12 hours in: Los Angeles

Sometimes the scheduling gods at work smile kindly… A project in Los Angeles, are you keen… I didn’t have to think twice! California in the spring – yes please!  And yes, the beaches in SoCal are just about as American as it gets!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

Whilst Los Angeles is not somewhere I would choose to visit on my own account, a business trip seemed a good chance to see it (and a nice 20k boost to the airmile stash).

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

With an 8 hour time difference, I decided to have an 11 hour working day cooped up in BA business on the Saturday, to give me Sunday at leisure. So I did LA, as best I could, in 12 hours… The city has an enormous sprawl, a lot to see in 12 hours!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

I would recommend using the hop on hop off buses. The Starline option was only about $50 for a day ticket. I was initially looking at formal tours, but didn’t book – these are pricey you are stuck in a bus for much of the day and not able to ad lib with the route. My HOHO bus was cheaper, had an open top and many route options!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

Happily there was a stop outside my hotel in Downtown, the Millennium Biltmore. Which even more handily, for the rest of the week, was just metres from the office. My booking request of ‘near work’ was taken a tad too literally. The first part of the bus trip was through Downtown past a lot of theatres. Not particularly interesting, although everyone else took pictures of everything ?

It’s dropping off point was its purpose – it took me to Hollywood, and when in Rome…

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

My film choices are based on what is free with Prime so I am pretty clueless about celebs, but I still had a mooch. There’s a nice view of the Hollywood sign from a little cluster of shops next to the Dolby Theatre. You’ll find a good collection of famous hand and foot prints outside the Chinese Theatre. Everyone who has ever been a film star appears to have a star on the pavement, hundreds of them. I stuck my nose in a gift shop to look for Christmas decorations – I couldn’t cope with the tat levels, so left!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker 12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker 12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

Onwards – the next bus took me towards the beach, far more to my taste! We drove around Beverley Hills and Rodeo Drive – much smarter! Did you know each road in Beverley Hills is named after a tree and only that tree is planted on that road? Everywhere else across the city it is all about super-tall palm trees and purple flowering jacaranda trees. A redeeming feature of the city!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker 12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

Once the bus got to Santa Monica I was done with it, time to walk on the sand and board walk! It was bright sunshine yet very hazy, but I could still see how the city is surrounded by mountains. A hiking trip would be excellent! The beach is enormous and goes on forever, people were out lounging, cycling, roller-blading. Whilst it felt very touristy this is clearly the place locals spend their Sundays and I can’t say I blame them!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

I strolled down towards Venice and it was quintessentially American, especially with all the lifeguard boxes. And full of very cool people. I upped my speed through Venice itself as it was trashy, making a beeline for the canals.  Which were quiet and sleepy. A residential neighbourhood with paths and bridges to stroll along. Like Venice only different, with gorgeous little cottages and gardens! A good place to relax after the hecticness of the beach.

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

Happily we were a focussed team plus working on the plane outbound and some early (jetlag and dayjob forced) starts and late finishes meant we made some time for corporate evening exploring later in the week! We took an Uber to the Griffith Observatory one evening and watched the sky go pink over the Hollywood sign. We also went cross eyed over the city sprawl! Just enormous – and flat as a pancake!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker 12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker 12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

Staying in Downtown isn’t the hipest bit of the city however with all the offices there is good choice of food and drink! For lunches I would recommend Mendocino Farms, Pitchoun Bakery and Blue Cow. Come evening, book an early supper in the sun at Perch followed by drinks at 71above. All very corporate but excellent views, and the Moscow Mules are ?!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker 12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker 12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

I was flying home late on the Friday evening and knew I would be exhausted, so having put in the hours already I took the afternoon off! We also have an office in Manhattan Beach which is where I spent the morning. And, clue’s in the name, it was then just a 5min Uber ride to the beach. Now this was my kind of place – a pretty little village in the city with boutiques and delicatessens and an excellent and clean beach for a paddle, read and walk!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker 12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

Thankfully it was American Airlines business class on the way home and with the super-friendly crew, the big comfy bed, the queit mini-cabin and the affects of the sea air I slept like a baby most of the way home!

12 hours in: Los Angeles - Travel with Penelope & Parker

Would I go back? No, not to Los Angeles, but absolutely yes to California. The SoCal vibe I like a lot. The coast, hills and vineyards on a trip out of San Fran or San Diego is going back on my bucketlist! A little bit of business travel research isn’t so bad!


  1. May 27, 2017 / 9:10 am

    so lucky you got to have a business trip out there!! Love all those sunset snaps

    • May 27, 2017 / 9:35 am

      ? definitely better than my regular Zurich… Although the 70 hour time sheet I just submitted is the other side of it! ?

    • May 28, 2017 / 9:33 am

      Thank you – glad I took my little point and press and not just the iPhone on this trip!

  2. June 1, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    I remember doing the hop on hop off bus in LA on a scorcher of a day a few years back! We had a couple of days there and never felt like we really got a handle on the city but worth seeing the sights once and I love the California beach lifestyle.

    • June 1, 2017 / 10:12 pm

      It is just a behemoth! I can’t imagine ever living somewhere so big!

    • June 1, 2017 / 10:13 pm

      It sounds awful but always being flown business class means I don’t appreciate it anymore, and on work trips I don’t even appreciate anything as I just want to get home!! ????

