T R A V E L / C I T Y G U I D E S
Discover our favourite hotels, restaurants, nightlife and things to do in Los Angeles right now.
Updated May 2017
This insider's city guide has been a long time in the making. We've eaten in countless Los Angeles restaurants and visited the latest hotspots. We've also asked the most discerning locals we know to share their favourite hangouts – whether brand new or classic institutions. We bring you our hand-picked selection of our favourite places in Los Angeles.
| LOS ANGELES |
Whether you're looking for the ultimate design hotel, a cosy boutique hotel, or an ultra-cool apartment, here is our pick of the best places to stay in Los Angeles.
1. Wow Factor!
THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL
This world-famous retreat has attracted celebrities to Sunset Boulevard for over a century ...
You’ll step back in time to the Golden Age of Hollywood at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel, where Elizabeth Taylor once honeymooned and discrete, impeccable service is paramount. Affectionately known as ‘The Pink Palace’, The Beverly Hills Hotel boasts 204 classically elegant guest rooms and 23 sumptuous bungalows furnished with baby grand pianos, private pools and roaring fireplaces nestle amidst 12 acres of soaring Mexican palms. Join the glamorous scene at the swimming pool, where guests lounge on candy-striped loungers and cocktails are discreetly served by staff in pristine white uniforms. Enjoy a drink at the Art Deco-inspired Polo Lounge surrounded by the buzz of film industry chatter and live jazz, and make sure to try the famous milkshakes and pancakes at the 1950s-style Fountain Coffee Room. $$$
9641 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
dorchestercollection.com | +1 310-276-2251
2. Old-World Glamour...
A historic property with a star-studded guest list ...
Once the preferred hideaway of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Elizabeth Taylor, the luxurious Hotel Bel-Air is an elite 12-acre garden oasis in Los Angeles’ upscale Bel-Air district. Reopened in 2011 following extensive renovations, this glamorous retreat has been restored to its former glory by designer Alexandra Champalimaud, whose sensuous French Deco interiors are inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood. Settle into the low-lit Bar & Lounge for cocktails by the fireplace and grand piano, then sample the signature Californian cuisine of Michelin-Starred chef Wolfgang Puck. Bathed in lantern light, the restaurant’s sultry interiors are the work of designer David Rockwell, while the heated patio terrace envelops alfresco diners in the scent of bougainvillea.
701 Stone Canyon Road, Bel-Air, Los Angeles
dorchestercollection.com | +1 310-472-1211
3. Exquisite Service...
THE PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS
An exclusive oasis in Beverly Hills ...
Known for its luxurious living spaces and impeccable service, The Peninsula Beverly Hills is also home to a breathtaking $4 million, 6,000-square-foot rooftop garden which boasts palm trees, alfresco dining and a lounge bar. Each guest is assigned their own private butler, and the hotel’s poolside cabanas can be transformed into offices or massage treatment spaces according to your mood. Relax at the award-winning Peninsula Spa, then dine at The Belvedere amidst romantic French limestone fountains on the terrace. Don’t miss a movie-making class or a surf lesson at the Peninsula Academy, which offers a fascinating program of local experiences to discover. $$$$
9882 S Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills
beverlyhills.peninsula.com | +1 310-551-2888
4. Boutique Hideaway…
An eclectic boutique hideaway only one block from Santa Monica Boulevard ...
Known for its bohemian interiors and exclusive rooftop lounge bar, the Petit Ermitage is a luxurious boutique address full of personality. Like a sumptuous private residence from a bygone era, the Petit Ermitage reveals intimate spaces full of antiques, modern art pieces and curiosities. Within the spacious suites, an air of romance lingers with earthy tones, roaring fireplaces and dark woods. By day, hummingbirds and butterflies hover in the rooftop garden, where a saltwater pool encourages guests to spend a relaxing afternoon lounging with a cabana. By night, the rooftop transforms into a magical open-air lounge, where guests can enjoy private dining beneath the stars before retreating to the fireside couches to admire the sweeping city views. $$$
8822 Cynthia Street, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
petitermitage.com | +1 310-854-1114
5. Boutique Retreat...
A luxurious boutique retreat in Beverly Hills ...
