Welcome back to another episode of Ashlee attempting to write a travel post. As luck would have it, April has been a busy travel month for me. At the beginning of the month I flew out to LA for work to be on set for some brand videos. While we had a lot to get done in a short amount of time, we still managed to check out a few sights in the area. Since it’s not everyday you get spend three days in Cali for work.
Naturally, our flight got delayed on our way there, so we ended up getting to LAX a few hours late which was a bummer since we were hoping to do a little exploring that evening before production the next morning. While most of our time was spent inside overviewing the production, we usually got to sneak away in the mornings or evening after filming wrapped up. The first day, we explored Venice Beach, which had a very laid-back vibe. On top of that, I had never seen the Pacific Ocean. I loved how eccentric the whole area was with the mix of tourists, locals, and beach bums.
One of the highlights of the trip was all the delicious food we ate while out and about. The best thing about Los Angeles is that there are so many healthy options no matter where you go. Before our trip I did a little research on the area, thanks to The Local Wanderer blog we got to experience some local favorites. If you only have one day to explore Venice, I would highly recommend walking up and down Abbott Kinney Road. There are so many cute shops and restaurants, it's so hard to narrow down where to go!
Here are a few of the places we stopped while in the area:
This was probably my favorite restaurants we stopped during the trip. It's a cafe, juice bar, and "vegetable slaughterhouse," now before you roll your eyes, it was so good. Granted, when we tried to order alcoholic drinks, we were told by the waitress that all their drinks don't actually have any alcohol in them. Most are made from fermented vegetables, which sounds gross but tastes very similar to kombucha.
Right after our flight we wandered up to Abbott Kinney and decided to go to Zinque for dinner. It was a beautifully decorated, intimate restaurant with a live piano bar. I recommend ordering the Le Bowl -- it was delicious and super filling!
I should note that this wasn't in Venice, it was in Santa Monica but I still highly recommend going. The sushi was extremely fresh and it had a great, lively atmosphere.
I saw one of their locations while were driving into the city but figured it was just another fast food salad joint. It wasn't until we ordered for lunch one day that I became thoroughly impressed. Think of them as the slightly more sophisticated cousin of Sweet Greens.
When I read about Gjusta I was told that it was much more of "local hangout" and they weren't wrong. It's tucked way back in what seems like an industrial park. I loved the feeling when you walked through the door, it was very vintage but had so much character. I wish I had taken photos while we were there but I was a little overwhelmed with the whole ordering process.
Santa Monica Beach
After the first day of production, we drove over to Santa Monica Beach to catch the sunset. It was a little chilly out but so worth the trip. Then we made our way over to Santa Monica Pier, which I remember vividly from Hannah Montana: The Movie. It was extremely entertaining to people watching, we even saw Gabrielle Union filming a movie at the end of the pier.
*Side note* I highly recommend renting a car. Everything in that area is so spaced out and impossible to maneuver via public transportation. Although if you're looking for a unique way to commute from town to town, I would try using the Bird electric scooters. I had never seen the concept before nor did I try it while I was there but it seems like a super cool idea!
It's no surprised I would strongly recommend visiting Venice Beach and Santa Monica, you can't beat the warm weather and beautiful beaches. While I wish I could go back asap I realized that it costs a pretty penny to visit the West Coast, especially in these highly populated tourist destinations. But if you do go in the near future, make sure to soak in every moment! I can't even imagine living there, it would feel like everyday is a vacation.