We love visiting Los Angeles whenever we can for many reasons, but mostly the weather and food are amazing. We used to live on both the West side and the East side of Los Angeles and have lists of places to enjoy, but this was pre-baby life and now we have to alter our lists to add places to enjoy as a family. This last trip we rented an adorable Airbnb with a large fenced in backyard on the West side (near Rose avenue). We love staying in Airbnb’s especially now with our son Dash. An Airbnb we can make a few meals at a home and Dash still has an afternoon nap 🙌so while he naps we can still work or enjoy the outdoors - another great thing washer and dryer (cause everything with a toddler is gross)!!!
We stayed about 10 blocks from the beach in a house with enough rooms for us and my husband Mike was able to set up a make shift studio to keep working which is also important to our lifestyle too.
We were in walking distance to a Whole Foods and a Ralphs grocery so we were able to stock up on groceries to save some cost on eating out and also to be able to control what we eat too. This trip we stocked up on breakfast items, snacks and lunch items, we ate dinner out or ordered in most nights. There are so many options for ordering in especially in a large city like Los Angeles (UberEATS is great in LA).
We partnered with Dollar Rental Car company and were able to be spoiled with a brand new Chevrolet Malibu. Of course we took that Chevy Malibu car for a ride to Malibu. We took a drive up the PCH right alongside of the Pacific coast and even spotted dolphins, well I did Mike kept his eyes on the road. There are always the sweetest farmers parked on the side of the road selling seriously the most delicious fruit ever. We have purchased bags of fresh avocados for $5 or a small bag of fruit for $3-10. This time we grabbed a large bag of strawberries and little man almost ate them all in the car.
We took a right and headed up into the Malibu mountains to one of our favorite restaurant hangouts called Malibu Cafe. This spot used to be on our list because the drinks and food are great, but now being parents this place is an amazing kid hangout. There is a large open area with lots of games and best of all you can enjoy your food (and cocktail) while your kid runs around free - cause let me tell you sometimes trying to wrangle a toddler into one of those highchairs and then distract them while you try to eat your food and actually enjoy it can be difficult, like I mean parents should win medals on a daily for this. It has the cutest atmosphere and of course the weather is always lovely in Malibu. We enjoyed a blackberry infused cocktail, the chicken entree and watching our toddler tear up every game offered. They also have chandeliers and twinkly lights strung from tall trees just to make this place much more magical.
You’re going to see a trend throughout our travels of places that Mike and I can enjoy and also our toddler can enjoy by running free or having something to do as well. Toms Flagship on Abbot Kinney is by far my favorite coffee shop when I’m with Dash in all of Los Angeles. The mission is sweet, the coffee is great and the outdoor (fenced in) area that is dog friendly has my boy incredibly happy. He can run around, pet the dogs, interact with all kinds of people and let mommy enjoy her coffee.
On this trip I checked out a really great indoor play area called AdventurePlex in Manhattan Beach. It took us about 15-20 minutes to drive south from our west side Airbnb and it was so worth the drive to see little man’s face when he walked in and saw what we were about to do. I had so much fun here with him climbing through tunnels and sliding down high slides. We ended this morning with a stop at In-N-Out cause mama worked for that cheeseburger and fries (this place should also be on your list of eats).
The weather here allows you to be outside most of the day which is the best thing for my toddler.
These are a couple of our favorite parks on the West side of Los Angeles that we could stay at for hours, so pack a picnic and enjoy being outside:
-South Beach Park Playground (park on Main Street and walk towards the beach or in the beach lots)
-Mother’s Beach Marina Del Rey (by far our favorite! They also have a Farmer's Market on Saturdays)
-Beach Park #1 - Ocean Park Blvd and Barnard Way (try finding some free or metered parking on Ocean Park)
-Santa Monica Promenade is a great place to shop and your kid can run around, there is always amazing musicians singing along the walking street and one of our favorite restaurants called True Food is a must stop - try the edamame dumplings and the ginger margarita.
Traffic can be a challenge in Los Angeles so I always pack a Mary Poppins style bag full of snacks and toys and the iPad filled with movies. Dollar Rental Car was incredible to work with and if you don’t want to fight the crowds at the LAX airport to rent a car there are other options. We rented our Chevrolet Malibu car from Loews Hotel in Santa Monica which was a short walk from our Airbnb. Check out our LA Travel Vlog below!
Watch our TompkinsLife "LA Travel" vlog here: