My mother and I traveled from London, England, to visit Los Angeles for the first time.
We would love to visit Rodeo Drive and go on another ride at Warner Bros. Studio next time we visit.
However, we should probably skip Venice Beach and Madame Tussauds Hollywood.
I recently visited Los Angeles with my semi-retired mother.
She’s my favorite person to travel with – we’ve already been to NYC, Amsterdam, and the Middle East – so I knew it would be a pleasure to have her join my California adventure.
As English tourists who don’t drive, we carefully planned eight days packed with famous sights and must-see pubs and restaurants. We planned to rely on public transportation and visit attractions within walking distance of our hotel.
Before we knew it, we were on a 12-hour flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Los Angeles International Airport, wearing, to paraphrase Miley Cyrus (to see at least one celebrity) and a cardigan (to beat the plane chill).
Here’s what we’ll do again and what we’ll skip next time we’re in Los Angeles.
Staying on the Sunset Strip was a great choice.
My mom and I chose to stay at the Best Western Sunset Plaza Hotel for most of the trip. A five-night stay costs around $1,100, which we thought was a good deal compared to other hotels we looked at and because of its proximity to many attractions.
Staying on the Sunset Strip also meant that we were located near a bunch of restaurants and bars, and didn’t have to pay for Ubers when going out for a drink or dinner.
I would stay at Sunset Strip again.
Burj Bar was worth all the hype.
We were also staying near the historic Sunset Tower Hotel, which has hosted celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Frank Sinatra. My friend recommended we stop at The Tower Bar located inside the hotel to eat.
The bar had a strict no photo policy, so I wasn’t able to take any photos of the Aperol spritz or the club sandwich. However, I realized that this policy was probably put in place for good reason when I looked over and saw a man who appeared to be Chris Hemsworth sitting next to us.
Even though my mom didn’t know who he was, we were excited to tick a celebrity off our LA list.
The food and cocktails at the bar were delicious, and the ambiance and decor were amazing. It gave the old Hollywood vibe we were looking for.
We enjoyed the Warner Bros. studio tour.
As huge TV and movie fans, we of course had to embark on a Warner Bros. studio tour. Which we booked via the studio’s website.
The tour was informative and interactive, and we loved learning some behind-the-scenes facts about our favorite films. My favorite part was visiting the Central Perk set for Friends, and my mom enjoyed seeing the sets for The Waltons.
Each Studio Tour Plus ticket costs $150 and includes a welcome reception, four-hour tours, and lunch at the Central Perk Café. We will definitely do this tour again, especially since Warner Bros. Adds items from the latest products to the tour.
Beverly Hills was a haven for window shopping.
We spent a day in Beverly Hills and shopped on Rodeo Drive, a two-mile-long street known to be one of the most expensive streets in the world.
We loved seeing the luxury stores and high-end brands like Prada, Gucci, Dior and Cartier. As we walked down the street, we imagined all the expensive things we would buy if we won the lottery.
The statues and art pieces on Rodeo Drive also provided plenty of fun photo opportunities.
Grauman’s Chinese Theater was a must-see.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was going to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, a landmark movie palace, and looking at the celebrity footprints and handprints lining the sidewalk outside the building.
I headed straight for the Twilight cast’s handprints, although I also saw marks from George Clooney and the Harry Potter cast.
The stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame were near the stage as well, so mom took the opportunity to take a photo with the Osmond family star.
On the other hand, our bus tour to see celebrity homes was disappointing.
Unless we were visiting Los Angeles with someone who had never been there before, my mom and I agreed to skip the bus tour of Hollywood homes next time.
During the tour, our guide talked about Los Angeles landmarks and celebrity homes as we passed by. Most of the houses we saw seemed to belong to American reality TV stars and game show hosts who we as British tourists didn’t know.
At one point, we saw the Hollywood sign in the distance. The famous Mulholland Drive was closed due to road works during our visit, so our bus was unable to run the usual route and we missed seeing some extra special sites.
For $60 each, we didn’t think the bus tour was worth doing again.
On the other hand, we weren’t the biggest fans of Venice Beach.
One evening, we headed to Venice Beach to watch the sunset.
Although we were really looking forward to seeing Venice Beach, as it is known to be a popular area full of great shops and amazing sunset views, we ended up being very disappointed.
The Venice Corridor area was not clean, especially compared to other parts of Los Angeles we visited. There were also a lot of stores selling weed along the boardwalk, which I noticed seemed to scare my mom.
I’m sure some people will enjoy Venice Beach, but it wasn’t really our place and we won’t be going back.
Madame Tussauds Hollywood has surpassed its counterpart in New York City.
We also went to Madame Tussauds Hollywood, a wax museum filled with statues of celebrities. However, we thought it was quite disappointing, as we only spent an hour in the museum and left as soon as we got our photos with the figures.
The museum was smaller than I expected and, in my opinion, too cramped and crowded.
I’ve been to Madame Tussauds in New York City and I think it’s much better, with multiple floors and more unique exhibits.
There is still a lot to see in Los Angeles but I will be visiting other cities on my next trip to California.
Overall, my trip to LA was a great adventure and I’m glad my mom came. We made some great memories and I can’t wait for our next trip.
Although we missed some major tourist activities like hiking the Hollywood Sign and a day at the beach in Malibu, we still saw a lot in eight days.
Next time, we’ll probably spend a long weekend in Los Angeles and head to another city in California like Laguna Beach or San Francisco.