We started out our 8 day adventure in California flying into LAX, which is a cluster! It was a long day flying across the country with a 4 year old, who we woke up at 4am, and time changes are a b*tch with kids, but we survived and made it to our hotel.
We have friends in Santa Monica who just had a baby about 3 weeks ago, so we stayed at a hotel nearby but visited them at their home our first night for dinner. We hadn’t seen them since summertime, so it was nice to visit, catch up and lay low our first night since we were all really tired and just trying to power through the jet lag. We stopped at a supermarket on our way back to the hotel so we could have some snacks and breakfast stuff in our hotel room and the poor girl fell asleep in Dan’s arms walking through the store. I was in such a hurry to get what we needed and get out that I forgot to snap that pic!
Here’s Ada meeting baby Harper for the first time, she’s going to make such a good big sister!
The next morning we were all feeling refreshed, despite waking up at 4am once again (It was 7am at home to her defense, I couldn’t fault her for waking up so early!)
We grabbed some coffees from this great little place called DogTown Coffee one street over from the beach in Santa Monica and then just took a leisurely stroll down the beach towards the Santa Monica Pier. We enjoyed just walking down the beach and chatting with some locals while Ada played in the sand. It was a beautiful morning and a perfect opportunity for some awesome family pictures!
We made it to the Santa Monica Pier, but it was kinda early so a lot of stuff wasn’t opened yet. We walked the pier, browsed a few shops that were open and then headed over to Tongva Park which was directly across the street from the Pier entrance.
The park was awesome, it was clean and secluded and had a lot of unique things for kids to climb and play on, not your average playground park which was fun! Afterwards it was nearing lunch time (it was like 11am, but when you’ve been up since before dawn it was lunch time!) We went to Blue Plate Taco right across the street from the beach on Ocean Ave. Tacos were sooo good, as was the guacamole! Highly recommend this place!
We found ourself headed for the Third Street Promenade after lunch which was loaded with stores, mostly large corporate chain stores, but some cute local shops as well. We grabbed some more coffees to keep our stamina up and Ada of course fell asleep while Dan was carrying her again. We didn’t bring a stroller so it was a long walk back to the hotel, both of us trading off carrying her so she could nap.
By the time we were back she was well rested and ready for an afternoon at the hotel Pool. We stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton Santa Monica on Fourth street, which was really awesome! The location was perfect, we walked everywhere, there was plenty of dining and shopping right nearby. We had a fridge and microwave in our room, so we could make breakfast, snacks and of course have milk on hand for our princess! And the valet was complimentary which made coming and going with a kid really easy when we did take the car out!
We met up with our friends one last time before we headed out of Santa Monica and did dinner at a cool place called Pitfire Pizza. It was perfect for kids, quick and delicious and allowed us a little more time with our friends before leaving.
Our second full day we were checking out of Santa Monica and heading to Anaheim to visit Dan’s sister. We couldn’t meet up with them until the evening when they got out of work, so we decided to head up to the Hollywood Hills and act like real tourists. I’m glad we did it, it was definitely interesting up there on Hollywood Blvd. but it was kind of a circus and we didn’t stay very long. We got our pictures, had some lunch and moved on.
Apparently we just missed all the wild fires that started going on in this area just a day or two after we left. We were in San Diego by then, which was having Earthquakes… Needless to say we really enjoyed our vacation there, but we were glad to be coming home when we did! After we left LA we drove into Huntington Beach to wait for Dan’s sister to meet up with us. I’m going to recap our days with her in another post! We jammed so much into this trip that its easier to break out into pieces rather then one long post! Stay tuned for Part Two: Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Anaheim, CA. I’ll also do a Part Three: San Diego & Coronado Bay.