This itinerary combines recommendations for the best food spots in Los Angeles neighborhoods with the highest-rated activities in each neighborhood. The trip allows ample time in-restaurant, as well as freedom to shop and explore each neighborhood at your own pace. The first day focuses on neighborhoods in Central Los Angeles, while the second day focuses on Downtown and Redondo Beach.
Scheduled Plan for the 2-Day Los Angeles Foodie Itinerary
15:30 – 19:00 Museums of Hollywood & Hollywood Walk of Fame
19:00 – 20:00 JINYA Ramen Express
20:00 – 20:30 Drive to the Griffith Observatory
20:30 – 22:00 Visit Griffith Observatory (open until 10pm)
22:00 – onwards Return to hotel, relax, etc.
08:00 – 09:00 Breakfast at Wake & Late
09:00 – 09:15 Walk to the US Bank Tower
09:15 – 10:40 OUE Skyspace LA
10:40 – 11:00 Walk or drive to Little Tokyo (Japanese American Cultural & Community Center)
11:00 – 12:00 James Irvine Japanese Gardens
12:00 – 13:30 Lunch at Aloha Café
13:30 – 15:00 Japanese American National Museum
15:00 – 15:30 Drive to Santa Monica
15:30 – 18:30 Santa Monica Beach & Pier
18:30 – 20:30 Dinner at 1212 Santa Monica
20:30 – 22:30 Shopping, movie, or nightlife at Santa Monica Place
22:30 – onwards Return to hotel, relax, etc.
Our first morning in Los Angeles starts out in the historic neighborhood of the Miracle Mile, located directly between the LA city center and Beverly Hills. For breakfast, we will visit Republique, which one review on Yelp described as reminiscent of the “Harry Potter dining hall but with a south of France provincial twist.” Be careful, as this restaurant doesn’t use waiters to take orders but rather has customers order their food upon entering, find seating wherever you can, and the food will be served according to a number they assign you. Make sure to order everything you want because it can get crowded quickly in the morning! For breakfast, we recommend the Crème Brulee Bombolini, Mushroom Toast, and the Quiche of the Day.
Afterwards, a twenty-minute walk or five-minute drive down W 6th Street will offer you the chance to see La Brea Tar Pits, one of Los Angeles’s most iconic attractions. Consisting of several tar pits where natural asphalt has seeped up through the ground, the flora and fauna trapped within the tar have become remarkably important for modern scientific research. After checking out the museum, directly adjacent to the complex is the Los Angeles County Art Museum, the largest art museum in the Western United States. The LACMA holds more than 150,000 pieces of art from around the world, spanning from ancient to contemporary time periods, and should be an exciting way to start your trip in Los Angeles.
After finishing at the LACMA, another five-minute drive or fifteen-minute walk will land you in the heart of the compact yet thriving Little Ethiopia neighborhood. Here, we recommend trying a meal at the Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant & Market, a busy market offering an adjacent dining room with some of the best offerings in the neighborhood. For a meager $10, Merkato serves a vegetarian combo with four large servings of vegetarian food and plenty of injera, the traditional spongy bread used to eat Ethiopian dishes.
Afterwards, a thirty-minute drive away from Little Ethiopia is Hollywood, one of the most famous neighborhoods of Los Angeles for obvious reasons. Here, you’ll have access to loads of exciting attractions along Hollywood Boulevard. On the corner of Highland & Hollywood, you’ll find several museums to choose from, including the Hollywood Museum, Hollywood Wax Museum, Museum of Illusions, Guinness World Records Museum, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! After checking out some attractions of your choice, enjoy walking along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a fifteen-block expanse including more than 2,600 brass stars implanted into the sidewalk.
For dinner we’ll be back-tracking to the Hollywood and Highland complex. On the third floor of the restaurant is JINYA Ramen Express, a Chiptole-esque customizable Ramen bar which offers several crafted “signature bowls” such as the JINYA Tonkotsu Black bowl, the ramen we recommend with pork broth, black garlic oil, spinach noodles, and grilled chicken.
Then, as the sun sets over the skyline of Los Angeles, we recommend you take advantage of your proximity to the Hollywood Hills and visit the famous Griffith Observatory. With a remarkable view over the Hollywood sign and Los Angeles Basin, the Griffith Observatory offers visitors the chance to see space and science-related displays for free. With its incredible views, a trip up to the Griffith Observatory ought to make the perfect end to your first day in Los Angeles!
Today will start in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles at the corner of South Main Street and Sixth Street. Wake & Late is known for the best breakfast burrito in town, and is in a perfect location for exploring the city center. We recommend the Rico Suave Burrito with egg, avocado, tots, and other delicious fillings, as well as a Cold Draft Latte with La Colombe coffee. After finishing breakfast, head down to the OUE Skyspace LA located a fifteen-minute walk or five-minute drive from Wake & Late. Here you’ll be able to enjoy California’s tallest open air observation deck, which reaches almost 1,000 feet above the City in the well-known US Bank Tower. At the top, take in 360-degree views of LA, and try out their glass-bottom slide which extends out from the side of the tower.
Then, a twenty-minute walk or another five-minute drive away will land you in one of LA’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods: Little Tokyo. In the center of the neighborhood is the James Irvine Japanese Garden, a tranquil garden that is lauded as one of Little Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. To enter, go through the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, check in at the information window, take the elevator to level B, and turn right through the hallway to find the garden. Though it might seem a bit complicated, we promise that the foliage and waterfalls will make up for it, and will be a great way to experience a more authentic side of Little Tokyo.
For lunch we recommend visiting a restaurant only five minutes walking distance from the gardens: Aloha Café. A Hawai’ian themed restaurant tucked in the heart of the Japanese district, the Aloha Café is one of the top-rated restaurants in all of downtown. We recommend trying the Loco Moco rice plate, which offers rice, macaroni salad, eggs, beef patties, and gravy. Don’t worry, according to the Yelp reviews, it’s not nearly as heavy as it sounds! After finishing lunch, walk two blocks north of Aloha Café for the Japanese American National Museum. Even for those without background knowledge or interest in the subject, this museum offers art, artifacts, and historical exhibits which center around preserving Japanese-American history and culture in the largest museum of its kind in the United States.
Our final neighborhood on this trip culminates in Santa Monica, an upscale beach town straddling the Pacific coast. We recommend taking time to explore the beach and pier at your own pace during the afternoon, taking in the beautiful ocean views and visiting the shops which dot the pier and Pacific Coast Highway.
When you start feeling hungry, head over to the Third Street Promenade for our final meal of the trip at 1212 Santa Monica. Featuring world-inspired food in a two-story restaurant and lounge with a sophisticated yet casual vibe, 1212 Santa Monica is unbeatable for food quality in the area. When you are finished, take advantage of our great location in trending downtown Santa Monica for nightlife, catching a movie, or shopping at the massive Santa Monica Place mall just down the promenade. With one of the most famous beaches in the country and plenty of things to do, Santa Monica offers the perfect place to end a wonderful vacation in Los Angeles.