Traveling to the largest city in California during a pandemic can be pretty scary! There are over 200 thousand confirmed coronavirus cases in the Los Angeles area so I was definitely hesitant and wary of the whole situation.
But my boyfriend and I decided to go through with our previously planned trip to celebrate our birthdays and anniversary because we knew we were willing to take all the necessary precautions and engage in healthy practices.
I want to share my experience traveling to LA during coronavirus so that you can be better prepared if you do visit this exciting city during the pandemic.
Let’s jump right in, here is my
LA Travel Guide During Coronavirus
Things To Do
All the activities that I planned were outdoors and in places where I could maintain my distance from others. I hope you find this list helpful!
The Griffith Observatory is a facility that displays space and science-related exhibits and the building sits on a slope of Mount Hollywood. The building is temporarily closed but you can still hangout outside, catch a sunset, and soak in the views of the Hollywood sign and the city skyline. This was definitely one of my favorites!
Hike the Hollywood Sign
Hiking the Hollywood sign trail takes about 2-3 hours but it’s totally worth it! You’ll get a workout, amazing views, and super cool pictures of an iconic, worldwide-know landmark!
If you don’t want to hike, just head over to Lake Hollywood Park for some views of the sign. You can plan a picnic or simply take a blanket to lay on and relax.
Santa Monica Pier/Beach
It’s always nice to go on little walks around Santa Monica! They have the pier, the beach, Third Street Promenade (walkable outdoor shopping area), and tons of restaurants with outdoor seating.
This is an absolute must! The Venice Canals are part of a residential suburb in Venice consisting of homes that sit along manmade water canals. They were inspired by the actual Venice canals in Italy. Walking along the canals and admiring all the pretty homes is super dreamy!
Day Trip Down the Coast
There are tons of pretty places down the coast and you don’t have to go far to get there. Manhattan beach is only twenty minutes away from Santa Monica and it’s a really cute beach town to explore. I would also suggest heading down to Hermosa Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach.
If you happen to go all the way to Laguna Beach, make sure you visit Victoria Beach. It’s a beautiful beach that features a manmade tide pool along with a super cool landmark called Pirate Tower. It’s a 60-foot tower that holds a staircase inside and reaches the edge of the water and leads to the top of the cliff where the house sits.
Drive-In Movie Theatre
This was such a perfect date night for me and my boyfriend to celebrate our bdays and anniversary. We got our tickets with Street Food Cinema for a showing in Simi Valley right before sunset. They had music prior to the showing, food trucks, and then they played The Wedding Singer on a huge Jumbotron screen. It was so much fun!
I had always seen beautiful pictures of Echo Park in movies and on instagram but I had never been. So I decided to go for a stroll through the park, feed the ducks, and admire the city skyline. I have to say that a lot of homeless people in their tents reside in the park. But that didn’t bother me, it was still enjoyable!
If you have extra time, make sure you rent out a swan pedal boat for some fun!
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Where To Eat
All of the following options have outdoor seating/patios and are following the proper COVID guidelines.
Gracias Madre – $$$
If you know me then you know how much I love this place! Best all-vegan Mexican food ever! Their brunch menu on the weekends and their outdoor patio are my favorite!
Blu Jam Cafe – $$
My boyfriend and I absolutely love Blu Jam Cafe for their breakfast and sustainable sourced food! They have no freezers and all of their ingredients are locally sourced and FRESH! Plus, they have legit vegan and vegetarian options, not just avocado toast!
Toast Bakery Cafe – $$
Love the vibes at Toast Bakery Cafe! Their outdoor seating is facing a bustling street and the food is yummy! Definitely recommend!
The Butcher’s Daughter – $$$
The Butcher’s Daughter is a super trendy, bright, and relaxed spot for vegetarian food (but mostly vegan) featuring an espresso bar and pressed juices. Honestly, everything about it is super cute! They even have vegan beer and wine — talk about match made in heaven! [insert crying emoji here]
Elephante – $$$
A chic destination in Santa Monica for brunch or Italian cuisine and lounge-like dining areas with ocean views! I’m personally not a big fan of upscale/fancy dinners so I prefer their brunch options. You can also just head over for an evening cocktail.
Urth Cafe – $$
Urth Cafe is health-conscious restaurant with family farms that practice sustainable farming. Definitely another trendy spot offering tons of vegan and vegetarian options.
Ronnie’s Diner – $
This isn’t you typical trendy/popular cafe but the food was delicious, the service was excellent, and the prices were unreal!! My boyfriend and I randomly found it after picking up our rental car right outside of LAX. We were super hungry and decided to stop at the nearest place and I’m so glad we found this spot!
Luv2eat Thai Bistro – $
This was another random find! It’s a pretty small place, but man was the food deliciousssss!! Also the service was exceptional and customers kept coming continuously throughout the night so that says a lot!
Pizza D’Oro (Costa Mesa) – $
I seriously can’t stress enough how delicious this pizza was! We stopped by during our day trip down the coast and were so satisfied with the quality and the service!
*this restaurant currently does not offer dine-in
Uncle Bill’s Pancake House (Manhattan Beach) – $$
We visited this spot in Manhattan Beach for my birthday brunch. Everything was delicious and the beach vibes were so fitting!
Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream – $
Literally the best ice cream in LA! They use exotic ingredients like rosewater and orange blossom. We just got cookies and cream but they told us it was homemade and they don’t use frozen cookies, they crumble up fresh cookies themselves.
Local Street Vendors – $
A good and healthy snack option is fresh fruit so make sure to get your fix with your local street vendor! A lot of them face harassment and racism and sometimes struggle to make sales. Please support them whenever you can, they are trying their best to make a living and provide for their families.
Looking for more destinations in California? Check out this blog post next:
Where To Stay
I love to stay at Airbnbs because they always feel like a second home with local vibes and cozy settings. They’re also much cheaper than hotels and you get to support the homeowners.
Please note that I’m very selective of where I stay, I always try to choose a host whose business is small and loves to provide great hospitality. Additionally, during the pandemic, I’m reading thoroughly through house rules and manuals, amenities, and reviews to make sure that they are following COVID guidelines and keeping everything clean and disinfected.
Please feel free to use my airbnb discount code! You’ll get $35 off your first stay!
Choosing a neighborhood to stay at in LA can be overwhelming because the city is HUGE! I’ve rounded up my favorite neighborhoods that I’ve personally explored so you can easily choose one that fits your vibe.
Central LA/La Brea – I love this area but I might be a little biased because I used to live here! My apartment was right in front of one of my favorite shopping centers, The Grove and The Original Farmers Market. This area is super convenient and central to everything.
West Hollywood – this area is vibrant and trendy, has tons of amazing brunch and dining options, and is home to the popular Sunset Strip which is great for nightlife.
Beverly Hills – airbnb and hotels will definitely be a bit pricier here but it’s a really nice area with upscale shops and restaurants, and tons of palm tree lined streets.
West LA/Santa Monica – one of my favorite places to explore. Here you’ll find the beach (of course), the Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade, views of the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains, award winning restaurants, and tons of rooftops with ocean views.
Venice – just a couple of miles south of Santa Monica you’ll find Venice. A more relaxed, chill, bohemian style neighborhood. Perfect for beach fun and low-key dining scenes.
Culver City – a cheaper, more affordable area to stay at but still super close to the beach and LAX.
Los Feliz – great place to stay if you plan to visit a lot of parks or do plenty of hiking. This residential area borders Griffith Park/Griffith Observatory and is right next door to Bronson Canyon, The Hollywood Sign, and Lake Hollywood Park.
How To Get Around
Rent A Car
My best suggestion is to rent a car. Like I said, LA is a vast city and, unfortunately, public transportation isn’t the most efficient. But don’t worry, renting a car can be super cheap, cheaper that taking Uber all the time. We booked our car rental with ACE Rent A Car via Skyscanner for four full days for only $98 USD, and gas was only like $35. I’m still amazed!
Safety Precautions & Regulations
Wear A Face Mask: please please please wear a face mask. If not for you then do it out of respect for others. You wearing a mask protects others, others wearing a mask protects you — so I’m sure you would like it if others wore one for your safety.
Keep Your Distance: please do your best to stay six feet apart from others, especially if they’re not wearing masks.
Wash Your Hands: hate to state the obvious here but wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Especially after being in a public space, coughing , or sneezing.
Carry Hand Sanitizer carrying hand sanitizer is super convenient when you’re out in public and don’t always have a place to wash your hands.
Don’t Touch Your Face: again, obvious, but super easy to forget. I constantly want to touch my face which is a super bad habit, I know, but please remember to avoid doing this with unwashed hands.
Be Extra Clean: whatever you think clean is, forget about that and BE CLEANER! It’s good hygiene anyway, nothing you shouldn’t already be doing!
Carry A Thermometer: this isn’t absolutely necessary but definitely helpful! You can check your temperature daily and make sure you don’t have any symptoms of illness.
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Thank you so much for reading my LA Travel Guide During Coronavirus! Please comment below if you have any other suggestions or if you have any questions!