After flying into LAX from New York on Thursday evening, we knew we didn’t have a massive amount of time to explore the city properly before heading up to San Francisco on the Monday, so it was a super busy weekend! Either way we managed to spend a few days in LA, so here’s our 3 Days in Los Angeles Itinerary!I really loved LA – it felt so much more relaxed than New York, and the weather was far more bearable – still hot at 30 degrees but a drier heat that makes it a lot easier to walk around all day.
We stayed at the West Hollywood Banana Bungalow which was in a great location for exploring the city – it was a pretty nice hostel overall and unlike New York we met loads of people which made our trip even better.
How much does it cost to travel around Los Angeles?
I think there is a metro system in LA, but it’s not something we used while we were there – where we were staying / travelling around it worked out easier to use buses most of the time. Although they aren’t cheap when you’re taking a few journeys a day and the timetables are non existent so if you’re not on a super strict budget I’d recommend avoiding if you can! We also took a few Ubers which worked out pretty cheap, especially when using uber pool with some of our new hostel friends 🙂
Buses – $1.75 per journey – I think we spent around $30 over 3.5 days
Uber – $40 – this included an uber pool to and from Universal Studios from our hostel and an uber to the airport on Monday morning to pick up our hire car (more on that later!)
What are the best budget attractions in Los Angeles?
This one turned out to be a little more expensive than anticipated when we were planning our trip to LA originally… as massive Harry Potter fans we couldn’t miss seeing Harry Potter World at Universal Studios ($105 each and worth every penny!) and we also went to watch Leicester City get trashed by PSG which was about $70. Not too bad overall but a but more than budgeted – there’s tons more we could have done though, as we didn’t see all the really famous attractions like the Wax Museum or the Chinese Theatre Tour etc. LA is definitely a place where you could spend a lot of money if you wanted to!
Where can you stay for cheap in Los Angeles?
We paid a little extra for an awesome location with our LA hostel which was well worth it, especially after being so far out of town while we were staying in NYC. Banana Bungalow have a couple of hostels, we stayed at the one in West Hollywood at 603 N, Fairfax Ave and paid around $350 for 2 beds in a 6 bed mixed dorm for 4 nights.
Our 3 Days in Los Angeles Itinerary (we don’t count day 1!)
Day 1 – Thursday
On Thursday evening, we wandered 10 mins down the road (Fairfax Av.) to the local Farmers Market, a really cool set up with loads of food stands and live music. Would recommend a visit here for anyone trying to do LA on a budget – we had some amazing hot dogs and chilli cheese fries, followed by homemade gelato for around $30. After food and a mooch round we headed back to the hostel for an early night.
Day 2 – Friday
Friday we got up early and planned to hike up the Hollywood Hills to the famous sign! Our bus dropped us off at the bottom of the hill – top tip is that there is a shuttle bus to the Griffith Observatory at the weekends – however, this wasn’t available to us, so we walked up via the Greek Theatre which took around an hour. The views from the observatory over the city are incredible and definitely worth seeing – it’s amazing to see the city laid out pretty much in the middle of a desert, and it was such a different landscape from what we’d been used to seeing on the East Coast.
We planned to take the Charlie Turner path up through the hills to get a good vantage point – it’s around 4 miles from where we started down the hill. It’s supposed to be one of the easier trails, and we saw lots of families and kids enjoying the sunshine on our route. Sadly we were woefully underprepared for the weather and turned back when we were about half way before our sunburn and dehydration got any worse! Loads more handy options available for hiking the hills here if you fancy trying it!
After our failed hike, we grabbed some drinks at a cafe at the bottom of the trail and headed back into town for food. Yelp recommended Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffle House as a great cheap location for traditional southern food – and when we read that it was loved by everyone from David Beckham to Barack Obama, we had to try it! We queued for around half an hour, before heading in to sample some fried chicken, eggs, biscuit and grits – just what we needed after a busy morning outdoors. Whilst I’m not sure if I’d have Southern style food again, although the chicken was amazing, it was great to try a completely new type of cooking… I’ve still not quite worked out what grits are!
Next stop was the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame – which was so much bigger than we expected it to be – over 2,500 stars across 18 blocks of sidewalks. It’s pretty crowded and packed with street entertainers / Marilyn Monroe lookalikes etc, but we really enjoyed it – it’s definitely an experience and we saw stars for everyone from Daniel Radcliffe, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and Patrick Stewart to Bugs Bunny, Shrek and Micky Mouse. The entrance to the TCL Chinese Theatre is worth visiting as well – home to a lot of Hollywood premieres and where generations of famous actors have taken part in “footprint ceremonies”, you can see autographed hand and footprints of historic and more recent movie stars.
At this point, we were pretty exhausted and very hot so we stopped off for Froyo and drinks, and headed back to the hostel to do some washing and admin.
Day 3 – Saturday
Saturday was a relatively chilled day, where we headed to Beverly Hills for a wander round and spent a couple of hours wandering round Rodeo Drive drinking iced tea, taking pictures of amazing cars and looking out for celebrities. Sadly, we didn’t spot anyone famous that we recognised, but we did see some awesome cars – pretty much every other car that drove past us was $100,000+!
Back at the hostel we sorted out our car hire for Monday and booked our Universal Studios tickets, before Rob’s cousin Danni picked us up to go to the football (soccer!) with a bunch of lovely people from our hometown! Sadly the result wasn’t great for Leicester, but it was a good catch up with family and friends and was followed by a trip to the Canters Deli. We hadn’t realised, but this Jewish-style deli on our road is open 24 hours a day, loved by loads of local celebs, and serves the most incredible deli sandwiches – rivalling the ones we tried out in NYC. After an enormous pastrami on rye bread at 1am, we headed to bed.
If you’re heading to Universal Studios in Hollywood, I’d recommend getting there as early as possible – there is so much to see and the park is enormous! We visited with some friends from our hostel – India and Victoria from Devon who were at the end of their 5 week US Roadtrip – and arrived around 9ish and headed straight to Harry Potter World… where we stayed for the next 5+ hours walking around Hogsmeade and enjoying the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriffs rides. As it was a Sunday in July we spent a fair amount of time queuing, although no more than an hour for a single ride which is much better than Alton Towers in summer! I won’t say too much about the rides so as not to ruin the surprise for anyone (#keepthesecrets) – but if you’re a HP fan, you have to go!!
We also really enjoyed the Studio Tour, Waterworld show and the Walking Dead, Transformers, Jurassic Park, The Mummy and Simpsons rides.
Food in LA
- Breakfast at the hostel – much better than the last one we stayed at with tons of fresh fruit, toast, porridge, cereal etc
- Hot Dogs with Chilli Cheese Fries at Fritzi Dog – $23
- Homemade Gelato – $9
- Drinks & crisps at the bottom of the hills – $8
- Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffle House – $45 for two huge plates of chicken, grits, biscuit etc
- Froyo at Cantaloop – $6
- Groceries for lunches at the weekend – $20
- Iced tea on Rodeo Drive – $5
- Packed lunch
- Vending machine noodles…. $2
- Canters Deli – spoilt rotten by Rob’s cousin who treated us to this meal
- Packed lunch
- Fire Whisky and Dragon Scale Beer at the Hogs Head – $21
- More fried chicken at Krusty Land – $30
So there you have it, although we spent 4 nights, we only really had 3 days in LA to soak up all the sights and sounds.