Travel Guide: The Best of Los Angeles

LA travel guide
Photo via @catherinepdv

Practically perfect year-round weather, seaside views, and access to both city and nature are just a few things that make Los Angeles so great. Although I’m a New Yorker at heart, LA has always captivated me – and my best friend Samantha recently decamped from New York City after ten years to return home to her native Beverly Hills. I just returned from visiting her for five days and thought I’d share some of my favorite LA spots! The numerous restaurants, bars, hotels, and attractions will keep you busy and excited to see more. If you’re planning on visiting for the first time or are simply looking for new places to explore, I’m confident this well-curated list will help you kick off your must epic LA itinerary yet.


Stay

Shutters On the Beach

Santa Monica

For those dreaming of a beachfront escape, the desirable atmosphere at Shutters On the Beach is just for you. With white sand, crashing waves, and classic Southern California palm trees surrounding the relaxing enclave, you’ll achieve all of your LA dreams without even leaving the hotel’s property. Treat yourself at the spa or lounge poolside as you take in the view. This stunning spot is ideal for special occasions, a girls trip getaway, or a bachelorette party.

LA travel guide
Photo via @shuttersca

The NoMad

Downtown LA

If you’re looking for an experience that’s less focused on the beach, book a stay at the NoMad, which is in the center of the city. Each room is decorated with custom-designed furnishings and several feature a freestanding bathtub that’s perfect for a quick dip. The rooftop pool offers sweeping views of the downtown Los Angeles skyline and is complete with an outdoor cafe, cocktail bar, and lush landscaping.

LA Travel Guide
Photo via @thenomadhotel

Sunset Tower Hotel

West Hollywood

Perhaps the most Pinterest-worthy of them all, the Sunset Tower Hotel boasts of Hollywood glamour. In a neighborhood known for its famed Sunset Strip, you’ll find yourself within walking distance of the elaborate mansions, fine dining, and high-end shops in both Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Sam and I have stayed in the Townhouse Suite (pictured below) before, which is set up as a split-level apartment complete with 20-foot-high ceilings, a living room, dining area, and outdoor terrace. Book in-room spa services or breakfast in bed to make the most of your stay.

LA travel guide


Eat & Drink

Brunch

République

Central LA

This LA favorite is just about as mouth-watering as it gets. The rustic vibe of République along with the plentiful menu options is what draws customers in. A special brunch menu featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients is offered on weekends. You won’t regret trying the ricotta toast or smoked salmon tartine.

LA Travel Guide
Photo via @republiquela

Otium

Downtown

Open brunch through dinner, try to snag a seat early and enjoy a mimosa, homemade pop-tarts, or biscuits and jam while you sit outside on the floral-filled patio. Diners love the stellar service and unique menu offerings. I’d suggest making reservations as it can get quite busy—especially on weekends.

LA Travel Guide
Photo via @otiumla

The Rose

Venice

Whether you’re in the mood to grab coffee and run or sit down for a meal, you’re sure to find something delectable at The Rose. Ask for seats in the beer garden or cozy up next to the 40-foot cocktail bar. If you’re unsure what to order, try the avocado toast or the buttermilk berry pancakes, which are two of the restaurants tastiest bites.

LA Travel Guide
Photo via @therosevenice

Drinks

The Tower Bar

West Hollywood

Located at the Sunset Tower Hotel, this elegant haven is the perfect place to wind down after a busy day. Sit on a pink suede sofa while you drink a glass of sauvignon blanc or opt for a peach Bellini on the outdoor terrace.

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Élphante

I couldn’t think of a better place to relax with a cold drink. Hang out on the ocean-view balcony as you sip on a shaken cocktail and treat yourself to seafood favorites like shrimp, calamari, or clams. Cheers!

LA travel guide
Photo via @elephante

Apothéke

Downtown

A craft cocktail menu, cozy little nooks, and a view of downtown LA makes this bar the ideal location to stargaze. Drinks aside, the bar also offers hands-on cocktail making classes hosted by expert mixologists. Sign up and join the fun!

LA travel guide
Photo via @apothekela

Dinner

Blue Plate Oysterette

Santa Monica

There’s no place better for oysters by the sea. This upscale crab shack brings East Coast favorites—like lobster rolls, fish n’ chips, and mussels—to one of the most popular neighborhoods in LA. Dozens of food and drink options make it the perfect place to share dinner as the sun sets.

LA travel guide
Photo via @blueplateoysterette

La Scala

Beverly Hills

Salads, pasta, pizza, paninis—every plate tastes like it’s made in Italy! With locations in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, this sweet spot is a favorite for visitors and locals alike. Scrumptious dishes, fair prices, and an inviting atmosphere will make you eager to return.

LA travel guide
Photo via La Scala

My Little Dumpling

West Hollywood

I was introduced to this restaurant by my friend Lizzie Mandler—who happens to be a jeweler on PDV—on my most recent LA trip. Lizzie’s dad opened the restaurant in February and I absolutely loved the design – and the food! People have raved about the polished decor (the family collaborated on it together) and unique variety of food. I ordered the french onion soup dumplings and was far more than impressed. I can’t wait to return!

The Ivy at the Shore

Santa Monica

If you’re the type of person who has trouble deciding on a cuisine, head to The Ivy at the Shore, which has something delicious to offer every guest. Their menu options range from shrimp tacos to pizza to steak—all with a New Orleans-style twist. Order the burrata and crab cakes to start your meal off right.

LA Travel guide
Photo via @ivyrestaurants

Do & See

Go Hiking

You can find hiking trails all along the Pacific Coast Highway whenever you’re in need of a fun workout or an active way to see California’s beauty. Some of the best oceanfront hiking spots include Los Liones Trail, Mulholland, and Solstice Canyon. For a hike with city views head to Runyon Canyon instead.

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Shop at The Grove

This popular shopping center is an attraction you don’t want to miss if you’re looking for an authentic LA experience. There’s so much to do at The Gove that it’s highly likely you’ll spend a big chunk of your day here. Catch a movie, go to happy hour, or window shop.

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Photo via @thegrovela

Take a Tour of the Stahl House

You might recognize this picturesque view from movies, but believe it or not, you can reserve tickets to take a tour of the modernist-style mansion. Snap a few photos and learn about the history of the house, which has been a Historic-Cultural Los Angeles landmark since 1999. Tickets sell fast, so be sure to book yours far in advance.

LA travel guide

Grab drinks in Malibu

A trip to LA wouldn’t be complete without a dreamy sunset drink in Malibu. There are so many good options along the PCH, like Nobu, Rosenthal, and V’s Restaurant and Bar. I recommend driving along until you find the spot best suited for you—trust me when I say that you can’t go wrong!

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Walk along Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Head home with more than just memories! The boutiques that line this mile-long boulevard feature local products that will remind you of sunny SoCal days long after your trip comes to an end. Located in Venice, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is close to LAX, making it the perfect place to stop right before you catch your flight.

LA travel guide
Photo via @abbotkinneyblvd

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Have a question about LA? Drop it below & I’ll get back to you!


Author: catherine

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