I love L.A, and have had some incredible times there – so I thought it was about time that I´d round up all my favourite things about the city! I only just came back from L.A the other week, and prior to going, I always do an up to date research (yes, I´m one of those with an itinerary with pages of stuff to do!); be it from reading other blogs, stalking favourite Instagram accounts, or asking local friends and acquaintances for all the insider knowledge (in other words, I never rely on Tripadvisor). Here are all my top favourites, from where I like to eat, hotels I like to stay at, best bars, what I like to see, where I like to shop…
I had the pleasure of travelling with Mr & Mrs Smith, the go-to website for one of the world´s top curated selection of hotels – from super high-end properties, to smaller, more boutique hotels. It´s the best website for it, and I was so excited heading to L.A and staying at one of their properties, SIXTY Beverly Hills. The location was perfect for us and where we needed to be that week (although it was dangerously close to all the expensive shopping on Rodeo Drive!). We love hanging down by the beach in Venice and Santa Monica, however we tend to prefer staying more central in Beverly Hills or West Hollywood. Although you still kind of have to get a car everywhere (one of the main things that still bugs me about this city); it is still possible to walk short distances around here (or Uber´s are dirt cheap). We just generally prefer the vibe here, with so many amazing places to eat, shop, workout, etc. It´s also in the middle of everything; so a lot easier to get around everywhere.
The food scene in L.A is incredible. From super healthy, to all indulgent; I have had some of my favourite meals in this city. The variety is endless and the choice is never-ending – hence why I struggled to compile this particular category. However, these are the ones that really stick out for me and that I keep coming back to, time after time… Bon appetite!
Urth Caffé: With several locations spread all across L.A, this healthy(ish) café with delicious smoothies and supersize salads is a safe bet.
Acai Nation: The best Acai bowls in town, as well as other yummy juices and healthy snacks.
The Springs: This plant based kitchen and juice bar, is a vegan/veggie dream spot.
Cafe Gratitude: A small chain of restaurants serving organic, plant-based food – located across L.A. Simple, tasty and super healthy.
By Chloe: The most Instagrammable spot located in Siverlake – with handmade vegan burgers, baked fries & dairy-free ice cream. YUM!
Butcher’s Daughter: Best brunch in town, located on the super hip Abbot Kinney (also a must-visit). Their gluten-free pancakes and eggs are to-die-for.
Salt & Straw: The best ice-cream in town. Enough said.
Joan´s on Third: One of my all-time go-to lunch spots located on a favourite shopping street of mine. Their salad bar and deli counter is delicious, with lots of healthy juices and (not so healthy) sweet treats. Seat yourself in for some serious people watching at this super casual spot.
Gjelina: Another popular eatery, located on Venice hot spot Abbot Kinney. Brace yourself for long queues (especially during brunch time), and when you get in there, make sure you ask for a terrace seating! It´s worth the wait.
Rose Café: Another Venice hot spot worth a visit. This boho-chic all-day eatery with two patios, a bar & a bakery, serves rustic, Californian grub.
Bottega Louie: It might be a bit out of the way, being located Downtown, but the journey will 100% be worth it. Another popular and Instagrammable spot; serving the most mouthwatering pizzas, pastas & small plates (you have to try their Portobello Fries!) – not to mention their ridiculously delicious patisserie and signature macaroons.
Grand Central Market: This is a food court out of every foodie’s dreams and an absolute must-do. My personal favourites are Eggslut, Sticky Rice, Wexler’s Deli, and Press Brothers Juice.
Whole Foods: When in doubt, Wholefoods is always a safe bet, especially if you’re on the go – with a salad and hot counter, fresh juices, smoothies and snacks.
The Tasting Kitchen: A hip and inventive Mediterranean spot in Venice, popular for cocktails and brunch during the weekends.
Verve: A favourite downtown juice and coffee bar with so many vegan treat options! I could live off of their salted chocolate tart.
Alfred Coffee: A great spot located on Melrose Place, with great coffee and cakes (a perfect pick me up in-between all the shopping).
Son of a Gun: Get the lobster roll. You won’t be disappointed.
Gracias Madre: Vegan Mexican food – and by far, my favourite restaurant in L.A, open for all-day dining. I love coming her for pre-dinner cocktails in the bar, before heading outside in their dreamy courtyard for dinner (their nachos and guacamole is the BEST).
Polo Lounge at Beverly Hills Hotel: Set at the classic Beverly Hills Hotel – this art deco eatery offers refined Californian cuisine and a Sunday jazz brunch. Love the old school vibe here.
The Ivy: A celeb hot-spot, but nevertheless a must-visit – their lobster and Cob Salad is scrumptious!
Republique: A modern French bakery and restaurant, this place has arguably the best brunch and all day breakfast in L.A.
Koi: Great sushi, great cocktails – a solid choice if you love Asian food.
