I still remember my first visit to Los Angeles about six or seven years ago, all wide-eyed and excited yelps at the first sight of the Hollywood sign. Sadly, my enthusiasm for the city waned a little after numerous work trips and hours (and hours) sat in traffic. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the city anymore, I just felt a little jaded towards it.
Last month, Visit Burbank kindly invited me to experience a city within Los Angeles I was yet to explore and promised colorful murals, studio tours, great food experiences (and less traffic!), I was keen to see if I could fall in love with Los Angeles all over again.
Fall in love I did! If I could describe Burbank in one word it would be ‘easy’ – easy to fly into (more on that later!), easy to navigate and easy to have fun with so much entertainment and shopping experiences on offer. Burbank is just a stone’s throw over the valley from Runyon Canyon, Hollywood and West Hollywood, but also has plenty that will make you want to stay in the area all day.
Burbank is home to more than 1,000 entertainment companies also situated next to Universal Studios Hollywood, so a stay in Burbank gives visitors the opportunity to visit two of Los Angeles’ most popular theme parks, The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood and Universal Studios Hollywood. In fact, 11 of the city’s 18 hotels are Universal Studios Hollywood Partner Hotels, giving guests early access to the theme park, which is awesome! If you’re a TV geek like me (I blame my days working at the BBC in London) then you can catch live television tapings of shows like Conan and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Most of the aforementioned entertainment companies and studios are based in the Media District of Burbank. I loved seeing the Harry Potter exhibit at The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, as well as exploring the back lots and seeing the costume and prop departments – so cool to see! Coffee from Coffee Commissary was great, and the breakfast at Bea Bea’s is so popular it’s best to get in line early! Luckily, it was right across the street from Hotel Amarano (more on that later), so it was easy to hop across to get a bike to eat in the mornings.
• Bea Bea’s (breakfast) – 353 N Pass Ave, Burbank, CA 91505
• Coffee Commissary (breakfast) – 3121 W Olive Dr, CA 91505
• Lou The French on The Block (pastries and coffee) – 4007 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505
• Olive & Thyme (wine bar) – 3821 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505
• Smoke House (dinner) – 4420 W Lakeside Dr, Burbank, CA 91505
• Simmzy’s (dinner) – 3000 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91505
• The Tangerine Hotel (bright orange walls and retro vibes) – 3901 W Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA, 91505
• The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
Thanks to its abundance of antique stores, fun murals, cool coffee shops and walkability, Magnolia Park was one of my favorite neighborhoods in Burbank. I enjoyed a delicious lunch at Romancing the Bean and loved browsing all the cute giftable items and home goods inside Mindfulnest. I really enjoyed strolling through this neighborhood and just exploring the stores and murals.• The New Deal (brunch) – 3501 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
• Blast From the Past (store) – 3117 W Magnolia Blvd
• The Mag Park Store (store) – 3500 W Magnolia Blvd
• Mindfulnest (store) – 3319 W Magnolia Blvd
• Atomic Records (store) – 3812 W Magnolia Blvd
• It’s A Wrap Production (store) – 3315 W Magnolia Blvd
• Besame Cosmetics (store and cosmetic museum) – 3505 W Magnolia Blvd
• Star Wars Mural – 3117 W Magnolia Blvd
• Butterfly Mural – 3501 W Magnolia Blvd
• You Are Beautiful Mural – 3400 Burbank Blvd
• Romancing The Bean (coffee) – 3413 W Magnolia Blvd
• Porto’s Bakery and Café (bakery) – 3614 W Magnolia Blvd
Downtown Burbank Murals
As well as plenty of great shopping experiences and stores, Downtown Burbank also offers up plenty of Instagram opportunities with colorful murals and wall art. I grabbed a coffee to go and explored the area with my camera in hand, which sure made for a fun way to spend an afternoon.
• Burbank Town Center Mural – 201 E Magnolia Blvd
• I Heart Burbank Mural – 164 Palm Ave
• Burbank Mural – 300 N San Fernando Blvd
• Made in Burbank Mural – 220 N San Fernando Blvd
• Colorful Patterned Mural – 164 Palm Ave
• Inspire Mural – 401 S San Fernando Blvd
• Colorful Flower Mural – 129 S San Fernando Blvd
The Green Room at Castaway
1250 E Harvard Rd, Burbank, CA 91501
One evening during my stay I went to the Green Room for cocktails and food at sunset. Sitting atop the mountain while the sun goes down is a classic Californian view that will never ever get old! Doing so from the comfort of the Green Room’s terrace with delicious bites and experimental cocktails (all inspired by different movies – I loved the Harry Potter one) is the way to do sunset in style.
322 N Pass Ave, Burbank, CA 91505
I stayed at Hotel Amarano in the Media District of Burbank, which was very comfortable and clean. The rooms are decorated with an Old Hollywood Glamour theme — my room was inspired by Casablanca, with subtle design details like the movie script across the bed headboard and behind the scenes photography as art. There was also a pool that felt like an oasis to cool off in after a hike in the nearby Runyon Canyon Park.
Getting to Burbank
I flew JetBlue from JFK to Hollywood Burbank Airport and after years of flying into the city it was definitely the most convenient way to arrive. The airport welcomes more than five million passengers per year and offers nonstop flights to 17 US cities, opportunities for national and international connecting flights include JFK, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston. New nonstops debuting in 2019 include Nashville, and Atlanta.