EL-AYYYY. What’s up, Los Angeles.
Parts of LA present me with a familiarity of which I feel in my hometown Sydney, Australia. Huge: a city of culturally diverse neighbourhoods. The weather: balmy Californian days and crisp cool evenings. The spaciousness and open skies. I liked LA. I liked it a lot.
If it’s your first time to LA and want to know where to chill out, scroll down for a 48 hour itinerary covering some of this eclectic city’s best. Unique must try food? Rockin’ art galleries? A cool neighbourhood off the tourist track swimming in boutiques? Dive bars where locals gather? Yes, yes, yes! And of course a sprinkle of hot tourist sights, because I get it, you want to feel like you’ve visited LA. These two days will do you justice.
- Devour a vegetable-centric breakfast at Commissary set in a greenhouse beside a shimmering pool.
- After breakfast, head over to The Broad, Downtown, a contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists.
- Fully satisfy your art cravings at LACMA, the largest art museum on the West Coast. There’s seasonal free live jazz outside the grand entrance. Locals would bring their picnic mats and BYO wine.
- It’s undoubtedly wine o’clock after all this thought-penetrating stuff. Catch a happy hour at Ray’s & Stark Bar and indulge in a Mediterranean affair.
- Following lunch, explore the edgy, urban neighbourhood of Silverlake. (Places of interest: Intelligentsia Coffee for as the name suggests, Nature Well for organic afternoon treats, Dust Muffin for quirky home goods, Ragg Mopp for vintage steals and both the Silverlake Flea and Farmers Market)
- Walking distance from Silverlake is Echo Park. You must find the Oaxacan Quesadilla Cart for a freshly made cheesy chicharron quesadilla. Just one lady in a roadside cart working her magic (usually) between 10am-6pm. Nom nom nom!
- Once you’re happily satisfied, go small bar hopping at Echo Park. On Saturday nights, there’s raw funky soul music at Funky Sole, The Echo. If catching live local indie gigs is your thing, head back to Silverlake and chill at The Sattelite. On Saturday nights here, there’s also the laid-back dance party Dance Yourself Clean, i.e. no bottle-service and much less intense than an underground warehouse rave.
- Have breakfast at Grand Central Market. A must try is practically everything from Egg Slut. Like the seared wagyu tri-tip steak burger with runny, saucy eggs and chimichurri in a warm brioche bun. Oh. My. God. Alternatively, grab the meanest cheese toastie from DTLA Cheese.
- After your belly’s full, explore mile-long Abbot Kinney Boulevard for seemingly never-ending darling fashion and art boutiques just minutes from Venice Beach. It’s all stylish meets wellness. I adored TOMS, a multi-concept store serving good coffee and clothing, who give back to the community.
- It’s TACO TIME! For lunch, dive into famous chef Roy Choi’s colourful Caribbean cookshop, Sunny Spot. Alternatively, grab a no frills $2 fish taco from plentiful street vendors on the beach.
- Hire a bicycle for a couple of hours from Venice Beach and ride down The Venice Beach Boardwalk to Santa Monica and back. Gorgeous sunsets. Oh, if you have room, squeeze in an Anthony Bourdain approved Japadog on the Santa Monica Pier. That is, Japanese inspired hot dogs. Seriously.
- Dinner awaits at lovely Gjelina also on Abbot Kinney. Seasonal New American cuisine in a rustic chic dining space. However, their next door take out joint offering ginormous gourmet pizzas will do you just fine.
- After dinner, take in an LA night breeze over cocktails surrounded by city lights at Moroccon-inspired The Upstairs Bar, The Ace Hotel.
- Wrap up your 48 hours under a blanket of Californian stars and palpable LA dreams at lookout point The Griffith Observatory. It’s on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood. You know the one, those iconic giant white letters.
HOW TO GET AROUND
The locals tell me public transport in Los Angeles is unreliable and extremely slow. Traffic and parking in LA can also be difficult if you’ve hired a car and are unfamiliar with its roads. To get around efficiently, I found the best way to get around was via Uber.