To quote 2Pac (am I allowed to do that?) “To Live and Die In LA/ That’s The Place To Be”… Well I certainly hope no one following this advice dies during a visit to LA, but I do think it can be the place to be if you want good food, good fun, and good times.
Following up on our discussion from this week’s Totally Married – “Heavy Breathing” wherein we (poorly) answered 2 listener emails about what we love to do in LA, I thought I’d offer a more comprehensive list. Keep in mind, we’re not “clubbers” (is that a thing anymore?) nor are we “hollywood types” in the traditional sense. We live in Silverlake so a lot of this is East-side centric, and we’re basically old farts in the bodies of 35 year old creative people. Point being, what I REALLY love to do in LA is curl up on my couch with my husband and animals and watch Parenthood. But sometimes ya gotta get out!
So… here goes – My list of things to do in LA if you’re visiting!
1. Hiking: Griffith Park – Either start at the bottom, get a coffee at The Trails Cafe (while you’re at it, get a delicious scone – you’ll need sustinance!) and wind your way up to the Observatory, or start at the Observatory and wind up to behind the Hollywood sign for fantastic views.
2. Great Sketch and Improv Comedy: UCB Theatre. UCB-NY Is where I cut my teeth in the comedy world so it holds a special place in my heart. You do have to wait in a line even if you have tickets but the good news is that the LA theater is muuuuch cleaner than the one in NYC, you are far less likely to get an STD from the seats, and you are much more likely to see a moderately famous person.
3. Eats: I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible but there are SO MANY GREATS:
~ Lil Doms – great pizza and rice balls. It’s sceney but not overly douchey. Again, ya might see someone you recognize from TV.
~ Malo – Good mexican, good tacos, fun vibe, lots of people who are in bands.
~ La Mill – Yummy food (get the donuts!), really delicious and overpriced coffee, kind of snotty vibe but in a good way if that exists, and hey, you can watch people write their spec scripts! I’m there a lot so if you see me, say hi!
~ Millies – Excellent breakfast, hipster vibe, get the chilequiles!
~ Bottega Louie – Oooh baby, love this place. We go here for special occasions, it’s a little pricey but totally worth every penny. A festive downtown gem!
~ Golden Road Brewing Co. – Good beer, good eats (with veg & vegan options!) chill vibe, in the middle of nowhere but that’s a good thing. Grab some beers, sit outside and forget that you are in LA.
4. Beach: Admittedly we are not really beach people (just don’t tell the two dolphins tattoed to my lower back, uggh 19 year old me!) but it’s a nice thing to do if you’re visiting LA and then you can tell your friends back home that you went to the beach. Here’s what you do: go to the Santa Monica pier have a quick look around at all the tourist stuff, then rent bikes and ride down along the bike path to Venice (muscle beach). There’s Pulllenty of great people watching and sight seeing along the way. Trust me.
5. Seasonal: Summertime – Check out the Hollywood Forever Cemetery Movie Screenings . It’s a shit show getting into the cemetery but once you are, you can unroll your picnic blanket, crack into a nice bottle of wine and sit amongst the souls while enjoying a great classic movie!
Wintertime: Walk around the Silverlake reservoir and feel smug that you are wearing a tshirt and your friends in Chicago are ice cubes.
6. Douchey Hotel Pool. This is a guilty indulgence that I do maybe once a year with friends and I love it every time in the way that one loves(d) a one night stand. So, go to a douchey/sceney hotel (suggestions: Chateau Marmont, The Standard, SLS Hotel) sit by the pool (if you’re with a group, splurge on a cabana) drink, people watch and succumb to the hollywood BS facade for just a few lusty hours. Then, when the untz untz of club music becomes too much, leave promptly and get back to being a real person.
7. Pamper Yourself: Two sides of the coin, but both are awesome – The Raven Spa in Silverlake – there are plenty of high end spas in LA, just know that this East side gem is different. Very cool balinese-y vibe. The massages are Thai – much more in the “hurts so good” realm than your standard Burke Williams, but it’s the kind of massage that sticks with you for a few days, which I love. Then, there’s afternoon tea at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills. I took my sister there for her birthday this year and we had so much fun! Very girlie and sweet and yummy and indulgent. Do eet.
8. Move/Shake: Take a hip hop dance class at The Sweat Spot in Silverlake. Preferable Sweaty Sundays. This is. So. Much. Fun. No judgment. Wear your neon 80’s tights if you have ’em!
9. Things i haven’t done yet but really want to:
Rose Bowl Flea Market, The Magic Castle – a castle filled with magic! Invitation only but there are ways to find a way in if you do enough online research (wink), Downtown Art Walk.
10. Leave! Absolutely one of the best things about living in LA is having the ability to go to so many cool places very easily. I understand if you are visiting you might not want to, but if you’re here for a while, these places are close by and so worth checking out: Cayucos (stay here!), Santa Barbara (stay here!), San Diego (stay here!), Vegas (stay here!), and Palm Springs (stay here!)
And there you have it! Please leave additional great LA spot suggestions in the comments!