Retro Guide To The USA – Los Angeles
After 3 months amazing months in Australia we flew from Sydney to start our American road trip in LA. I was super excited and couldn’t wait to see all the sights, collab with people we’ve admired for a long time and thrift a lot along the way.
Our ‘Retro Guide To The US’ will feature our pick of some of the most retro things to do in America and the most unique places to stay along the way!
I absolutely loved LA it has such a great vibe with so much creativity and flair. It was really fun visiting all the iconic places I have seen for so long in photos and in the movies such as Beverley Hills, Hollywood and Venice Beach.
Here are a few of my favourite things we did here..
THINGS TO DO
BIKE RIDE ALONG VENICE BOARDWALK
A very touristy thing to do but 100% worth it! We hired bikes and rode from Santa Monica to Venice and back again. It was so fun riding around on the beachfront on the bikes in the sunshine. We used the Metro bikes rather than a hire shop which is definitely the way forward if you’re on a budget. You just need to download the Metro Bike app which was really easy and it shows you where to pick up and drop off. We did it on a Monday afternoon so it wasn’t that busy and we were riding back when the sun was setting which was really beautiful. We also had a look around Santa Monica Pier after which is really lively and definitely worth a visit.
We were on the fence about going to Universal as the tickets are quite expensive around $100 each, but it was definitely worth it and I’m so glad we went. Universal opened as a theme park in 1964 so it’s super retro itself and has a magical vibe. The rides are incredible with a lot of 4D visual rides and Harry Potter World!
It was a really fun day out with lot’s to do and see, we arrived around 10.30am and left around 7pm. We went on a Monday so it wasn’t that bad with queues but I can imagine at the weekends it gets super busy and you could need a two day pass to get around everything. You also have Disneyland in LA too, but we made the decision to do Universal.
My favourite ride was Jurassic Park – which is a water ride with an 85 foot drop at the end!! They have shows such as Waterworld which is an outdoor theatre show with water and visual stunts. They also have an hour long studio tour which takes you around some of the movie sets at the back of the park which was really interesting with 2 4D rides along the way- King Kong and Fast & Furious.
WATCH A BASKETBALL GAME
We went to see the Lakers at the Staples Center in LA, which my husband Ben was really keen to do. It cost us about $40 a ticket but they really vary in price depending on how close you want to get the the court.. It was really fun and the game had a great atmosphere! Lakers played the Houston Rockets, but unfortunately lost. Its something nice to do in America as Basketball is such a huge sport especially if you are visiting or on holiday here.
SHOPPING ON MELROSE AVENUE
Melrose Avenue is famous for vintage shopping so I spent the afternoon looking around and exploring. I headed to Wasteland and all the famous spots along the Avenue. The vintage shops were really good but on the higher price bracket, I preferred to go thrifting. There are a lot of cool wall murals to take photos including the rainbow and peace sign, a nice way to spend the afternoon.
DRIVE ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY AT SUNSET
We did this drive a lot as we were staying outside LA in Oxnard and it was quite possibly the most beautiful drive we have done so far on our trip. You drive along the coast passing Santa Monica and Malibu’s stunning beaches and it really is something else. The sunsets are always so beautiful and golden and the beaches have this special haze that looks so magical. If you have a car take some blankets and a beer and stop to watch the sunset here, you will not be disappointed! We also stopped at one of the beaches in Malibu one afternoon and saw a group of whales near the shore!
HIRE A RETRO CAR
Another fun thing to do whilst in LA is to hire a classic car, this has been something I have always wanted to do. We hired a red 1970 Buick Electra from 777 Exotics and it was so fun! The car was so beautiful with red interior and immaculate condition. The guys at 777 Exotics were also super helpful making the process really easy. They also have newer sports cars on their site, but we loved there classic car section, it was so hard to pick!
RETRO DINERS / BARS
I am fascinated by all the old school American diners so was super excited to visit a few. The food was great, the portions were big and the décor was just as retro as I expected, here are my favorites!
Café 50s was one of the first diners we visited in LA and I think it has to be my favorite. I really loved the whole vibe and they have a great menu with vegetarian options and savory / sweet whatever your feeling! This place is kitted out to the max inside, old signs, retro merobillia and lots of colour. The outside is super cute too and perfect for that insta shot!
One of the most famous diners in LA is Mel’s Diner in Hollywood, they have 8 different diners in America and the first one was opened in 1947 in San Fran! This place is decorated so perfectly retro with mini jukeboxes at your table, retro seats and all the American food you could want. A must visit if you’re visiting Hollywood with a great retro light up sign outside. Keep an eye for our interview feature with the Grandson of Mel who founded the Diner chain!
GOOD TIMES AT DAVEY WAYNES
An amazing retro bar to check out is Good Times At Davey Waynes. This bar is super 70s and retro where you walk through a fridge to get inside. It’s such a popular place and they play 70s all night long, even the toilets are retro as hell! So put on those flares and head here any night of the week for a guaranteed good time!
FAIR OAKS PHARMACY
I found this place on Instagram; it’s in Pasenda, which is a really nice area in LA especially the old town. This place is worth visiting for American diner food and they also have the best ice cream with all sorts of sundaes and combinations! The outside and the inside are perfect for some retro shots.
There are a lot of In-N-Out Burger joints around and it’s definitely worth a visit! There is always a queue in there because it’s so cheap but really good and fresh, you even see them slicing the potatoes in a machine behind the counter! The staff all wear retro uniforms and the whole place has a really retro vibe, it’s been around since 1948! I’m vegetarian so always get the grilled cheese which is really great and only around $3, I’m super sad to say I was really disappointed by the fries here though but my husband really enjoyed the burger!
Our next stop is out to the desert to Pioneertown & Joshua Tree which we are super excited about to finally get on the road and explore!
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