If you’re planning a vacation
to Los Angeles, consider skipping the celebrity home tour and the Walk of Fame and experience LA like a local instead. This tourist trap-free list will get you started on a memorable trip to the City of Angels.
Start The Morning Right
Skip the continental breakfast at your hotel and head to Daybreaker instead, a morning dance party that takes place early on a weekday morning and is popular amongst LA’s creative community as an alternative to pre-work coffee. Sign up at dybrkr.com to get the announcement for when and where the next event will be held, and make sure to pack your dancing shoes.
Enjoy A Tasty Brunch
It might be a trope, but it’s also a necessity. To truly feel the local weekend buzz, seek out the nearby go-to spot for mimosas and eggs benedict. Wood Spoon in downtown provides Brazilian fare and sangrias in a spot that looks like your favorite great aunt’s house that she hasn’t updated since the 1970s. Get to Barbrix in Silver Lake if you want to snag a table and the $5 bottomless mimosas (and trust me, you do).
Wood Spoon, 107 West 9th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Barbrix, 2442 Hyperion Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Get Your Swing On
Leave Los Angeles with memories and a brand new skill, Lindy Hop. Dax and Sarah at the Lindy Loft will offer you a fun evening, from beginner group sessions, swing nights with a tutorial and live band or private lessons. Get in tune with classic swing tunes and take in the city from their window-filled downtown loft equipped with spring loaded wood floors.
Lindy Loft, 560 South Main Street, Unit 9N, Los Angeles, CA
Grab Dinner And Drinks With A View
The view from the Ace Hotel’s downtown location may be famous amongst the Instagram set, but it’s not the only charming rooftop accompanied by tasty drinks that make it so great. Perch also provides fabulous dining in a gorgeous atmosphere, make a reservation if you want to dine. When you enter the building at ground level, look for the bird icons to help direct your way.
Perch, 448 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA
While Melrose Avenue may be known for its vintage stores, there’s another game in town that’s perfect for your old school shopping needs. Long Beach’s 4th Street Retro Row offers everything you need for a fabulous afternoon in an easily walkable block. Start with coffee from Portfolio or a cold pressed juice at Salud, search through the 1950s treasure trove at Meow or the hipster gear at La Bomba, stop for a movie break at the Art Theatre, pick up some Long Beach gear at Port and end the evening with Mexican food at Lola’s or a drink from 4th & Vine.
Long Beach Retro Row, 4th Street between Junipero Avenue and Cherry Avenue, Long Beach, CA
Snag Some Deals
There are many, many places to shop in LA, but there isn’t an experience that can match Santee Alley. Found in the midst of the wild Fashion District, it’s a hotspot for shoppers looking for good deals on trendy items (particularly if you’re interested in fake designer goods). Make sure to bring cash, since many vendors do not accept credit cards. If you’re feeling hungry and brave, try one of the bacon-wrapped hot dogs topped with salsa from a curbside stand.
Santee Alley, 210 East Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Wander Off The Beaten Path
LA is known for its size and incredibly diverse neighborhoods, and there’s one you might miss but shouldn’t: Koreatown. Los Angeles has the largest population of Koreans outside of Seoul, which means you’re going to find some of the most authentic Asian food offerings around (and you want Korean barbeque, trust me). This neighborhood is also a rising star in the trendy drinking and late night eats scene; if you’re interested in a night out, this is your spot.
Koreatown, Los Angeles, CA
When the day starts to end, there’s nothing quite like starting up a beach bonfire and watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean. Head to Dockweiler Beach early in the day (a necessity if you want to secure a bonfire ring) and enjoy an afternoon of waves and sunbeams. When dusk settles, bring out the wood, a little lighter fluid and some matches, and break out the hotdogs and marshmallows. Everything tastes better when cooked over an open fire.
Dockweiler State Beach, 12000 Vista del Mar, Playa del Rey, CA
Spend a Night at the Museum
Spend a Night at the Museum
Museums are a classic choice of most metropolitan vacation destinations, but for a new take on the old standard, ditch the regular operating hours. The Getty Museum hosts evening lectures for a low ticket price that offer a whole new experience. It is particularly lovely to visit the Villa on these evenings, since the galleries remain open after usual visiting hours, allowing you to wander through the antiquities without the crowds.
Getty Villa, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, CA