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LA Day 2 & 3

by Feb 17, 2018

Day 2 & 3 were pretty packed (as if Day 1 wasn’t?!)  There is SO MUCH TO SEE IN LA!!  Downtown LA isn’t really worth staying in because parking is expensive and it isn’t a great hub for everything else you’ll want to do, but it is a REALLY cool city.  My husband had a conference next door to the Staples Center a few years back.  I’d spend my days exploring the city and I learned to love the different districts.

Venice Beach and the Botanic Gardens are both fun and honestly, I felt like a half day for each was perfect.  Much longer at either place might have been a bit much for the kids.  And so here was our experience:

I kinda planned the PERFECT walking tour of downtown LA, as long as you don’t mind walking 13 miles in one day (I love to give a cute winky face here, but it was the truth.  I really did force death march the fam for 13 miles… but they saw SO MUCH!!) We parked at the Figat7th mall, walked down Figueroa and dropped the boys at the Staples Center for an afternoon Clippers Game.  Tickets were CHEAP.  Boys enjoyed themselves.  And we started our tour.

Walked Olympic down toward the garment district and browsed a little.  We started at the north end of Santee Alley and walked all the way to the end, bought some frozen mango, and then walked back up on Maple to the Los Angles Flower Market.  Keep in mind that this closes pretty early.  You don’t want to linger forever at Santee or you will miss it and this was our favorite spot.  We then took 7th to Broadway and headed north to The Last Bookstore (DO NOT MISS THIS if you like books at all.  This place is so cool).  We went on to the LA Public Library, although I’d skip that next time.  It is cool but added too much walking.

At this point, my trooper of a daughter and I are getting tired.  We thought we could find food at Grand Central Market but it was so packed and hot and loud.  We both looked at each other and she said, “All I really want is a nice plate of cheese and unlimited water.”  I said, “All I really want is a nice quiet place to sit with some red wine.”  Like it was a mirage, we found Maccheroni Republic and almost cried with happiness.  It was the most perfect place.

Boys met up with us and we were all rested enough to take the Angels Flight Railway up to Chinatown.  It was a mile walk once we got to the top but through the concert hall area, which was cool.  We liked wandering around Chinatown and enjoyed some good Chinese food for dinner.  We opted to walk back to Figat7th.  We probably should have used Lyft.  It was only 2 miles but at that point in the day, we were all pretty tired.

The LA Arboretum & Botanic Gardens are quite nice.  Especially nice if it is 2 degrees back home and you forgot what if feels like to breath in fresh oxygen without it hurting your lungs.  I’ve been to this garden each time we go to LA (mostly because it is free with our reciprocal pass).  We always take the full walk around the place, which really isn’t very long.  This place is much smaller than The Morton Arboretum or the Chicago Botanical Gardens.  The real reason we always go is the orange groves.  Our first visit was in November and the smell of the orange blossoms was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  I could have stayed their for hours.  This visit (February), the oranges were ripe.  I don’t know the exact rules on this but we were led to believe that as long as we didn’t harm the trees while picking a ripe orange, we could take one and eat it.  It was the greatest orange I’ve ever tasted in my life.  I get chills when I think about it now.
Oh Venice Beach. There is no other place quite like it.  This isn’t the opinion of everyone, but I happen to love it.  I love the craziness and the air and the sunsets.  I love watching the skate-boarders do insane stunts.  I love muscle beach and the basketball courts.  I love the artists sitting on the street with their work.  I love the huge drum circle that welcomes the sunset.

The first time I went, we stayed right on the boardwalk.  It was fun but windy and wind and sand make life kind of rough.  I also saw the darker side of the Boardwalk because we were there late at night and then up again early in the morning.  I don’t really recommend staying on the boardwalk with kids.  The drug scene is pretty intense as the night goes on.

This time we parked in Santa Monica and walked the whole board-walk.  It happened to be Super-bowl Sunday and I thought the boys could find a bar and watch while the girls admired art and explored.  I was wrong.  Turns out, Venice Beach had no idea that it was the Superbowl and there was not one restaurant with a TV let alone the game on.  We walked back to Santa Monica and there were plenty of places to watch.  We had some expensive but great snacks, a few drinks, and saw the end of a really exciting game before heading back to our place and bed because we had a super early flight the next day… that of course got delayed like 7 hours.