Going to California has, thankfully, become a yearly thing. For three years straight now, my careful springtime holiday planning has ended up with the same conclusion and the same destination.
Honestly, for someone based in Europe looking for a two week long excursion filled with different scenery, activities and vibes, few places compete with California. In the matter of two weeks, you can easily hike Tahoe, survive Burning Man, overhear startup ideas at Blue Bottle or Sightglass in San Francisco, enjoy the beautiful wine country and towns like San Luis Obispo (one of our favourite places in the world, by the way) and finish up at some swanky hotel rooftop in West Hollywood. Again, all in two weeks.
So, much like going back to, it’s worth writing about this magical place – again and again. Until next year, here are three of of our most recent favourites.
SAN LUIS OBISPO
To me, few places in the US feel more “American Dream” than San Luis Obispo, or simply SLO. A few hours drive north from Los Angeles, past Santa Barbara and up and down breathtaking wine country hills, lies this small town – fittingly voted happiest town in all of America. Coming out of Los Angeles, it’s the perfect first spot if you’re planning to do Big Sur or San Francisco.
Stay for a day or two, eat great food at Flour House, drink coffee at Scout Coffee, walk the hills surrounding the city – and dream about living here yourself someday. Oh, and Avila Beach is a ten minute drive if you’re longing for some beach life.
DEETJEN’S BIG SUR INN
One of the most magical places in the world, Big Sur features towering mountains, vast oceans, unfettered vistas and redwood forests. The best place to experience it, apart from the drive itself, is by spending a night at Deetjen’s – the kind of place you hesitate even writing about in fear of it ever changing.
When Helmuth and Helen Deetjen began welcoming guests in the 1930’s (before Highway One was even completed) Deetjens Inn was born. Since then, year round, the Inn’s well-tended gardens bloom and the Castro Canyon waterfall splashes into the creek. The fresh air, redwood forests, ocean views and tranquility of Big Sur has inspired artists and writers for generations.
Probably because coming here feels like coming home.
PUTTING ON THE POUNDS IN LOS ANGELES
Eating well in Los Angeles is easy. Unfortunately, so is gaining weight. Even if you’re hitting Runyon Canyon every morning, it’s tough to balance out breakfast at Chateau Marmont, a quick lunch at In N Out Burger (go for the Double-Double with a side of chocolate shake) followed by dinner at Republique or Ink. If that gets old, throw in some Tonkotsu Ramen from Jinya for lunch, a night of (soju filled) Korean BBQ at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong for dinner. There’s only one place for pizzas, and it’s called Pizzeria Mozza.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in LA, we say your best best is The London, offering great service, crazy big rooms (with balconies) as well as a great rooftop pool area – all at a reasonable price. The poolside burger is sublime, too.