the justina guides// Los Angeles

I love to travel. Seeing new places, trying new things, and meeting the people that pull it all together. So that you can follow my adventures better, I've decided to start making mini "Justina Guides", where I'll document my favorite places and the best things to do while you're there. 
Where else would I start?

 First things first: Los Angeles looks exactly like it does in the movies.
 All of the movies.

It is sunny, it has way more palm trees than is strictly acceptable, and the possibility of running into a celebrity in the latte line is always there, although I highly doubt you'd recognize them. Theres about three range rovers to every person, and no one will look at you funny when you're staging an impromptu photoshoot on the sidewalk.

It is also dirty, dangerous in some parts, 
and has some unbelievably unsavory characters running around. 
You're as safe as you act. 

I think it's a great city to visit with friends, and if you're looking to live for a week like life is an 80's beach movie, you've found your town. Alternately, if you feel like stalking Marilyn Monroe's life (not like I've ever done that or anything), you're in luck too. 

Note about LA: you can ask for directions, and people will try to help, but barely anyone knows where anything is unless they have their GPS. 
My dad and I were on Melrose, and we didn't realize,
 so we asked for directions,
 and the people living there didn't know how to get there.

And now, my breakdown of everyone's favorite city to have a breakdown in.
see what I did there


Alfred Coffee
 8428 Melrose Pl
what I drink: caramel iced coffee

I don't even really like coffee. 
My starbucks order is one of those typical, 
oversweetened monstrosities where coffee has very little to do with anything.

But Alfred has converted me. To Alfred. 

I visited on my last trip, expecting it to be one of those over-hyped, over-hipstered coffee houses where people stood in line for far too long to order a coffee whose that was far too long. 
It was just the opposite. Everyone working was really friendly, and even though the line was a bit long, they completely kept up, and I got my coffee within five minutes. IT WAS DELICIOUS. 
Not too pricey either, coming in at about the price of your average tall sugar rush from starbucks.
 The atmosphere is very open, with people sitting next to complete strangers and just talking about how life's going. You can stay if you want, or leave if you have to. 
Not to mention that every corner of the place is ridiculously instagrammable. 


The Griffith Observatory
2800 E Observatory Rd

 I don't care how many times I go, the view from the Griffiths observatory blows me away every time. If you told me it was the top of the world, I'd be inclined to agree. There's a little bit of everything here. You can see the Hollywood sign (although if you really want to get up close, you'll need to take a bit of a hike. I'm fine from here.), but the real stunner is the view of Los Angeles. The whole city spreads out below you, and you can see it all, from the traffic on Sunset to the houses in Beverly Hills. You must resist your temptation to re-enact that scene from Titanic. Don't do it. Getting to the actual observatory takes a skilled driver, because it is ALWAYS jam packed, but we've always managed to find a parking spot at the top. If you can't, just hop out, snap some photos, and jump back in while your driver attempts to turn the car around. 

The The Tar Tar Pits, or The La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd

Fun fact #1: "La Brea" means "The Tar" in spanish
Fun fact #2: basically all of LA is built on an oil field. Oil makes tar, which is a kind of natural asphalt.

Fun fact #3: Some thirty odd million years ago, a ton, and I mean a TON of prehistoric animals got themselves stuck in the tar at the bottom of the drinking hole.

Fun fact #4: They now bubble to the surface like boba.

The La Brea tar pits is cool. That's the only word for it.
 I don't care how uninterested in natural history you think you are, 
a million perfectly preserved pre-historic fossils is cool.  
There are 400 dire wolf skulls in one exhibit alone. 
You would never know from looking at the calm, gated pond out front that it's actually a murdurous black hole that still spits up random extinct animals every day, but it is. At the La Brea museum, you learn all about L.A.'s start, the mammoths that roamed Rodeo Drive, 
and just how it is that the highschool has their own oil pump.

To Wander
Sunset Boulevard
This is universally acknowledged as the sketchiest street in LA. Some really weird stuff goes down after dark around here. But in the sunlight, it's the coolest place to poke around. Besides the gigantic ads, it's home to three of the coolest and most Hollywood historical hotels around, including my dream home, the Chateau Marmont. I do not recommend stalking around outside of it. If you want a photo, stand across the street. Best angle anyway. Sunset is also home to The Roxy (legendary) and the gateway to Beverly Hills. It's the street that connects everything. 

ps. if you're driving, there's an in n out down east of the Chateau. 

Hollywood Boulevard

It's kinda tacky. It's really cliched. It's pretty fabulous. 
Hollywood Boulevard is probably the realest thing about Hollywood. If you go east or west of the main tourism section, around Graumanns, it gets grimy fast, but is definitely an interesting walk. If you decide to explore, check out Iguana Vintage. I previously described it as a vintage loving drag queen's paradise, and that stands. Hollywood Boulevard is also home to the Dixie Hollywood, which is a pretty cute place to stay if you're on a budget or just looking for a place with Avatar murals. Of course there's a bunch of famous people's stars and footprints and whatever but I don't like to think about that because Marilyn's star is outside a McDonalds and that still upsets me.

To Eat
In N Out. 

Honestly, there are so many fancy restaurants and lovely places to eat amazing food, but if you're in L.A,. and you really just want the full California experience,
 a number #2 with a vanilla milkshake is where it's at. 
If you're gluten free, ask for protein style, 
and if you're adventurous, ask for your fries animal style. 

In writing about L.A., Daniel Pinkwater said "It's the perfect mix of glamorous and crummy."

He was dead on. 

I think the reason I keep returning to this city, and the reason I love it so much, is because it's a complete mystery. You can't ever know everything about it, and it's...vibrant history. There is always something to see, and someone creating a new story to tell. If we're being totally title accurate, we should call this "The Justina Guide to Los Angeles, version one", 
because I feel like we'll be updating it sooner than not.

I hope this has inspired you to go on an escapade of your own. If it does, I'd love to see photos, and hear how it goes! Is there somewhere specific you'd like me to visit? Let me know. 

Let's get our adventurin' on. 


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  1. Love your blog and you have a great writing style! Plus I'll definitely check out these places this summer when I go to LA :)

  2. This isn't fair - now I want to pack my bags and board a one way flight to LA! Not gonna lie, it's mostly because of In N Out.

  3. nice pics!!! :)


  4. What a great guide to LA, I have never been but I would love to go so I have bookmarked this post for the future! I love your blog and I am following you with Bloglovin. If you ever get a chance to check out my blog I would be delighted!
    Thanks :)

    Camille xo


  5. Ahhhh! Im so jealous :) Beautiful LA, Im gonna see you and your palm trees someday! Great guide girl

    - Che


  6. Awesome!


  7. Not kidding this is the most helpful thing ever...I am going in the summer, never been before, kinda massively excited and terrified at the same time! The question is, how would you recommend getting around because they dont really do things like the tube and stuff there?

  8. I really love this guide, too bad I didn't find it before I went to LA for litterally 24 hours, haha, there's always next time!! I love your style of writing and photography, keep it up!! Can't wait to see more!


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