With a burgeoning scene of young chefs bringing forth high-end market-to-table dining, vibrant neighbourhoods in constant rejuvenation, and a sunny climate that never stops shining, Los Angeles is the perfect getaway where you can truly immerse yourself into the local lifestyle. So, live like a local and experience a city filled with fresh, innovative food, exceptional art, and side-splitting entertainment.
Where to Stay
The eastside of LA is ideal if you love independent boutiques, charming cafes, and a buzzing night life. The friendly, diverse communities of Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park give a wonderfully intimate feeling while still being part of a big city, and the best way to soak that up is by staying in one of the many unique and beautifully designed Airbnb’s there that ooze California chic.
For a more relaxed atmosphere, Venice or Santa Monica on the westside of LA can provide a true local experience. The classy and elegant Palihotel Santa Monica, a Mediterranean Revival-influenced boutique hotel, provides scenic views of Palisades Park and is less than 2 miles away from the lovely Santa Monica Pier. For a Venice option that’s hip and playful, the Erwin is a wonderful option that is just steps away from the ocean (less than 300 feet to be exact!) and boasts the only rooftop bar and lounge in Venice Beach.
Always Start with Brunch
There are no shortage of brunch gems in LA, and one of the newest shining stars is Trois Familia, a small restaurant hidden in an unassuming Silver Lake strip mall. Helmed by renowned Chef Ludo Lefebvre, the French-Mexican menu features items like Churro French Toast and Beet Tartare Tostada. Meanwhile, over on the westside in Venice, away from the bustling strip of Abbot Kinney, is the cured lox and bialy heaven, Gjusta. Once you find Gjusta’s understated entrance (look out for the white-washed barn doors!), you will fall in love with their Californian farm-to-table menu, including delicately cured fishes, hearty salads, and decadent pastries.
Shop the Markets
For one of a kind items to take home and cherish for years, head to LA’s amazing flea and farmers markets. There’s the quirky Long Beach Market for antiques, and for rare home and fashion finds, designers flock to Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Flea Market. Make sure to set aside a few hours at the Rose Bowl’s extensive and expansive space, and wear a hat and sunscreen as the concrete grounds get very hot. Cool vintage and independent designer clothing and jewelry are aplenty at the Melrose Trading Post in West Hollywood as well as the Artist and Fleas in Venice and Downtown, and for a mix of artisanal market goods, there’s the delicious food market, Smorgasburg.
Get Your Art On
To avoid being squished by the typical tourist museum crowds, head to Downtown LA’s The Broad, which houses pieces by contemporary artists like Koons, Basquiat, and Calder. Check out The Broad’s website to secure advance free tickets to increase your chances of getting into the much coveted installation, Infinity Mirrored Room by renowned Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama.
Tip: Little Tokyo is just a few steps away, so pop into Sushi Gen for the best sashimi lunch in the city for just $17. Be prepared for a wait but don’t worry, it’s well worth it.
Get Fit with Nature
Forgo the super scene-y and overly crowded Runyon Canyon for a hike at the calm and breezy Paseo Miramar. The moderate 5-mile roundtrip hike near Pacific Palisades takes you up to one of the most stunning panoramic views of the ocean and city below.
For an incredible view of Downtown, Griffith Park offers several trails. One of the best trails starts by the Bird Sanctuary sign— just walk straight through the fenced path behind the public washrooms. Afterwards, treat yourself to a delicious snack, or meal, at the charming Italian-American restaurant, Little Dom’s.
Tip: Although the views are spectacular, if you don’t want to be bumping into crowds of tourists, avoid the trail that leads to the Observatory and the Hollywood sign.
For a gorgeous dinner, book a table at Norah where the food is fresh, yet comforting (expect dishes like the addictive cast-iron cornbread with rosemary-honey butter and the uni butter poached shrimp) with a stunning backdrop of gigantic floor to ceiling windows draped with lush greenery, and a well-curated wine and cocktail list that will have you staying for hours.
Of course, you can’t visit LA without a lovely Mexican sit-down. Indulge at the award-winning Taco María, whose incredible $65 prix-fixe tasting menus will have you bragging to friends at home for years to come.
Laugh Those Calories Away
Enjoying a night of live comedy is the perfect way to spend an evening in Los Angeles. The Groundlings and the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) are known not only for edgy improv and sketch comedy, but also for being a training ground for young performers, many of whom graduate to Saturday Night Live, hit TV shows, and blockbuster movies.
Tip: Check out UCB’s Harold Fridays for one of a kind shows you’ll never see again.
Drinks with a Side of Entertainment
If live music is more your thing, you won’t want to miss actor-pianist Jeff Goldblum and his incredible band, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra at the Rockwell on Wednesday nights. Then, for every other night (except Sunday and Monday), get to The Dresden for the ever-endearing jazz stylings of Marty and Elayne, who have been performing and winning over locals since 1982.
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