For my birthday this year, I decided to head to LA for a long weekend. I may or may not have purchased tickets to The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience in September of 2021 and planned my entire birthday trip around that. Here’s an updated LA weekend guide in partnership with Mazda; I got to drive the 2022 CX-30 around all weekend and had the best time! I loved the safety features on the Mazda CX-30, especially the rear cameras and sensors that made parallel parking a lot less stressful. One thing about driving in LA is that you will be looking for street parking everywhere, which can be a shock coming from Florida.
Feel free to check out my last post on the most Instagrammable spots in LA here. It’s from 2017, so read/take photos at your own risk, lol.
Where to eat:
Ysabel West Hollywood
I had my birthday dinner at Ysabel and had such a great experience. I (unfortunately) don’t remember my server’s name, but he went above and beyond to make it a special evening. The hand-cut rigatoni and truffle fries were incredible. I’m also a huge fan of the ‘Reesh’ which is Ysabel’s take on a spicy margarita; just be sure to keep the TUMS handy for afterward. It wasn’t too difficult to get a reservation a month in advance, and you can either utilize valet parking or park on the street.
The Tower Bar
Located at the iconic Sunset Tower Hotel, the Tower Bar is a really cute brunch spot. I got the pancakes with berries and got full pretty quickly. I enjoyed the service as well; my server brought out some cookies and a candle for my birthday!
I found Dialog Café on Instagram, and thankfully it lived up to the hype. I arrived early on a Sunday morning (just in time for free street parking) and ordered scrambled eggs with hashbrowns and a latte. The service, prices, and food were all great. I would definitely go back for breakfast or a quick latte the next time I’m in the WeHo area.
I’d say that Erewhon Market is less of a place to eat and more of an experience… but it’s technically listed here because you can eat there. It’s the most expensive grocery store I’ve ever been to and was the inspiration for Anavrin in the Netflix series You. I really wanted to try Marianna Hewitt’s Coconut Cloud Smoothie and it did not disappoint! Although it was $17 and I would never pay that much for a smoothie at home, I enjoyed it so much that I purchased it two days in a row. I also enjoyed the roasted cauliflower with buffalo. I’d go again just to try some of their other options from the hot/cold food bar.
I first went to Badmaash in 2018 and was excited to go back after seeing that they’ve expanded since then. Their cuisine is Indian street fare and is on the pricy side as you have to pay for the rice pilaf and naan separately. My friends and I were able to walk in and get seated immediately and found street parking not too far away.
What to do:
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
Located about 40 minutes from where I stayed in LA, The Huntington is an absolute DREAM. My friends and I went for a few hours and it’s so large that we didn’t even get to see half of the space. The rose garden is stunning in April and the weather is nice but not too hot. An advance reservation was required during the weekend, and there was parking on-site although the signage indicated The Huntington was at capacity. I definitely want to go back and explore next time I’m in town!
The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience
I had been looking forward to The Queen’s Ball since September and was so happy to live out my Bridgerton dreams! I felt like I was in season one thanks to the actors and decor. There were a ton of photo ops, themed drinks, and a bunch of souvenirs including the Pat McGrath x Bridgerton collection. I wore one of my newest Selkie dresses and felt like the Diamond of the Season. The 1.5-hour experience is at the Biltmore in DTLA and valet parking was $25 after validation; my only complaint is that the experience felt a little rushed due to the number of people present in my time group. An all-night experience would be even better.
Visit the Hollywood Sign
Since I didn’t get to go to Disneyland, I decided to drive up to the Hollywood Sign with one of my best friends. We put in the directions to Lake Hollywood Park and parked on the street near a lookout point. The park is a lovely place for a picnic! I went on a Monday morning and it wasn’t too crowded/too bad of a drive, but I imagine it gets pretty hectic on the weekends. The drive through the hills was slightly intimidating and there was no car I’d rather be driving than the Mazda CX-30. (Seriously, it performs really well on curved roads.)
Honorable mentions: Erewhon, Glossier LA, Disneyland
I really wanted to go to Glossier LA and Disneyland, but I ran out of time with Glossier, and Disneyland reservations were not available for my birthday weekend.
Although I’ve been to LA about eight times now, I’m already looking forward to my next trip! Check out the rest of my LA photos and content on my Instagram.