One of Los Angeles’ most exclusive residences, the Viceroy L’Ermitage has been a haven of glamour and discretion since the 1970s, making it the address of choice for Hollywood’s A-list crowd. Dial zero to connect with your personal valet in the Viceroy’s lavish suites, where extravagant spaces feature custom-designed furniture, luxurious dressing rooms and sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills from the private balconies. Relax by the rooftop pool before discovering Avec Nous, where the classic French bistro enjoys a Californian twist and cocktail hour sees guests sipping oyster Martini shooters. Don’t miss the Godfather and Good Will Hunting movie scripts that adorn the Viceroy’s walls in the Lobby Lounge, where both film scripts were originally written. $$$
9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
viceroyhotelsandresorts.com | +1 310-278-3344
6. Modern Luxury...
THE LONDON WEST HOLLYWOOD
Art Deco glamour meets California cool ...
With a prime location on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, The London West Hollywood was designed by top Irish interior designer, David Collins. The hotel’s 200 luxurious suites offer some of the largest living spaces in the city, along with balconies or terraces overlooking Los Angeles. Executive Chef Anthony Keene delivers sophisticated haute-cuisine dining at Boxwood, the hotel’s glamorous Art Deco restaurant, while at The London Bar, it’s all about perfectly-crafted cocktails enjoyed in low-lit interiors that glitter with golden accents. Don’t miss a swim in the 10th floor rooftop swimming pool which boasts sweeping panoramic L.A. views. $$$
1020 N San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
thelondonwesthollywood.com | +1 866-282-4560
7. Downtown Cool...
A hipster haven in Downtown L.A. ...
With its blazing red neon sign and gothic stone spires soaring into the skies over Broadway, Ace Hotel Los Angeles lures the hipster and creative crowd with its funky interiors and in-house social scene. Head to the rooftop terrace for panoramic views, DJ sets, cocktails and pool parties, or lounge in the vibrant public spaces featuring gleaming chequerboard tiles. LA Chapter Brasserie serves a crowd-pleasing menu from morning until night, but don’t miss the Ace’s original Gothic theatre, a breathtaking venue featuring an eclectic line-up of films and live entertainment. $$$
929 S Broadway, Downtown, Los Angeles
acehotel.com/losangeles | +1 213-623-3233
MAMA SHELTER LOS ANGELES
A fun and affordable Hollywood boutique hotel ...
From one of the world’s hippest hoteliers comes Mama Shelter Los Angeles, a fun-filled, tech-savvy address with a built-in social scene. The hotel’s 70 rooms feature cheeky coloured lighting, in-room iMacs and amenities by organic French brand, Absolution. Luring guests and locals alike within its vibrant public spaces, Mama Shelter is the place to mingle at shared tables beneath chalkboard ceilings or lounge in the colourful daybeds on the rooftop, where the hotel’s restaurant enjoys sweeping views of the Hollywood hills. $$
6500 Selma Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
mamashelter.com | +1 323-785-6666
Average Price of a Double Room: $ = Around $100 or less; $$ = Around $200; $$$ = > $300
| LOS ANGELES |
Whether you're looking for a fabulous foodie dining spot, the city's best Indian restaurant, or a see-and-be-seen dining spot, here is our pick of the best places to eat in Los Angeles right now.
1. Local Institution...
A fun and funky modern Italian pizzeria in Venice Beach’s hip Abbot Kinney Boulevard ...
