What to do
Los Angeles is famous for its traffic and it can be a frustrating experience getting around. So stick to the coastline of Santa Monica, one of the most walkable areas of L.A. It’s also incredibly photogenic with equal parts Art Deco and Colonial Revival-style architecture. Santa Monica is famously known for mixing laid-back beach town vibes with shopping and cultural attractions such as art galleries and museums.
Things start to get a little funkier the next beach over. Venice Beach’s boardwalk is one of the most colourful parts of the city, lined with street musicians and shops.
L.A. is large and sprawling but everyone from your cab driver to your concierge will tell you about dockless scooter-share companies like Bird and Lime that have recently launched here. Walk around the block and you’ll spot electric scooters everywhere. They can be unlocked in real time using mobile apps and you pay by the minute. When you’re done, lower the kickstand, lock the bike and walk away.
What to eat and drink
There’s a reason why so many chefs are moving to Los Angeles. There’s no place like California when it comes to produce. A trip to L.A. requires a visit to one of many farmers markets throughout the city. The Wednesday market in Santa Monica gets top billing for having one of the city’s most varied selections. This is where the local chefs shop and where you can taste your way through hyper-seasonal fruits like pluots and kiwis.
Or head to the Original Farmers Market on Fairfax Avenue for food stalls and shopping. There’s also the Venice Beach Farmers Market which is tamer compared to the others but still presents all the essentials from seasonal produce to a variety of artisanal food vendors.
Los Angeles is famously known as the city that celebrates after-hours entertainment. While West Hollywood demands a separate trip to fully appreciate its diverse pockets and wilder side, you can get a taste of it if you stick to the main artery. Start by the Sunset Strip where you’ll find some of the best southeast Asian restaurants. Try Night + Market for traditional and nouveau takes on Thai cuisine or head to E.P. & L.P. for rooftop drinks and snacks.
Where to stay
While there is no shortage of luxury in Los Angeles, the Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, near Venice Beach wins our hearts for the cozy feel of its lobby and close proximity to the Abbot Kinney strip’s excellent shopping and eating. The hotel cradles one of the largest recreational marinas in the world, so expect epic views of the water from the outdoor saltwater pool and sunsets from the club lounge (free with suites).
In West Hollywood, try the Charlie Hotel, a property that captures that home-away-from-home feel. Once owned by Charlie Chaplin as a retreat for his famous friends, the English cottage-like buildings now serve as unique suites named for the stars that once stayed in them; the Marilyn’s dining room overlooks a quaint garden while the Clark’s two bedrooms each have their own patio.