Los Angeles, inside and out: Our comprehensive guide to this West Coast outpost
Los Angeles might be famous for glitz, glamour, and debauchery, but there’s more to this city than just Hollywood Boulevard. Ask any Los Angelian, “To Live and Die in LA” isn’t just a movie title or a 2Pac song, it’s a way of life. And what better way to see it than through the eyes of a local?
This wonderland is vast and sprawling, which is why more than a couple days are needed to even begin tapping into LA and its surrounding areas. Take in some deep breaths of fresh smog and hit the town running… er, driving.
Wet Your Whistle
The masters of pouring sunshine in a cup: Tiki-Ti (4427 West Sunset Boulevard) is one of the few bars in LA that still allows smoking and even sells singles. They also serve up some of the most potent cocktails known to man.
The Short Stop (1455 Sunset Boulevard) is a dive bar in Echo Park, owned by Greg Dulli of Afghan Wigs and Twilight Singers. Early evening it serves Dodger fans, and late night it turns into a hipster dancehall.
Serving drinks since 1908, Cole’s Red Car Bar (118 East 6th Street) is the oldest bar in L.A. and they offer an awesome happy hour Monday-Friday. Have Max the bartender concoct the best Old Fashioned you have ever sipped on.
Put another dime in the jukebox —The Roost (3100 Los Feliz Boulevard) in Atwater Village serves up stiff drinks in a very unpretentious, cash-only bar. The free popcorn doesn’t suck either.
Worthwhile Reasons to Expand Your Waistline
The sign above the door of this classic downtown diner reads, “This is the Place. ” It absolutely is. Nickel Diner (524 South Main Street) serves out of this world greasy vegan and carnivore-friendly fare. They were also featured on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri.
Neptune’s Net (42505 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu), where the catch is fresh and the beer is cold. This no-frills seafood shack is located in Malibu and is one of my favorite lunch spots in LA
This is war: you decide who has the best French dip sandwich, Philippe's (1001 North Alameda Street) or Cole’s (118 East 6th Street). Prepare for your meal ahead of time by watching the “How to Eat a French Dip” tutorial on Cole’s website. Then ask to have your sandwich double dipped if you’re feeling bold.
Dine at one of LA’s most buzzed about restaurants, Animal (435 North Fairfax Avenue). Indulge in decadent bone marrow or Animal’s famous poutine, but save room for their bacon chocolate crunch bar. They also offer a modestly priced wine list, so pair a great red with your succulent feast.
Located in Los Feliz, Little Dom’s (2128 Hillhurst Avenue) offers spot-on cocktails and fantastic Italian food. In fact, their breakfast pizza was featured on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I’ve Ever Ate.”
Irasshaimase! Don’t let the rundown strip mall or the riffraff in the parking lot scare you. The omakase at Sushi Ike (6051 Hollywood Boulevard # 105) is no joke. The uni (sea urchin) is utterly the best I have ever had and so uniquely prepared. Heck, even Drew Barrymore has been known to frequent this hole in the wall sushi joint. Grab a seat at the sushi bar and watch magic being made in front of your eyes.
Burn Holes in Your Wallet with Style
A must for music lovers, Amoeba Records(6400 Sunset Boulevard) is a new and used music Mecca. Search through miles and miles of vinyl, CDs and DVDs, or catch one of their many (and cool) in-store performances.
American Rag (150 South La Brea Avenue) mixes vintage clothing with high-end designer duds. They also carry an extensive selection of denim, in addition to a great array of shoes.
Couture, couture, couture! Fred Segal (8118 Melrose Avenue) is a favorite amongst celebs and is a Los Angeles shopping staple.
Spend the Weekend Like a Local Native
Rent a car and drive an hour and half south to the Ace Hotel and Pool Club in Palm Springs (701 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs). Hotelier Alex Calderwood brings his modern design aesthetic to this once lackluster desert town. The lively Ace offers great comfort food, communal fireplaces, spa, gym, pool and Jacuzzi, while catering to thirty-somethings trying to escape city life. Start your stay right by treating yourself to a Roadrunner (blackberry infused Maker's and ginger beer) from the Amigo Room bar, followed by a relaxing massage in their Feel Good Spa. Be sure to save some energy for their all-night parties, starting at 10 p.m., and rise and shine for their poolside BBQ, which starts cranking at noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Trust me, once you check in, you will never want to leave.
Get Some Shut-eye in the City of Dreams
According to Curbed Los Angeles, the Ace Hotel is moving into the United Artist Building on South Broadway, but in the meantime, the Standard Hotel (550 South Flower at Sixth Street) offers reasonably priced rooms and a killer rooftop bar in L.A.’s revived downtown area.