One of our favourite dining spots in Los Angeles, Gjelina attracts everyone from corporate suits to hipsters, actors, models and artsy types. Situated in Los Angeles’ trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard (the hip shopping and dining district in Venice Beach), Gjelina’s cool interiors feature exposed light bulbs, oriental fabrics covering long banquette seats and rustic wooden communal tables. Dig into hearty helpings of soul-satisfying wood-fired pizzas, roasted vegetables, salads and comfort favourites such as roasted organic half chicken or braised pork meatballs. Gjelina also offers a buzzing takeaway shop just next to the restaurant. $$
1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, Los Angeles
gjelina.com | +1 310-450-1429
2. Creative Spanish...
One of Los Angeles’ most innovative dining concepts by chef José Andrés ...
Designed in partnership with French designer Philippe Starck, chef José Andrés has set the benchmark for Los Angeles’ dining and nightlife scene with his venture, The Bazaar – a glamorous restaurant, cocktail bar and lounge. Begin the journey with a signature molecular cocktail at the seductive lounge bar, then move next door for inventive, modern Spanish tapas. Savour “Olive Oil Bon Bons” (a drop of olive oil encased in solidified sugar bursting with flavour), or “Cotton Candy Foie Gras”. The menu also offers a wide range of traditional Spanish tapas options. Don’t miss the tempting dessert bar with creations by top Spanish chef, Albert Adria.
465 S La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
thebazaar.com | +1 310 246 5555
3. New Foodie Gem...
This sophisticated bistro delivers modern Californian cuisine on Hollywood’s Melrose Avenue ...
Lifelong friends Kevin Meehan and Drew Langley are the chef-sommelier team behind Kali, a sleek and unpretentious neighbourhood bistro where contemporary Californian cuisine takes centre stage. For the full Kali experience, opt for Meehan’s beautifully-crafted tasting menu with wine pairings selected by Langley. Blending classic French and contemporary techniques, Meehan’s latest seasonal menu features sumptuous dishes such as charred avocado salad, squash soup with chantilly, and a soul-satisfying black barley risotto. Make sure to try Kali’s famous freshly-baked breads and signature homemade butter. $$
5722 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
kalirestaurant.com | +1 323-871-4160
4. Italian Food Empire...
Heart-warming Italian cuisine by celebrity chef, Mario Batali ...
Los Angeles culinary icons – Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich & Nancy Silverton – are the talented trio behind three of the city’s go-to Italian addresses: Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza and Chi Spacca. It’s all about pizza at Pizzeria Mozza, where sultry low-lit interiors reveal perfectly-crispy bases topped with classic flavours such as meatballs, mozzarella and fresh oregano. At the elegantly upscale Osteria Mozza just next door, enjoy the creamiest smoked buffalo mozzarella flown in from Italy, followed by succulent grilled leg of lamb, veal breast stracotto or butter braised halibut. At Chi Spacca, sumptuous antipasti give way to a meat-focused menu of grilled lamb sausage, milk-braised veal breast and tomahawk pork chops. Don’t miss the famous Focaccia di Recco, named after the small town near Genoa where Silverton discovered it. $$$
Pizzeria Mozza - 641 North Highland Ave, Los Angeles
la.pizzeriamozza.com | +1 323-297-0101
Osteria Mozza - 6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
la.osteriamozza.com | +1 323-297-0100
Chi Spacca - 6610 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
chispacca.com | +1 323 297 1133
5. All-Day Dining (Venice)...
Delicious, hearty American comfort cuisine ...
Sister restaurant of the smash-hit restaurant Gjelina nearby, Gjusta is a fantastic casual all-day dining spot in Venice known for its delicious freshly-baked breads, wholesome salads and fresh sandwiches. We love stopping by at any time of the day, especially for a hearty breakfast of huevos rancheros, freshly-baked croissants, sprouted rye toasts and smoothies. Southern Californian Cuisine takes centre stage at Rose, a luminous, loft-like space which features a café, bakery, butchery, restaurant and pretty outdoor garden terrace. Chef Jason Neroni crafts dishes such as crispy pork belly in Thai broth or crispy artisan pizzas.
