My travels through the USA are quite scattered and show no obvious route, and they also take in the most popular cities and two of the most populated – Los Angeles and New York City. So, 4 visits in and still I don’t know anything about the USA other than how to find a good bar in Atlanta, get drunk for $10 in NYC and spend a few days in Los Angeles. I never compiled my Los Angeles memories into a top 5 so here goes.
1. Bestie’s (George Best’s Bar)
A visit to Bestie’s is a must for any Northern Ireland and AFC Bournemouth fan travelling to Los Angeles. The bar is now called the Underground Bar and Grill and is situated opposite Hermosa Beach. It was once owned and run by George Best.
As a gorgeous sun sank over the horizon, I devoured happy hour beers and chatted football (soccer) to the staff while admiring the incredible George Best shrine. There’s a wall here full of newspaper cuttings and stories of the Belfast Boy! It can be hard to get to for normal tourists due to the road system, however if you hire a California party bus then you will be sorted for top bars and sights along the way, in true George Best party style.
Everybody goes to Hollywood (with TWO “ls” in it as opposed to the Northern Irish town of Holywood!) and I did the touristy bus tour as well – right up to Beverley Hills to see the houses of Britney Spears, Elton John etc. I toured with 4 Irish girls, below. We also did the swanky streets of Hollywood famous for Rodeo Drive, the stars and the whole Pretty Woman thing. I hate films but it was still good to check out.
3. Bus Through Compton Ghetto
My days of listening to 2Pac with my old work buddy Gavin Moore in Tesco were what intrigued me about Compton, but my bus ride through the estate scared the shit clean out of me!!
I was heading to watch David Beckham’s First training session at LA Galaxy which is in Dominguez Hills. I tried to do it on local buses on the cheap but by mistake I ended up being the only white person and the only unarmed person I saw for about two hours as I survived a morning on buses through Compton. I never wrote about this before, but I was really scared that time. It was back in 2007 when I was a naive backpacker but no doubt the experience made me stronger. Still I made it to the training session and loved it!
4. Venice Beach for Sunset
My travel buddies from the Venice Beach Cotel Hostel enjoyed the sunset with me and I also used to get up at the scrake of dawn for a swim in the Pacific Ocean at Venice Beach – gorgeous.
5. Santa Monica Pier and Boulevard
Although it’s pretty touristy, there isn’t much point in avoiding Santa Monica Pier or the Boulevard. I remember writing up a travel blog about NYC while I was sat in a restaurant at the end of Santa Monica Pier one day, loving it.
Although I backpacked and used local buses in Los Angeles, next time I’m planning on getting a Motor Home and going on a road trip, delving into a few states and maybe even checking out Las Vegas, as touristy as it is!