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Rick Bhatia

California Questionnaire: Damon and Jo

California Questionnaire: Damon and Jo
YouTube Stars Damon Dominique and Joanna Franco share their love for California

Damon Dominique and Joanna Franco are travel experts, authors, and digital content creators who host a YouTube channel with more than 48 million views and 750,000 subscribers. They met the summer before entering college and bonded over their mutual love for travel and adventure. The young entrepreneurs began creating content while studying in Paris, showcasing their adventures and experiences on Facebook.

Today the duo boasts a following of nearly one million across their combined social channels. They are developing a Facebook Watch series called “Damn Millennials”; recently released their first e-book, Woke; and run the travel site Shut Up and Go.

Where do you live? 

Los Angeles.

Why there? 

Jo: I moved with Damon to make our YouTube channel a full-time thing. We both figured that without the noise pollution, volatile weather, and absurd rents of New York City we might actually have a chance to succeed as digital entrepreneurs. Our logic proved accurate: Within three months we had become full-time YouTubers and bloggers. Plus, we now had the luxury of wearing flip-flops to business meetings—because it’s Los Angeles!

Damon: We chose Koreatown for the international vibe and access to public transportation—and because it was the cheapest neighborhood in central L.A.

Who or what is your greatest California love?

JoThe explosive sunset in Venice Beach always gets me in a spiritually grateful mood. It’s a unique sight that always makes me appreciate nature.

Damon: I can ride my bike any day of the year—and L.A.’s golden hour is beautiful.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? 

Jo: That they’re slow. Californians are way slower than New Yorkers but they still manage to get things done. Californians seem to have mastered work-life balance, while people in most other states are still struggling to figure it out. I’m pretty sure it’s because we’re spoiled with nature.

What is the stereotype that most holds true? 

Damon: It’s the healthiest state I’ve ever been to. People care about working out and what they eat. No one’s going to tease you for eating a kale and quinoa salad with toasted goat cheese, drinking a kombucha, or snacking on an açai bowl.

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? 

Damon: Going up and down the Pacific Coast. I say “going” because I’ve done it via car, train, and even public bus, and the views never fail to impress.

Jo: An uninterrupted day at a white sand beach.

Time for a road trip—where are you going?

Jo: I would head down to Laguna Beach, visit Inspiration Point, and enjoy the little local shops. I’d keep driving until I hit a tiny fish shack, eat fresh fish overlooking the water, and continue on until I make it to San Diego so I could catch the sunset on the beach in Coronado.

Damon: I would drive up to see redwoods in the northern half of the state. The air is brisk and the trees are humongous—you really feel like you’re somewhere special.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be?

JoEating fresh fish outside by the Pacific Coast Highway.

DamonAvocado toast with a poached egg.

How do you define California style?

Jo: Super laid-back—the Birkenstock kind of style where ripped jeans and a white tee are all you need to get through the day. Stylish sunglasses and occasionally a wide-brimmed floppy hat. Bohemian vibes with beads dangling from wrists and necks—for men and women alike.

Damon: Casual and cool. Vintage light denim with a thin white linen shirt and some dirty white Converse sneakers is the uniform I find myself in nearly every day.

Best California song? 

Damon: Los Angeles puts me in an alternative surf-rock kind of mood. “What You Were” by the Drums makes me want to drive along Pacific Coast Highway in a red drop-top. Their album Portamento always puts me in a good mood and makes me realize life doesn’t have to be so crazed.

How would your California dream day unfold? 

Jo: First I would hit the beach early in the morning to paddleboard or boogie board. Next I would get a breakfast burrito with an iced coffee and then go for a walk on the Venice Beach boardwalk. After that I would take a nap on a hammock at a nearby bungalow. Wake up for a California-themed cooking class in a cool restaurant, or go to a salsa class. Finish the afternoon on a rooftop where the sunset is the main show. Spend the night at a beach bonfire!