  3. June 1, 2017 / 11:06 pm

    I had no idea about the roads named after trees in LA and only that tree can be planted there. Love that you can combine work trips with a bit of travel research.

    • June 2, 2017 / 11:14 am

      It is so rare to have the time, so I made the most of needing to fly over early to deal with jet lag!

  4. June 2, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    Ahhh….it really is a whole different world in LA, isn’t it? I agree with you about using the buses, but I’m impressed you covered so much ground – you’re also spot on about just how VAST the city is, and our journey from our hostel to Venice took us the best part of an hour. I’m glad I visited, but I too would like to see other parts of California next time.
    Sara @ Travel Continuum recently posted…Why Cuenca is Ecuador’s Loveliest CityMy Profile

    • June 2, 2017 / 5:06 pm

      Definitely ‘a’ stop in Cali, not ‘the’ stop! I think I was pretty determined to leave no stone unturned!

  5. June 3, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    I can’t believe how many highlights (and amazing photos) you managed to cram into such a short space of time. I also went to LA for a short visit twice before and by the time I had found somehwre to park I think I got about 5 pics! But having limited time can actually make you more productive, looks like that’s what happened here!
    Jaillan Yehia recently posted…Help! Which Car Should I Buy For Summer Road Trips?My Profile

    • June 4, 2017 / 7:25 am

      I think are right, I knew I wanted a blog post and would need to get in and get out quickly to see it!

  6. June 5, 2017 / 2:58 am

    Ah, you showed your true colors as a travel pro. How else could you cover so much territory and give us such important highlights? Impressed you could hit the ground running and combine business and pleasure in such a comprehensive way. Great photos on top of all that expertise!
    alison abbott recently posted…Tasting China with Viking River CruisesMy Profile

    • June 5, 2017 / 6:42 am

      I am still not sure how I got away without jetlag, I think working on the flight out meant I got the best sleep when I landed which then meant I was on point for my lay day!

  7. June 5, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    Great Post! I really enjoyed how honest you were, definitely know what to check out and what to miss. xx

    • June 5, 2017 / 3:01 pm

      Haha, thank you – I hate reading posts that talk about lovely places and then you get there and its not lovely! Much better to tell the full story (and find the nice bits)!

  8. June 5, 2017 / 5:30 pm

    What stunning photos. I’d never been interested in visiting LA but reading this post has convinced me to check it out if I am in the area. I’m impressed you got to see so much in such a short space of time!
    Tamsyn Elizabeth recently posted…Eating Out in PragueMy Profile

    • June 5, 2017 / 5:44 pm

      I definitely hit the ground running! But I think that meant by the time Monday came around I was well slept and ready to bash out a big week at work!

  9. June 5, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    Love your pictures in this post! I’d love to visit LA one day – I recently took a mini trip to Seattle and enjoyed America more than I thought it would! 🙂

    • June 5, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      I would love to visit Seattle and go off to Mount Washington, bet it was incredible

  10. Charlotte
    June 5, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    I’ve always wanted to visit LA! It always seems like such a lovely place. Fab photos x

    • June 5, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      It definitely has some great bits to it, the vibe is excellent and I think other bits of Cali are even better

  11. June 5, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    Oh wow! A business trip is such a good way to experience somewhere new. Look at those blue skies!

    • June 5, 2017 / 8:17 pm

      Yes indeed, I’ve had my fair share of Leeds/Zurich/Geneva/Paris time and time again, so nice to do something a little more exotic!

    • June 5, 2017 / 8:35 pm

      I could have been in somewhere like Detroit instead, I was definitely lucky!

  12. June 5, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    LA has been on my list since I visited New York! You managed to fit in so much in such a short space of time, I love the pics!

    • June 6, 2017 / 6:37 am

      I would love to go back to New York!

  13. Frank
    June 8, 2017 / 9:57 pm

    Lovely report and excellent photos… always preferred the east coast for my holidays, NYC at Christmas is the best, but I finally went to California for the first time when I was in my forties and I loved it to bits. Prefer Orange County to LA and SF is amazing. Done two fortnight drives on my own around the state and I cannot wait till next year for my next one.
    Keep up the good work in your reports.

    • June 8, 2017 / 10:05 pm

      Wow, covered a lot of ground! Where next? Maine is my favourite to date but husband loves the San Fran area so would love to see more of Cali!

  14. June 9, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    Loving your photos Anna and good effort for covering as much ground as you did in 12 hours! We spent 4 days hopping on and hopping off all the different routes and I still don’t think we covered all the stops we wanted to! We’ve stayed in Beverley Hills a few times now and it’s a really fun part of the city to stay in and great for people watching!
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    • June 10, 2017 / 11:02 am

      Beverley Hills looked very pretty and sleepy, a good place to stay!

  15. June 16, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    You managed to pack LOADS into such a short time, nice work!

    I do agree that some of the touristy areas are over-rated, but some (like Santa Monica) are totally worth the trip! I haven’t been to the canals in Venice Beach yet, I’ll have to check them out next time. If you are looking for the beach vibe without the big city, you should definitely check out Newport Beach – it’s lush!!

    • June 16, 2017 / 4:55 pm

      I think jetlag and Instagram focussed colleagues all worked in my favour! I have another trip to the states in August – looking forward to finding out where to!

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