Ten years ago my husband and I packed up our Jeep and headed to Los Angeles. We came looking for new opportunities as well as a new way of life. We are both from the East Coast where winters can be long and hard so weather is a huge deal for us. I still remember our first Christmas in LA. Wearing flip flips and shorts shopping for Christmas presents was unheard of! The endless Southern California sunshine gives us more opportunities to spend time outdoors together. You’ll often find my family and I hanging at a park, laying out at the beach or exploring a new part of Los Angeles! There’s so much to do in this city. Here are four reasons why I #LoveThisCity.
We had our daughter here. We will always love this city.
Food, food and more food
My all-time favorite ice cream parlor is MILK on Beverly Blvd. All of their ice cream is made on site and it is delicious. I love looking into their case filled with Ice Cream Bars, Drumsticks, and Ice Cream Sandwiches. I’m definitely a “kid in a candy store” when I walk in there. I highly recommend the Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bar or Salted Carmel on an Almond based macaroon. They are both heavenly and will melt in your mouth!
Los Angeles has more food trucks than ever. Food trucks are so popular here that there are festivals created just for them. Gyros, Burgers, Ice cream, Vietnamese sandwiches, French pancakes- the sky is the limit on what is offered on four wheels. My favorites are the Buttermilk Truck and Kogi BBQ.
Italian food is one of my favorites. Fortunately, I have a neighborhood Italian cafe that is within walking distance. I Panini Di Ambra cooks up up delicious authentic Italian fare. Owner Ambra Ditonno moved to Los Angeles from Milan Italy 22 years ago. She told me that she loves the city for it’s hills, lake and mountains. “The Panini Lady” opened her cafe five years ago in Hollywood and I have to say it’s some of the best food around. Stop in for lively conversation, a coffee, a panini sandwich or a slice of the Focaccia con Gorgonzola pizza. YUM!
Los Angeles Outdoors
Griffith Park, which is the second largest parks in California, is right up the street from me. I drive by it on a daily basis and we explore different attractions in and around Griffith Park quite often. We drive up to the Observatory for amazing views of Los Angeles as well as the Hollywood Sign or stargaze on their manicured lawn. The sunsets are beautiful from this spot. Families can also enjoy hiking trails, playgrounds, a merry-go-round, Los Angeles Zoo and train rides in Travel town. The old zoo is a hidden gem. It’s located behind Shane’s Inspiration. This is the site of the original zoo and visitors can explore the old animal cages. The L.A. Haunted Hayride takes over the old zoo area during Halloween.
Hooray for Hollywood
I’m also a train stop away from the Hollywood Strip. The area around Hollywood & Highland is always bustling with tourists. But that doesn’t mean locals should stay away. My husband and I have enjoy walking up Hollywood Blvd searching for our favorite stars along the Walk of Fame. I was excited to find two of my favorites, David Bowie and Kermit the Frog. Other attractions are Madame Tussauds. My daughter likes stepping into the footprints at TCL Chinese Theater formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
Hollywood Bowl is my favorite outdoor venue. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. We introduced our daughter to the orchestra here. She loves renting a cushion for her bench seat and buys a program for a dollar. We usually order dinner, talk to people around us and enjoy live music along with fireworks. We’ve seen the Los Angeles Philharmonic plus acts like Journey, Bugs Bunny at the Symphony as well as Blue Man Group perform here under the stars.
Free in Los Angeles
Los Angeles offers tons of free stuff for families to do. Most musuems and gardens offer a free day for visitors! One of my favorites is LACMA’s NexGen program. LACMA offers free membership to youths age 17 and under. The museum encourages a life-long love of museums for young children. We love spending time at the Boone Gallery. Kids can learn about brush painting and art from Korea. Visitors and locals should take advantage of this free art studio for children! Definitely a Los Angeles gem!
The Los Angeles Public Library Central Branch is beautiful and massive! Get lost here with a book and get inspired. We often visit the children’s area with our daughter. We read a book together near one of the large windows or sit in on storytime. The library is a wonderful resource for families.
I could go on and on but as you can tell there is so much to love about Los Angeles. The possibilities are endless. I’m still discovering new things to see, do and eat! One last note is to enjoy the beautiful street art around you. I’m amazed at the talent and time that goes into some of the gorgeous murals throughout the city. You don’t have to travel to far off lands for an experience. Explore your own backyard! There’s an adventure awaiting you.
* I am a member of the Collective Bias Social Fabric community. I have been compensated to share my experience with you by Collective Bias and their client, MasterCard.