48 Hours in Los Angeles

November 6, 2017

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Downtown Los Angeles. Image by Giuseppe Milo.

“Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles,” Frank Lloyd Wright once wrote. It’s true that LA can feel like a wonderful collection of everything that’s great about the US, while at the same time resembling absolutely no other place in the country. The city’s vastness can be overwhelming at times, and sure, the traffic can be a pain, but the variety of culinary, lifestyle and outdoor activity options available makes it all worth it. After all, where else can you surf in the morning, get some work done, grab an avocado toast, go for a hike, cool down with a green juice and then celebrity-watch over dinner?

Home to a vibrant and diverse population of nearly four million people, Los Angeles is bursting at the seams with eclectic food, live music, cutting-edge art and theater, unrivaled shopping, architectural history, natural beauty and, of course, Hollywood glamour. It’s impossible to sum up all that the City of Angels has to offer in a few sentences, and words often fail to do it justice — you really do have to experience it for yourself. So when you do just that, use the suggestions here to get a feel for the local flavor of this dynamic city.

Day One

Sqirl. Image by T.Tseng.

9am: Start your morning at Sqirl in Virgil Village for buckwheat pancakes, “green eggs and jam” and the most heavenly cup of vegan horchata you’ll ever sip.

11am: If you don’t have a rental car, take a cab over to Silver Lake Reservoir and walk the two-mile loop to admire the flora and fauna. After the exercise, repair to Broome Street General Store to indulge in a cold brew and covet the boutique’s stock of luxury basics.

1pm: 
Make your way to Pine & Crane for a lunch of pork buns, dan dan noodles and boba tea. The flavorful, inventive Taiwanese menu will fill you up without incapacitating you.

2:30pm: Cab or drive 15 minutes down Sunset Boulevard to Cookbook, an eclectic greengrocer that stocks hard-to-find produce alongside chic food titles and artisanal chocolate.

Little Dom’s. Image courtesy of the venue.

4pm: At Stories, Books & Café down the street, you’ll find weighty historical tomes, local art zines and indie screenwriters typing furiously.

5pm: Drive 10 minutes north (or take the surprisingly accessible Metro) to Los Feliz and get your happy hour on at Good Luck Bar, where the kitschy red lanterns and tiki-themed cocktails draw a reliable weekday crowd, and a wild weekend one.

7pm: Walk 15 minutes up Hillhurst Avenue to Little Dom’s for an intimate, delicious Italian dinner. Nothing soaks up a day of sunshine and adventure like a plate of red sauce.

New Beverly Cinema. Image by Al Pavangkanan.

10pm: Head one block west and four blocks south to The Dresden, and digest your dinner with an Old Fashioned and some live jazz.

12am: Even if you have access to a car, it’s a good idea to grab a taxi to retro swing-dance hall Clifton’s Cafeteria, where it’s physically impossible not to dance. If that’s not your scene and if it’s Friday, go to New Beverly Cinema for a midnight screening of a Tarantino flick in 35mm.

2am: Hop the last #18 bus to Koreatown to satisfy your late-night munchies at Sun Nong Dan, a 24-hour Korean joint serving up scrumptious beef broth, ox bone soup and dumplings at exactly the hour of night when everything tastes particularly good.

Day Two

Café Gratitude. Image by Emma Specter.

9:30am: Start your morning at sunny Venice Beach. Dip your feet in the water and watch the help you shake any lingering effects from

10:30am: Rise and shine the organic, vegan way at Café Gratitude, where they take health and wellness very, very seriously. The tasty breakfast menu won’t disappoint, even if you’re wary of the granola vibe.

11am: Why stop the plant-based party when it’s just begun? Head across the street to Moon Juice for a cold-pressed, green concoction, and if you’re feeling it, sachets of herbal supplements.

12pm: Stroll down 5th Avenue to soak in the sights and scents of boutiques like Strange Invisible Perfumes and LCD.

LCD. Image courtesy of the venue.

2pm: Drive two miles up Main Street (or ride the bus for four stops) and mentally switch gears for a delicious, decidedly non-vegan, Cha Cha Chicken. Everything in moderation, right?

3:30pm: Fully sated, it’s time for some outdoor activity. Drive — or spend 25 minutes on the #9 bus — and get out to Temescal Gateway Park for a glorious hike with awe-inspiring panoramas.

6pm: After making your way down from the mountain and back to town, swing by Sweet Rose Creamery for a double-scoop of homemade ice cream. You deserve it.

Sweet Rose Creamery. Image courtesy of the venue.

7:30pm: Once the rush hour traffic has died down, hop in the car or cab and ride to Little Ethiopia for the dinner of a lifetime at Meals by Genet . It’s impossible not to enjoy yourself when you’re devouring tangy injera bread.

9:30pm: 
Head to Culver City for a post-dinner drink at The Culver Hotel, an official National Historic Landmark that screens classic movies in the lobby and mixes a killer lavender Collins (vodka and crème de violette).

11:30pm: Close out your night at Café Fais Do-Do in West Adams, where a good time is practically guaranteed, no matter what genre of live music is on the docket.

About The HUNT Los Angeles Writer: Emma Specter was born and raised in New York City, went to college in Ohio and moved to Los Angeles right after graduation with a creative writing degree and without a driver’s license. As it turned out, neither of those qualifications helped her find a job; after a few months of driver’s ed, she found work as a writer and copyeditor, and made Los Angeles her home. When she’s not covering news and entertainment for LAist.com, she can be found reading on the beach, yelling at podcasts in traffic or partaking in free samples from Trader Joe’s on Hyperion Boulevard.

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