After suffering through another bitterly cold New York winter (And yes sadly it is not over yet), I was really looking forward to escaping to sunny Southern California and its perfect 70 degree weather for a weekend of fun, food, and friends. As a personal travel rule, I usually don’t prefer to travels towards the West Coast just because in the 6-7 hour flight it takes for me to go there I could also be taking a 6-7 hour flight to London or other European destinations. It just didn’t seem worth my time to stay in the U.S when the same about of time could take me to a foreign country. However, since the main purpose of my trip was to attend a wedding of a close sorority sister, I decided to make the trek there. And boy did I love it in Cali! I haven’t been to Southern California since my senior year of college when I attended a weekend women’s conference in LA so I had forgotten how wonderful the slower pace of life was and how gorgeous the city was. It was a much needed change from the hustle and bustle of New York- I was able to ride in a convertible (with the top down of course!) and feel the cool breeze in my hair and not have to deal with the loud honking of cars and the constant braking for crazy pedestrians. As a 4 year veteran of New York City, I feel like I’ve been ingrained to live a fast paced life filled with activity after activity just because there is so much to do and see in the city. In LA, I felt that I could take a step back and just enjoy a carefree 3 days in paradise without actually being too bored.
One item on my bucket list is to go to every single Disney in the world. So far, I’ve managed to check off DisneyWorld in Florida, Disney Hong Kong, Disney Paris, and Disney Tokyo. Thanks to this LA trip, I was able to add Disney California to the list, leaving me with only Disney Shanghai to visit. While this California Disney was so much smaller than I expected and sadly the castle was under construction, I still very much enjoyed my day there. We spent over 12 hours taking advantage of fast passes to ride all the classic Disney rides (Indiana Jones was my favorite!), stuffing our faces with Mickey Mouse shaped beignets and macaroons, watching the Disney characters march in a parade down Main Street, and ending our night with beautiful fireworks. I like to consider myself as somewhat of a Disney theme park expert now so here are some tips on how to navigate the overwhelming world of Disney parks:
1. Arrive early- If the park opens at 8am, arrive before 8am. The lines for popular rides, such as Space Mountain, can have up to a 2 hour wait later in the day, so arriving early and taking advantage of less people in the lines will definitely pay off. Also, fast passes are distributed based on time slots and each individual can only hold one pass at a time. The earlier you’re able to grab a fast pass, the earlier you will be able to return to ride the ride and grab another fast pass for a different ride.
2. Take advantage of fast passes. Fast passes are free and included with your admission ticket. These passes allow you to skip the lines and go right into the ride, thus saving a huge amount of time. The catch is that you’re only bale to have one at a time. So read your fast pass ticket and it will tell you when you are next able to grab another fast pass. Make sure you go and get your second one before returning for the first fast pass ride!
3. Plan your rides in advance! There are SO MANY rides inside the park so looking at the map of attractions ahead of time and deciding which rides you really want to go on will pay off later.
4. Bring your own bottle of water. As you can expect from any theme park, bottled water is expensive. After shelling out over $100 for a admission ticket, the last thing you want to do is spend $5 on water and then spend another $5 on water later in the day. It is more economical to bring your own bottle and then fill it up at the various water fountains in the park after you run out.
I love the Smorgasburg that happens in Williamsburg, Brooklyn every summer, so when I realized that the LA SMorgasburg is even open in the spring (most likely because they have normal spring weather instead of the typical 40 degree March weather in NY) I knew I had to take my Texas friends there so they could experience the delicious food stands. I was really looking forward to drinking a matcha milk tea from Sip Matcha, which is co-owned by one of the funniest Youtubers ever, David So. I was also able to taste the infamous White Rabbit candy inspired ice cream from Wanderlust Creamery. White Rabbit is a Chinese candy that every Asian kid devours as a kid- it reminded me so much of my childhood! Smorgasburg LA also has a shopping area in addition to food and the market is all located in a bigger space than the Brooklyn one so not having to fight the crowds was pretty nice.
Yellow House Café
I first heard about Yellow House through the Youtube eating show hosted by Stephanie Soo. She would always order her food from here and my mouth would always water as she ate it. Located in Koreatown, Yellow House Café is a gorgeous Korean restaurant with a huge outdoor patio and tons of delicious authentic Korean food. I caught up with a study abroad friend whom I hadn’t seen in 5 years (can’t believe my Hong Kong adventures were so long ago!) over a huge plate of spicy Korean dukbooki, fried dumplings, and ramen. It was so nice getting to chat and eat yummy food while enjoying the outdoors. Bonus- any drinks purchased along with a dish here is 50% off!
Bakers and Baristas
Such a cute little spot about 20 minutes away from Anaheim that was perfect for a cozy breakfast and coffee. I discovered Bakers and Baristas while watching Youtubers Bart and Geo’s vlogs and have to say they have great taste in cafes!
Orange County Cherry Blossom Festival
I had a few hours between the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception so I decided to go to the Cherry Blossom Festival located in Huntington Park. I was surprised that there were any cherry blossoms in Southern California, but there are a few! The Festival is filled with unique Japanese inspired foods, including this delicious fried sushi taco and this refreshing thai tea, as well as tons of Asian themed performances. Plus, dogs are allowed and as you can see I spent most of my time snuggling with my friend’s new corgi puppy, Brisket!
I’ve been wanting to tour the Broad Museum ever since I saw pictures of the giant table and chairs exhibit on Instagram. Tickets to the Museum are free and distributed online starting 30 days in advance. Certain days sell out fast (like the weekends) so reserving tickets as far in advance as possible is a must. The Museum is also currently hosting the Yoya K____ Infiniti Mirror exhibit, which has attracted long lines at all the locations its been located at. While the Broad is no different, each person wanting to tour the exhibit puts their name down on a separate waiting list once entering the Museum. The Museum will then text you once your time to enter the exhibit arrives so there is no wasting time standing in a line. My friends and I toured the entire Museum during our quoted 1.5 hour wait time. The Infinit Mirror exhibit doesn’t disappoint! If it ever comes into a city near you, I highly recommend it.
I loved LA and I can’t wait to go back! What else should I see/eat on my next visit?