How to Make The Most Out of 48 Hours in Los Angeles

Behold. I present to you the ultimate guide to 48 hours in Los Angeles, of which you will only spend 12 hours sleeping.

Landing on the West Coast on a Friday afternoon, after having spent 10 hours sleeping up in the air from London, left me energised, hungry (quite literally) to travel and experience all things that define 'L.A.', on peak velocity. (Although the cupcake machine, Palm Springs and Coachella has yet to happen).

Los Angeles is a metropolis that puts London and Hong Kong to shame. The city is so horizontally stretched out that it makes those who insist on public transport cry. Even though I now feel like I have the superhuman ability to walk to every corner of any European city, provided it is a flat surface, I insist that I barely spent time in traffic. Scroll down for evidence. With its weather, space and overtly friendly locals, the city really makes itself an antonym of the British in all sorts of ways. 

Disclaimer: this guide is by someone who is by no means 'chill' nor has 'dope' in his vocabulary. There is, however, quite the music playlist at the end of the post. Enjoy. 


01.00pm Touchdown at LAX.

03.00pm Arrive at Union Station (closest bus station to Downtown Los Angeles) via Flyaway Bus, as you insist on public transportation against your friends' advice.

04.00pm Take the bus from Union Station to Downtown Los Angeles. On your journey, make a friendly conversation with the driver as you may happen to be the only person on the bus. Drive past all the landmarks, including The Broad and the Frank Gehry Walt Disney Concert Hall.

05.00pm Check-in to your accommodation and freshen up to look alive.

06.00pm Meet your friend for drinks on a rooftop bar within walking distance. 

06.30pm Miss your drinks due to heavy traffic and rush hour. Instead, hop onto your friend's Uber to make your way to the Museum of Ice Cream in the Arts District.

07.00pm Arrive early for your 07.30pm ticket time so explore the area. One of the city's best coffee roasters, Stumptown Coffee, is around the corner and get on the waitlist for the city's favourite Italian restaurant, Bestia.

07.30pm Make it to your appointed time for the Museum of Ice Cream.

08.00pm Bathe in rainbow sprinkles. Shamelessly.

08.30pm Arrive at Bestia only to have just missed your reservation. Try your luck to get a quiet table by the bar. Over dinner, get convinced by your friend to attend a festival, Camp Flog Gnaw, which is happening over the weekend.

09.00pm Ambush all relevant social media groups to secure a secondhand ticket and justify paying for a 2-day festival with an amazing line-up with headlining artists, such as Lana Del Rey and Justice. 

10.30pm Retire back at your accommodation and get as much rest as you possibly can. You have no idea what is in-store for you for the remaining 40 hours. 


06.30am Wake up before the city does and try to capture sunrise from your window.

06.55am Arrive at your closest supermarket before it opens at 7am and get your hands dirty in American produce. 

07.10am  Pack all your essential purchases (mine were Jolly Ranchers, Oreos in Birthday Cake and Red Velvet Flavours and body sunscreen) and return to your accommodation to be the first guest for breakfast.

07.30am Explore the accommodation facilities, of which you will not have any time for. Mine had a gym and a rooftop swimming pool with expansive views of DTLA.

07.45am Leave the hotel to queue for The Broad's special exhibition on Yayoi Kusama's, 'Infinity Mirror'. On your walk, marvel at the scale of Downtown Los Angeles and Bottega Louie, which I believe is the city's closest resemblance to Ladureé or a European patisserie. 

08.00am Arrive in the queue for The Broad.

08.20am Be told that you arrived far too late and to try again another day. The museum opens earlier at 10am over the weekends (rather than 11am over weekdays except Mondays when they are shut), but the special exhibition opens at 9am. Therefore, you have in fact arrived an hour later than you originally scheduled and the only way to secure a ticket is to arrive earlier the day after.

08.30am Not be disheartened and walk around the neighbouring Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall. Admire the splendour of the silver sheets of the building and how blue the sky is in this part of the world. 

09.30am Hunt down a bureau de change and realise it is not easy considering the size of the city.

10.00am Call your friends that you will be making a detour to Santa Monica instead. Insist on not taking an Uber and rather take the metro for $1.75 from 7th Street/ Metro Center to Downtown Santa Monica.

11.00am Arrive at the heart of Downtown Santa Monica and walk around leisurely along the promenades.

11.30am Arrive at the beach front and laugh at what a joke your life has become. Frankly, I was ready to be stunned by clear blue skies and to be ready to babble on about how much greater it is than Brighton Pier. On the morning I visited, the weather changed and it seemed that the only difference between Santa Monica and Brighton was in its name. In other words, I am determined to re-visit next time, hopefully with clearer skies.

12.30am Carb up with your friend at an In-N-Out Burger branch with a Double Double Burger, Vanilla milkshake and 'Animal Style' fries.

(Note: 'Animal Style' does not mean animal-shaped fries. It is instead fries topped with cheese, grilled onions and the In-N-Out secret sauce.)

01.30pm Find a friend who studies at UCLA, otherwise known as University of California Los Angeles, and is willing to give a tour even during midterms week.

03.00pm Thank your great tour guide extensively and apologise because you have just realised how big the University and a tour is no easy task. Recover healthily at the closest juice bar. Néktar Juice Bar was thoroughly recommended by my friend and the Westwood branch is only a walk from UCLA where I had my first açai bowl. 

