After we checked out Palm Springs, B and I spent the day in Los Angeles. I didn’t realize how large and how spread out it was. I wanted to go to a backlot tour, but I definitely did not plan properly. The moment we got near the city, we could feel the traffic congestion and the highways added lanes of traffic. I don’t like driving, and I definitely don’t like being in a car in LA.
Stella Barra – We only ate lunch out in LA (we ate room service that night). Stella Barra was located in Santa Monica near the pier, and had this trio of pizza crust dips that really turned my day around. The gruyere cheese dip was my favorite. I also thought the pizza was crispy, and the truffle fries were seasoned perfectly. Would definitely recommend.
B suggested we head to Venice Beach first thing in the morning, and if you want to check out Venice I’d recommend getting out there as early as possible. It was very crowded when we went through later in the day (more on that in a bit), but the morning crowd was mostly sleepy and tame. We watched some people skateboarding, and walked around some of the vendors. That being said, I was very worried about the crowd of people as the day went on. It felt like there were a lot of people who were on drugs and shouting at you, and people shoving things into your hands. Would not recommend it after the morning.
Right after we left Venice Beach, we headed to Main Street in Santa Monica. There were lots of really cute shops, and it had a super casual atmosphere. The only problem was parking, which was pretty hard to find. Once we found parking though, near Stella Barra, where we had lunch, we were able to walk the Main Street area and then take an easy walk to the Pier.
I loved the Pier. It was so cute, and B even rode some of the rides! We also hired a pedicab to take us up and down the bike trail, which was a really great experience to see the ocean, all of the skateboarders and rollerbladers, and just melt into the Santa Monica life. The pedicab then took us through Venice Beach, and it was very crowded. I was worried we were going to run over someone, or push into someone, or cause a problem. You can create your own tour with the pedicab driver, so talk about what you want to see with them. The pedicab tour was $50, and we paid via venmo.
I can’t say too much about Malibu, as we just drove through and didn’t stop anywhere, but the ride down the Pacific Coast Highway was absolutely stunning. I found the drive very calming, with very little traffic once you got past the Venice Beach area. If you are an ocean person, like I am, I’d definitely make sure you spend time driving down the highway. We did at sunset, and it felt magical.
B used to watch Troop Beverly Hills when he was a kid, so I think a part of him was wanting to see all of the big houses. I enjoyed just driving around this neighborhood, and seeing all of the cute homes and yards. I wanted to stop at Rodeo Drive and just see what it was about. Several people were buzzing about a celebrity they had just walked past, but I didn’t think the chance of seeing someone I hadn’t heard of was worth the crowd. So many people were taking pictures, and dancing, and every store we walked past seemed to be screaming that we were not worthy. We left after thirty minutes, but it was fine because parking was free for the first two hours.
Next time we’ll do a tour, or a bus tour. I think having someone else driving, who has a plan in place, may be more of my speed.
Crowds / Loud Noises – ***
Palm Springs was pretty tame in October. It’s at the end of their ‘season’ and we didn’t need to make a ton of reservations. That being said, if you find comfort in reservations, Tac/Quela and Mr. Lyons took ours just a week in advance.
I did feel crowded on the tram (there were at least 25 other people in the tram at once), and the bartender shared that the later trams, especially the last one of the night, can be VERY crowded.
I also felt crowded at the Thursday night street festival. They shut down the street to vendors and it was a great way to check out the local art, but the street was a bit crowded and loud. Skip, or go early, if this is a concern of yours.
Tight Spaces / Lack of Exit – *
I definitely felt a ‘lack of exit’ on the tram. Honestly, if you don’t like heights and tight spaces, I would probably skip this venture. Rating is if I skipped the venture, but the Tram rating is **** (More crowded than it should be, and I feel a bit trapped but okay)
Negative Self Talk – **
Everyone seemed really relaxed and casual in Palm Springs. I didn’t feel out of place in jeans and a t-shirt, or a dress. There didn’t seem to be a competitive vibe, or a smugness with anyone we chatted with. Everyone seemed happy, friendly, and generally having a good time. I will say there is a lot of weed going around, so maybe that is why?
Monetary Fears – $$$$
I’d rate Palm Springs a $$$$ on the pricing. Drinks, food, etc. were all about $20 more than I would have paid at home. Drinks around $15, tacos around $25. Even breakfast was expensive. If budget is a concern, there are fast-food and more casual options, but you have to leave the downtown strip for it.
Santa Monica Pier for sure. It felt like I had walked onto the set of Bobs Burgers with the pier at the end, and the bike ride was so fun.
Rodeo Drive. Crowded, expensive, and bad for your mental health.
Beer of Choice
Schoner Tag – Enegren Brewing Co – it was subtle and light, and I want it again.