How to See All of Los Angeles in a Single Weekend
Oh, La La Land. From the perpetual sunshine and miles of scenic coastline to the diverse dining options and cultural attractions, it's easy to fall in love with this sprawling metropolis. Make sure to pack a bathing suit and plenty of leisure wear to take advantage of all the great ways to spend a few free days in the City of Angels. Just try not to get stuck in traffic.
There is no better place for a satisfying lunch than Hollywood's Osteria La Buca. This Italian spot on Melrose Avenue is the perfect combination of cozy and cool, complete with a convertible roof and pastas (like short rib ravioli) made in-house daily. When the roof is open, the best seat in the house is upstairs next to the fireplace.
Walk off the meal in Larchmont Village, the half-mile neighborhood a short distance from the restaurant. It may be the smallest hood in the city, but it's packed with charm. Grab a coffee at Go Get Em Tiger or an all-natural ice cream (in funky seasonal flavors like rhubarb crumble with toasted anise) at Salt & Straw.
If you have the chance to plan ahead, snag a reservation at Maude, Curtis Stone’s hot spot in Beverly Hills. Named after Stone's paternal grandmother, the 24-seat charmer stars a different ingredient every month in its 10-course tasting menu; the four counter seats overlooking the kitchen, perfect for solo diners, afford a view of all the action. Don't want to worry about driving home after partaking in a wine pairing? Book a room at the SLS Beverly Hills and take advantage of the hotel’s Mercedes shuttle service, which offers complimentary drop-off within a two-mile radius.
Start the day downtown at The Broad museum. Arrive early, get on the wait-list for Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room (on exhibit through October) then head next door to Otium for brunch on the patio while you wait. Dig into a foie gras funnel cake before exploring the museum’s expansive collection of more than 2,000 works of pop and contemporary art, including pieces by Cy Twombly, Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns. Then make your way to Little Tokyo and browse the kitschy knickknacks like ceramic tea sets and emoji key chains at Japanese Village Plaza.
Next up: Griffith Park, which from its perch high atop the Santa Monica Mountains offers some of the city’s best views. Pop into The Trails Cafe to hydrate before your hike, which promises an up-close glimpse of the Hollywood Sign.
Once you've worked up an appetite, visit Kismet in Los Feliz for perfectly balanced Middle Eastern fare; standouts include Persian cucumbers, shaved kohlrabi salad and jeweled crispy rice.
After dinner, walk down the street to Covell, a menu-less drinking den with 150 wines by the glass. Chat up the bartender to figure out exactly which pour fits your tastes, then crash in one of the five plush rooms of Hotel Covell, the ultra-stylish boutique hotel just upstairs.
Spend your last day in town on the Westside. Wake up early to beat the breakfast queue at Gjusta, a casual, order-at-the-counter café/bakery/deli in Venice serving some of the most drool-worthy food in town. Partake in a selection of flaky pastries, breakfast sandwiches and cured fish while sitting at one of the patio tables out back.
Explore the boutiques and galleries on Abbot Kinney, Venice’s coolest street, and the nearby canals, which are modeled after the eponymous Italian city. Then make your way over to the Ocean Front Walk; take in the dazzling performance artists lining the concrete boardwalk as you walk toward Santa Monica, named by Nat Geo as one of the top 10 beach cities in the world.
Order a vegan sandwich at Erven before heading to the airport. You’ve only just scratched the surface of this coastal city—the very essence of California dreamin’.
Elissa Goldman is the founder of NinthFlr, a communications consultancy. Tag along with her food and travel adventures on Instagram at @ninthflr.
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