What It's Like Vacationing In Los Angeles During Covid-19
Travel may not be the same as it was a year ago, but that doesn't mean it can't be every bit as wonderful, just perhaps in a different way. In need of sun, relaxation and some California cooking, I ventured West, and what I found in LA was different from my times here as a former resident and frequent visitor, but still absolutely worth the trip. There's something about palm trees in winter which can't be replicated, and crashing ocean waves next to them are just the icing on the organic California cake.
Arrival in LA
Los Angeles was hard at work toward relieving airport traffic congestion pre-covid-19, and that's continued. If you're requesting a rideshare on arrival, you'll need to pay for 'black car' level of service from Uber or Lyft to get picked up outside the terminal. Otherwise, it's a shared bus to the LAXit pickup area.
Checking into my hotel, the Viceroy Santa Monica, I was impressed by the covid-19 protocols, including clear signs, sanitizer and screens. Elevators in the hotel have signs which request people to wait for the next elevator if someone else is already on.
Fortunately, the pool, cabanas and even outdoor yoga classes were open. You could also enjoy outdoor food and drinks. Guests were simply asked to leave masks on until they reach their seat.
And the new outdoor social space at the Viceroy Santa Monica is stunning. Perfect for covid-19 safe meetings.
There's no indoor dining in Los Angeles right now, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Restaurants have pivoted to clever outdoor seating, and pickup or delivery have permeated even Michelin starred dining scenes, let alone every day eats.
LA being LA, there's no shortage of great hipster coffee shops with to go options for a caffeinated day.
Few places do beaches quite like LA, and happily beaches are open to the public.
At least 50% of people wear masks outdoors in public, and everyone maintains social distancing well. The surf scene is still lively.
Just one good sunset might feel worth the trip alone these days.
Staples like Runyon Canyon Park and many hiking trails in Hollywood have all reopened.
Many boutiques, markets, clothing stores, pharmacies and necessity shops and other ways to spend money are open, even for indoor browsing, provided you wear a mask, don't touch, and keep a 6 foot of distance between guests.
Worth The Trip?
Notably absent from my interests is anything involving theme parks, Universal, Disney or large groups. If those are your reasons for visiting LA, or at least your kids reasons, it's probably not the best time. If a little bit of sun and seclusion on a nice pool lounger with some world class farm to table cuisine is what's in order, there's really hardly ever been a better time.
Hotels are desperate for guests, which means lower rates, better perks and less competition to actually secure a coveted sun lounger in the perfect position. All the best restaurants are still doing curbside pickup, takeout or delivery, and we've been crushing Jon & Vinny's, Night + Market and other favorites on a daily basis.
A great city is, and always will be great. Different, yes, new, yes - but always great - yes. LA sunsets remain untouchable, and so does this great city. Totally worth the visit.