Los Angeles: My Thoughts on Where To Stay, What To Do and What To Skip

The first place I visited on my trip was Los Angeles. I’ve been there before so I thought I might combine those experiences to give my reviews on things that I’ve done and places I’ve stayed! I’m not a huge fan of LA generally; I find it a bit cookie cutter similar to most other cities, with not many ‘pretty’ landscapes, and too much traffic!

Stay: 

On my first trip to LA, I stayed at the Millennium Biltmore hotel, located downtown, which was really beautiful, super fancy, and not incredibly expensive ( especially if you’re sharing the cost with someone) as rooms average $150- $300 a night.  However, it also doesn’t let you check in there unless you’re over 21, so it’s not ideal for young students or backpackers – it wants to keep the riffraff out, I guess 😛 This is one of the main reasons I didn’t stay there on my most recent trip, because myself, and my friend whom I was travelling with, are both 19.

The Hilton Universal City was really pretty, but not very centrally located - except for Universal Studios and Citywalk, that is!
The Hilton Universal City was really pretty, but not very centrally located – except for Universal Studios and Citywalk, that is!

Instead of staying at the Millennium Biltmore, we stayed at the Hilton Universal City, which was conveniently located just a three minute walk from Universal Studios and Universal Citywalk. The rooms were a bit dark and we had a pretty rubbish view of the car park, but overall I liked it. The lobby was quite pretty, and, as an added bonus, had a Starbucks! It was an easy fifteen minute downhill walk to the Metro station (it’s a pretty steep hill on the way back up, though!), however apart from the Metro station and Citywalk there isn’t really much in the near vicinity. We found ourselves eating only at Citywalk, because there were no restaurants or cafes near enough to walk to. Rooms generally average $180 – $400 a night, and if you’re over 21 I would probably choose the Millennium Biltmore over the Hilton Universal City, simply because the Millennium is more centrally located and feels a bit more fancy schmancy for around about the same price.

Having a Starbucks in the lobby made it super convenient for early morning oatmeal, bagel and coffee runs - if only it was socially acceptable to wear your PJs in public!
Having a Starbucks in the lobby made it super convenient for early morning oatmeal, bagel and coffee runs – if only it was socially acceptable to wear your PJs in public!

What I Did: 

I’ll rate the things I did on a 5 star rating system, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest, because I like feeling official! Haha.

– Warner Bros VIP Studio Tour: 4.7

During the Warner Bros Studio Tour, we got to visit the amazing Friends set - and even got to sit on the couch!
During the Warner Bros Studio Tour, we got to visit the amazing Friends set – and even got to sit on the couch!

I highly recommend this tour – I absolutely loved it. I have to say, though, I got really lucky because I saw the sets of Pretty Little Liars, Friends, The Ellen Show and Gilmore Girls, which are all some of my favourite shows. Those sets, however, were pretty much all we saw, which, whilst good for me, was probably not really that much fun for the other people in the group that weren’t into those shows. The tour guides do ask you which shows you like, and do their best to accommodate you, but I think it’s a bit of a ‘keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best’ type thing whether or not you get to see the sets of your favourite shows. In my opinion, it was totally worth the $54 price tag, and I would definitely do it again if I got the chance.

– The Grove: 4 

I really like the Grove. I think it has some cool (yet high end and expensive) stores and I find the actual mall really pretty. I also really like the Farmers’ Markets next door, and I definitely think it’s worth a visit if you have a spare day. Keep in mind though, that it’s still the same chain stores that you find all over the country, so if there’s a ‘unique to LA experience’ that you could choose instead, I would probably choose that.

– Hollywood Walk of Fame: 3

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is nice to visit once or twice, just to say you've been there!
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is nice to visit once or twice, just to say you’ve been there!

Seeing the Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of those things that you kind of ‘have’ to do, if only for the reason that you can say that you did it! Whilst it looks really glamorous in the movies and pictures, the reality is just a bit dirty… And, dodgy. It’s the kind of place where you don’t want to walk too far away from the tourist trap spots because the glamour disappears and the decrepit, graffitied and dirty buildings appear. Overall, it’s cool to say that you went and saw the stars, but it’s definitely the type of thing that you only need to visit once or twice.

– Universal Citywalk: 3.5 

Citywalk was convenient to grab a quick bite, buy some souvenirs or spend a night seeing a movie.
Citywalk was convenient to grab a quick bite, buy some souvenirs or spend a night seeing a movie.

Look, Citywalk is okay. It’s a good way to spend a ‘chill day’ or go there for dinner, but you can really do it in 1.5 – 2.5 hours, especially if you don’t hit the cinema. Apart from a few souvenir stores, chain stores and chain restaurants, though, there’s really not much to do there.

– Celebrity House Tour: 2 

If you’re into seeing the bushes in front of houses that irrelevant celebrities lived in years ago, this tour is totally for you. If not, then I would skip it. Most of the celebrities they feature were famous in the 1970s – 1990s, and the most you see of their houses are their fences or their bushes. I found the driving around LA on the way to Beverly Hills part the most interesting, and really didn’t find the tour worth doing overall.

– Disneyland: 5 

Disneyland is the best. Do I need to say more? 🙂 (Note: I’ll do a review of three hotels in Anaheim I’ve stayed at before in an upcoming post).

Thanks for reading! If you have any more questions about my trip to LA, feel free to ask me in the comments or shoot me an email!

Have you ever been to LA? Would you want to? Let me know in the comments!

Up next time: My review on hotels in Anaheim I’ve stayed in, and my review of Thousand Oaks.

Today’s playlist:

Boy Meets World Season 6 Episode 14 🙂

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