1 Week Itinerary For Los Angeles, California

The last stretch of my California road trip was a week in Los Angeles. We were pretty exhausted at this point, after spending a few days in Simi Valley, San Diego, Las Vegas and San Francisco. After landing at the airport, we took an uber to our Air BnB located in West Hollywood – it was actually my favourite Air Bnb I ever stayed at!

Here a few top things to do in your one-week trip to Los Angeles.

Central LA (Hollywood)

Sunset Boulevard

One of LA’s most iconic sites, Hollywood Boulevard features dazzling attractions such as the iconic Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

We were super excited to walk down the Hollywood Blvd for the walk of fame, where we saw the star-stubbed sidewalk. This is where 2,600 Hollywood entertainers have earned the achievement of a lifetime in the form of a 5-point star embedded in the sidewalk. 

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (TCL Chinese Theatre)

Down the street from the infamous walk of fame is the Chinese Theatre which décor was modelled after the red Chinese Pagoda. This is where countless blockbuster movies held its global premiere, included the 1977 George Lucas Star Wars. This place is also famous for housing over 200 handprints and footprints of famous celebrities in the front yard of the theatre. 

Hollywood Sign Hike

You cannot come to California and not do LA’s most famous hike up to the Hollywood sign! We didn’t climb all the way to the top because we didn’t have enough time, but we did walk up to the cute 1930s Griffith Observatory, which is perched on the southern slopes of Mount Hollywood and provides great panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood Sign and the gridded city below.   

Rodeo drive

Just as you can’t visit Egypt without visiting the pyramids of Giza, you can’t come to Los Angeles without visiting the infamous Rodeo Drive. We really enjoyed walking down this shopping strip (and subtly trying to spot a celeb!). 

The Beverley Hills Hotel

The famed ‘pink palace’ is a great place for brunch or people watching. We went to get an ice cream sundae and of course people watch! The interior is truly stunning and a time warp in itself. 

Universal Studios Hollywood 

After already going to Universal Studios in Florida, I was excited to what the biggest theme park and film studio in the world has to offer! I was blown away – you truly get the ultimate Hollywood experience with the movie – themed rides and a behind-the-scenes studio tour.It was great watching the shows of how they make the fire effect. 

This theme does get crazy busy, so I would recommend getting there early and try to go off-peak if you can. 

Westside LA (The Beaches)

Santa Monica 

Santa Monica is famous for the beach, the pier and the stores. On the pier, you’ll find tons of restaurants, arcades, roller coasters, fairground rides and street artists performing from early noon until late at night. This pier is particularly important because it is at the end of Route 66, the highway that stretches across most of the US.

My cousin, Heba drove me here and we walked along Third Street Promenade to try Philz Coffee – defo recommended if you need a coffee fix! 

Venice Beach

There is a lot more things to do in Venice Beach than in Santa Monica. The Uber dropped us off at Venice Canals Historic District where we walked along the manmade canals, which is modelled after Venice in Italy (hence the name). The canals actually used to be 2-3 times bigger than it is today, but due to the automobile gaining popularity, most of the canals ere closed and turned into normal roads. 

We then walked to Venice Beach and very quickly noticed Muscle Beach, the outdoor gym – it was a fun but bizarre sight-seeing these hugely bulky, muscly men working out and almost putting on a show for the girls. We then grabbed a hot dog and sat on the basketball pitch stands to do some people-watching and absorb the electric atmosphere. I loved how diverse this beach town is!

We continued walked down the Venice Boardwalk where we noticed the famous Venice Beach sign and the Skate bowl where skaters performed their tricks.

We actually came back to here to watch one of the best sunsets in the world and to have dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant called C&O Trattoria. It was so authentically Italian with the food and atmosphere both being on point. As soon as you sit on the table, they would bring around these small amazing garlic knots every 10-15 minutes. Its so hard not to inhale too many before your tasty meal arrives, because they just tasted SO fresh.

Malibu

I actually came to Malibu on a day trip with my Californian cousins in the first weekend I arrived. There is plenty to do in this area, included the Getty Centre and Getty Villa. We didn’t end up going to either of these as I wasn’t really interested in museums of modern art/classical history and would rather spend it in what Malibu is best known for – its beaches. So the first thing we did was to go and grab some breakfast from the SunLife Organics where we had the best Samurai Bowl filled with granola, banana and strawberry. Heba also took me to the Sunset Café in Malibu where this woman was randomly talking to us about her husband and always being alone in the house. I forget out outgoing Americans can be compared to the slightly more reserved Brits!

Best things to see in Milan

I visited Milan in mid-February, during Milan Fashion Week 2020 and the a few days before the travel ban for coronavirus. It was a birthday treat for my mum as she loves European city getaways with the family. 

I never suspected a thing during my time in Italy. Everyone was out as normal, right up to the day of my departure. I only understood the gravity of the situation the day before we were about to depart. All of the famous monuments, restaurants, bars and cafes were shut because of the Covid-19. When we went from pharmacy to pharmacy to try and find face masks, everything was either shut or sold out.

