Trez’s So Cal Bucket List

la skylineIn August of 2012, I drove across the United States with my Guy and my pup to move back to southern California after a decade of making a home in New York City.  A few months before leaving, I put together a bucket list of things I hadn’t gotten around to doing – or hadn’t done enough of – in my ten years in NYC.  I was pretty awful at checking things off that list, but I enjoyed the process regardless.  So much so that I decided it’s worthwhile to have a similar list for my West Coast life.  I imagine making this a habit for any place I may settle in down the line, as well.  Since I’m living in Los Angeles but working in Orange County (and since Southern California urban life is much more sprawling), this list is less city-specific and instead focuses on the entire LA metro area.

Adventures in Eating 

  • Acapulco Inn (Long Beach)
  • Al-Noor (Lawndale)
  • Alta Eats (Pasadena)
  • Apple Pan (LA)
  • ARC Food & Libations (Costa Mesa)
  • At Last Café (Long Beach)
  • Beach City Baked Donuts (Redondo Beach)
  • Beach Wood BBQ and Brewing (Long Beach)
  • Big Mama’s Rib Shack (Pasadena)
  • Bludso’s Bar & Cue (Compton)
  • Blue Frog Bakery (Orange)
  • Bucato (LA)
  • Busy Bee’s (San Pedro)
  • The Cannery (Newport Beach)
  • Canter’s Deli (LA)
  • Cha Cha Chicken (Santa Monica)
  • The Counter (El Segundo)
  • The Crooked Duck (Long Beach)
  • Ciro’s (LA)
  • Dinah’s (Glendale)
  • El Parian (LA)
  • The Flintridge Proper (La Canada Flintridge)
  • Gen Korean BBQ (Tustin and Huntington Beach)
  • Habana (Costa Mesa)
  • Harriet’s Cheesecakes (Crenshaw)
  • The Hobbit (Orange)
  • Horon (Torrance)
  • Izakaya Ku (Fountain Valley)
  • James Republic (Long Beach)
  • Jay Bee’s Bar-B-Que (Gardena)
  • Jitlada (LA)
  • Kogi BBQ Taco Truck (various)
  • La Casita Mexicana (Bell)
  • La Cave (Costa Mesa)
  • Lawry’s Prime Rib (Beverly Hills)
  • Little Dom’s (LA)
  • Long Beach Crawfish Festival
  • Lunasia (Alhambra)
  • Mama Cozza’s (Anaheim)
  • Marouch (LA)
  • Marugame Monzo (LA)
  • MB Post (Manhattan Beach)
  • Milk (LA)
  • Mission 261 (San Gabriel)
  • Musso and Frank Grill  (LA)
  • Nick’s on 2nd (Long Beach)
  • Open Sesame (Long Beach)
  • Paul’s Kitchen (LA)
  • The Perfect Circle Cupcakery (Orange)
  • Pink’s Hot Dogs (LA)
  • Pizzeria Mozza (LA)
  • The Playground (Santa Ana)
  • Randy’s Donuts (Inglewood)
  • Restaurant Christine (Torrance)
  • Saddle Ranch Chop House (LA and Coasta Mesa)
  • Samosa House (LA)
  • Sawali Grill (Anaheim)
  • Schooner or Later (Long Beach)
  • Slater’s 50/50 (various)
  • Spago (Beverly Hills)
  • Sprinkles (various)
  • Susie’s Cakes (Newport Beach)
  • The Tasting Kitchen (Venice) 
  • Torrance Bakery (Torrance)
  • Udupi Palace (Artesia)
  • Umami Burger (various)
  • Wood Spoon (LA)

Adventures in Drinking

  • 320 Main (Seal Beach)
  • Angel City Brewery (LA)
  • The Bruery (Placentia)
  • The Cellar (Fullerton)
  • The Flintridge Proper (La Canada Flintridge)
  • Gasser Lounge (Redondo Beach)
  • Monkish Brewery (Torrance)
  • The Montage for sunset drinks (Laguna Beach)
  • Pinot Provence (Costa Mesa)
  • Smog City Brewing (Torrance)
  • Turc’s (Sunset Beach)
  • Twisted Vine (Fullerton)
  • The Winery (Tustin)

 Inedible Adventures

  • Watch the Grunion run at Cabrillo Beach
  • Go to a San Pedro City Council Meeting
  • Griffith Park Observatory
  • Long Beach Museum of Art
  • La Brea tarpits (I haven’t done this since I was a kid)
  • Shop around Olvera Street (another one from childhood that I barely remember)
  • LACMA
  • San Pedro Farmer’s Market (only open on Fridays, which is not so compatible with the work schedule)
  • Los Angeles Big Parade
  • California Science Center
  • Wienerdog races in Los Alamitos
  • Horseraces in Santa Anita
  • See a Dodger’s game on Opening Day
  • Long Beach Aquarium
  • USS Iowa
  • Shop at the San Pedro Fish Market on a Saturday morning (when they open their wholesale to the general public at 2am!)
  • Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles (which is walking distance from my house, so it’s absurd that I haven’t spent a Saturday afternoon here yet)
  • Ride the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier
  • Spend a day wandering/taking a self-guided walking tour of Miracle Mile
  • Thousand Steps Beach in Laguna

Weekend Getaways Adventures in Drinking

  • Big Sur (we camped there when I was a little kid, but I barely remember it)
  • Camp in Joshua Tree
  • Central Coast Oyster & Music Festival
  • Death Valley
  • Spend a weekend in Solvang
  • Go wine tasting in Paso Robles
  • Hike Mt. Whitney
  • Hearst Castle
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Camp on Catalina Island
  • Julian Apple Festival
  • Spend a weekend in Old Town Pasadena

Pavement (and Trail!) Pounding

  • Run the Vincent Thomas Bridge (only open to runners once a year, on Labor Day Weekend)
  • Santa Monica pier
  • Newport Back Bay trail
  • Crystal Cove State Park
  • Ray Miller trail in Malibu
  • Palisades Park in Santa Monica
  • Santa Ana River Trail
  • El Moro Canyon in Laguna Beach
  • Los Angeles Marathon
  • Sullivan Canyon in Santa Monica
  • Long Beach Marathon
  • Griffith Park trails
  • Hermosa Valley Greenbelt
  • California Coastal Trail at Dockweiler State Beach
  • Do a long (16-20 miles) run around the entire San Pedro/Rancho Palos Verdes Peninsula
  • Do a long (16-20 miles) run from Santa Monica Pier down to Palos Verdes

Like before, this list is definitely a work in progress, so if you’ve got a must-see/do/eat, I’d love to hear it.  Even though I’m a southern California native, I moved to NYC when I was 17, so this is my first time really exploring my hometown as an adult.   What southern California landmark and traditions am I missing?   Where’s your favorite place to eat?  What do I absolutely need to do while I live here for this chapter of my life?  Just because it isn’t on the bucket list doesn’t mean I’ve already done it, so comments and suggestions are much appreciated!

One response to “Trez’s So Cal Bucket List

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