A Travellerspoint blog

California Dreaming...

I have been lucky enough to travel to the company's head office recently which just so happens to be based in California! Not only that, I have been able to go twice in the past couple of months. Whereas it was of course a work trip including actual work, I was sure to make the most of my evenings and weekends to do and see all things L.A! I have listed these out below:

I feel that you cannot go to California and not visit Hollywood. I have been before but still felt it was a must. Also, I tried to do some things differently this time. Of course, I did the standard Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theatre but this time we also went on a Hollywood Homes tour. As is standard for my luck, we did not get to see any celebrities going about their normal life, but what we did see were some amazing houses. Regardless of who lived there or lives there, the houses are just unreal. Driving through the Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills and surrounding areas did feel like one big movie set - it was great!

Another thing we did was the walk up to the Hollywood sign. We had planned to do the route along the back, past the famous Wisdom Tree which leads to the back of the sign so that you are overlooking it, however, we got a little lost! Eventually we found our way to the entrance of the walk that everyone does and made our way up. It was not far at all and we were so close to the sign. It is great seeing the sign when driving around L.A. and nearby but to be right next to it was so cool. The views overlooking the city are also just beautiful. We were there for dusk and as we started to leave the city we came across Runyon Canyon so took a quick hike to the top of this to watch the sunset, another must!

Malibu, Laguna Beach & San Clemente
We tried to make the most of being in California and did several small trips in the evenings/weekends to ensure this happened. This included a trip to Malibu - which was beautiful! The pier is lovely and a nice walk down with spectacular views. There are lovely restaurants and shops here too, but not much else is around. Another trip we did was to Laguna Beach. For me this was a must, I just wanted to see it! It is a very cool place with a real beachy vibe. We also went to San Clemente, which was not too far from where we were staying the second time. This included a trip to Nick's restaurant which is absolutely fantastic and a must for anyone who goes here! (There is another Nick's in Laguna but this one is a lot busier so better to visit San Clemente and ensure you get a table, although you may still have a wait). San Clemente is a lovely little town with really cute boutique shops around, really worth a visit.

We did a few beaches too, including the world famous Muscle Beach. It was cool to see it but not necessarily somewhere that I would rave home about. It is essentially just a beach with a lot of muscley men working out! This is in Santa Monica and I really did enjoy my visit there. We went a couple of times and the second one was when there was a festival on, meaning the streets were packed and full of people, there was live music all over the place and just a great atmosphere. We managed to get an outside table to Urth cafe (from Entourage for those who have seen it!) and were able to watch it all going on which was very cool.

San Francisco
On our second trip to L.A. we decided to really make the most of being in America and going somewhere a little further afield for the weekend. This resulted in a very quick but very fun trip to San Francisco! We were able to leave work early which was ideal as the traffic on a Friday to pass the L.A/Hollywood area starts around 2/3pm and just gets busier and busier! We left the office and made it to our Air B&B in around 8 hours time, which was a big drive but fun seeing all the surrounding areas. With arriving late and taking a while to find somewhere to park, we decided to stay in and have food then start early on the Saturday.

The Saturday morning consisted of an early start to ensure we did everything we wanted to. Our first stop was Mr Holmes Bakehouse - a famous bakery with a queue not only out of the door but up the street too! It was worth the wait though and a box of pastries later we were sitting by the pier overlooking Alcatraz enjoying them! Unfortunately for me I was unable to get tickets in time to go and see Alcatraz (be sure to book early if you want to go!) but it was great just to see it from afar after hearing so many good things about it - such a cool place with so much history!

We went for a walk along Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf and had lunch on the waterfront. I tried the famous Clam Chowder which literally gets served in a sour dough bread bowl - crazy! We then hired bikes and went all the way across the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito. The bridge is amazing and very cool but if on bikes you do not get too much time to take it in as everyone is moving around you and you need to try and keep up! Sausalito was a pleasant surprise - we had not planned on visiting but I was so glad that we did. It is beautiful with gorgeous big expensive houses. From here you can go back across the bridge (this does involve a lot of up-hill cycling) or do what we did and get the boat back. Getting the boat back allows you to have a great view of Sausalito from the water as well as the bridge and Alcatraz - and saves your legs extra work!

We visited Delores Park, which had a really cool vibe to it, before heading back and getting ready for a night out in Castro (San Francisco's famous gay area). Honestly, I had such an amazing night here - the bars were all really cool with brilliant people, I would 100% go back here just for the nightlife!!

The next day we did not have too long before needing to hit the road, so we went to visit Mrs Doubtfire's house from the film, visited the Painted Ladies and also went to Lombard Street. I had planned to drive down the street but the queue to do so was just so long we gave up in the end and just went to the bottom for a photo. Then it was time for the long drive back to Dana Point.

My two visits to California in the summer, despite being with work, were great and I feel I managed to do so much in my free time. It reminded my why I love the US (in particular California) so much and I know I will be back to visit again in the future! :)

Posted by LaurenF3 11:15

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