Loving Los Angeles

I LOVE Los Angeles, but I grew up on the East Coast, and even with a sister living there for the past 4 years, the logistics of traveling alone with small children meant that I only made one previous trip to visit her. That first trip I really did it right: I had a sitter set up in advance so that each day my sister and I had time to go workout/eat/drink/play. Our Los Feliz Airbnb had a huge back yard and pool and the boys and I would play and swim every afternoon, before falling into our king size bed and cuddling up all night. I thought I really had the solo-parent-travel thing down pat.

If you ask the boys, they’ll tell you we went to Los Angeles for their Aunty….and the arcade. It’s like the life-size video game of teens in the 70s and 80s

This time around, a few things had changed, most notably the arrival of boy #3. Even though he had flown 15 times in his first 9 months, the 6.5 hour flight to California was daunting. I decided to take my own advice, count arriving-alive-and-together as a success, and just do it. (We could have waited a few days and flown with their dad, but I wanted the extra days to hang with my sis!)

The REAL reason we went to LA: to watch my sister get her MD!

Our week highlights

  1. The flight: all I could think was, “I’m never doing this again…except next week when I fly alone with kids to Europe…😱😝” But we made it. Together and alive…I’ll count it as a win.

    On the flight. All I could think was “I’m never doing this again.” Followed by: “OH SHIT I’m doing it again next week!”
  2. We stayed at the Kimpton Everly in Hollywood. It was in a great location and gorgeous, with a huge lobby to play in, with a cool bar and a pool table. It had an actual pool as well that was heated with comfy couches piled around it. The room was so nice and comfortable…for a last-minute pick off of my “hotel tonight” app it was a huge win.

    We loved our room at the Kimpton Everly. We didn’t get the best view but the boys played fishing from the window sill any time we were inside. They weren’t complaining!
  3. Griffith Observatory I was super jealous of all the runners going up on foot, but with kids we smartly drove to the top. We walked up the hill to the first set of picnic tables, the boys climbed on the fence, I snapped a few pics, and Van promptly announced that he had to poop. Back down to the public restrooms we went. I should write a book covering public restrooms around the world, because I’m pretty sure I’ve wiped little butts in all of them.
    A little punch-drunk our first morning, but happy to be getting fresh air at the observatory
    Good thing I got pictures in the first 50 feet of the trail…

    Because this was as high as we got, then this bird flew right back to the public restroom. Our first of 5 for the day
  4. Huntington Library Botanical Gardens This was amazing. Wander through forests and gardens from Japan, China, and Australia, explore desert gardens, and a tropical rainforest. If you have kids, plan to spend most of your time at the koi ponds petting turtles.
    The koi pond at the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens…we could have spent all day here! Magical!

    The were immediately sucked into some imaginary game in the bamboo forest with the koi pond. This was before they saw the turtles, once they saw turtles that was all they cared about
  5. We ate ALL the vegan food! Los Angeles is regularly listed as America’s top vegan destination, and for good reason. We ate at several Café Gratitude locations, Gracias Madre, Crossroads and The Butcher’s Daughter. They were SO good and I only wish we could have tried more places!
    We were grateful for all the amazing, fresh vegan food in Los Angeles!
    Just another quick stop in at Café Gratitude’s take-out window
    The coolest cocktails at Gracias Madre, including a cannabis cocktail. This is one of the first restaurants to offer these!

    Devouring his Gracias Madre black bean burger
  6. Venice Beach We LOVE the boardwalk!!! This was our favorite part of LA, mixing the nitty gritty and the skater cool with upscale shopping, restaurants and bars. I took several hundred pictures this week of places I wished I could go if I didn’t have kids…I’d say 75% of those pictures were in the Venice/Santa Monica area.
    This baby was ready to catapult himself into the skatepark
    I wasn’t too sure about this dog at first but he kept licking River in the face, so I guess he was aight
    skater baby

    All the hearts for Venice Boardwalk
  7. We drove up to Malibu on Mother’s Day, stopping first at Café Gratitude for a giant bag of vegan pastries. The boys were BEYOND excited, because Malibu features prominently in their favorite movie, the 1969 surf classic “Endless Summer” starring Robert August and Mike Hynsen. We stopped at Boardriders and got them some new suits and hats and they still have not stopped telling everyone they shopped where Robert August shops. We ate at Nobu Malibu for the gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean. This is the most devotedly non-vegan-friendly sushi restaurant I’ve ever been to, with pork fat and chicken broth added to literally everything except the fruit plate. But it was beautiful, and I had my sweet bag of Café G waiting in the car!
  8. Santa Monica We actually added an extra night on to our trip, just so we could spend more time in Santa Monica. We took the kids to the pier arcade, ate amazing Mexican food and drank the best margaritas at Casa Martin. Everyone in instagram-world recommended Sugar Fish for sushi, but it was a little too serious of a sushi place for kids on the verge of mental breakdowns (yet another place added to my alternate-world-with-no-kids vacation itinerary), so we ended up at Sushi Roku and it was surprisingly delicious. We stayed at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, and put in the requisite time at their pool, overlooking the Pacific.
    What better place to try a new board than the Santa Monica Boardwalk? I even gave it a short go myself. Learning to skateboard is next in line after the ukulele 😉
    They were so taken with the arcade that we somehow missed (escaped) the rides…next time!

    One of our favorite meals was at this little tiny Mexican place on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica
  9. posing with their new board

On our last day, we stopped in at Poseidon Paddle and Surf for coffee and left with a killer new Carver skateboard, our only souvenir from LA. We no longer have a reason to visit California, as my sister is moving to New York for her residency years. But we can watch Endless Summer and ride our new board and tell everyone that we know “where the girls are”.

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