320 Sunset Ave, Venice, Los Angeles
gjusta.com | +1 310-314-0320
6. All-Day Dining (West Hollywood)...
Enjoy modern Californian cuisine, excellent cocktails & a cool scene ...
Modern Californian cuisine is the drawcard at Wolf, where owner and Top Chef contestant Marcel Vigneron champions a ‘zero-waste’ cooking concept. Beneath circular mediaeval-style chandeliers flickering with candlelight, curious foodies settle into leather banquettes to enjoy dishes such as braised beef cheeks with Jerusalem artichoke and turmeric-peppercorn sauce, or Vadouvan lamb rack with ratatouille. Wolf’s relaxed, unpretentious attitude is complimented by warm and welcoming waitstaff and a menu of expertly-crafted cocktails made with inventive ingredients made in-house. Don’t miss the weekend brunch for chicken and buttermilk waffles, chai French toast and classic eggs Benedict.
7661 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
wolfdiningla.com | +1 323-424-7735
7. Top Vegetarian Cuisine...
One of our favourite vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles by top chef, Josef Centero ...
Mastering the Los Angeles trend for wholesome, vegetable-focused fare, P.Y.T. is the latest hit from renowned restaurateur Josef Centeno, whose local hits include Baco Mercat, Bar Ama, Ledlow and Orson & Winston. Lofty and luminous, P.Y.T. keeps things simple - from the industrial-height ceilings and wraparound banquettes to a menu filled with wholesome greens and seasonal vegetables. Enjoy inventive, guilt-free creations such as romanesco and watermelon radish salad, roasted baby beets with kale or sunchoke and green beans with nettle pesto. Make sure to try an expertly-crafted cocktail, which boast the same meticulous attention to ingredients - many of which are sourced directly from the organic, biodynamic urban LALA Farm nearby.
400 S. Main Street , Downtown, Los Angeles
pytlosangeles.com | +1 213-687-7015
PLANT, FOOD + WINE
Sophisticated vegetarian cuisine in Venice Beach ...
1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice
plantlab.com | +1 310-450-1009
Vegetarian Mexican food in a stylish setting ...
8905 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood
graciasmadreweho.com | +1 323-978-2170
8. Waterfront Dining...
MALIBU FARM RESTAURANT & CAFE
A quintessential Los Angeles waterfront dining spot ...
Flaunting spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean from its picturesque setting on Malibu Pier, Malibu Café and Restaurant offers inspired farm-to-table dining in an elegant beach house setting. Launched by well-known Malibu rancher Helene Henderson, Malibu Farm showcases ingredients sourced directly from her 2-acre garden throughout its healthy menu. The casual Café serves wholesome breakfasts, towering salads and fresh sandwiches in a luminous setting decorated in white wood and blue tiles, while the no-reservations Restaurant serves seasonal creations such as vegetable paella, mustard lemon roasted chicken or spaghetti squash lasagne. We love sitting at the outdoor wooden tables on the oceanfront Café terrace and soaking in the spectacular views. $$
23000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
malibu-farm.com | +1 310-456-1112
A chic brasserie which brings the flavours of Southeast Asia to Santa Monica ...
Chef Bryant Ng is wowing Los Angeles with his vibrant Asian cuisine at Cassia, whose sumptuous surroundings hint at the two power-couples behind this inspired brasserie. Joined by Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan – the team behind hotspots such as Rustic Canyon –, chef Ng and his wife Kim make a formidable team. Inside, an oyster shucking counter joins an elegant cocktail bar overlooking Seventh Street, and an open grill fills the air with the soulful aromas of grilled chicken, spicy lamb breast and whole seabass. Above the chic Metro-tile bar, lights glow from clustered birdcages as stylish locals share platters of seafood, coconut yellow curry and slices of aromatic flatbread baked in Cassia’s clay oven.
