Continuing on with our “Live Like a Local” blog series, we now bring you our next exciting destination to travel to… Southern California! In Southern California, there are two major cities, Los Angeles and San Diego, in addition to a large homegrown surf and skateboard culture.
Our journey in SoCal begins in Los Angeles (L.A.) the second-largest city in the United States.
Los Angeles – Griffith Observatory & Dodger Stadium
TripAdvisor rates the Griffith Observatory at one of the Top 10 places you should visit while traveling to L.A. On top of a beautiful hill overlooking the city, Griffith Observatory offers a planetarium, exhibits, public telescopes, café, bookstore and the best views of the Los Angeles basin. Plus, admission is FREE!
Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, Dodger Stadium is a must-see venue in the city. Since 1962, Dodger Stadium (baseball’s third-oldest stadium) has welcomed fans from all corners of the globe and provided them with its breathtaking views and its storied past. If interested, you can sign up for a behind-the-scenes stadium tour. Additionally, some of your favorite Hollywood celebrities frequent games, so you might catch a selfie with one. Just be sure that if you go, you eat one of their delicious Dodger Dogs!
the Observatory offers a planetarium, exhibits, public telescopes, cafe, bookstore, and the best views of the Los Angeles basin. Admission is free, and visitors may drive directly to the Observatory and park in its lots and roads.
Santa Monica Pier & Venice Beach Boardwalk
Santa Monica Pier offers a ton of year-round events including concerts, Popups, marathons and other races. It is also pretty cool that parts of some very famous movies were filmed on or around Santa Monica Pier such as “Forrest Gump,” “A Night at the Roxbury,” “Titanic,” and “Iron Man.” The pier has several rides for both children and adults. Santa Monica offers both a laid-back dining feel (i.e., Blue Plate Taco) and also upscale dining options such as The Lobster. The Los Angeles Times said that The Lobster offers, “A long list of quality seafood from fresh Maine Lobster to Wild Salmon varieties. For a seafood dinner in Santa Monica, it doesn’t get much better.” Plus, you can watch the beautiful sunset from both restaurants…bonus!
If you are in the mood for some sight-seeing and people-watching, you will love the area of Venice Beach. It is a lively and popular area that some people have coined the nickname “muscle beach.” You will experience a lot of cultures, beach dining and shopping up and down the famous boardwalk.
Pacific Coast Highway & Captain Jack’s
If you have time, make sure to drive down Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) for the beautiful views of the ocean, hillside, and curvy roads. There is a hidden gem in the town of Sunset Beach right off of PCH on the oceanfront, called Captain Jack’s. It’s hands-down one of the best places in the state to get top-notch surf and turf including Alaskan King Crab, Australian Lobster Tail, Prime Rib, Filet and more! Be sure to bring your appetite!
Huntington Beach & Aloha Grill & Bar
Huntington Beach (locally called “HB”) is known for its long (9.5 miles) sandy beach, mild climate and excellent surfing conditions. Not surprisingly, HB’s nickname is “Surf City.” You have a nice view of Catalina Island off the coast, and there is no shortage of beach shops and restaurants to keep you busy. The Aloha Grill & Bar, just east of the beach has both indoor and outdoor areas to drink, dine and enjoy. You must try one of their infamous Rainbows (a sugary cocktail that includes multicolored frozen goodness infused with lots of rum…and a dark rum float on top). Do not drive after trying one of these!
Just a few minutes south on PCH from Huntington is the ever-popular Newport Beach. Newport still offers a casual atmosphere with a little more glitz and glam considering some of their million dollar homes and expensive dining options. You may recall the television show, “The O.C.” based on high-school friends exploring life in Newport Beach (part of Orange County – The O.C.).
We recommend that you tour Newport Harbor and Newport bay to see some of the beautiful beach homes where many famous stars have lived (John Wayne, anyone?!). You can tour these areas on foot, by vehicle or via ferry. You can also take a day-trip ferry to Catalina Island and sport fish or whale watch.
Laguna Beach & San Diego
Continuing south to Laguna Beach, you will explore more incredible views of the ocean and homes built on a grade (very similar to an Italy feel). Laguna is nestled between seven miles of hidden coves and majestic canyons. It is a year-round retreat for art lovers, outdoor adventurers, beachgoers, families and romantics. Aliso Beach Park, located in South Laguna, is the only beach that provides fire pits within town. It is a great spot for an evening bonfire, so bring your friends and throw something on the grill while watching the sunset!
Finishing up our journey in Southern California, we land in San Diego, which has been called “the birthplace of California.” San Diego is a larger city (8th largest in the U.S.), and it’s remarkably clean and well-kept. Tucked tightly into 16.5 blocks, the Gaslamp Quarter is a walkable urban playground located in Downtown San Diego adjacent to the Convention Center, Petco Park, and Horton Plaza. It’s accessible via the freeway and several trolley and bus lines. Described as the West Coast’s premier entertainment district, guests and immerse themselves in the rich Victorian architecture and history, dine with world-renowned chefs and dance the night away at nationally-recognized nightlife venues.
We’ve just provided a few of the many exciting things to do and see in Southern California, and that is just a start. Other things the city has to offer are film history and culture, surfing lessons, hiking, A-list sporting events, and world-renown concerts. You will NEVER run out of things to do!
If are in the SoCal area or have traveled there before, let us know your favorite hot spots by tweeting us. If Southern California sounds like an area you’re interested in traveling to, check out our job board to see what positions we have open, then give us a call!