for music and really just viewing. A must-see and only an 11-minute walk from the Biltmore.
- Grand Central Market Los Angele’s largest and oldest opened market opened in 1917. Just a 10-minute walk from the Biltmore.
So much more to do and see in Los Angeles. So ready for my next trip!
Renee is a New York-born travel enthusiast with a passion for yoga and a West Coast spirit. As a travel writer specializing in the West Coast and beyond, Renee loves to explore new destinations and share her experiences with others. She has traveled extensively, gaining a wealth of knowledge about the best places to go, things to do, and where to stay. Renee's writing style is immersive, taking her readers on a journey to the places she visits. Although she doesn't consider herself a professional photographer, Renee is passionate about capturing the beauty of the world around her and loves to include her photos in her travel writing. With her New York attitude and West Coast soul, Renee is a force to be reckoned with in the world of travel writing.