We arrived in LA early in the morning and stayed at a hotel close to LAX, which was nice because it wasn’t a long ride from the airport, however, it did take us awhile to get a hold of our hotel so they could send a shuttle to pick us up. Since we had waited a little over an hour to get a shuttle, Custom Hotel upgraded our room to a king sized bed and we were on the 14th floor with some pretty amazing views. We stayed there one night and it was a very comfortable, modern hotel. It wasn’t too far from attractions like Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and Marina Del Rey.
Marina Del Rey
One of the things we were most looking forward to in LA was to go whale watching. That was first on our agenda once we landed in LA. We called an uber and headed over to Marina Del Rey to board our boat only to find out that it was too windy and the ocean was too choppy. We were told that there would be tours the next day as long as the weather cooperated.
Since there wasn’t much else to do in Marina Del Rey, we decided to grab a bite to eat and head out. While we were eating our breakfast, Dan realized that the lighthouse looked so familiar. After a quick search on his phone, he confirmed that we were indeed sitting in the exact spot where the banana stand from Arrested Development was located. Being one of our all time favorite shows, we had no idea how we hadn’t previously looked up where the show had been filmed, but we were ecstatic to have stumbled upon such an exciting discovery. We promptly ordered a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and nuts (I guess the frozen banana should have tipped us off!) and took some photos! Since returning home we are re-watching all of the episodes and love knowing that we’ve been to locations where they filmed!
Next on our list was to walk the Venice boardwalk to see Venice Beach, and also see some canals! We loved the canals in Venice, Italy and Amsterdam and knew that we had to see them in LA and they did not disappoint. Walking over the bridges in gorgeous LA weather with blue skies was one of my favorite things. Each of the main bridges were decorated with fake snow, ornaments, and mistletoe.
We continued walking along the boardwalk glancing at shops and people watching. We took pictures of the Venice sign which is really cool to see. Every so often we walked a block inland to see what else Venice had to offer. Lots of great looking restaurants and stores. One of the thrift shops we stopped in had awesome stuff, but for being used it still seemed to cost a bit too much so we didn’t end up buying anything. Anther highlight of Venice was stopping for gelato and seeing someone hanging out with their pig on a leash! The weather was so gorgeous we walked from Venice to Santa Monica.
After walking those couple miles we were pretty hungry and ready for some seafood! We went to the Blue Plate Oysterette on Santa Monica Boulevard and shared some raw oysters and fried clams. The portions weren’t thrilling and the prices were higher than we were expecting, but the decor and ambiance of the restaurant made up for that. It was lovely sitting on the patio, and they turned on a heater when it got chilly. They also had blankets on each of the chairs to keep you warm, which was a lovely touch!
We made sure that we finished eating before the sunset. Apparently everyone had the same idea because people were lined up to watch the sun set over the Pacific. It is really an incredible sight, one Dan had never seen before. Afterward we headed to the pier where we enjoyed a night acting like kids by riding on the roller coaster and playing games in the arcade.
Our first day in California was a great way to start off vacation full of sunshine and seafood!