Greetings from the Entertainment Capitol of the World! Los Angeles is known for celebrity sitings, swaying palm trees, studio lot tram rides and activity laden piers. And while I agree that a trip to So Cal would be incomplete without a healthy exploration of the tourist traps, there is much more to Los Angeles than what fits in your travel pamphlet.
For the purpose of this insiders guide to exploring LA as an angeleno, I will assume you have already taken your hop-on-hop-off tour and checked off ‘standing on the Elvis star’ and ‘noshing on a hotdog from Pink’s’. Let me further surmise you have strolled Venice beach to buy some hemp jewelry and embarked on the VIP tour of Paramount studios. Excellent. Now return your convertible mustang, put away your celeb hungry cameras, trade in your ‘I Love LA’ tshirt for some vintage threads on Melrose and let’s see what this city of Angels is really all about, shall we?
We will wake up early, stop for bobas at Urth Cafe and take off down the Pacific Coast Highway for Zuma Beach. After a healthy dose of wave catching, it is a quick stop at Reel-Infor the freshest fish tacos in the world, and maybe a perfectly crafted bloody mary at Geoffrey’s for the view. Then we will lace up our running shoes, take a picture under the “Beware, Rattlesnakes!” sign and hike up a 2 mile loop of Pacific Palisades. Of course to reward ourselves, we will stop for a small froyo at Toppings on the way back to the hotel.
Where are you staying you ask? Well, if you are looking for a reasonably priced room that screams quintessential Hollywood, The Roosevelt still gets me. Alright, I know.. this is supposed to be an insider’s guide, and any travel book will list the iconic hotel in their pages… but I am a sucker for the romance and history of the Roosey. Something about sitting by the pool envisioning Marilyn leaning over her balcony laughing and waving leaves me with a nostalgia for the glamour of old Hollywood. The Roosevelt has something for every guest, from Spare Room Bar with a private bowling alley and perfectly hand-crafted Moscow Mules to the club Beacher’s Madhouse with outrageous variety acts and midgets zipping overhead to deliver bottle service. Other safe hotel bets are The London, The Thompson Beverly Hills and The SLS, all with gorgeous rooftop pools. Of course, if you have some extra spending money splurge on Chateau Marmont or The Beverly Hills Hotel. Either way, the L.A. hotel scene leaves little to be desired. Pool parties galore, fabulous brunches and mouth watering steak houses, celebrity sitings, breathtaking views, posh lounges, world class spas… not to mention the walls are dripping with juicy Hollywood secrets!
So back to whichever hotel tickles your fancy to change and relax before a big night out. We will head to the rooftop of Mastros in Beverly Hills for a seafood tower and martinis (alright, and a filet & buttercake). And then it is up to you. If you are feeling a bar scene, maybe we can head to Hemmingways or No Vacancy… or venture into West Hollywood to hit the gay bars. More up for a club? Depending on the night and who is djing, we could end up anywhere from Hyde Sunset to a Warehouse Downtown. Maybe house music isn’t your thing? We can always stop by the iconic Whiskey a Go Go or check out who is playing at The Hollywood Bowl. Got a few suppressed dreams of stardom? Well then, of course we’re heading right to Koreatown to live out your wildest karaoke fantasies. Or even a night of comedy at The Laugh Factory or seeing a theatre show at one of the 80, yes 80, stage theaters throughout Los Angeles. The possibilities are endless… and I know I said it’s up to you, but for me, the perfect night starts with a look at www.timeoutla.com to see what kind of outdoor events, festivals and movie screenings might be taking place. Outdoor free concert on the sand below the Santa Monica pier anyone? Or a picnic & movie at Hollywood Forever Cemetery? Well, now, it doesn’t get much more LA than that.
By now you have realized just how expansive Los Angeles really is… and we haven’t even made it downtown! The beauty about being an L.A. local is that this is a city that constantly reinvents itself, helping keep even the most wander-lustful entertained. Between the variety of neighborhoods filled with hidden gem restaurants to the over abundance of world class dining choices, your palate will always be satiated here. You can thrift shop on Melrose or browse Badgley Mischka on Rodeo Drive. Go Horseback riding by the Hollywood sign or sailing out of Marina del Rey. And the list goes on. And on. I could write an encyclopedia size travel book on L.A. my way… and it would be completely different than another locals. As a tourist (or even as a local!), you could never ‘conquer’ Los Angeles, but that was not my intention when mapping out our day. Instead, I hope that after our day together you feel the enthusiasm of LA mantra ‘the land of dreams’ and gain insight into the rich diversity of the city I call home.
Check me out exploring my town: