Happy Friday Everyone! So let’s imagine that you had 48 hours (a weekend, basically) to visit Los Angeles…where would you go to make the most of your trip? Here are my suggested destinations. Note that this is a limited list, because it factors in the time you will most likely spend in traffic, the kryptonite of even the most enthusiastic L.A. tourists.
WEST LA / THE BEACHES
As if the very word “beach” were not enough of a reason to get you there, go for the unique, much emulated but rarely duplicated, laid-back SoCal vibe (like as soon as you get in your rental car at the airport). There is no better way to become acclimated to #calilife. It’s a real thing, I assure you, and you will be happy to know that all it really requires is sunscreen, a chill attitude, and a comfortable pair of flip flops.
I’m a sucker for Santa Monica because I lived there during law school and for a few years before moving back to Paris. Venice, however, has a particular artsy edge that I have always loved. Abbot Kinney Boulevard has some of the best shopping, eating, and exercising options around, and I was surprised to discover some great new stores on Lincoln Boulevard, like Late Sunday Afternoon where I bought the most amazing, soft cotton t-shirt that I am absolutely obsessed with (need to order more). Manhattan Beach has a vibe that’s all it’s own – relaxed, but don’t be fooled. It’s the sight of some of the most expensive real estate in the country, and that ordinary looking guy in the Hawaiian shirt at the table next to you probably owns a basketball team.
BEVERLY HILLS / WEST HOLLYWOOD
Once you are ready to dust off the beach sand and move into the fast lane, head east. My first stop the day after I arrive in L.A. (and any subsequent morning I am there) is SoulCycle, and I will literally schedule my trip around a ride with my local favorites, Angela, Nick, and Pixie. Trust me, to deal with the killers in this part of town, you’d better feel like you’ve killed something (like a ridiculously challenging spin class) before mingling with them.
For shopping, Rodeo Drive and the surrounding hood has its appeal, but I prefer Melrose Place, which has a more curated selection of haute destinations, including The Line, Chloe, Violet Grey and my favorite, Isabel Marant. For post-shopping people-watching (and a glass of bubbly), I will always choose Chateau Marmont, although who am I to turn down The Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel?
I branched out of my West L.A. comfort zone during my last trip. Downtown L.A., particularly in and around the Fashion District, is a thriving and upcoming community. Acne, A.P.C., to name a few, have recently opened their doors, and some uber-trendy spots like the Ace Hotel offer roof-top dining and bar scenes. I loved the fact that right next to that hipster spot was a 50 year-old taco joint where loyal customers lined up for traditional Mexican fare starting at noon. Speaking of traditional Mexican fare, the sights and tastes on Olivera Street (near Union Station) were a real treat, and not to be missed (churros, anyone?).
As I pack my bags to head back east, I can’t help wondering (as I always do after a visit): “Why, exactly, don’t I still live here?”