A Day in Los Angeles

When my family went to California recently, our main focus was visiting Disneyland for the first time and enjoying the parks. We did take one day to drive around Los Angeles and see some interesting sights. I'm going to share a few of the places we went for the day.

A Day in Los Angeles. Photos from a vacation in Southern California

We drove up to Hollywood, took a trip to the beach, drove downtown, and visited a few places that we had been looking forward to. It was a nice but long day. There was so much beauty and I'm glad we were able to see it.

Before our trip, we had been warned about the crazy busy traffic and to plan for extra long travel time. We left our hotel in Anaheim to head up to Universal Studios. Our phone told us the shortest route and we were sometimes directed though the downtown area. The arts district seemed like such a cool place! Lots of little shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Cafe Gratitude Photo Courtesy of Wilson Lin at Eat. Travel. Eat!
Photo courtesy of  Eat. Travel. Eat! and Wilson Lin
While we were driving in the Downtown Arts District, Cafe Gratitude restaurant caught my eye. All over the windows of the building are uplifting and inspiring "I Am..." phrases. I Am Courageous, I Am Beautiful, I Am Fulfilled, I Am Love. What a great setting to surround yourself in. We had just eaten breakfast, so we didn't stop to eat. I did look at their site and their plant based food looks delectable.

When we drove up to Hollywood, my girls were excited to see the Hollywood sign. They wanted to go and take a picnic up there, but our destination was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios so we continued on.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogwarts Castle at Hogsmeade

It was such a fun experience for the family to feel as if we were part of the Harry Potter world. My girls wore their Hogwarts robes as they traveled around Hogsmeade. It's pretty amazing the detail that went into everything there. We loved the tour of Hogwarts castle that you take as you wait in line for the ride.

Next we drove over to the LDS Los Angeles Temple. The grounds for all the temples are kept so beautiful. It was interesting to see the native plants and trees there.

flowers at the grounds of the Los Angeles LDS temple

Los Angeles LDS Temple - grounds and temple

multicolored roses at the picturesque grounds of the LDS LA temple

We decided to take an impromptu trip to the beach. I looked online for good beaches for families and of course ended up with thousands of choices. We decided on the peninsula of Cabrillo Beach because it has a sheltered side on the inside of the pier as well as an open to the ocean side.

Cabrillo Beach fresh lobster

As we were walking through the parking lot toward the beach, two surfers stopped us. They asked if we wanted to see something cool. We had no idea what it would be, then he pulled a live lobster out of the back of his truck! They had been in the water by the pier and found this guy swimming! It was pretty fascinating.

family at cabrillo beach

We walked down to the sheltered side and watched sailboats enter the harbor, gulls fly onto the beach to look for food, and of course play in the sand for a while. We live in landlocked Utah, so a visit to the beach was something my girls had been looking forward to.

Cabrillo beach palm trees at sunset

After a while we walked over to the other part of the beach that is directly on the ocean side. The waves were stronger and it was the perfect time to see the sun setting. My oldest daughter remembers when we lived near the beach in Charleston, South Carolina where we played a "keep away from the water game", so we ran away from the waves together while her little sister played in the sand.

Cabrillo beach, California at sunset

crashing ocean waves on the beach at sunset in california

I was surprised that the beach was empty at such a beautiful time, but it was a bit chilly (for California at least) so people were probably at home. It was good luck for us though! We were able to walk down the beach, run from the water, laugh, and enjoy watching the sunset all to ourselves.

We ended our day by driving back to our hotel in Anaheim and getting pizza at our favorite place. If you are near Disneyland, you have to visit Pizzaterian. Their crust is amazing, they have a perfect ratio of sauce/cheese/toppings, you can get hot wings with just the right amount of spice, and round your meal out with a salad. We ate there twice and my youngest was sad we didn't go again.

It was a full but wonderful day that we spent in Los Angeles. We are already mentally planning our next trip. We will definitely spend a bit more time at the different beaches, visit one of the many aquariums, and eat some more delicious food.

A Day in los angeles california

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