Los Angeles – Possibly the most well known and most visited city after New York within the USA. Placed right on the east coast and in the heart of the west coast. With its gorgeous and sensuous sunny weather throughout the year and great proximity to many other cities within California – Los Angeles is definitely one of my favorite cities for many reasons to visit. Now, one would ask – Would you live there? Let’s find out!
An unplanned trip to LA with one of my favorite Italian friends from London who has lived and worked in the Middle East and has traveled with me almost most parts of India. So traveling is an easy job with her. While I was wrapping up for my Thanksgiving long weekend, I completely skipped booking our tickets to LA. Waking up on Sunday morning with an intention to book our tickets I will well prepared but not courageous to pay $600-$800 for the 5-night trip. While losing complete hope over my adrak wali chai – I stumbled upon a deal to book the flights to John Wayne Airport-Orange County. Half the price – yes – you read it right. Flights to JWA-OC are less than half the price and I booked a whopping deal for $229++. Great discovery and what a saving. And you can book Lyft from this airport to the center of Los Angeles or downtown and it won’t cost you more than $70 – $80 one way. Still cheaper than booking a flight to LAX airport.
Our flight were booked on https://www.cheapoair.com/
So what is the first thing we do on this unplanned trip – wake up at 3:30 am and work out. Watch one of the best sunrises at 5:45 am and head to the pool for some tan that is well appreciated when you are returning to east coast for the next 3 months with temperatures in single digits for 90+ days.
After the beautiful sunrise, we head to Griffith Observatory for some sunshine and great views of the city. It is definitely a wonderful place if you are looking for some good lunch with views and definitely recommended for a great day out with kids. It is very informative and definitely has some great handful activities for the kids. And with great background views of Hollywood, you can definitely have a great afternoon out with family. You can get here by car or if you are planning to be more adventures – you can walk up to the observatory as well. And for some great pictures of the city and the observatory- I suggest staying until sunset.
However, after our lunch, I was very curious to know if one can go to the Hollywood Sign and get some additional sunset shots. Curiosity leads to a plan and we found out that its just merely 8.8-mile round trip. Of course, my photographic side is excited and all I had to do was to convince my friend to walk along with me. Neither of us was prepared to hike, but hey who cares. We checked the map and there are 4 ways to get there – some rougher than the other. We started on the rough trail as that’s the only one to start from Griffith Observatory. Few things to remember: have enough water, there is only one water tank on the way, must go to the washroom, do not wear black and wear corrective hiking shoes – we did none of this hence as it was unplanned and as a first-hand experience I can tell you all the above are a must.
If you do not like hiking, City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks offers shuttle service – A yellow bus! Even though it is one of the most iconic signs in the world, it has yet to get the national landmark designation.
So on the way, I am the one excited and my friend is being an amazing friend. We definitely see many more first-timers to the Hollywood Sign who are curious and scared and just by a simple hello – we met a group of Korean students from New York. We became a group of 7 from 2 and the journey became more fun. To be honest, we were just building courage for each other. On the way, we find out that on our route there are rattlesnakes and friendly family of tigers – what are friendly tigers? We were lucky not to meet any of these friendly friends on the route – however, the view from east to west was spectacular.
Just as we thought, it was not fun enough. We see someone standing at the tip of a mountain, without thinking we started screaming and asking him not to jump. To our surprise, he comes down and is one of the residents of Hollywood Hills and was on his daily fitness route. Not only he was the one who showed us the easy route to the Hollywood Hills, he also told us the best secrets.
Did you know the residents of Hollywood Hills, do not like tourists visiting the Hollywood sign and will often put illegal barricades to stop the route? We noticed a lot of these on our way down to catch an Uber.
P.S: There is no network signal up in the mountains. You only get few spots here and there and the network is quite vague.
It took us about 2 hours and 15minutes to get to the http://hollywoodsign.com/
Almost when we lost all our breathe, finished all our water and phone batteries ran out – we made it to the Hollywood Sign. And the view was simply – Breathtaking! You can only see everyone’s rosy cheeks. 🙂
After taking about 1000+ pictures, selfies and joining an unwelcome birthday party at the spot, we were told to head down before dark as it is not safe at night. However, we were informed that on full moon nights – you can stay late after sunset as plenty of moonlight helps to enjoy the evening.
On our way down – we took the route from the residential Hollywood hills to get Uber or Lyft back to our hotel. And the view down only kept getting better.
It only got better as the city lit up post-sunset! Half moon, mountains, sunset in the background and these city lights – it was definitely a page from a Hollywood romantic scene.
I definitely recommend this journey for anyone who likes a little Adeline rush or simply for some breathtaking views of the mesmerizing city – Famously known as L.A!!!