I’ve lived in Los Angeles for just over four years now and I know that I have not seen everything that it can offer. Luckily in the time I have been here, I’ve able to get a true local feel and experience some really great restaurants and bars, lounge on the finest beaches and hike some intense hills. Here I share with you a “mixed sample” of what I have discovered.
N I G H T L I F E
La Descarga, East Hollywood
A 1940’s Cuban themed Cigar and Cocktail Lounge. Begin walking through a secret wardrobe entrance. Thursday through Saturdays they have live music and burlesque dancers on an above balcony. Have a fancy cocktail and watch the show, or have a seat in the cigar lounge and light one up.
The Blind Barber, Culver City
A Barbershop in the day time, speakeasy lounge in the night. You’ll have to walk through the barbershop to get to the downstairs lounge. During the week it’s pretty calm, best for a casual dinner or drink. On the weekends, it can get pretty packed with a live DJ and plenty of dancing.
Break Room 87, Koreatown
An all out 80’s themed Speakeasy! First you’ll walk through a vending machine to get down to the bar. Second, you’ll pass the wall of cassette tapes, classic arcade games, old time TV’s and speakers before you head to the dance floor where the DJ is playing your favorite 80’s music.
Good Times at Davey Waynes, Hollywood
Taking you back to the 70’s. Another cool entrance where you’ll walk through a refrigerator to get to the bar. The decor inside looks a bit like something from “That ’70s show”. The “backyard” has a patio, hammock chairs and an airstream bar serving alcohol infused snow cones… yep alcoholic snow cones.
Black Rabbit Rose, Hollywood
Split into two sections (both equally great), restaurant and theatre. The restaurant serves up Thai food bites and fancy cocktails (my fav has activated charcoal in it). The other is the theatre featuring a Magic Show not only with Magicians but Burlesque dancers and Illusionists.
For tickets and more info visit here: Black Rabbit Rose Theatre
Perch, Downtown LA
A french restaurant located on a rooftop in Downtown LA, serving up the most incredible views of the city. It’s worth it even to just go up for a drink and check out the beautiful LA sights.
Sugarfish, Marina Del Rey
Top notch sushi restaurant. If you’re brave enough, order the “Trust Me” and let the sushi masters serve you up plate after plate of delicious sushi.
Opaque, Santa Monica
Dining in the dark. The actual dark. You will be led into a pitch black dining room, holding on to the shoulder of the person in front of you . The chefs will serve you up their choice of appetizer, entree and dessert based upon your likes and dislikes (which you tell them beforehand). The food is delicious and the temporary loss of sight with heighten your other senses giving it an all out dining experience.
Forma, Santa Monica
For the cheese lovers. (ME!) Not only do they offer up a full page menu of fresh cheeses to choose from but some of their pasta is finished and tossed in a giant cheese wheel.
Malibu Farms, Malibu
Delicious Farm to table food. Located on the Malibu Pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You’ll be interested in food you never knew you liked, ehem Cauliflower Mash and Beet Salad.
Trejo’s Tacos, Mid City
Founded by Danny Trejo himself and inspired by his mother, Trejo’s Tacos offers up a variety of steak, chicken, shrimp, salmon, vegan and more…. They have it all.
The locals do it too
No visit is complete without seeing the Hollywood Sign. Luckily there are several options of getting there. You can see the sign from the road buuut why not see it from a hike? Check out this link for several options and different point of views to hike and see the sign.
Explore the Saddleback Ranch and Malibu Vineyard. You’ll take an adventure on a Safari vehicle and make stops along the way to enjoy the scenery, wine taste and catch sightings of Zebras, Camels, Alpacas, Bison, and Giraffes.
Pop up shops
Instagrammable pop up shops are “popping” up everywhere. (Get it?) First there was the Museum of Ice Cream, a dreamy place where you can swim in a pool of sprinkles and eat ice cream. Then Candytopia appeared, think Willy Wonka or a giant marshmallow pool. These are all the rage so keep an eye out for them when you are visiting.
Next level movie viewing. Enjoy a classic like “The Breakfast Club” or modern hit like “Lady Bird” on the top of a rooftop. Don’t worry, it rarely rains here.
For the Ocean View you are dying to see. (Medium Difficulty, 3 miles)
For the infamous Hollywood Sign (Medium Difficulty, 1-3 miles)
For the Mountain Views and City Escape. (Medium-Hard, 5+ miles)
Rent a car: LA is huge
Uber/Lyft:Depending on where are you going, parking can be tough to find and/or expensive. You can catch an Uber from literally anywhere, they are all over LA at all times of the day. Pricing ranges from $5 and up but you can save by choosing the Carpool. FYI: Prices are higher during busy times and can cost anywhere between $20-60 if you are traveling a distance. (i.e. Hollywood to Santa Monica.)
The Lightrail- Traveling between Santa Monica to Downtown LA? You can jump on the Lightrail and avoid the traffic.
The buses- If you are on a budget and not on a time crunch taking the Metro is always a good option.