The fashion capital of Italy is full of lovely little cobblestone streets, amazing churches, great restaurants and the best shopping places in Europe. You can discover the city by foot which is great as the monuments and iconic locations are not far from each other. You could also take the reliable tram service around the city if you need to. 

There are three airports in Milan – Malpensa, Bergamo and Linate. Malpensa is by far Milan’s most popular airport, Linate is closest to the city and Bergamo is a train ride away from central Milan. 

We spent 4 full days in Milan but with two day-trips – one to Lake Como and the other to Bergamo. Watch our travel video here:

Along with attending a fashion show, here are a few of the top things to see and do in Milan!

Cathedral

You can’t miss Milan’s magnificent Duomo. The cathedral is gothic and majestic. You can also visit inside the cathedral and go up to the top for spectacular panoramic views. With over 3,500 statues, 135 spirals and 5 bronze doors, it’s not surprising that it looks 500 years to complete the Duomo. I believe entrance is 9 euros if you walk up and 13 euros if you use the lift. We were planning on going up the cathedral but unfortunately due to the coronavirus, it was the first day the government ordered it all to close. 

Beware there are lots of pigeons all over the square – it doesn’t help when your parents are feeding them bread while you’re trying to run away from them :l The entire square was flooded with people, as expected. We really enjoyed walking around the square, entering the shops and tasting local food in the area.

If you wanted some good views of the cathedral without being in the cathedral – you could try going into Terrazza Aperol which is right next to it. We actually went to the 7th floor of La Rinasente shopping Centre which has free entrance and you can just order coffee/lunch to sit on the terrace. 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

This is one of the most beautiful shopping centres in the world with all of the top luxury Italian designers you can imagine – from Prada, Gucci and Armarni. The galleria opened in 1877 and is named after the first king of united Italy and is built in a classic neo-renaissance style with marble, iron and glass. The architecture is impressive and it combines wall paintings, mosaic floors and high glass ceiling. I was just mermerised whilst walking around the shopping centre. If you want a more affordable shopping option, try going to via Montenapoleone, one of the most famous streets for shopping.  

There are exorbitant restaurants and bars but I wouldn’t recommend going in them as they’re overpriced and you can probably find better food elsewhere. 

On the left-hand side of the Galleria, you’ll find a small crowd around a mosaic bull on the floor. It’s a Milanese tradition to spin on the bull’s balls three times with your heels – so much that the bulls but are periodically retiled – nice. 

Go to Italy’s ONLY starbucks

We came here as my sister read about it online and wanted to try out their coffee. The Milan Starbucks Reserve Roastery is the only roastery in Europe, and one of only five into the World. Its also Europe’s largest Starbucks being 2400 metre squares, found in Milan’s Piazza Cordusio, minutes away from the Duomo. We walked here from the Duomo to Sforzcesco Castle. It was so beautiful inside and so i’m not surprised it was labelled by the company itself as “the most beautiful Starbucks in the world”.

we enjoyed a coffee from here and it was SOO good. There’s 115 different types of coffee blends to choose from but no Frappuccinos frappuccinoas Italians are very specific with their coffees.

Parco Sempione

This wonderful park is Milan’s best park by far and a great place you can laze on the grass and have a picnic. It is home to the Sforzesco Castle, an aquarium, a design and art museum, Branca Tower and a few bars and cafes. 

Make sure to head over to the Arco della Pace (the big arch at the far end of the park) for some people watching and for aperitivo. It was actually when we were sitting here we realised the seriousness of Covid-19 as my sister got a call from her summer job saying that the Italian group from Verona whom she was meant to be looking after are no longer allowed out the country. My sister, not wanting to tell them she’s in Milan tried subtly ask her if anyone was currently allowed to leave the country. We were starting to worry about not being able to get back home!

Sforzcesco Castle

Built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, the castle now houses 12 museums and a vast archives of artefacts. This impressive building used to be the home of Milan’s rulers in the 15th century and the one of the largest citadels in Europes in the 16th century. Leonarda da Vinci also lived here for a while, working on the Last Supper and some of his Codexes.

The castle entrance is free, but admission to all of the museums costs 10 euros.  We just walked around the castle, looking at the imposing towers and moat all around it. 

Last Supper

This Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece resides in the church of Santa Maria della Grazie. The painting is well preserved and historians still hasn’t resolved all of its mysteries (does the spilled salt in front of Judas symbolize his betrayal?). We didn’t get a chance to see this because it was closed due to the Coronavirus – but If you do get the chance to check it – I definitely recommend you doing so, but book in advance! 

Navigli

This canal district is so beautiful, especially in the evening where the locals come out for their aperitivo. There are plenty of bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants to go along the canal and has a lively atmosphere. Don’t go too late as places get full very quickly. Every last Sunday of the month there is a huge vintage market named Navigli Grande Antique Market, where you can find second hand items of all kinds. 

On the way from the Duomo to Navigli, walk via Pizza AM for a snack/dinner – the pizzas there are sooo good!