Los Angeles is a destination where there’s much more than meets the eye. During my stay I was fortunate enough to immerse myself in the city – based out of the ever trendy Silverlake, a neighbourhood I completely fell in love with, and only a 20 minute drive to both West Hollywood and DTLA (if traffic is working in your favour). I booked a sunset rooftop yoga class in DTLA (thanks to Air BNB) to break through my jetlag, where you’re watching the countless planes take off and land, whilst holding your downward dog.
There’s a general misconception that LA isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – I tend to disagree. I find it rare to meet someone as passionate about this city as I am. I love the sunshine, the tacos, the green juices and of course the beach. What I love most about LA is the abundant creative energy of the city and its people, whether you overhear conversations in Intelligentsia Coffee, drive the freeways with a constantly changing backdrop – it’s a city full of diversity and extremes where creativity is embraced, people are passionate and the food is damn good.
Silverlake is an eclectic, fashionable neighbourhood which moves at a different pace to other parts of LA. Start your walk around the intersection of Sunset Blvd., and Santa Monica near Intelligentsia. Food options are varied, with pretty much anything you could want; from Mexican, Japanese, local Californian to Italian (see recommendations at end of article). On Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings is the openair Silverlake Farmers Market, just East of Sunset Junction, selling local produce and vintage clothes. Continuing down Sunset you’ll find stores like A.P.C., Mollusk Surf and RETROSUPERFUTURE (a personal favourite of mine).
One thing I love about Silverlake is the beauty you find when you’re least expecting it – there are hidden staircases all over the neighbourhood, covered by gorgeous overhanging greenery. Esther’s Stairs was close to where I was staying and perfect for a morning workout. Don’t be fooled, they’re steep, but a rad way to explore the hilly streets. While you’re exploring, be sure to keep your eyes peeled – I came across a great book swap shelf that I think epitomises the little things that really drew me to the area.
Brace yourself for a freeway drive, (nerve wracking at first but great fun) and head down to Venice Beach. Abbot Kinney is where it’s at, with food trucks, health food cafes and local designer stores. Head to Gjusta for lunch, an artisanal bakery in a stunning warehouse space, like a foodhall crossed with a deli. Be prepared, the line is long so grab a number and wait it out – trust me, it’ll take you that long to decide what to order between the varieties of smoked fish and slabs of meat ready to be made into sandwiches. Grab a spot in their sweet little courtyard, and when you’re finished – hit the beach.
Yes, unfortunately you do need a car to get around. The lack of public transport available in Los Angeles is my only qualm.
Get your art fix at The Broad, book in advance, and check out the Disney Concert Hall while you’re there.
My suggestions are Silverlake heavy, as this is where I was based, with a few Venice, Downtown and WeHo favourites in there too.
Intelligentsia – daily brews and pastries, relaxed yet always busy, 3922 Sunset Blvd.
Dinosaur Coffee – chilled out, 4334 Sunset Blvd.
Verve Coffee – serves nitrobrews and alike, and has outdoor patio, sophisticated, 8925 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood.
Trois Familias – Mexican, French and Californian fusion. 3510 Sunset Blvd.
Palazzo Gelato – Locally sourced ingredients, seasonal flavours. 3827 Sunset Blvd.
Forage – Seasonal, locally sourced Californian. 3823 Sunset Blvd.
Kettle Black – Pizza and pasta, 3705 Sunset Blvd.
El Condor – Fun and chilled out Mexican, 3701 Sunset Blvd.
Kombu Sushi – The best Japanese I’ve had outside of Japan, 3719 Sunset Blvd.
Bowery Bungalow – North African, Mediterranean inspired, 4156 Santa Monica Blvd.
The Black Cat – Gastropub and bar, serving small plates and happy hour, 3909 Sunset Blvd.
Grand Central Market – Too much to list, but a must see/do. 317 S Broadway, Downtown.
E.P. & L.P.s – South East Asian dining hall and rooftop bar, rooftop cinema, 603 La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood.
Gjusta – Artisanal bakery in warehouse space, deli and café. 320 Sunset Ave., Venice.
Work up a sweat climbing the hidden stairs exploring Silverlake,
Hike the Hollywood sign via Mount Lee Drive,
Cycle along the beach (head South to Hermosa Beach).
Book a trip, pack me in your suitcase and we’ll hang out!