Los Angeles is full of everything you’ve come to expect from one of the leading cities of the world: history, ethnic diversity, outstanding museums, awe-inspiring architecture, performing arts, fine dining and extraordinary shopping. What makes L.A. unique is its position at the heart of the American film industry and pop culture.
Trip Time: 5 days
Begin where the fabulous shopping is, dahling, so you can be sure to look the part for the rest of your stay. Known locally as “WeHo,” West Hollywood offers a high density of uber-stylish clothing, jewelry and home furnishing boutiques, and fine restaurants, primarily along Melrose Avenue and Beverly Boulevard. Be sure to shop at Fred Segal, a local source for the latest trends or the next big thing.
The Sunset Strip, with its string of famous comedy clubs (Comedy Store and Laugh Factory ) and live music venues (The Roxy Theater and Whiskey a Go Go ) will keep you going all night long. Or, catch an outdoor concert at the Hollywood Bowl . (Hint: Make like a local and get there early with a picnic.).
WeHo is also the epicenter of L.A.’s gay and lesbian scene. Santa Monica Blvd. is where you’ll find the most flamboyant nightlife in the city.
Start with hearty breakfast at Nate ‘n Al , a Beverly Hills Jewish deli and local favorite since 1945.
Next, wind your way through Beverly Hills with a stop on Rodeo Drive for some early morning window shopping on your way to the singular Getty Center in the Santa Monica Mountains. Admire the art, the views, and the architecture of building itself. (Admission is free.)
Head back down to West Hollywood for dinner and a play at Actors Circle or The Coronet.
Silver Lake , known for its mid-century modern houses by Neutra and Schindler, has become the premier destination for the hipster crowd. The main drags of Vermont Avenue and Silver Lake Blvd. magnets for shoppers in search of edgier boutiques, cafés, bars and restaurants.
Silver Lake is also the center of the city’s alternative rock scene, and its residents include many musicians, artists and other creative types. Go to Spaceland for a taste of the neighborhood nightlife.
Sleep in to prepare for a day at the beach, starting with outdoor brunch at Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica (the scones alone are worth the trip). From here, it’s a short walk to find a good spot for sunbathing, reading or playing Frisbee. A short way down the beach, Venice has some of the best people watching in town.
Gawk at the body builders at Muscle Beach, or the scantily clad bike riders and roller bladers. (If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em: rental shops provide the necessary equipment.) Make your way back to beachside amusement park fun and dining at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.
First up: Marvel at modern architecture landmarks the Getty-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall , at 111 S. Grand, and the CalTrans District 7 Headquarters building at 100 S. Main.
Next stop is the acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) for groundbreaking modern art in the museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions.
From there, head to El Pueblo de Los Angeles , the original city settlement, and the nearby Mexican open-air marketplace on Olvera Street . Find fun Asian-import souvenirs at Central Plaza in Chinatown , just a stone’s throw away.
And finally, head to the rooftop of The Standard Downtown for a supremely hip L.A. experience to cap off your vacation.
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