El Cholo: Their tacos and toasted coconut margaritas are a must! Low key and casual.
Spago: Founded by celeb chef Wolfgang Puck – this buzzy, sleek bistro in the heart of Beverly Hills offers creative, locally sourced Californian cuisine.
Ysabel: A popular hot spot for cocktails and contemporary American cuisine – set within a fairy lit midcentury-modern space with a patio.
Nobu Matsuhisa: The original Nobu, located in a dimly lit small restaurant; but don’t be fooled by the low-key setting. The sushi here is first class.
Nobu Malibu: A classic spot located on the beach in Malibu. Make sure you book in advance, ask for a table on the terrace and prepare to eat some seriously good grub (their Black Cod is an absolute must).
Cecconis: Amazing Italian food (especially the pasta), and a stunning restaurant situated right on Melrose Avenue. Although its a hot spot, it´s still a relatively casual and laid back atmosphere.
Providence: Fancy food with a 12 course menu and wine pairing. If you’ve got the time (and the money), I would recommend this as a special treat! The restaurant setting itself is nothing spectacular, but the food is divine.
Bestia: Located downtown in the Arts District, this is a great rustic spot created by an acclaimed husband-&-wife team – serving up creative seasonal Italian grub. Book well in advance!
Kreation Organic: Cold-pressed juices, salads, wraps and tasty snacks for on-the-go.
Soho House West Hollywood: A member´s only spot, but if you can get in – their restaurant views over L.A are first class (and the food is always good).
Although there are tons of bars and clubs in L.A – it´s not really a place you come to party hard. The healthy Californian lifestyle and good weather, spurs everyone to focus more on fitness and healthy living; hence why where everyone seems to hike, go to SoulCycle or Equinox, hanging in juice bars and go surfing by the beach. In other words, one of the main reasons I love coming here so much! However, L.A does have some great hotel rooftop hot spots and restaurants bars that I love. These are the ones that made the mark…
The Hollywood Roosevelt: This iconic spot is oozing of old school Hollywood Glamour dating from back in the 20s. Grab a drink in the bar and sit around the ground floor pool bar.
Gracias Madre: As well as being my favourite restaurant in L.A – this place does some seriously good Tequila cocktails!
Bar Marmont: Great for late night drinking and dancing.
Ace Hotel: A hipster spot located in Downtown L.A with a killer rooftop bar and nice tunes.
Soho House: If you’re a member (or know someone who is), try to get into this Hollywood hot spot. The views of L.A are insane, the nighttime athmosphere is electric, yet super relaxed and casual. My all-time favourite.
Soho House Malibu: Newly lanched, and impossible to get into (even for members), but if you do happen to luck out (as we did) – this is something else. Situated beside Nobu and literally right on the beach; have a Soho Mule on their outside terrace or rooftop, whilst overlooking the ocean (and some serious celeb spotting).
Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge: Pop by in the afternoon for a glass (or two) of Bellinis and nibbles. A classic and picturesque setting taking you back to old-school Hollywood Glamour.
The Palihouse: A casual spot, I love their courtyard for al fresco afternoon cocktails and wine.
W Hotel: Renowned for it´s rooftop and bustling atmosphere, this Beverly Hills hotspot is a definite must if you’re with a group of girlfriends!
Catch: After all the hype in New York, Catch finally arrived to L.A – and although I didn’t personally make it there this time, I have heard it´s pretty incredible, and can’t wait to check out their rooftop bar when I´m next in town!
Shutters on the Beach: A 5-star hotel in Santa Monica, with 5-star views of the beach. Elegant and sophisticated, settle in a for the afternoon with a bottle of rosé, watching the sun go down.
There are so many diverse and great shopping spots in L.A – from high class designer on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills – to more contemporary and luxe in Melrose Place, vintage around Fairfax and Venice, boutique and more accessible on Abbot Kinney… Although I generally prefer the more accessible shopping in London – L.A does that have some great spots, and I love the ultra casual, yet luxe Cali vibe. Here are some of my go-to spots.
Melrose Avenue: A really (really) long street housing everything from Reformation, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, to luxury vintage and interior design stores (not to mention lots of great coffee shops and restaurants). I tend to walk this strip, which is pretty long – but if you have the time, it´s worth the visit.
Melrose Place: This spot is tucked away just off Melrose Avenue, and is one of the most picturesque and dreamy shopping streets I have ever come across – filled with lots of trees and greenery. I also like that it´s not very long, which makes it more manageable – and it houses some of the best high-end and contemporary and designers you could want – from Isabel Marant, Equipment, The Row, Chloé, Marc Jacobs…
Melrose Trading Post and Rose Bowl Flea: For all the treasure hunters, L.A have two of the most amazing flea markets I have ever been to. Every Sunday you can find the hidden gems at the Melrose Trading Post and on the first Sunday of every month get lost in a sea of magic at the Rose Bowl Flea.
