A Los Angeles native living in New York City, Brian (@bagelbrian) is a go-to source for all things cool and trendy whether he's in London for a weekend or skiing in Aspen for the holidays. We asked him for his hottest tips and favorite spots in LA and the result is this fantastic guide for anyone looking to make the most of a short trip to La La Land.
When I think about my hometown of Los Angeles, I think of food, art, sun, and the drive down Sunset Boulevard. I’ve put together a short weekend in LA. The city is expansive and there are so many different neighborhoods and cuisines to discover that this weekend guide barely scratches the surface. My advice is to dive deep and explore this intensely diverse and vibrant place that is constantly evolving and growing.
Tips & considerations
Rent a car and/or use Uber/Lyft. Plan out your days based on neighborhoods. It doesn’t make sense to be driving from Santa Monica to Silverlake in rush hour trying to make your dinner reservation at Botanica. Stay in a walkable neighborhood. It’s great to be able to walk to coffee in the morning or to a bar at night. Many of LA’s neighborhoods are becoming more and more walkable. LA is a desert, which means no rain ever and lots of sun. It also means that the temperature drops between 10 and 20 degrees at night. So bring a bomber jacket or a light teddy coat.
Arrive and check into pop up hotel The Jeremy Hotel West Hollywood. In April 2019, The Jeremy (which opened in 2017) will transform into the 1 Hotel West Hollywood. The Hotel is centrally located within LA’s urban sprawl and is a good home base if you are planning on spending time both on the East Side and on the West Side.
First stop is Runyon Canyon: the hike of all LA hikes. One of the most instagrammable places in the city, the Runyon Canyon loop will take you around one hour to complete and has some of the best vistas of the city and of hiking Angelenos. Wear sneakers and sunglasses and bring a friend and a dog.
For dinner, Cecconi’s West Hollywood is a quick Uber ride from The Jeremy. Eat on the outdoor patio and order the lobster spaghetti. After dinner, head to Mama Shelter Hollywood for cocktails on the roof for beautiful views of the city, the Hollywood Hills, and the Hollywood sign. If you’re afraid of the nighttime LA cold (referenced earlier), Mama Shelter provides warm blankets on the roof.
Late Night Tacos: One of my favorite late night spots is the taco truck on Santa Monica Blvd and Virgil, El Taqueria Huracan. LA street tacos are like no other and you can find them all over the city. This is the truck I frequent most in the city.
Walk across the street and start your morning off with a high-intensity boxing class at the new Rumble West Hollywood studio. This New York workout phenomenon just opened a flagship on Sunset in 2018 next to the new Fred Segal West Hollywood. Or book a treadmill at Barry’s Bootcamp’s flagship West Hollywood studio. This is the original studio of the flourishing fitness brand that is experiencing a rapid global expansion.
Next: a casual brunch at All Time in Los Feliz. All Time is a cute and low-key coffee and brunch spot that also offers full dinner service at night. Everything on the menu is amazing. Definitely the hot spot right now.
Next, check out The Broad Museum, a new art museum in downtown LA hosting the modern art collection of Eli and Edythe Broad. Warhol and Koons get a lot of Instagram pictures, but there’s a depth and breadth to the art here. The Broad opened in 2015 and admission is free! Tickets must be reserved online in advance.
For dinner, head to the NoMad Los Angeles in DTLA. The NoMad has been buzzing ever since opening Downtown in 2018. Have dinner, have drinks, and then walk around to some of the DTLA bars and clubs. Or take a quick Uber to the Arts District for one of my after-dinner favorites: The Pie Hole.
Before you leave Weho for the day, fuel up at Alfred Coffee Melrose Place. This is the original (and namesake) coffee shop of the Instagram-famous Alfred Coffee & Tea House. Nestled on Melrose Place in between The Row (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s women’s fashion boutique which won an American Architecture Award for the store design) and A.P.C., Alfred Melrose Place is the place to be, especially on a Sunday morning during the Melrose Place Farmers Market.
Now with coffee in hand, drive west towards the water for a day in Malibu. The destination is brunch at Nobu Malibu overlooking the water. It’s a trek from West Hollywood, but worth the drive. Brunch reservations at Nobu Malibu are difficult to get, so be sure to make them a few weeks ahead of time. Nobu Malibu is the sceney spot to see and be seen, so bring your sunglasses, big hat, and portrait mode.
On the way back to West Hollywood stop at Gjusta in Venice to get a coffee and a snack. Gjusta is the sister spot of the more formal sit down restaurant Gjelina and has the best baked goods in LA (strong statement I know). Go and try for yourself.
Gracias Madre for Sunday night dinner. Gracias Madre is a San Francisco import, but has created its own LA personality. It’s a vegan Mexican restaurant with the most beautiful outdoor patio on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. The restaurant is perfect for cocktails and dinner and is a great way to close out a weekend in LA.