A First Timer’s Guide to Los Angeles

This is no way a complete guide to visiting LA. I was only there for 3 ½ days & LA is massive y’all! I am planning to go back again so if you have any other recommendations for me, leave a comment below!

Multiple friends told me to rent a car & honestly I really wished I had listened to them when we were spending 1 ½ hours in the subway, but in all honesty, parking is a pain in the @$% in LA. We used a car once to go to Venice & we spent over 40 minutes trying to find parking.

Here are my 2 cents: 

Everyone complains about LA public transportation, I mean which person didn’t have the brains to put a few subway stops in DTLA?! However, as someone who grew up in a town without any sidewalks (yes you read that correctly) I can tolerate taking 2 or 3 transfers to get to a destination.

So my thoughts are- if you’re spending over a week in LA & have enough time to space out all the things you want to do because the parking gods will not be on your side, then yes rent a car. But if you’re in LA for a short period (like me) take advantage of the bus & subways and Uber pool & Lyft shared rides. *Specifically use shared riding services* My 75 minute drive to my friend’s house only cost me $42

Lastly, if you want to know how I bought a $11.20 round-trip flight to LA, click the picture below : )



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Okay let’s dive in!

Free Things To Do!

Serpentine Pavilion by SelgasCano at La Brea Tar Pits

Created by the Madrid based architecture firm Selgascano, this Incredibly vibrant installation will only be available to view until November 24th, 2019. Go here before sunset so the you can take advantage of the golden light coming in through the colorful translucent walls. I visited this installations before going to Jazz at LACMA.

Open 11 am to 7 pm daily & until 9 pm on Fridays.


Friday Night Jazz at LACMA 

Jazz at LACMA is the perfect way to end the week. Every Friday from 6-8pm, there’s a free live music concert in the front of the Urban Light exhibit. Don’t forget  to bring blankets & food! The seasoned jazz enthusiasts brought chairs, mini tables & loads of food to share with their family & friends. It reminded me of a Sunday afternoon in Mauer Park.


Griffith Observatory & Charlie Turner Trailhead

For an incredible view of LA & the Hollywood sign, visit the Griffith Observatory. Admission to the building & ground is free, you only have to pay for the planetarium. We decided to hike up the trail near the observatory & had an incredible view of the Hollywood sign. Apparently it’s only a 1 ½ hour hike to the Hollywood sign from the Observatory.



The Last Bookstore:

453 S Spring St, but the entrance is on 5th St. 

The Last Bookstore is California’s largest new & used book & record store in DTLA that is housed in an abandoned bank. The second floor is filled with hidden treasures like a tunnel made from books & tucked away secret rooms filled with over 100,000 used books for sale. It is also the home of the Spring Arts Collective, a space displaying the works of five artist- anything from sculptures & paintings. I know this in in the “free things to do” category but if you’re going to take the time to take pictures here at least purchase a book or artwork. Make sure you always support local independent bookstores 💖

Hours are 10 a.m to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

no books were harmed in the making of this exhibit

Places I want to visit next time: 

  • Magnolia Park- I’ve heard the best & more affordable vintage shops in LA can be found in this area. I also want to check out Porto’s Bakery & Cafe which is a Cuban bakery 😍
  • Bike from Venice all the way to Malibu
  • Hike the Los Liones Trail


Restaurants & Food Markets


Grand Central Market


If you’re traveling with friends & you each want something different to eat, check out the Grand Central Market. It’s a vibrant and thriving community of over 37 multicultural food stands. You honestly can’t go wrong with anything in the market. Make sure you bring friends & order different dishes from various vendors to much off each others plates




If you want an incredible food & service in a lively environment come here. After walking around in DTLA for the entire day, we ordered mint lemonade- which by the way comes with a free refill!! We also enjoyed their guac & choriqueso which is large enough to share with friends. The best part of the night was when our waiter gave us bread pudding on the house.


Lamb, Tomato & Rapini Pizza



We went here for lunch & ordered 3 pizzas which were absolutely delicious. My favorite was their Lamb, Tomato & Rapini pizza. If you can, sit in their back patio- it’s beautiful!

Four Onion Pizza


Other restaurants I want to try out next time in LA:

Republique– I’ve heard their brunch is pretty amazing

Malibu Beach Restaurant 

Butcher’s Daughter 

I hope you enjoyed my guide to LA! If you have any more recommendations please let me know in the comments below!


Medha xx

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