Damon: I’d make it an early morning, sipping on a flat white as I walk along the palm-tree-lined promenade in Santa Monica. I’d make my way to this spot where you can sway on a swing set in the sand. After that I’d try looking for a vegetarian lunch near The Grove but would probably end up at Veggie Grill. I’d do some thrifting on Melrose Ave. and then make my way to downtown Los Angeles for a night out. I'd go to Clifton’s Cafeteria, or to a hip-hop club hidden in a Hollywood strip mall, or maybe to Mid-City for a night at the World on Wheels roller rink. 

Damon and Jo
Shut Up and Go: Sacramento
Damon and Jo tour various locations in California's capital city on the advice of viewers.
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Ryan Killackey

Discover Los Angeles County

See a movie star. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. Play at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, explore world-class museums, or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, entertainment capital of America, with megastar wattage and nonstop activities.

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  –comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the City of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

Fred Segal
Courtesy of Visit California

Where to Shop Now in Los Angeles

From Venice Beach to Beverly Hills and beyond, L.A. boasts some supremely shoppable neighborhoods

For discerning travelers interested in fashion and style, Los Angeles offers unparalleled shopping opportunities. From established luxury brands...

Koreatown is just south of downtown Los Angeles
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Koreatown

This small neighborhood with 24-hour energy packs in some of the best restaurants and nightlife in Los Angeles

Just south of Hollywood and west of Downtown Los Angeles lies...

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Journeys: Los Angeles

Follow this five-day itinerary and you’ll discover distinct neighborhoods, fantastic food, and vibrant culture
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San Pedro

L.A.’s busiest port town is a haven for maritime enthusiasts and seafood lovers

Located at the southern point of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, between Manhattan Beach and Long Beach, is...

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Spotlight: West Hollywood

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See L.A.’s creative side in WeHo’s design shops, architecture, and edgy nightlife

West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City,” and for good reason. Bordering ...

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California Questionnaire: Curtis Stone

The Australia native has planted his roots in Los Angeles, where he runs two acclaimed restaurants and lives the California dream

Award-winning chef Curtis Stone was born in Melbourne, established his culinary chops in London, and rose to fame on TV, appearing on multiple...

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Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant

Fire-based cooking techniques fuel the culinary innovation at Curtis Stone’s Hollywood hotspot

Curtis Stone and his brother Luke both began their culinary careers in an Australian butcher shop, so it makes sense that their joint venture,...

Glendale
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Glendale

The Los Angeles County city is home to authentic Middle Eastern food, culture, and its very own “Walk of Fame”

Situated on the eastern edge of the San Fernando Valley and ...

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Cara Robbins/Getty Images

California Questionnaire: Zoey Deutch

The up-and-coming actress loves life in the Valley, road trips up the coast, and old-school deli food

For Zoey Deutch, movies are the family business. Her mom, Lea Thompson, starred in Back to the Future, and her dad, Howard Deutch,...

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Spotlight: Los Angeles

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Bright lights, A-list celebrities & diverse culture

Welcome to the bright lights and big-city allure of California’s largest metropolis. Here, A-list celebrities really do walk the sidewalks, triple...

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California Questionnaire: Giovani dos Santos

The LA Galaxy forward talks about living in West Hollywood, In-N-Out Burger, and enjoying the chill vibe in Malibu

When Giovani dos Santos joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer of 2015 he immediately became one of the biggest Mexican stars in Major League...

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Angeles National Forest

Discover the wilder side of Los Angeles, just minutes from the city in the San Gabriel Mountains

Barely 30 minutes from the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles, and just north of Pasadena, the urban jungle gives way to the forests, rugged...

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California Questionnaire: Margaret Cho

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The Emmy- and Grammy-nominated stand-up comic, actress, and singer clues us into her love of Los Angeles and California culture

Margaret Cho has been doing stand-up since high school, and her ability to make audiences LOL has afforded her opportunities in all genres—from...

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Marina del Rey

Visit this inviting waterfront community near Venice Beach and Santa Monica for laid-back fun

Roughly six miles north of Los Angeles International Airport sits ...

