I Love the Burg but… La La Land

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View from London West Hollywood Hotel

Flying to the West Coast can sometimes be daunting coming all the way from Florida. Seems like a pretty long haul especially if you’re thinking of just going for a long weekend. But fret not, Delta has non-stop flights to Los Angeles on the daily from Tampa International Airport which should get you there in just a little over 5 hours. Mostly.

So how do you pack a weekend getaway to L.A.? Make sure to book your stay at hotel or AirBnb that won’t require you to rent a car. A lot of neighborhoods are walkable or at least short uber rides away. This gives you plenty of flexibility to get to different areas without spending hours of your day in a car considering how notorious L.A. is for traffic.

We stayed at the London West Hollywood which was clutch for getting to good eats, bars, and even some shopping. The hotel offered an excellent breakfast buffet daily and a stylish bar with a good selection of designer cocktails. One thing we were disappointed with was that the rooftop pool was under renovation and kept us from enjoying the perfect sunny L.A. weather lounging.

So instead, we took a quick and easy hike through Runyon Canyon and checked out the impressive views of the skylines, the Hollywood sign and multi-million dollar sprawling mansions. They say, you’ve never been to L.A. if you’ve never been hiking through Runyon, or something like that. But enough sweating, here are some spots we highly recommend on your next visit to the City of Angels.

1. Crossroads Kitchen. None of us were vegan but this is the restaurant that could make us turn vegan if we could have their menu on the daily! You won’t leave feeling like you need to stop at an In-N-Out because you’re still hungry either. Definitely a must. Plus, you might get lucky and sit across Sonequa Martin from Walking Dead and Star Trek Discovery or John Travolta to your left trying to sneak in through the kitchen perhaps like we did. No photos but you’ll just have to believe.

2. The Farm of Beverly Hills. Good food but more importantly, good spot to just sit amongst friends, have lunch and glass of wine and watch the locals walk by.

3. Pump. I know what you’re thinking. But yes, we came to check out the place made famous by Bravo. Guilty. It’s a very sexy dinner place but the food was nothing to write home about. We did get to see Ken Todd, Lisa Vanderpump’s husband and owner of the restaurant, but there was no Jiggy in tow. Oh well.

4. Hinoki and the Bird. This was an uber ride away but definitely well worth it for the modern yet simply cool space, the inventive cocktails and most importantly, the delicious American-Japanese fusion menu.

5. The newly built Waldorf Astoria is worth a visit too. Come for a sunset drink on their rooftop bar and take in the city lights.

6. Last but not least, Flaming Saddles. This is isn’t about food but it will definitely leave you satisfied with the entertainment. Straight, gay, whatever your persuasion, the acrobatic aerialists/dancers will keep you coming back for more. Trust us, we’d never lead you astray. ;P

Oh don’t forget, you’ll likely run into Hollywood celebrities easily if you keep your eyes peeled. Sometimes they just sneak up on your while you’re crossing the street.

Written by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey is the founder of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. In addition to regular contributions to each blog, he's been featured as a commentator to Bay New 9, The Tampa Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times, The Tampa Bay Business Journal and The Business Observer as well as national outlets including The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal.