There’s so many things to see and do in Los Angeles, that a first-time visitor is often at a loss. Because no one wants to spend a vacation weekend sitting on the famously jammed freeways, focusing on one geographical area at a time makes sense. No need to stress yourself out with plans to see and do Los Angeles attractions that are spread far apart. A Minnesota friend, Dave Sniadak, is coming for a weekend trip and asked this question: “Any recommendations on places to see/do? We’ll likely hit ‘The Grove,’ whatever that is, and Santa Monica Pier. I’ve never spent much time in LA proper, so this will be a new adventure for me and my wife.”
Now, Angelenos know that The Grove is on Fairfax, whereas the Santa Monica Pier is (obviously) on the beach in Santa Monica. Not terribly far from each other, but still, the 10 freeway can be a parking lot heading west on sunny weekends. I suggested he stick to one neighborhood since he has one day. I wrote back, “Bah, The Grove is just an outdoor mall, why would you want to do that? (I am not a shopping person, maybe you are.) You can have a shopping experience at Mall of America when you’re home. Santa Monica Pier is fun, then drive up the coast a couple of miles to Pacific Palisades, right after you pass where Pacific Coast Highway meets the west end of Sunset Blvd, is the Getty Villa. Do that. Call ahead though, even though it’s not tourist season, to make sure there’s parking. Then head back to PCH, turn onto Sunset Boulevard, go maybe fifteen miles to the Getty Musuem in Brentwood. Then you and your wife can say you’ve been to both Gettys, and sound smart and cultured. After that you can get a burger and beer to wash all that history and culture off. Where to get a great burger and beer? Here’s my favorite burger and beer joints on the west side: Father’s Office in Santa Monica, or Umami Burger in Santa Monica.* There’s always In & Out on Gayley Ave., of course, but I think they don’t have beer there, just cokes.”
Dave responded that he would try Father’s Office, and also that he was going to try to convince his wife that he came up with this Los Angeles travel itinerary on his own. Hopefully she won’t read Los Angeles Online Travel for a while! Have a fun weekend, Sniadaks.
* There are a few Umami Burger locations, including one on Hollywood Blvd. and one on La Brea, and one all the way in Los Feliz. Keep in mind I was recommending that Dave and Dana minimize their time in the car, by mentioning west side burger joints.