Forget about the tourist-y stuff like the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard, or Universal Studios. After living in Los Angeles for decades, we’ve put together an awesome 48-hour Los Angeles itinerary for anyone who is looking for an insider’s take on the matter. Of course, this was not easy to boil down as such, given that A.) L.A. is MASSIVE, and B.) we’ve adopted so many favorite things about this town over the years, that it’s impossible to cover them in just 48 hours. This particular itinerary is heavily influenced by Andie’s favorite things to do, if she was to have to smoosh them into said 48 hours.
Hiking In The Hollywood Hills
This is an “either/or” hiking situation – either a Runyon Canyon hike, or a hike all the way up to the Hollywood Sign. The “or” depends on how ambitious you’re feeling, so we’re giving you those two options from which to choose your own adventure. The Hollywood Sign option is way more of an ass-kicker and takes more time, but has major payoffs: the ultimate up-close front view of the sign, and probably the most mind-blowing, iconic view of all of Los Angeles… from above and behind the sign – which is as close as you can get to it, BTW. Check out our post “The Best Way To Get The Best Views Of The Hollywood Sign” for deets on how-to!
The Runyon Canyon option will be more of a locals vibe, which ironically is where you’re likely to have more potential for celeb-in-the-wild sightings, if you’re into that kind of thing. The views are also beautiful and you’ll still get your steps in, just with more energy to spare in the end. Neither of these hikes will disappoint.
We recommend an early a.m. hike to beat the heat and leave time to get down on some brunch.
Brunch At Homegirl Cafe
Homegirl is the cafe at Homeboy Industries, one of our favorite L.A. non-profits. Located downtown, they do incredible work for the community and we can’t sing their praises enough. Homegirl Cafe also happens to have our favorite coffee in L.A. It’s got just the right touch of what seems like magical spices (cinnamon), along with a hint of orange. You can see bits of orange peel in their bags of coffee when you buy one. And trust us, you’re gonna buy one after you taste it at brunch. Unique, and surprisingly delicious! As is the case for everything on their menu. If we’ve only got 48 hours in town, we’re hitting Homegirl for brunch!
Since we’re keepin’ it on the locals tip, we’re not gonna send you from the Hollywood Hills to DTLA for brunch, and then send you to a completely different area of town. Locals wouldn’t do it, so you shouldn’t either! Explore the downtown area for the day – maybe shopping for some deals in Santee Alley? – and then take some time to get ready for the evening out.
Dinner At Bottega Louie
Bottega Louie is a restaurant, bar, gourmet market, patisserie, and cafe all in one big, open, yet smartly defined space. We can’t describe what it is about their Italian food that makes it so much better than other restaurants, but it just is. Dishes you’ve had elsewhere, are far better here. A really cool, kinda loud, and bustling atmosphere keeps the vibe exciting. Be prepared for a wait, as they don’t take reservations.
Hot Tip: do not leave Bottega Louie without grabbing a bag of their super colorful and uniquely flavored macarons, whether you just had desert or not!
Entertainment At The Grammy Museum
We absolutely love catching events here. Just around the way from Staples Center is the Grammy Museum. In the evenings, they host awesome events with artists from all genres of music, old and new. Tickets sell out very quickly after a monthly schedule is announced, as the capacity is only around 200. Definitely plan in advance! They do “storyteller” type semi-acoustic mini-concerts, or private screenings of documentaries, etc., and many of the performances are followed by Q&As with the artists. And they’ll usually pair the event with the opening of the exhibit that will remain on display for the month, so you can walk around after and check it out and sometimes even meet the artists out in the museum (like the time we met Verdine White of Earth Wind and Fire!).
Brunch At Blu Jam Cafe
Located in Hollywood is Blu Jam Cafe. It’s a chill, go-to brunch and lunch spot for friends, family, and schmoozer-meetups alike. The menu is extensive, with plenty of health-conscious options if that’s your jam (hehe… see what we did there? ?) and the portions are generous. It has a great atmosphere, and an ample patio to take in the beautiful SoCal weather. Expect a bit of a wait to be seated as it’s a very popular hang, but you won’t be rushed out the door once you’re in, so take your time.
Dinner At Pace
Pronounced “pah-che” – the Italian word for “peace”. We hesitated to even mention this place, as it’s hidden in plain sight and an insider-secret, even to many locals. Heck, we didn’t even discover it until just a few years ago! Hands down, it’s our favorite restaurant in town. Nestled in the belly of Laurel Canyon and literally beneath the Country Store, Pace is this wonderful farm-to-table Italian restaurant. It’s on the pricey side, and worth every cent. The ambience is the best. Not stupid-fancy, but extremely charming and cozy, and filled with Boho charm. Semi-dark and mysterious, the walls are tastefully lined with images of rockstars and celebs from Laurel Canyon’s heyday, like Jim Morrison and Joni Mitchell. You’ll probably walk past some celebs and not even notice them – just like a real local! The service is perfect and the staff is friendly and ridiculously attentive, but without being overbearing. The food is simply unbelievable, as are the smells filling the restaurant inside as well as the lovely wrap-around patio.
Another fave hang of ours is any exhibit opening at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, which is inside and off the lobby of the Sunset Marquis Hotel.
Hot Tip: sign up for their mailing list so you know what’s coming down the pike in advance.
Famed rock photographer Henry Diltz owns the gallery. You’ve seen his work, and you’ll most likely see him hanging out at the openings and chatting inside Bar 1200, directly across the lobby from the gallery. There’s usually live piano music inside 1200, and if you see Henry in there, offer to buy him a drink – he loves to chat! The photography also spills out into the lobby, carrying the theme throughout the hotel. Hors d’oeuvres are usually served outside at the vibe-y patio/pool area, where there’s another bar and great people-watching, too. Live music performances and movies (projected onto a wall) frequently accompany the exhibit openings, too!
Hot Tip #2: stay close to the patio bar to be among the first to snag fresh hors d’oeuvres as they come out of the nearby kitchen. You’re welcome!
Well, that was a quick couple of days! There’s so much about this city that we love and want to share with you that we could go on forever. Fortunately for you this was only a 48-hour Los Angeles itinerary, so you won’t have to endure that. But we will continue to have lots of L.A.-related posts here, as no matter how far we might travel, it’s always our home. Are you planning to visit L.A.? Have some questions? Check out this post for a more in-depth look at Los Angeles from our locals’ perspective, or ask away in the comments. We’d love to chat and help in any way we can!
And if you’re looking for more itineraries, we’ve got you covered: