This blog now reads like a love letter to California. I promise East Coast cities will be featured soon! For now though, I haven’t spent as much time in Southern California as the Bay Area but if you are visiting for business or have a few hours free here are a few of my favorite things. From top to bottom I adored Palm Springs, did not spend near enough time in Los Angeles and will be happy to never return to Anaheim for the remainder of my life.
Palm Springs: I arrived very late in the evening to Palm Springs airport and took a quick cab over to the Ace Hotel Palm Springs and immediately fell asleep extremely unaware of my surroundings. I am terrible at pushing through the time difference my first night on the west coast. The MOST unexpected, mountain filled, beautiful view greeted my converted motel room when I woke up making me extremely happy to be finishing a way too long, three city trip in Palm Springs.
If I did not work during this trip I probably could have spent the entire time at the hotel. They had two pools, a spa, a Denny’s turned trendy upscale diner, King’s Highway, and tons of events including yoga, live music and art exhibitions. The hotel seems to attract a louder crowd of LA escape-ys on the weekend but my room was quiet enough. The room provided a plethora of indulgent Malin & Goetz toiletries, books and local artists designs. Ace Hotel rooms always inspire me and just absolutely fill me with delight. I wish more hotels took such pride in creating a unique stay for their guests but maybe it is not for everyone.
Eventually I did leave my poolside working station, borrowed one of the free bikes from the hotel lobby and cycled about a mile to downtown Palm Springs to meet my fellow produce marketer at Cheeky’s Palm Springs for bacon flights, chilaquiles and a bloody mary or two. We visited the event space and prepared for the weekend conference before visiting the Hyatt Palm Springs for pool side customer meetings. In the evening we brought a group to El Jefe restaurant for an adventurous, fire side dinner. My west coast colleagues always make fun of our desire to eat outside when visiting but you must take advantage of 80 degrees in December.
I spent the rest of the weekend mixing small hikes and cycling with meetings and events. The retro home boutiques inspired a complete home renovation in my head and my already full bag was filled with a few new treats from the collection of shops along N Palm Canyon Drive. King’s Highway fueled me with my love, Stumptown Coffee in the morning and a meatloaf sandwich I won’t soon forget for lunch.
With my scheduled red-eye hours away on my last day I tricked my way into the Hyatt hotel pool (closer to the convention center) to spend a few more hours soaking in the desert sun before returning to the blizzard waiting for me in Philadelphia.
The dozen or so times I have flown to LAX I always pass Randy’s Donuts is it great? Do I go? I don’t know why I never visit.
Most of my visits to Los Angeles are for events at the University of Southern California or to drive to Anaheim for an event at the convention center. New York City and Los Angeles are two places that surprisingly don’t host many big events or conferences. Maybe due to hotel costs? I am not sure!
For some reason last time I visited we traveled about two hours outside of the city to visit a McDonalds that apparently served mushrooms. They finished the promotion the day before and we drove two hours back for a burger at a rooftop restaurant of the Original Farmers Market. We drove around the city for a bit and my co-workers indulged my desire to see the Hollywood stars. Other than that most of my time has been spent on S Figueroa street for University events. I am dying to hike around Los Angeles like I see in all my best Hollywood friend’s Instagrams. To me Los Angeles felt very large and difficult to navigate so hopefully a friend will move there to show me around next time I visit.
Anaheim: Maybe because I am stuck in a convention center all day or hosting long dinners somewhere in Downtown Disney but I never enjoy Anaheim very much. The main street is long and busy filled with chain hotels and chain restaurants. I enjoyed my best dinner at Slaters 50/50 for a half bacon half beef burger. I may be judging the city unfairly and I am sure there is much more to offer outside of the Convention Center/Disney area but if you are heading to a convention in Anaheim it is probably a big one and it won’t leave too much time for exploring regardless. I also really don’t enjoy LAX and never see any celebrities.