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The Best Ways to Experience a Staycation in Los Angeles

So, you’re no longer the most attractive person in the city. Time to get competitive on your Los Angeles Staycation.


Venice Beach Sign at Sunset in Los Angeles California

No matter how long you squint, your name isn’t going to appear beside Sylvester Stallone on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But, as you find yourself aggressively stamping on the pavement engravings of your childhood heroes, fear not: if everyone’s a celebrity in Los Angeles, it means you are too. And if your plastic Oscar souvenir and photos with a wax-like Johnny Depp and Julia Roberts (or even their replicas at Madame Tussaud’s) don’t corroborate your claim to fame, nothing will. In any case, with all the crowds at the theme parks and beaches, you might be glad for your anonymity. That said, a celebrity salary wouldn’t go amiss, when you see the exorbitant price of the four mimosas you knocked back to drown out the sound of your kids screaming Disneyland in your face. Take a deep breath and step away from mimosa number five. These tips will have you skipping the crowds and finding some peace of mind on your staycation in Los Angeles. And here at Plum Guide, we love doing all the hard work for you, so heed our expert advice for a staycation to remember.

Get away from the chaos in the desert

Joshua Tree National Park, California

With four million people spread across neighbourhoods connected by giant freeways and crowded beaches, it can be nice to come up for air once in a while. With its idyllic climate, the city makes for a great base for exploring California’s eclectic topography. Your staycation near Los Angeles might bring you to the Joshua Tree desert: no, you likely won’t find Bono roaming lost between the cacti. Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? (U2 had an album called The Joshua Tree. Can we move on?) Then go with or without your family to the Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains or take in the vistas in the Sonoran Desert.

Hey Cowboy, Plum Guide home in Joshua Tree

Go outside, in the sunshine

Not to bang on about that amazing climate, but the sunny weather means Los Angelinos spend a lot of time outdoors, and much of your staycation will involve going outside, in the sunshine, just as the late George Michael encouraged. In fact, we know of a lovely public bathroom in Beverly Hills that he approved of. In the meantime, if you think you’re done with the sofa and the kitchen table, go outside to the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden, the South Coast Botanic Garden and the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Secretariat, Plum Guide home in Hollywood, Los Angeles

Head down to the beach

Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles California

Admit it, you couldn’t stay away from the golden strands too long. It’s great exploring the parks, gardens and desert oases, but you can’t ignore Los Angeles’s beach life. And there’s something for everyone. Wanna work out in front of everyone for some reason? Mosey on down to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. A day out with the kids? Take a ride on the Ferris wheel on the pier at Venice Beach. Strangely, some people don’t like to be gawked at by tourists while sunbathing. In that case, your staycation in California has you covered. Work up a tan in the scenic and serene settings of the Marina Peninsula Beach, the Bluff Cove in Palos Verdes Estates or the Big Rock Beach in Malibu.

Wood & Water, Plum Guide home in Los Angeles

Take the family to theme parks

These are parks not as you know them: gone are the trees, gardens and bathrooms frequented by George Michael. In their stead lie settings from dystopian futures replete with space-age contraptions and futuristic trains (known as rollercoasters) zooming past your face. Nightmare. But, the kids will be eternally grateful for about five minutes, so that’s something. Plus, there are a couple of bars in Disneyland, and the tour of Universal Studios narrated by Jimmy Fallon has some in-jokes for adults, so you’ll get in a few chuckles before a CGI dinosaur rips your face off on your family staycation in Los Angeles.

The Fiddly Fig, Plum Guide home in Los Angeles

Check out the different neighbourhoods

Los Angeles has a layout quite unlike any other city. It comprises a labyrinth of quaint and bohemian neighbourhoods with great swathes of space in between. Flitter between the trendy boutiques of Venice and stroll beside the scenic canals of Little Venice. Follow in the footsteps of celebs on the Hollywood Boulevard and admire the façade of the Oscar-hosting Dolby Theater (because that’s about as close as any of us are going to get to an Oscar). The neighbourhoods of Santa Monica, Malibu and K-Town provide variety to your staycation.

Experience the eclectic cuisine

Speaking of variety, Los Angeles’ wide-ranging culture makes for a diverse culinary fusion. Latino eateries stand beside Italian pizzerias, while fine dining options and romantic restaurants adorn the palm tree-laden streets of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Trendy health stores are all the rage across the neighbourhoods, and, if luck’s on your side, you won’t even bump into a Kardashian.

Enjoy the indoor activities

It may be rare, but it can rain in Los Angeles. It’s probably a good thing, as it keeps things green and enables people to not die of thirst, but it’s a bit of a downer for staycation ideas. But we (and the city itself) have a back-up plan. The Getty Center showcases interactive art and architectural displays, the Griffith Observatory has some pretty great views and the Staples Center is home to the LA Lakers, who seem to play some sort of otherworldly hand football involving baskets.

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