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72 hours in Los Angeles: the best view is for free, the best food is Indian and even the worst hotel costs money

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The last time we were in a big city was when we were pouring sand from our clothes and washed the socks in a bathroom sink in a very fancy hotel. Which was back in Las Vegas and since then we saw and experienced so many things it felt like the last time we saw the skyscrapers and traffic jams was months ago.


When we worked our way from Palm Springs (an unplanned detour on the way from Joshua Tree that we wrote about here) to Los Angeles through what seemed like an endless traffic jam, the next challenge was to find our hotel in the West Boulevard area.

At first we couldn’t really find it since we were looking for a hotel not a building with a “Private property, no trespassing” sign (I borrowed a picture from their Facebook page, sadly the big name of the hotel on the roof was added in Microsoft Paint).

hotel los angeles

They promised the possibility to park the car in a garage, the rooms looked alright in the pictures and since we were trying to find a compromise between a reasonable price (not low, even 2 nights at a place like this cost us over €160 which considering the quality was more than enough) and its proximity to places we wanted to visit in L.A.

Although the guys who were in charge of the hotel were really trying to make it work it simply isn’t a place we could recommend, it was one of the worse choices. But to get to the better parts of L.A. just don’t book this hotel which now isn’t even a hotel anymore, just rooms for rent (West Olympic Boulevard 8757) and let’s move on. :)

taj mahal latajmahal-la

The first evening we actually had one of the best meals in America - in an Indian restaurant. I still sometimes remind myself of the cosy atmosphere and the delicious food they kept bringing the plates since we ordered almost half of the menu and of course we ate it all because it was delicious!

Also, after two weeks of eating almost exclusively American cuisine which we tried to mix with food from supermarkets with the shortest list of ingredients possible (not great not terrible), it was literally heaven and if this is what Indian heaven looks like, I want to book a spot for myself.

I’ve borrowed pictures from Google because honestly we were so hungry and arrived just before closing time we didn’t think about taking pictures, but it’s quite a small restaurant and probably not very easy to spot so I hope this helps find it.


Anyway, after we got back from dinner it was time to figure out what the program would be for the next two days. For a long time my dream was to go to Universal studios and to see the Harry Potter World, but when I finally had the chance, checked the ticket prices (around $100 per person), thought about how many people are going to be there and considered how many other places we wanted to see, I realised it wasn’t something I really wanted to do and looking back I’m glad we chose to spend both days exploring L. A.


The tricky thing about travelling in L. A. is that you cannot possibly get anywhere without a car (well, technically you can but you don’t want to spend time in public transport if you are only spending a few days in the city) but it’s quite hard to find a parking that will cost you less than the car rental itself for the day.

I would say, especially in Downtown L.A. do not drive into the parking houses if you want to stay only during the day (not sure I would leave my car outside during the night, we didn’t need to), choose one of the concrete parking lot areas which are still quite expensive but definitely the cheaper option.

When we drove to Downtown L.A. we parked at the Athena Parking on Figuerora Street (there are a few parking lots there, this one was the cheapest) and now I pride myself for finding it on Google Maps just by going on street view because we didn’t take any pictures (smart).


After we parked, we explored Downtown L. A. and Pavel got offered a job in Starbucks (American dream, right?) and I will write down a more detailed itinerary in the next post but I wanted to mention one genius tip on how to get an amazing view of the city. 

It’s from the City Hall and it’s, brace yourselves, completely free. Honestly, we didn’t believe it much, I just found it as a tip on some random website but it is true, you can see the city from above free of charge.


All that’s necessary is to walk through the security gate and then you get instructions on how to get up to the observation deck. Not many people know about it still so there were approx. 10 people with us there, plenty of space for everybody to see the city.

And as a bonus you can walk around the City Hall itself, which feels quite special too.



So next time we’ll have a look at what to see, what not to miss when you’re in Los Angeles for the first time, once we can travel again a bit more easily.