1314 7th Street, Santa Monica, Los Angeles
cassiala.com | +1 310-393-6699
10. Weekend Brunch...
Discover one of Los Angeles’ hottest recent openings ...
Inspired by his youth in rural Texas, chef Wes Whitsell brings artisanal techniques and garden-to-table dining to L.A.’s Arts District at Manuela. Whitsell can be found in the open kitchen at the helm of a wood-fired grill, while an avid audience watches from marble-topped counter seating as grilled quail, smoked pork ragu and pulled pork sliders weave their way through the effortlessly stylish dining space. Make sure to visit the chickens in Manuela’s kitchen garden, where many of Manuela’s fruits, vegetables and herbs are picked fresh every day.
907 E 3rd Street, Downtown, Los Angeles
manuela-la.com | +1 323-849-0480
Price of a Main Meal: $ = Less than $10; $$= Around $20; $ = More than $30
| LOS ANGELES |
Whether you're looking for a cosy cocktail bar, the glamorous wine bar, or a see-and-be-seen late-night club, here is our pick of the best places to party in Los Angeles right now.
1. Exclusive Scene...
LE PETIT ERMITAGE
Join one of Los Angeles most exclusive social scenes at this members-only oasis ...
Butterflies and hummingbirds hover amidst lush plants and sumptuous daybeds at The Private Rooftop, a 6,000 foot deck which marks the crowning jewel of the bohemian boutique hotel, Le Petit Ermitage. Savour an expertly-crafted cocktail in the whimsical hand-painted interiors of the Butterfly Bar, before joining the exclusive crowd on the deck, where cushioned couches lounge by a roaring fire, smooth beats fill the air and an open-air restaurant serves globally-inspired fare beneath the stars.
8822 Cynthia Street West Hollywood, Los Angeles
petitermitage.com | +1 310-854-1114
2. Alfresco Lounge...
Mingle with L.A.’s celebrities at this bohemian al fresco lounge. ...
Strings of lights cast an idyllic glow over the star-studded crowd at Le Jardin, an exclusive outdoor lounge bar. Inspired by the laidback living of Southern France, Le Jardin reveals terracotta tiles and cosy banquettes nestled around romantic fire pits, where L.A.’s tastemakers lounge with cocktails and champagne as live musicians fill the air with smooth beats.
1430 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles
lejardin.la | +1 323-463-0006
3. Top Cocktails...
One of L.A’s most sophisticated cocktail bars ...
Behind an oak door marked with a framed image of a cocktail glass, this seductive, secretive speakeasy is the epicentre of cutting-edge cocktails in Los Angeles. At The Varnish, jazz standards drift through barely-lit spaces, wooden booths are reminiscent of streetcar seats and barely-lit interiors reveal expert mixologists chipping ice with a hammer and chisel, or swirling absinthe into vintage-style glassware. Try a cocktail crafted to suit your personal taste, or opt for one of the classic recipes that have been reimagined by The Varnish’s gifted bartenders. $$
118 East 6th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles
thevarnishbar.com | +1 213 622 9999
4. Cool Cocktail Den...
MELROSE UMBRELLA CO.
A post-prohibition drinking den full of character ...
With the rustic feel of a 1930s bar, Melrose Umbrella Co. invites you to step back in time to the post-prohibition era at this cosy cocktail den. An air of historic nostalgia permeates throughout this dimly-lit haven of concrete and wood, where antique chandeliers hang from original beamed ceilings, thirteen umbrellas hang on the rough-hewn walls – one for each year of the prohibition - and an apothecary-style bar hints at the skilled mixology which lies at the heart of the action. By day, vintage wooden benches welcome the coffee crowd, while by night it’s all about old-school classics and newly crafted cocktails by Melrose’s dapper team. Don’t miss the vintage photograph of James Melrose, the dapper gentleman with a bowler hat and umbrella who lends his name to this cosy cocktail outfit.
