We love traveling to far off destinations. But every so often it’s just nice to stay close to home. And let’s just say, our latest trip couldn’t be much closer after staying at the LA Athletic Club (LAAC) in downtown Los Angeles for a mini staycation.
For the longest time, my husband and I always thought the concept of a staycation was a little lavish. I mean, why pay all that money for a hotel in the same place you live?
But after doing it, I can tell you it was the perfect getaway that we needed. Check out our itinerary below, which includes a nice balance of activity and relaxation — from an invigorating hike through the Hollywood Hills, to a unique neon tour downtown to a lavish movie theater in Pasadena where you’re waited on hand and foot. Okay, we could get used to this. Check it out!
DAY 1 – SATURDAY
- 9:30-10:30 AM, Runyon Canyon Trail, start the day off right with this popular hike right in the heart of Hollywood.
- This popular loop trail is about 3 miles, and takes about 1 hour to complete.
- It’s definitely a scene — you’ve been warned! It’s one of the few places where tourists, models, actors and their little dogs all converge.
- The best part? You’re right in the heart of LA, making it super easy grab brunch or coffee afterward. Hey you’ve earned those calories!
- 12-1:00 PM, Book at tarot reading at House of Intuition.
- Whether you’re a hardcore believer, or just get a kick out of hearing what’s in your cards, this spiritual shop, located in the hipster neighborhood of Echo Park, won’t disappoint.
- I booked two back-to-back tarot card readings for 30 minutes each. It isn’t exactly cheap (at $100 per person), but the readers are considered to be among the best in LA.
- While I wouldn’t say our tarot reader was exactly spot on, she certainly was nice and friendly!
- 1:30 PM, grab a cinnamon bun nearby in Echo Park at Cinnaholic.
- This tiny shop is part of a national chain, which appeared on the TV show Shark Tank.
- Order the cinnamon bun, which are vegan and gluten free. And as I always say, that must mean it’s completely healthy. And of course, I’m totally incorrect with this theory (and happy being in denial!).
- 2 PM, Check into LA Athletic Club, located just 10 minutes away by car in downtown Los Angeles.
- It doesn’t get any better than the LA Athletic Club with its first-class amenities and walk-ability to just about everything downtown has to offer.
- In the 1920’s and 1930’s, the LAAC was the epicenter for the silver screen’s biggest names including Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Rudolph Valentino. Charlie Chaplin even called the place home for several years.
- We highly recommend booking 1 of the 9 Club Suites. Read our full hotel review here.
- 4:30-6 PM, Grab dinner at the Italian restaurant Terroni
- This is a gorgeous spot and only a 10 minute walk away from the hotel.
- The pizza is a delish – served “Southern Italian-style.” Meaning, they won’t slice it. A fact that continues to rev me up! We’ve been to Italy, and they actually can slice pizza. Seriously, don’t get me started!
- But the food is great – especially their zucchini flower appetizer (no slicing required!).
- 6:30-10 PM, join the Museum of Neon Arts evening neon cruise in downtown.
- This is an incredible activity if you time your staycation right. The museum periodically hosts evening double decker bus tours through downtown, where you’ll get a direct view at classic neon signs (and possibly a lot more — as you ride by the 2nd floor windows of apartment buildings!)
- The commentary is hilarious, and each tour is slightly different. We got a Valentine’s Day themed tour, which included heart-shaped snacks and flowers at the end. How nice!
- The pick up spot is conveniently located at the historic Biltmore Hotel.
- 10:30 PM, To wrap things up, grab some drinks and french food at cozy Mignon.
- This place is TINY but a great local spot where you can talk and mingle with the artsy crowd that calls downtown home.
- We loved our time here, and it’s a wonderful way to end your action-packed day in downtown. It’s also just a 10 minute walk from the hotel.
DAY 2 – SUNDAY
- 9-9:50 AM, start the morning off right with a class at Pilates+DTLA, a megaformer pilates studio, located just a 15 minute walk from the hotel.
- 10-1 PM, Enjoy some relaxation time at the LA Athletic Club.
- These aren’t your regular facilities. It’s more like a spa experience with hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms and comfy lounges and television sets.
- My hubby and I had a hard time leaving — but we had our complimentary breakfast as the real motivator to break away. Otherwise, we might still be there!
- 1-3 PM, spend some time at one of LA’s top-notch museums downtown. We ended up visiting the pop-up (and temporary) Disgusting Food Museum.
- It was a blast, and basically was a museum that displayed some of the world’s most disgusting food.
- There was even a tasting bar where we ate grasshoppers, fermented shark and silk worm larvae. Yum?
- 3-4 PM, time to go shopping! We just love the selection at The Last Bookstore (and be sure to check out the upstairs art galleries and shops).
- 4:30-6 PM, go high in the sky at OUE Skyspace. Take a quick elevator ride to the 70th floor of the iconic U.S. Bank Tower, where you can ride down a glass slide. Yikes, not for the faint of heart!
- 7:30 PM, To wrap up your staycation, nothing is more luxurious than dinner, drinks and a movie at iPic Pasadena.
- You’ll be waited on hand and foot, as you recline back in the comfy seats. Each admission includes a big bag of popcorn.
- Pasadena is a quick 10 minute drive from downtown, or you can always take the subway. Yes, LA has a subway that everyone forgets about (especially in West Hollywood!).
There you have it. What a packed staycation weekend. We can’t wait for our next adventure.