04.00pm Leave Westwood to Downtown Los Angeles by Uberpool since there is absolutely no other option of public transport or metro station. Allow yourself enough time to sustain rush hour traffic with patience.

05.00pm 'Pre' at the closest supermarket store. Either the CVS Pharmacy or the Wholefoods (if you're feeling fancy) and stock up on whatever you need. Our drink of choice was Stumptown Coffee Nitro Cold Brew Coffee since caffeine was obligatory. Not an option if you want to function. Drink up.

05.30pm Arrive in line for the Camp Flog Gnaw festival. The festival happened at Exposition Park which is the neighbouring park of USC (University of Southern California) and shares the same metro station (Expo Park/ USC).

06.00pm Don't be disheartened that the special guest was not Frank Ocean, as rumoured, but rather Mac DeMarco. Appreciate the music whilst queuing up for tacos before making way to the mosh pit. 

07.00pm - 09.40pm Convert yourself into a Hip Hop maniac and befriend someone who can rap better than you, alongside the words of Syd, Vince Staples, Mac Miller, Migos.

09.40pm - 10.40pm Pay tribute to Tyler, The Creator who found and hosted the Camp Flog Gnaw festival. Salute to your new favourite tracks, including, 'See You Again' and 'Glitter'.

10.45pm Run to the 'Flog Stage' where Justice has just began his set. Convince yourself you are completely not jet-lagged nor tired with the light show Justice has to offer, which are potentially seizure triggering in the best way possible. Technically, the festival has just begun for you.

11.30pm Run to the other stage, 'Camp Stage', where Lana Del Rey is performing. Be seduced by her charm and the hauntingly poetic vocals. Shuffle, should you still have the energy to do so, to the tracks of 'Groupie Love', 'West Coast' and 'Lust for Life'.


01.00am Do yourself a favour and Uber home.

06.45am Wake up before sunrise or any normal person would. Grab a quick breakfast when it opens at 7 sharp.

07.05am Ignore any signs of fatigue and race the others to The Broad via foot or other means.

07.15am Brag and be proud of your position at the queue. There are only 20 people in front of you and you're the only person smart enough to have breakfast to go.

08.40am Contain your excitement as you just got confirmed that you will indeed be witnessing Yayoi Kusama's works in person. 

09.00am You make it to the first appointment for the exhibition on the day and have a 30-second window at every room to capture your experience.

10.00am Finish the exhibition and take the elevator upstairs to appreciate the permanent works at The Broad including works by Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Robert Therrien and Glenn Ligon. 

11.00am Stroll down the incredibly steep Grand Avenue without breaking your leg. 

11.15am Arrive back at the accommodation to 'rest', recharge and pack for check-out.

12.00pm Check-out.

12.15pm Uberpool to Beverly Hills for lunch. 

12.40pm Arrive at the other's passengers' Uberpool location, which just so happens to be LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where the 'Urban Light' sculpture by Chris Burden is located. 

12.41pm Beg the Uber driver to stop for a photo and ambush a tourist for a quick picture. Then, return to the car to continue your journey.

01.00pm Arrive at Urth Caffé. This may be your only chance to enjoy a healthy meal so indulge in their best Chicken Caesar Salad and Organic Green Tea Boba. You deserve it for not complaining. 

02.00pm Tour around Beverly Hills and admire all there is to offer at Rodeo Drive. I am constantly amazed by how retail stores and hotel are able to embody the culture and spirit of where they stand.

03.00pm Take an Uber to the closest Dippin' Dots location. Call up before to avoid disappointment. Our closest location was Lee's Liquor, an off-licence located between W 3rd St and S Sherbourne Dr (also next to the Beverly Center and opposite the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center).

03.30pm Feeling satisfied? You should be, especially after sampling your favourite childhood Dippin' Dots flavours, such as, Rainbow Ice and Cotton Candy.

04.00pm Make way to LAX at the start of rush hour. You cannot afford to miss the flight and only have so much energy left before you pass out on your flight. 

05.00pm You arrive at LAX in good time. However, there was an unusual traffic jam right by the International Terminal.

05.05pm Your Uber driver was quick to his senses and decided to check Twitter. You find out that there is a potential terrorist attack and the International Terminal has been temporarily evacuated due to a suspicious package. The bomb squad has already arrived at the scene. The International Terminal is completely blocked off and a ghost town. 

05.10pm You panic, pray, cross your fingers and text all your close friends and relatives.

05.15pm Twitter and the Los Angeles Times have reported that the bomb squad has cleared the item.

05.30pm You check-in to your flight successfully. You misheard the lady at the desk, who aggressively repeats that you will need to take a shuttle to a different terminal to the gate.

06.00pm Arrive at the gate where there is only one café. You decide to eat another Chicken Caesar Salad due to cravings and board your flight.


See why nobody ever wants to travel with me?

Onto the next.


Playlist: (on Soundcloud)

Feel It Still - Portugal, The Man

No Problem - Chance The Rapper, Lil Wayne

West Coast (Stint Remix) - Lana Del Rey

D.A.N.C.E. - Justice

Glitter - Tyler The Creator

See You Again - Tyler The Creator

Uber Everywhere - MadeinTYO


Words & photography by jocelyn yih