Los Angeles & Vibrant Vegas
There are many areas within Los Angeles and they all offer a different vibe. You have the beautiful coastline and golden sands of Venice beach, the small quaint town of Santa Monica, the glamorous Beverley Hills district and the well known movie hub of Hollywood. There are many more but these are the areas that I will concentrate on in this post.
Whilst in LA, I stayed at the Marina Del Rey Hotel which is very central and relatively close to Venice beach. It is a lovely hotel right on the marina which is the perfect base to explore the surrounding areas. Like much of the USA, it is a good idea to hire a car which is precisely what my friend and I did throughout this trip. In fact, as a special treat, we hired ourselves a red, ford mustang convertible and I can still picture that car to this day even though our trip was some time ago.
Venice beach is a hive of activity and the beach front is buzzing with skaters, musicians and bodybuilders eager to showcase their talents. Also known as 'muscle beach' Venice was the birth place of a Arnold Schwarzenegger in his bodybuilding days and boy has his legacy lived on. With bodybuilders pumping iron in the outdoor gym throughout the day, it attracts fans of weightlifting from all over the world.
As night falls, it is worth visiting the small neighbouring town of Santa Monica. This area is full of lovely bars and restaurants and is only a stones throw away from Venice and Marina Del Rey. During the day, Santa Monica is also home to a number of boutique shops so if you are looking for a slightly more upmarket experience compared with Venice beach, make sure you head to Santa Monica - you wont be disappointed.
Speaking of upmarket, Beverley Hills is a must. My friend and I visited on a tour which can be booked with ease locally. The majority of the tours take in a number of famous houses along the way and a cruise along the famous Rodeo Drive. If you keep your eyes peeled, you will more than likely spot someone you recognise! If you do get a chance to spend some time there on foot, be sure to check out the many boutique shops that line the streets but make sure you have plenty of cash with you or like most of us, you may be forced to stick to window shopping only.
Last stop in LA, Hollywood. Again, we visited Hollywood by way of an escorted tour which incorporated Universal Studios. I would definitely recommend a visit to Universal Studios as it is such a great, fun day out. I am certain they must have added to the list of attractions since I visited but even then, it was a great experience. The tour also incorporated a trip down Sunset Boulevard and a photo opportunity close to the famous Hollywood sign (pictured here).
And now it's time to jump in the back of our ford mustang as we take a drive across the desert to the bright lights of Las Vegas!
I remember the drive to Vegas very clearly. It felt like we were driving through a never ending sea of sand that seemed to just go on and on and on. We drove to Vegas from LA at night so at times, it was only our headlights that lit up the nights sky around us as we crossed the desert. I remember approaching a light up ahead which got brighter and brighter. Our hearts racing with excitement as we got closer. To our disappointment, it turned out to be a single casino with nothing more than a gas station beside it. Laughing hysterically, we carried on back into the darkness.
If we thought that the light we had previously encountered seemed bright, the light that appeared an hour or so later, could have powered a small country. As we rolled into Vegas, it completely took our breath away. How something of this magnitude could just appear before us in the middle of a desert, left us speechless.
Once we were parked up, checked into our hotel and ready to explore, we hit the strip (the main road that runs through the centre of Las Vegas). As we walked along the road mesmerised by the huge hotels, bright lights and impressive roadside shows, it felt like nowhere I had ever been before. You will have heard of some of the more famous hotels like the MGM Grand, Bellagio and the Luxor but being a huge fan of all things Italy, one in particular caught my eye - The Venetian Hotel. Pictured here, the hotel is just incredible and is a very close replica of Venice. They even have their very own Rialto bridge and St Marks Square.
There is so much to see and do in Las Vegas. Unfortunately we just had 1 night to play with but as well as the casinos and various shows on offer, I have heard that the Grand Canyon is well worth a visit. I had to leave something out just so I have a reason to go back!
If you would like to speak with me further about these two amazing US cities or have any further questions, I would be happy to help. I have some great ideas for itineraries that incorporate these two cities so please do get in touch. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this post.