Thanksgiving in Los Angeles

This year for Thanksgiving my husband and I met up with some friends in Los Angeles, CA. They live in Hawaii and we thought it’d be great to meet in the middle and enjoy the holiday together.

Antique shops line a street in Little Ethiopia

Neither of us had been to LA before so we were excited, as always, to explore a new place. We arrived on Thanksgiving morning and after settling into our apartment and turning on the game (Geaux Saints). We headed to a rather crowded Wholefoods in search of some traditional Thanksgiving grub.The rest of the day consisted of cooking, eating, and being lazy.

The remainder of the trip was a combination of trying new things and being the stereotypical tourist, minus the tropical print shirt and fanny pack of course. The following are my recommendations if you ever find yourself in sunny LA:

– Enjoy some alone time: If you’re like me then it’s nice to explore on your own. When you’re with a group of other people there is a lot of negotiating and compromises, as there should be. So get up early and carve out some time for yourself.

James and I woke up early just for that reason. He would go jogging  and I’d take a leisurely walk to a nearby coffee shop. This is a great way to get to know the neighborhood that you’re in as well as the people.  I had a great time talking with locals walking their dogs or getting their morning bagel.

– Try something new – Most places have small, ethnic neighborhoods with traditional fare. We chose little Ethiopia for lunch one day. It was my first time eating Ethiopian food and it was interesting to say the least. We learned that the traditional way to eat this type of food is with your hands so we ordered chicken, beef and lamb dishes with a bread called “enjera”. Instead of utensils the bread is used to scoop your food from the plate to your mouth. The restaurant we chose did a great job explaining how and why food is eaten this way.

– Venice Beach: We were only here for a short time but it was a great place to sit back and people watch. Grab a bite to eat at The Sidewalk Cafe and enjoy watching everyone interact with one another. It was as if everyone knew everyone else. As we ate breakfast we watched a woman take a break from jogging to kick around a soccer ball with a homeless man. How great is that!

– Revel in being a tourist: Depending on where I’m at I can feel a little self conscious about looking like a tourist but what the heck, it’s Los Angeles! I proudly walked around with a camera draped around my neck looking for a poodle-toting celeb.

Here are a couple of super cheesy things we did while in LA:

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum: Where else can you take a picture with Justin Timberlake, George Clooney, and Julia Roberts all in the same day? Also, it’s located on Hollywood Boulevard so you can kill two birds with one stone.

The Griffith Observatory: Here you can get great views of the Hollywood Sign and the city of Los Angeles as well as learn some interesting things about our solar system. Best of all, it’s free!

– Rodeo Drive: This posh stretch of road may feel a bit overwhelming but throw on your Uggs and over-sized sunglasses and get ready to shop (or browse enviously, whatever). No where else will you find big-lipped women in stiletto’s oozing extravagance. You feel like you’re in an episode of Real Housewives. It’s quite entertaining.

The famous Hollywood Sign as seen from the Griffith Observatory

– Take a stroll through Beverly Hills: Put on your walking shoes and head towards the neighborhood of Beverly Hills. Not only are the houses beautiful but the picturesque tree-lined streets create a nice environment for a pair of sweethearts to take a leisurely stroll.

If you ever find yourself in the Los Angeles area I hope you find a good balance between being a tourist and getting to know the locals. Also, I hope everyone had as great a Thanksgiving as I did!

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