No one thinks of the spending the holiday season in shorts, but when you are visiting a place like Los Angeles, it’s hard to have the Christmas blues when it’s 70 degrees and sunny outside.
Fly: Getting to Southern California via Long Beach Airport is a favorite among those who appreciate art deco architecture and old Hollywood. Three miles northeast of downtown Long Beach, it’s also historic for its convenience. Feel like Grace Kelly as your de-board the plane on the tarmac and enjoy a pre-flight provision on your way out, at the oval shaped bar that overlooks the runways.
Eat: Many residents of Long Beach are transplants from across the country. Those who do not return home often host “orphan” dinners. Friends and co-workers gather for a meal at someone’s home and then head to Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach or the Broadway Corridor for light barhopping.
A current popular eatery is the Federal Bar. Originally a bank from the early 1900s, patrons enjoy its “swanky” atmosphere, excellent cuisine (try the Fried Chicken & Biscuit) and the handcrafted cocktails created by friendly mixologists. Located on Pine Avenue, lined with palm trees decorated with Christmas lights, it would be hard not to be in a festive mood.
For a more upscale dining experience, climb aboard the legendary Queen Mary, where she is permanently docked in the Port of Long Beach; or brunch at the scenic Schooner or Later for their Crabs Benedicts and a wine-based Bloody Mary that will cure a holiday hangover.
Shop: For a unique shopping experience, head to retro row where eclectic small business owners will help you navigate their shops for you or anyone on your nice list, while bargain hunters can head to the Fashion District in Downtown Los Angeles. A flea market that stretches several city blocks, discover great bargains on high-end designers like Dior and Gucci, but be prepared to haggle with vendors! While downtown, it’s always great to visit the Standard Hotel’s Rooftop Lounge or Perch. Both venues feature fresh so-cal cuisine and sweeping views of the Los Angeles skyline. Make sure you depart by 9 p.m. if you’re over 30 and want to avoid the millennial crowd.
Catch a glimpse of the “Real Housewives of Orange County” being filmed in Newport Beach, while perusing retail favorites like Nordstrom, Neiman’s and Bloomingdales. A quick drive down the Pacific Coast Highway is worth the view of surfers catching waves in Huntington and Sunset Beaches.
Explore: A visit to Southern California would not be complete without being at an event at the Staples Center or photographing the Hollywood Sign. The world famous landmark on Mt. Lee may be visible from all over the city, but it is possible to hike to the sign (but illegal to get too close). The best viewpoints are Hollywood and Highland, The Griffith Observatory and Mulholland Drive.
Michael Blackley contributed to this post.