We’ve developed this tradition of traveling every summer to a new destination to celebrate our engagement anniversary, July 4th! Read all about our earlier jorneys to Tuscany, Rome, Milan and Venice. Here’s a post on traveling with a baby bump, that we experienced in 2016 (I still haven’t got around to writing a detailed post on our babymoon)
We decided to celebrate this year in style, our first with the little munchkin! One of my best friends now lives in LA and what better opportunity to visit her than this summer. Today happens to be her milestone birthday 🎉 🎂… so all of you reading this post, do send her (and me) some happy thoughts!
I’d like to start off stating how LA received us. We had a major car rental fiasco that I should warn you about. We went in to the airport car rentals thinking we’d get a good deal but we had to take a few shuttle buses back & forth between a few providers and then finally. We were tired from the 6 AM flight settled for one at almost $90/day (incl taxes) for a basic car. Don’t think even Europe was as expensive! Anyway, my suggestion is to do your due diligence well in advance and ensure you know what your getting into. Luckily we only rented for the first 3 days, after which we would be with our friends for the long weekend 🙂
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Distances in California seem much much more than any other place we’ve been to, nothing is closer than 20-30 miles from each other and traffic is quite crazy even on freeways.
Since we now have the baby traveling with us, our holidays are no longer full of to-do lists that are prepared weeks in advance. We now take every day as it comes and are excited with whatever we manage to see of a new city. The journey matters the most, not the destination.
We had a peaceful evening in Malibu and just about managed to make it to Zuma beach for the sunset. It was not as happening as we thought it might be, but I hear weekends are quite buzzing. If I remember right, road parking can be done after 5 PM on all days.
Griffith observatory and planetarium was the highlight of our trip. We enjoyed at least half a day here. The drive and the experience is amazing. Do make a note that children under 5 are only allowed in the first shows of the day (I believe weekdays are at 12:45). This was the best $7 spent. We absolutely loved the 30-minute planetarium show. Look out for free parking, go right near where the paid parking starts and the free parking should be available right outside – you don’t need to park all the way down at Greek Theatre.
We had another wonderful sunset at Venice beach. Baby V had a blast crawling around on the sand and splashing on the waves. He got quite cold soon after and his lips were literally shivering. He passed out after getting cosy in the Kol Kol baby carrier (read all about our experience with the carrier here). The town is said to be created like Venice with original cottages and Venice Canal Historic District. Though we din’t drive around much but it looked like a lovely quaint little neighborhood.
We spent an afternoon the oh-so famous Hollywood boulevard. The place is so glamourized but you do find regular people walking the streets. I really was hoping to bump into some stars, or not! We walked up and down almost the entire Walk of Fame on Hollywood blvd and it is quite exhausting. We did want to spot a few stars and the hugsband’s journey was complete once we saw Donald Trump’s 😀 We found some street parking on the south side of the boulevard but the most happening parts are near the Chinese Theater in the north – but it’s impossible to find parking around that area.
Santa Monica pier was a happy buzzing place and we won some free tickets at a spin-and-win challenge ( still need to wait and watch if we actually won something or if it’s one of those timeshare shams.. Will keep y’all posted!) This led up to a delectable dinne at Trestevere.
We drove around at the famous Mullholland Drive and enjoyed seeing some stunt bikers doing their thing. Here’s a snippet thanks to our Drone-acharya, Srikant:
Huntington Beach was an exhilarating evening, and totally worth the long drive down south. It din’t feel like summer at all, with the family cozyied up in a comforter.
We had a fancy lunch at Sagebrush Restaurant in Calabasas. We had excellent Mexican fare, but my vegetarian friend would beg to differ. Though we landed up devouring her mushroom tacos along with finishing our own plates.
Our 4th of July was filled with shopping at Camarillo Premium Outlets and Fireworks at Marina Del Rey. The fireworks was really festive but coming from Dubai, we’re used to something so much more magnificent. But Marina Del Rey seems like an exciting fancy place to visit even during the day.
If you are wondering why we skipped Universal studios and Disneyland, read my post here. I’m sure we will land up visiting LA some other time in future and will still have a lot more to look forward to. What we enjoyed most is great company, lovely weather and beautiful memories.
What we enjoyed most is the best company we could ask for. We witnessed some wonderful company! The house we stayed at had a wonderful pool and a very cozy feeling. It was worth spending whole days lazying around.
Until next time… Happy weekend!
Like every other place, I wish we could’ve spent some more time in LA. But hey, hugsband says we can always go back! <3 Follow me on social media now!