Los Angeles – Venice Beach to Santa Monica
Los Angeles was the starting point for our next big adventure in January 2018 and we managed to cram in lots of fun in the 2 days we spent there. It might seem a bit of an odd way to go, when our first real destination was Cuba, but I love hunting for good deals with flights, and this was the best option I could come up with at the time!
We flew Air New Zealand to LA on a return flight, and then booked separate flights to Havana, on to Mexico City, then North to Tijuana, before driving back to LA. The whole trip was just over a month, and this was the first stop!
People always seem to worry about long haul flights with little ones, but in our experience, its actually pretty easy and they love it! They are entertained the whole way with movies galore and snacks whenever they need them! This time, I actually got to enjoy a movie or 2 as Pebble was a bit older and happy to sit for longer without fidgeting!
They managed the jet lag better this time too and only had about an hour sleep the whole way!
The only downside, and I said I’d never go there again, was LA airport! After a 10.5 hour flight, we then spent 3 hours in Immigration…it was horrendous and exhausting! They had installed self check in machines that read your passport, your finger print and your eyes, which seemed like a good idea and might make things quicker, alas no, after queuing for this, holding tired children up to the camera to be verified and filling out all the required information, we then had to join another longer queue to do it all again, this time in person with an immigration officer. I’d say this was by far the hardest part of our journey, and next time, we will be flying to San Diego instead!
We registered for Uber in LA but were recommended to try Lyft instead which turned out to be very efficient, friendly and cheap. They became our means of travel for the next couple of days. As there are so many of them around, we hardly had to wait at all for a lift and usually had very helpful chatty drivers. We stayed in an Airbnb not too far from Venice Beach which was lovely and spacious with everything we needed for our stay and our beds were certainly calling us that night!
We started the day with brunch at the Del Taco opposite our accommodation as it was quick and easy, then called a Lyft to take us towards Venice Canals. We had a lovely stroll in the warm sun through the canals, enjoying the quirky and colourful street art.
Next stop was Venice beach, where we walked the pier and played in the sand, dipping our toes in the pacific ocean…bliss! Leaving the cold behind in the UK in the Winter is wonderful, and becoming a nice habit of ours!
We had fun wandering along the boardwalk, browsing the touristy and artistic shops on the front and trying to avoid the medicinal marijuana sales men at every turn! We looked in at the famous Muscle Beach which was looking a bit dilapidated, but we all had fun having a go at some of the free equipment on the beach outside. We hung out for a while at the skate park, amazed by the skills being performed by young and old. One particular kid aged about 7, astounded us with his fearless tricks, notably frustrating some of the older riders failing at the same moves!
There were bikes available to hire at various locations, and there were the iconic roller skaters, scooters, runners and dog walkers traversing the boardwalk in each direction just like in the movies!
There was the inevitable request for ice cream, and with a little help from my friend Google, we discovered an awesome Dairy Free Ice Cream Shop called Kippy’s, a little off our track. The walk was well worth it and we were met by a very warm welcome and a fantastic selection of delicious dairy free ice creams! They were all organic and made with under 5 ingredients which were displayed on boards around the cafe, and there were plenty of topping options too! Well worth a visit if in the area.
We continued our journey towards Santa Monica Pier, arriving just in time to see the setting sun over the sea. We found another area to have a play on some aerial hoops and rings before checking out the rides on the pier.
After a couple of rides, we finished our day with dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. before getting a cab back home! We’d had a fantastic day, but the jet lag was kicking in…time for bed!