7465 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles
melroseumbrellaco.com | +1 323-951-0709
5. Downtown Rooftop Views...
UPSTAIRS AT THE ACE HOTEL
A dramatic rooftop location above one of L.A.’s hottest hotels ...
Perched atop the iconic United Artists building, Upstairs at the Ace Hotel is a magnet for L.A.’s trendsetters thanks to sweeping panoramic views, poolside cocktails, after-hours parties and dramatic Spanish Gothic architecture. While the lights of L.A. twinkle into life far below, the Ace Hotel’s eclectic crowd settle into cushion-strewn benches to enjoy Californian fare and cocktails; try the Mr. Fox - a heady blend of tequila, yellow chartreuse, lemon, honey and soda. Guests can also enjoy a nightly program of DJ sets and live bands.
929 S Broadway, Los Angeles
acehotel.com/losangeles | +1 213-623-3233
6. Seductive Speakeasy...
A seductive speakeasy by the Houston Brothers, the masterminds behind Pour Vous and La Descarga ...
Leave the 21st century behind and delve into the shadowy world of Victorian revelry at No Vacancy, situated in Hollywood’s only remaining Victorian house. With a craft cocktail in hand, explore this barely-lit, multi-level drinking den and you’ll stumble upon hidden staircases, intimate nooks and curvaceous leather banquettes. Mingle by two dramatic fireplaces on the garden patio or slip into the photo booth – but you’ll have to find it first. An immersive speakeasy experience, No Vacancy takes the revelry to fever pitch during the weekends with burlesque dancers, fire-breathers, tight-rope walkers and live musicians. Just be sure to choose door 1902.
1727 N Hudson Ave, Los Angeles
novacancyla.com | +1 323-465-1902
7. Mythical Lounge Bar...
Privacy is paramount at this famous 80-year-old hideaway for movie stars and musicians ...
The mythical Bar Marmont, set within Andre Balaz’s famous Chateau Marmont hotel, is elaborately decorated in a bohemian-chic style. The eclectic design features a vaguely tropical motif with stuffed peacocks and faux monarch butterflies dancing across the ceiling. Bathed in red light, Bar Marmont has a gypsy-like romanticism and is a haven for the A-list celebrity crowd - don't be surprised if you're sitting next to Gwyneth Paltrow having lunch with her agent, or Johnny Depp enjoying late-night drinks with friends. The classic cocktails are the highlight of the drinks menu, such as the expertly-crafted Sidecar with Hennessy and orange liqueur balanced with fresh lemon juice, or the gin-based Cucumber Collins with Hendricks gin.
8171 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles
chateaumarmont.com | +1 323-650-0575
8. Late-Night Party Scene...
You needn’t be a guest at this trendy hotel to experience its nightlife scene ...
A vibrant indoor piazza and sultry cocktail lounge by designer Philippe Starck is the hub of the action at the SLS Beverly Hills, where chef José Andrés curates a glamorous gastronomic experience and dramatic cocktails ooze theatricality. Start with inventive cocktails at Bar Centro which is known for its avant-garde mixology, then mingle with L.A.’s beautiful people on the hotel’s poolside terrace with ocean views and cushion-strewn couches. Feeling hungry? Order a platter of Spanish meats and cheese to share or enjoy a delicious meal at the SLS’ glamorous restaurant, The Bazaar.
465 S La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
slshotels.com/beverlyhills | +1 310-247-0400
9. Venice Hangout...
The Otheroom is a favourite local bar in Venice Beach ...
With a prime location on trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, The Otheroom is a fun, funky bar which attracts Los Angeles’ hip Venice Beach crowd. Set within a former bank, The Otheroom’s industrial-chic interiors feature exposed brick walls and understated modern furnishings. Sample one of the wide selection of international beers on tap or from the extensive selection by the bottle, including many varieties from Belgium such as Duchesse, Chimay, Westmalle, Orval, and Delirium. Locals bring along their dogs, large or small, and although no food is served, the bartenders will happily allow you to order takeout from the best local takeaways if you’re feeling hungry.
1201 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, Los Angeles
theotheroom.net | +1 310-396-6230
TOWER BAR & TERRACE
The glamorous Sunset Tower Hotel recalls the romance of 1930’s Hollywood ...
Playing host to high profile guests such as Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote and Frank Sinatra over the decades, Sunset Tower Hotel is where celebrities and the movers and shakers of Hollywood come to enjoy a discreet evening with friends or to party in style. The Terrace and Tower Bar is often rented out for exclusive gala-style openings, such as Vanity Fair’s prestigious Oscar’s after party. $$$
8358 W Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
sunsettowerhotel.com/at-the-tower-bar | +1 323 654 7100
Average Price of a Drink: $ = Less than $10; $$ = Around $20; $$$ = More than $30
SEE + DO
| LOS ANGELES |
Don't miss these incredible Los Angeles museums, art galleries and landmarks.
Art Galleries & Museums ...
The largest art museum in the western United States, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is home to an extensive collection of over 130,000 art works and objects, from ancient Greek and Etruscan collections to modern and contemporary pieces. Make sure to visit Rembrandt’s Raising of Lazarus and Monet’s Nympheas, along with works by 20th-century artists such as Mondrian, Joan Miró and Kandinsky. Attracting over 1 million visitors each year, the LACMA spans across 20 acres and multiple buildings, so take your time and enjoy this cultural odyssey. One of the city’s foremost cultural institutions is the Richard Meier-designed The Getty Center, an architectural marvel that showcases fascinating European art. Perched on a mountain overlooking the city, this must-visit museum is a wonderful place to spend the afternoon. With three Los Angeles locations showcasing a collection of more than 7,000 objects, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) remains the only artist-founded museum in the city. The MOCA Grand – the museum’s main Downtown branch – features a superb post-1940 collection of works by Pollock, Rothko, Mondrian and Lichtenstein, along with a rolling program of world-class temporary exhibitions.
The Best Spas...
From a simple relaxing massage to all-out plastic surgery, you’ll be spoiled with choice with a wide luxurious spas, specialist facial centres and acclaimed hair salons. Kinara Spa is a film industry favourite beauty spot for customised facials and relaxing massages. For cutting-edge haircuts, visit the Neil George Salon in Beverly Hills, the hairdresser of choice for A-list clients such as Angelina Jolie. Other notable spas include the exclusive 6,600 sqft Argyle Salon & Spa at the Sunset Tower Hotel and the Ole Henriksen Face/ Body Spa. For a whiter-than-white smile, head to Britesmile Teeth Whitening in Beverly Hills, where you’re guaranteed to leave with a “million dollar smile”.
Scenic Helicopter Tour...
A scenic helicopter tour over Los Angeles is the most spectacular way to see L.A.’s urban cityscape from above. Local tour operators such as Adventure Helicopters offer various scenic flight options, including the 10-minute ‘Sneak Peak’ tour where you’ll fly you over the Angeles National Forest, the City of Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, and Hanson Dam. Other popular flight packages include the 30-minute ‘Beach & Hollywood Landmarks’ tour which includes the Hollywood Sign, Universal Studios, Griffith Park, Dodger Stadium and the scenic California coastline.
