Los Angeles is probably one of my all time favourite cities as there’s a certain energy about this place that captivates you. Having visited this city a few times. We have worked out the places to go to and also not bother with. Subsequently steering clear of the classic tourist areas, as that’s not our cup of tea and to be honest there’s so much more to this city than the theme parks. So, let’s move onto the Los Angeles City Guide.
Prior to visiting LA we actually spent a week in Palm Springs (there’s a city guide on that coming soon) so this particular week we wanted to still explore but have that down time to relax. Accommodation wise I would 100% recommend booking an airbnb, we actually stayed in the Sherman Oaks area which worked out perfectly getting to and from the centre of LA, plus it’s a lot more quieter and less manic than places like Hollywood and Venice.
So, if you have a week or more in the city, this is what you should be seeing / doing:
Take part in a hike
We decided to try out airbnb experiences for the first time this year, which I would highly recommend. One was a guided group hike around Laurel Canyon by a local. Music fans are well aware of this historic place and how the likes of Jim Morrison and Fleetwood Mac have a long running history with this place. The hike itself was around 2-3 hours, but being a guided hike we saw so many places that you would only know about if you were a local. This is the hike we booked.
Explore the Getty Centre and Villa
The Getty Centre and Villa are two places which are a must if you want to spend a relaxing afternoon surrounded by culture and beautiful gardens (and some epic views). I couldn’t not mention them in the Los Angeles City Guide.
The Getty Centre (above) is architectural paradise, that both houses a stunning garden and extensive art collection. A couple of years back they exhibited Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs (it was amazing) and saw the iconic Patti Smith give a talk about her relationship with Robert. As you can imagine this place is an art students dream. Also if you want to see some epic views of LA without going on a hike then the Getty Centre is the place to go. (link)
The Getty Villa (below) is situated off the famed Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Like the Centre it houses ancient artwork and artefacts as fair back as the egyptian period. Although it is smaller than the Centre the gardens are dreamy and incredible photogenic. Also worth mentioning that you only pay for parking to enter both the Centre and Villa which is approx. $15 for the day. (link)
Other places worth mentioning;
Sunset Marquis – houses the famed “Morrison Hotel” (you can probably tell I’m a bit of a ‘Doors’ fan). The “Morrison Hotel” is an exhibition space within the Marquis, that is situated just off of Sunset, and showcases a range of photographic prints by legendary photographers such as; Bob Gruen and Mick Rock to name a few. It’s also free to enter – website
Sunset Boulevard, the famed sunset strip houses some iconic music venues like the Whisky a-go-go and the Rainbow. If you’re into that sort of then it’s a must to say you’ve seen it!
Griffith Observatory, another place we visited a couple of years back. Probably best know for the amazing views of the city and getting pictures of the Hollywood Sign-without going on a hike. It’s free to enter, but be aware parking on the weekend or if there’s a concert can be a ‘nightmare’. (link)
The Greek Theatre, an open air music venue down the road from the Observatory in Los Feliz. If there’s a gig going on then buy tickets, because this venue is amazing at night. Plus I was impressed with how organised and clean it was considering my usual expectations of music venues. If you are seeing a show, then I would definitely recommend getting an Uber to and from. They have a designated drop off/collect area for Uber and Lyft. (link)
Santa Monica Beach & Pier. An all round stunning beach and pier, that is perfect for those beach afternoons. I would definitely recommend this over place like Venice, as personally I’m not a huge fan of Venice beach and boardwalk.
Shop / Do
True Tattoo. As a huge tattoo lover (just look at my instagram). Getting a tattoo every time we visit this city has become a tradition of mine and my dad’s. If you too are looking at getting tattooed then I would highly recommend ‘True Tattoo’ (just off of Sunset). Owned my acclaimed artist Oliver Peck, its a cool studio. Their Instagram. We actually booked 3 months in advance with @jonzeyzaps on instagram, who we have previously gotten tattooed by.
Melrose Avenue. This street houses one of my all time favourite stores “Dolls Kill”. It is a like a 80s night club inside with its very own resident DJ and lifestyle unicorn. It’s also very instagram worthy.
The Grove. If you want your classic ‘American highstreet’ experience then walk down the road (from melrose) past CBS television studio and you’ll find yourself at the Grove. You can find stores such as; Charlotte Tilbury, Sephora and Brandy Melville. As well as their very own farmers market for that quintessential LA farmers market experience.
Overall LA is a city which has a bit of everything, whether that’s the beach or the hustle of the city. There is something for everyone.