I don’t know if it’s the sun, sea or change in elevation but I always end up in a state of euphoric enlightenment after visiting Los Angeles. Living in New York City, I have developed an aversion to congested, dirty places that don’t offer much more than bragging rights. You’re not going to find the Hollywood Walk of Fame on this list, I live for atmosphere and that blvd just doesn’t have it. What you will find is beautiful escapes filled with creamed linens, gorgeous views, stunning architecture, and leisurely strolls. If all of this sounds like heaven to you, grab a glass of wine and drift off into a little California dreaming.
High upon the hills of Los Angeles and a tram ride away rests the J. Paul Getty Museum. Suggested by a close friend, this stop should be at the top of your list. Boasting with an incredible art display and L.A. backdrop, this estate, and its collection is overwhelming. Just recently InStyle magazine hosted its annual award ceremony in this stunning venue. I spent my time here amazed by their special exhibit, “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography.” Be prepared to spend hours weaving throughout several buildings and lawns filled with art.
225 26th St, Santa Monica
With a name like country mart you may think you’re heading to some backwoods hoedown but other than the name you can’t get much further from a farm than this. Take the profoundly delicious, locally-sourced restaurant, FARMSHOP. It doesn’t come much more California cool than this. Within 5 minutes of walking in, I spotted tennis star, Maria Sharapova and this barely touches the A-list celebs that regularly frequent this charming spot. I love to hop in and out of the boutiques admiring all the lovely things and stop by one of the few Goop shops to pick up a dry brush or perfectly blended bath salts. After all the tourist hustle spend a relaxing afternoon with a glass of wine soaking in all this little country mart has to offer.
Neighborhood in Los Angeles
Although I wasn’t a fan of The Venice Beach Boardwalk while visiting Los Angeles, I love the charming spots you can stumble upon in the neighborhood. You can spend hours enjoying some of the best shopping in Los Angeles. I especially loved the shop Industry of All Nations (1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd.) which works to bring environmental and social awareness to the fashion industry. I picked up a cozy, classic white t-shirt that was unbleached and 100% organic Indian cotton.
After a day of shopping, enjoy drinking that California kool-aid with a stop by plant-based Cafe Gratitude (512 Rose Ave) for lunch and reflection. Looking to order the Humble/Indian Curry Bowl? You must start all your orders with “I am,” humble in this case. I especially loved the question of the day, what energy are you putting out into the world? I know for some of you this might sound a bit too California, but take some time to step into something that may feel uncomfortable to add another patch to your house. I promise as a meat eater myself you won’t even notice sans meat, the food is so incredible. Take some time to reflect on life with the sea breeze in your hair and the sun on your skin.
Make sure you don’t leave Venice without a stroll along the architecturally stunning canals. It’s incredibly picturesque and the bridges over the water make for a great photo opportunity.
2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles
Learn from my mistake, don’t do your hair and makeup thinking it will be a leisurely stroll with a cute pic at the top. This canyon is a hike! In all honesty, I fell coming down the dirt trail and thought I was going to pass out at one point. Although sweaty and worn out by the time I reached the top, I was happy I had made the trek. The views were incredible and I had felt good putting in a heart-racing workout. My biggest tip, don’t try to go against the crowd once I realized everyone was coming down the hill where I was going up I should have turned around but I regret nothing. Visiting Los Angeles is a series of adventures, you just have to go with it.
Neighborhood in Los Angeles
When my friend, a local, recommended stopping by this little neighborhood frequented by two of my favorites, Dakota Johnson and Emma Roberts, I was curious to see what this village had to offer. As I drove down the tree-lined streets looking for parking, it seemed more reminiscent of a small Connecticut town../ I was pleased with this intimate hang and its chic boutiques, adorable restaurants, and hip coffee shops. I ended up doing the majority of my shopping here at Chevalier’s Books and Hardware on Larchmont.
317 S Broadway, Los Angeles
An overwhelming amount of options always seems exciting especially when there’s a possibility of an encounter with a transformative dish. That’s what led me to downtown Los Angeles to explore the market I had heard so much about. My friend, who I was visiting, had lived above the market for a year. I stayed just long enough to pick up a burrito stuffed to the brim. A local persuaded me to try the pork and when the man behind the counter asked what I wanted in it, I replied everything! I didn’t regret one minute of biting into that delicious fiesta.
Quick tip, if you plan to stop at Grand Central Market while visiting Los Angeles make sure to hit The Last Bookstore, just a couple of blocks from the food hall. Its book tunnels made it Insta-famous and appears to be a must for any first-timer.
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles
If I was being honest, I found myself wandering up here for the movie magic of it all. The Griffith Observatory has been mentioned in more than one screen production. One of which you might’ve heard of, a little movie called La La Land, it won an Oscar for Best Picture…oh wait…no it didn’t, well that’s awkward. Anyway, the stunning contemporary clean lines of the observatory works as a beautiful juxtaposition to the Los Angeles cityscape and surrounding mountains. If you’re not into hiking but you’re looking for views, this is your answer.
3400 W Riverside Dr, Burbank
This is really for all of those cinema lovers out there. I love the way movies let you escape into unknown worlds or see someone’s life from a perspective, unlike any others. If you’re one of those people who go on and on about how you’re to busy to watch any sort of film then skip this part. To walk through a giant beige shed and be transported into a Hollywood Hills mansion in a matter of minutes then turn the corner into the halls of Beverly Hills High School was nothing short of magic. If you’re a fan of Gilmore Girls or Friends you’ll especially love the set visit to Central Perk and Stars Hollow. Fair warning, it doesn’t quite have the same pizzazz without the set design for Luke’s Diner.
189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles
Cards on the table, this is a glorified outdoor mall and a tourist attraction. It’s still, however, incredibly charming with its jazz music playing throughout, as a double-decker rail-line comes dinging its way down the street. I enjoyed my time waiting for a friend with a swirl of Halo Top soft-serve, Pumpkin Spice, watching the fountain play and the people walk by. Don’t forget to stop by the food market where you can try a variety of delicious dishes without making your group choose one.
Laguna Beach Day Trip
When my friend had suggested a trip up the coast to visit the town of my MTV childhood dreams, my 13-year-old heart jumped at the idea. Little did I know that this coastal California town is a cultural hub hosting the Festival of Arts and the Laguna College of Art and Design. As I walked down the streets, everything so perfectly staged from the Spanish Revival architecture to the beautiful winding trees, I felt more like I was in a Nancy Meyers film than real life. Unfortunately, we arrived later in the afternoon but I was still able to do a little shopping at
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