4 Days in LA

Los Angeles was a great family vacation for us: a 4 month-old baby, toddler and a brother with a developmental disability. We are hopefully teaching our kids the love of travel and so happy that my brother enjoys all the new experiences too! This was our first flight as a family of 5 together and was kind of a practice run for our trip to Brazil! We were gone 6 days with 2 of those being travel days and 4 full days getting to explore. (Tips for How to Survive Travel with a Toddler here!) We flew into LAX airport and rented a car, which from what I read beforehand, is a must to get around as the public transport is not the greatest for everything.

We stayed in a guesthouse behind someone’s place that we found on Booking.com and we were really happy with the location and neighborhood in Crestview. There was a lemon tree in the neighbors backyard! There was even a filming happening beside the house. I’m positive that I spotted the actor Mason Temple from the Netflix show Ginny and Georgia at a side-of-the-road street tacos place in the area, but I guess I’ll never know for certain!

What we were most amazed by was the foliage and plants in people’s yards! Looked like a bunch of succulents everywhere. It was unique and beautiful compared to what we are used to in Eastern North Carolina.

Los Angeles, the City of Angels, is the largest city in California. It is a widely spread city/county and built for cars, which is evident by the amount of freeways and limited public transport.

On the day we arrived, our first stop was In-N-Out Burger. We ordered the famous “animal style” burger. They have some secret ways of ordering from the menu. In our opinion, burgers from Highway 55 were better.

Day 1: Disneyland

To go all the way to LA and be so close to Disneyland felt wrong not to go. Disneyland in California has 2 parks, 1 with the castle called Disneyland, and the second is Disney California Adventure. We took one day to enjoy it here and chose the castle park. It’s located in Anaheim and about an hour drive depending on traffic from LAX airport. We loved it because traveling with young kids, there were so many rides that the whole family could ride together, even with the baby. It’s a Small World ride was one of our favorites.

Day 2: Hollywood and Beverly Hills

We started day 2 in Hollywood to see the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater. We were there early so it wasn’t so crowded, which was a bonus. After walking a bit in Hollywood, we drove part of the famous Sunset Blvd and parked at Guitar Center where the RockWalk is located. The RockWalk has handprints of many rock musicians. With Marvin into music, this was something he wanted to see. Sunset Boulevard is a 22-mile road through LA that has many iconic sights, so just driving down it can be fascinating like you’re in a video game!

For lunch we went to Pink’s Hotdogs. It started as a hotdog stand in 1939. The menu has interesting toppings and fun names!

After lunch, we drove part of Rodeo Drive where all the luxury fashion stores are located on the strip. This was where Julia Roberts in Pretty Women went shopping in that ritzy area. We parked at the Beverly Hills Garden Park to see the Beverly Hills sign and relax a bit in the grass.

After Beverly Hills, we drove to the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. The outside area and views of the tar pits are free to enjoy! So we spent some time here before having dinner at The Original Farmer’s Market. Highly recommend going there, there are many places to eat and sit down to enjoy!

Day 3: Beach Day

This day was dedicated to California beaches. We drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu and made our first stop at El Matador Beach. There is parking on the cliff and steps to walk down to the beach to touch the water and rock formations. This place was the best for views and so contrasting compared to the beaches on the east coast. I have to thank a friend of mine that has visited for telling us about this spot!

After leaving El Matador Beach, we went to Santa Monica beach and had lunch on the pier at Seaside on the Pier. Right on the Santa Monica Pier is the official end of Route 66, so keep a look out for the sign! It was also obligatory to ride the Ferris wheel and have ice cream for us too while there.

Next we went to Venice Beach, which runs into Santa Monica Beach and could be walked or cycled along the boardwalk if you have time. We drove and parked because we often do the more lazy thing with our group now! Venice Beach is an interesting mix of everything. The beach is super nice and a motley crowd to encounter!

At dinner time, we had a crying-baby-in-the-car ride home, so randomly decided to stop at Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe, which we found out while there that it had been on Diners, Drive-In’s, & Dives. The portions were large and the prices were great. Marvin loved the Spam Musubi, which was a type of Hawaiian sushi roll with spam meat!

Day 4: Downtown LA and Hollywood Sign

Our last day was spent exploring downtown and getting a view of the Hollywood Sign. We started out at the Grand Central Market and picked up a coffee on our way to the Grand Park for a view of the Los Angeles City Hall. Next we walked to see the Walt Disney Concert Hall and then went into the free modern art museum called The Broad. After, we took the Angel’s Flight Railway back downhill which is the world’s shortest railway. Across the street from the railway is the Grand Central Market again where we had lunch. Many places to choose from for all tastes. We walked to The Last Bookstore for a look around and to have a look at the Instagram-famous book tunnel.

To close our final day out, we drove up to the Griffith Observatory and were able to get a view of the Hollywood Sign. This was a big deal because we drove all the way up there on day 2 but it was so hazy that the visibility was low. This afternoon we went was perfect. So I recommend going whenever you get a chance weather-dependent! The Observatory is a planetarium with telescopes and is free to enter.

For dinner, we had some street tacos close to where we stayed in the Crestview neighborhood.

My advice for traveling with a 4 month old is try to time driving with napping, if possible! This was our first time flying with such a young baby, as with Isabel, Covid messed up our plans of traveling with her this age. The airplane toilet flush scared Amelia so bad it took a really long time to get her to settle down. We were those people that everyone love on the plane, with a crying baby. Overall, they both did phenomenal though.

Leave your comments and let us know how you would spend time in LA with family!

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Happy travels! 

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