The traveling bug has bitten Chris and I. So much so, that we have a running list of the places we want to visit every few months. California was first on our list since our good friends currently live there. It’s been close to 15 years since I’ve been to California, L.A. specifically, and I was looking forward to exploring the state as an adult. This time around, though, we weren’t as strict with the planning. It was liberating to fly out there with a loose plan of what we wanted to do and when we wanted to do it.

– San Francisco –

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We flew into San Jose, which was charming in its own right. Our adventure began, though, with a train ride into The City. Enter culture shock. Not only did the wind bite at my face and ankles the culture of the city displayed itself before us with no apologies. The older gentleman blasting music from his electric wheelchair, the autumn threads that were worn by just about everyone despite it being the beginning of September, the man who walked two pit bulls (that were wearing sunglasses of all things) down the street, the rolling hills and beautiful architecture, and the blatant smell of marijuana every now and again. I was surprised but began to like the randomness of the city. We walked for what seemed like forever and found the cable cars. Tired and cold, I opted to sit down. This was until we started ascending and descending the hills and I decided to get over myself and stand on the edge of the trolley. I was convinced I would catch a cold but it was thrilling to stand so close to the front with the streets coming at me at sometimes-full speed. We walked around Fisherman’s Warf and avoided seagulls at all costs. We watched sea lions lazily bask in the sun – jealous. We ate too much pizza at Zero Zero and talked until we got tired. The next day we drove around tech company campuses which was more fun than I thought it would be. Shout out to Google for having such an accessible campus, by the way. We visited Lombard St. (aka the Crookedest St.) and trekked up to one of the highest vantage points to see the Golden Gate Bridge – windy but oh so worth it. I honestly felt like two days in San Fran wasn’t enough to visit everything. Luckily, our friends aren’t going anywhere soon so I’m sure we’ll be back to visit!

– Los Angeles –

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After a five-hour road trip and about a million ear pops later we arrived in L.A.! We dropped our bags off then made our way to Hollywood Blvd. I was a kid the last time I was on the strip so it was difficult for me to remember why I thought it was so cool back then. I’m not big on moving crowds so that experience made me more nervous than it excited me. Santa Monica Pier was next and despite the sun setting I didn’t freeze like I thought I would. We were too hungry to actually explore the pier but made our way to Umami Burger. I later learned that umami translates to “pleasant, savory taste” in Japanese, which totally makes sense. We loved the cheese tots, burgers, and chicken sandwiches. Super juicy and super bad for us, I’m sure. We made our way to Runyon Canyon the next day and maybe took more pictures than hiked but we got a good workout in! Next we made our way to Venice Beach for brunch. We settled on the Sunny Spot, which gave me all kinds of life while sitting in the semi-covered patio. The pancakes were so big and fluffy. The cheeseburger and short rib hash were good as well! Abbot Kinney was honestly my favorite part of Venice Beach. The random pop-up shops, boutiques, and restaurants/bars were full of so much personality. We couldn’t pass up the chance to visit The Grove shopping center because you never know when a celeb might show up! None did (womp) so we went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Very cool, by the way. We took lots of pictures and snaps in the famous light installation and unintentionally photo-bombed other people’s pictures. We retired at the Library Bar for a late-night bite to eat then crashed. We had a five-hour road trip back up to San Jose in the morning (sad face).

 

| San Fran + L.A. Travel Tips |

– Pack clothes that are suitable for warmer and cooler weather. It truly does get chilly after sunset. Sweaters, light scarves, and light jackets will come in handy!

– Turn your wheel toward the curb if you’re parking on a hill – officers won’t hesitate to give you a citation.

– Ride a cable car for $7 through the city or down to Fisherman’s Warf but don’t be alarmed if it stops and the operators change shift… mid-ride.

– It pays to know someone who works at the big tech companies so you can view the campuses up close and personal. Google had the most lax campus and we were able to walk through it with ease.

We probably wont return to L.A. anytime soon but I definitely want to return to San Fran and visit San Diego for the first time at some point. Feel free to leave some tips if you’ve been to the latter!