The Grove: This super touristy and man-made outside mall can get very crowded, but swing by in the early morning to beat the crowds, and go crazy in their wide array of department stores and high street shopping.
Abbott Kinney: Not only does this street in Venice host some of my favourite eateries, it´s also got some great shopping – from vintage, local designers, to favourites such as Maje, Sandro and Iro.
West 3rd Street: This is my go-to for for contemporary designer and local boutique shopping – from Anine Bing, small jewellery brands, designer vintage…
Beverly Connection: Located right by West 3rd Street – this is a huge shopping mall (if you ever get bored and it´s too hot outside). Across the road from the mall, you´ll find a cluster of department store outlets – such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, TJ Maxx (this part is my favourite – you can pick up some great steals here).
Sunset Junction in Silverlake: One of the “hippest” areas and spots in L.A, this great little neighborhood has the cutest little shops and coffee spots, such as Intelligentsia, Clementine Floral works, The Cheese Store of Silver Lake, Mohawk General Store, Sunset Nursery, and La County Store.
Rodeo Drive: This is the crème de la crème for designer shopping (remember that scene in Pretty Woman where they refuse to serve her?). This glamorous strip has it all; from Chanel, Tom Ford, Gucci… I don´t tend to shop all that much here, but it´s great for window shopping and some serious people watching!
Beverly Drive & Canon Drive: These two parallel strips minutes away from Rodeo Drive, houses more affordable brands, such as Lululemon, AllSaints, COS, James Perse, & Other Stories… More up my street, in other words.
Wilshire Boulevard: With Saks Fifth Avenue and Barney´s right beside each other – prepare to get lost in these iconic (and stunning) department stores.
We stayed at SIXTY Beverly Hills this time around. The location was spot on for us, and the rooftop pool with those killer views, was the main selling point for us.
Other great hotels include:
The London: Located in the centre of West Hollywood, with incredible views of the city and a great rooftop pool/bar area. Modern and luxurious decor, with top class service.
The Beverly Hills Hotel: Also known as the ‘Pink Palace’, this iconic 5-star hotel located in the heart of Beverly Hills is famous for their legendary service and legendary guests. Old-school at it´s best.
Chateau Marmont: Luxurious hotel suites, cottages and bungalows located in West Hollywood. An elegant and timeless celeb hot spot.
Viceroy Santa Monica: A stunning seaside boutique hotel located in the heart of Santa Monica with airy and fresh rooms.
Sunset Tower Hotel: An iconic hotel from the 20s still as classically elegant as ever, with a gorgeous Hollywood Hills-view pool to retreat by.
The Standard Downtown: A metropolitan, modern and bright happening boutique hotel with a rooftop pool and outdoor lounge bar.
Palihouse Santa Monica: A homely 1920s manor, blocks away from the beach! What more do you want?
There is SO much you can do in L.A – from surfing, hiking, shopping, eating, exploring all the many hoods and hot spots, checking out the various food and farmers markets, working out, go on a road trip, hanging out in the arts district, chilling on the beach… Here are the things I love to do when I come to the city.
Go hiking: I love hiking in L.A – which has become somewhat of a ritual to kill the jet lag! It´s the best way to start the day, an escape from the city – with killer sunrise (or sunset) views. I love hiking up Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park and Observatory.
Larchmont Village: One of my favourite areas in L.A, with the prettiest little high street and a great selection of boutique shops. Swing by during the weekend when their popular Farmers Market is on!
The Beach: Because it’s Los Angeles, and there’s a beach. Some of my favorite beaches include Malibu Beach, El Matador, and Point Dumas. They’re a bit more off the main path, are usually less crowded, and the settings are just beautiful.
Mulholland Drive: Drive up to this spot for the best views of the Hollywood sign, and for some serious house spotting!
Watch movies in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery: Come see your favorite films on the big screen – pack yourself some dinner and drinks to bring along while watching classics like “The Godfather” or “Pretty in Pink”.
Bicycle from Santa Monica to Venice: One of my favourite things to do is heading down to Santa Monica, hire some bikes (it´s dirt cheap) and go cruising all the way along to Venice Beach. Then head on up to Abbott Kinney for some lunch and spot of shopping.
Venice Canals: Don’t miss this picturesque spot when in Venice, walking along this pretty canal strip, looking at all the cute little houses.
The Getty Villa: Jump in your car and head on over to the southerly end of the Malibu coast in the Pacific Palisades neighbourhood, and get lost in the study of arts and cultures of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan history. Not to mention, this villa has pretty amazing views of the coast line, with nearby hikes and trails.
The Arts District: This part is relatively new to me, but it´s got some great galleries and museums such as MOCA (The Museum of Contemporary ARTI) and various antique and interior shops.
Explore the coast: From San Diego, to Santa Barbara and Laguna Beach – there are some great day trips you can take, if you fancy an escape from the city!