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Burbank

The entertainment industry’s home base offers a microcosm of stars, shopping, and cool tours

If you come to Los Angeles wishing to see where movie magic gets made, look on the other side of Hollywood—literally.

...

Watch celebrity chefs in action at this annual event in downtown Los Angeles

If you’re a foodie, your definition of “celebrity sighting” in Los Angeles has little to do with movie stars. Instead, the annual All-...

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SPECIAL FEATURE
All around L.A. County, shoppers can find today’s trends at amazing prices

Homegrown Los Angeles fashion runs the gamut from red-carpet-ready looks by Rodarte to slouchy, soft T-shirts by James Perse, which makes this county a...

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La Brea Tar Pits

Find fossils and family-friendly fun at this prehistoric excavation site

Your idea of old may be 100, but that will undoubtedly change after you spend several hours at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. You will learn...

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Photograph by Peggy Sirota

California Questionnaire: Gabrielle Reece

The former volleyball champion and model—now an author and fitness guru—shares her California favorites

After retiring from a successful beach volleyball career, Gabrielle Reece didn’t slow down—instead, she kept adding to her résumé: mother,...

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"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.
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Neil Kremer/ Flickr

Spotlight: Hollywood

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Showbiz, celebrities, & endless possibilities

Tinseltown, where starlets are discovered on every street corner (or at least we like to think they are), and the tinted windows of that stretch...

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Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

North Hollywood

Experience a different Hollywood just north of Tinseltown

From bustling Hollywood Boulevard, it’s less than 10 minutes to North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District, a happening enclave where live theater—not...

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Courtesy of West Hollywood

Sunset Strip Nightlife

Welcome to L.A.’s home of rock ‘n’ roll

Few roads have as much history as this 2-mile-/3.2-km-long section of Sunset Boulevard, bounded by Havenhurst Drive and Doheny Drive. In the 1960s...

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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
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Your trip begins in California’s largest city. L.A. has nonstop action and things to do, but it can be a challenge to navigate, so planning your trip in advance is a big plus. Start in the coastal city of Santa Monica, with a wide, uncrowded beach, a signature pier topped by carnival rides and...

For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.
Henry Rollins
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Museums

See masterpieces and innovative contemporary works

With its diverse collection of museums, Los Angeles has grown into one of the world’s great cities for art lovers. From the dramatically modern...

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Malibu

Explore a fabled beachfront town with real star power

Stretching for more than 30 miles along the Pacific and Highway One, Malibu has achieved...

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Sharon Mollerus/ Flickr

Los Angeles County Shopping

Go boutique to bargain in one of the world’s fashion (and shopping) capitals

You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

If you’re ready to whip out the platinum card, head to Rodeo Drive...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

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Alex Farnum
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Pasadena

Tour an Arts and Crafts masterpiece and more in the home of the Rose Bowl

Set at the base of the towering San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena is best known as the home of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

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Laura Flippen
SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

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Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of the Golden State’s most appealing destinations....

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Lucas Himovitz
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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-colored pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

Spotlight: Santa Catalina Island

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An island retreat off the Southern California coast

Swaying palms, white-sand beaches, warmest water in summer, and melt-your-heart sunsets—that’s what you’ll find at pretty-much-perfect island...

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Jen Judge

Venice

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Surfers, skateboarders, and stars

Venice is the ultimate L.A. neighborhood where the surf meets the human circus. Spend a day along Venice’s palm-lined, beachfront boardwalk and...

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Jen Judge

L.A. Architecture

See eye-catching icons and stately landmarks

While Los Angeles is still a young city when compared to places like, say, Rome, it still boasts a unique architectural tradition that spans a...

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Lancaster's Civic Musical Road is the only "musical" or "singing" road in the United States.
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Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in the south, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all,...

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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

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Lucas Himovitz
February or March

You certainly won’t be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colorful event in L.A.’s Chinatown. Join thousands of revelers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant dragons...

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Jorge Gonzalez/Flickr
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