When visiting Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks, one of the most iconic starting points is Hollywood Boulevard, the historic heart of Los Angeles. As a magnet for the tourist crowds, this is where you’ll find the city’s oldest film theatres, the iconic Walk of Fame where you can spot the Hollywood Stars of your favourite actor, and the Hollywood & Highland mega entertainment complex which plays host to the annual Oscars awards each year. Keep an eye out for the iconic Hollywood Sign in the distance. Also known as the Sunset Strip, Sunset Boulevard has been the city’s “haven of hedonism” for decades. This is where you’ll find many of Los Angeles’ coolest hotels, restaurants and bars, including those hidden within the exclusive Sunset Tower Hotel, The Chateau Marmont and Mondrian Los Angeles. Lined with palm trees, this famous 22-mile strip is synonymous with the glamorous image of Hollywood. Home to Los Angeles iconic Ferris wheel, Santa Monica Pier has been a vibrant hub of L.A. life for over 100 years. Today, the Pier is home to Pacific Park, a fun-filled amusement park filled with roller coasters, rides and games. Explore the aquarium, take a ride on the historic carrousel and soak in the festive atmosphere. Head to the bohemian neighbourhood of Venice Beach to the famous Venice Boardwalk, with its fortune tellers, street performers, artists and hawkers. With a beachside promenade stretching along the coast, this bohemian neighbourhood enjoys a carnivalesque atmosphere, while the tranquil Venice Canals attract Los Angeles’ hip, laid-back crowd. A creative hub since the 50’s, this is the place to discover LA’s alternative side.
Los Angeles is a shoppers paradise, where you’ll be spoiled for choice with shopping malls, major international labels and independent designer boutiques situated throughout the city. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills attracts the Ferrari-driving crowd with its flagship haute couture stores which line the entire street, along with the chic Neiman Marcus department store. Melrose Avenue and Melrose Place in West Hollywood is one of Los Angeles’ trendiest shopping districts, with an enticing selection of cult international labels, independent boutiques and the cutting-edge Fred Segal concept store. Popular with the hip, bohemian crowd, Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach offers an enticing range of independent designer fashion, accessories and homewares. An all-in-one shopping mall, entertainment complex and outdoor market place, The Grove is home to a wide range of major international brands including the Apple Store, Barnes & Noble, Zara and Victoria’s Secret.
Best Local Parks...
The largest urban park in the United States), Griffith Park is a green oasis which boasts over 4,000 acres of natural parkland in the heart of Los Angeles. Griffith Park is famous for its Observatory & Planetarium, a fascinating venue with a state-of-the-art 300-seat planetarium theatre; the Los Angeles Zoo with over 1,200 animals; the Greek Theatre live entertainment space with over 6,000 seats; and the Mount Hollywood Trail where you can hike to the top of Mount Hollywood for sweeping panoramic views of the city. Explore 130 acres of ‘urban wilderness’ at Runyon Canyon Park, where Los Angelenos escape the bustle of the city and keen hikers are rewarded with many stunning viewpoints. Don’t be surprised if you spot a celebrity or two while hiking Runyon’s selection of trails, where you can enjoy sweeping views of the iconic Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Observatory and the Los Angeles skyline.
Best Scenic Drive ...
The inspiration for countless films, novels and songs, Los Angeles’ famous Mulholland Drive is one of America’s most scenic roads, winding its way around the Santa Monica mountains and offering sweeping panoramic views. Take an unforgettable drive to get a closer view of the iconic Hollywood Sign and watch the sunset over Los Angeles.
Best Weekend Escapes...
When you’re ready to escape the urban buzz of Los Angeles, there are many fantastic places to spend a weekend within close reach of the city. Santa Catalina Island is a serene, picturesque eco-island which lies 26 miles offshore of the coast of California. Accessible by ferry from Marina del Rey in Los Angeles, the majority of the island is a national park and is best explored via jeep tours, hiking or by private boat around the island. Don’t miss a swim and snorkelling session in the romantic Lover’s Cove. Located only two hours drive from Los Angeles, Palm Springs is a desert oasis which attracts local “Angelenos” looking for a chilled-out weekend escape. Two of the best hotels in the area are the retro-inspired Viceroy Palm Springs and the revitalised Parker Palm Springs, which was formerly the Givenchy Hotel and Spa. Death Valley National Park is one of the hottest and driest places on earth. A parade of changing colours, natural wonders and vast landscapes, the park’s sand dunes, salt lakes, volcanoes, ghost towns and oases offer an unforgettable road trip.
O U R O T H E R C I T Y G U I D E S . . .