Although we were only really in L.A for four whole days it was only after putting together this guide that I realised quite how much we managed to tick off.
With a bit of pre-planned Google mapping (pinning is not just for Pinterest, folks) Carrie and I grouped neighbourhoods and districts we wanted to visit together down, to try and make sure we could see as much as possible, without veering too far and spending a small fortune on transport whilst at it.
With Venice, Silver Lake, Chinatown and Echo Park being some we seemed to focus on a little more- we definitely got in our fair share of fried goods, Goop-approved concept stores and iPhone steps in each day- which is a job well done if you ask me.
Now, I was tempted to call this a guide, but I’m completely comfortable with knowing I’m very much only just scratching the surface here. Although we seemingly had a list as long as arms, legs and bodies put together- sometimes a spontaneous stroll can lead you onto the best discoveries. So, let’s call this this more of a starters guide to seeing the city, a little black book if you will- where wandering off of the beaten track is (nearly always) fully encouraged…
This was our first stop after I hopped off the plane from Chicago, and even though I was far from needing pizza anytime soon, what a treat it was. Opting for the traditional New York-style margherita and their special mac ‘n’ cheese (which even I loved- for a girl that doesn’t love ‘saucy pasta’)- it was some of the most delicious pizza I’d had- which explains why it was busy (and filled with some exceptionally cool customers too).
Although there are a plethora of brilliant places to get stuck in to in Grand Central Market in downtown, we opted for Eggslut- somewhere I’d heard a lot about but never actually managed to tick off. Opting for their fried egg bacon brioche- it was the perfectly indulgent lunch and an A* example of being able to do the basics really, really well.
Whether you’re after delicious Italian, a sit down dinner or a delicious patisserie experience- this place has it all. With everything from beignets to birthday cake flavoured macarons (no YOU love America), it was the perfect setting to hang out with the wonderful Samantha and set the world to rights over tea and cake.
For street-side snacking, breakfast to lunch (or even homemade cakes) this place is a total delight. A real L.A menu- fuelled with avo on toast, egg sandwiches and light lunches and salads- this place is great for on the go and even better for people watching too.
If you’re after a delicious breakfast in the Silver Lake area, may I point you in the direction of Botanica- a vegetarian café and restaurant that even my absolutely non-veggie pal Carrie loved. With everything from Turkish eggs to roasted apple overnight oats- the selection is pretty varied, and sitting outside in the garden is such a treat in the morning sunshine too.
After spotting this little gem on Courtney’s feed, I quickly scribbled Freedman’s down on the list of potential lunch places- and I’m so glad I did. With the most gorgeous interiors and modern take on a traditional Jewish-deli menu, the salmon and cream cheese bagel was one of the most delicious things I had on our trip, and know it would be just as gorgeous for dinner too.
The Bradbury Building/Downtown Theatre District:
Something I fell in love with about Downtown L.A was it’s diverse architecture- from the historic theatre district, which feels like a lost-in-time Broadway to the Bradbury Building (oh hey 500 Days of Summer fan girl over here). Although there are certainly pockets to be wary of, there are others that ooze otherworldly charm- and although it was definitely a district of two halves (the leap between one extreme and another could be quite unsettling) there are parts that are beautiful and some buildings that are truly worth admiring.
Although I can’t always guarantee Alex Turner and co. will be in town during a visit, I can promise you it’s worth checking out listings for this place (as well as some of the city’s other amazing venues). Hollywood Bowl was one of the most incredible venues I’ve been to- whether it was the lights from the Hollywood hills in the background, outdoor pizza picnic situ during the set, or just the magic of seeing my favourite band in the city of stars- I can recommend it to anyone if you really fancy an unforgettable night out.
A little like my favourite shop in Brighton, Workshop- The Good Liver is a curated home ware and lifestyle shop, filled with beautiful (yet entirely functional) items and gifts. With everything from locally sourced to worldwide suppliers- these items truly have been handpicked as the best of the bunch. If you’re in the area, my pal Carrie also has some other brill picks for the area too.
Although essentially a menswear store and event space, this spot has the most gorgeous selection of accessories- and was the first place I came across my new favourite bag brand, Trademark- very exciting indeed!
Tuesday Bassen is one of my favourite illustrators on Instagram, and probably someone I’ve followed the longest on there too. I absolutely loved stumbling across her store on W Sunset Blvd and seeing everything IRL.
If you’re as much of a jewellery lover as I am, paying a visit to Esqueleto has to be on the cards. With the most brilliant range of beautiful independent designers, I saw some of the prettiest rings in this shop- perfect for a special ring (cough cough) or just some indulgent window shopping.
Oh my GIDDY AUNT. The vintage in L.A. I just. Cannot. After having Sunday’s Best on our map (stay tuned) we came across LOOK vintage which arguably had the most beautiful selection of second-hand pieces I’ve ever seen. Not only were the sizes varied and spot on, but the quality, condition and selection was incredible and I couldn’t recommend noting it down more.
This shop is what I truly think thrift shopping is all about- with racks and rows of pre-loved clothing all at the most reasonable prices (I got a brilliant blazer for $5), it’s well worth the rummage.
There’s not much more I can say about this place other than stationery/gifts/neons/Rifle Paper Co/lots of bloody loveliness.
Tavin in Echo Park feels like the most beautiful bohemian wardrobe bursting at the seams. Although the pieces are certainly a little more expensive than some other spots in the city, the curation of everything is second to none and it feels like a real treasure trove meets museum of wonderful Stevie Nicks inspired goodness.
What sounds more lovely than a spot that sells fresh flowers, donuts, coffees and home goods? I’ll wait. Cozied up on the end of Lincoln Blvd, Flowerboy Project is a great place to take stock (and, ahem, buy stocks) after some serious shopping.
General Store is one of those shops that feels like a collection of every brilliant Instagram account you’ve ever browsed and every cool item you never knew you needed. As well as curated lifestyle items and vintage books, the clothing selection is absolutely beautiful and the perfect calm space to really enjoy a leisurely mooch.
A New York based brand that I’d heard of before the trip but had never properly checked out, their shop on Lincoln Blvd is design heaven. With their collection built upon big shapes and reinvented basics, I fell in love with their dreamy prints and vintage inspired smock dresses.
Christy Dawn is like Reformations’ fun bohemian little sister. With their pieces being ethical, made from repurposed fabrics and in vintage inspired styles- the pieces feel familiar yet sentimental and are absolutely gorgeous to boot.
We discovered Wër on Lincoln Blvd, and I fell in love with the beautiful selection of designers under one roof. Curating a selection of contemporary African brands there were some incredible pieces from hand woven bags, clothing and cosmetics in a beautifully designed space.
From locally sourced products from independent designers and creators, Late Sunday Afternoon is a truly magical space along this strip. With everything from books, handmade bandanas and the most delicious branding- it’s a little treasure trove in the heart of Santa Monica.
I know you can buy Clare V online and in various places, but popping into their gorgeous store was such a treat. Not only is it beautifully merchandised (srs Kate Spade vibes), but the bags and sweaters in here are heavenly- I just wish I’d had more suitcase space.
Oh my goodness THIS PLACE. I thought I’d seen record shops until I’d been to Sick City- and not only is the selection of records unrivalled, but the merch, THE MERCH! I’ve never seen more authentic (and well priced) band t-shirts in one place, and as you can imagine, I was in heaven.
Funnily enough, Olive & June was somewhere I’d had down to visit in L.A for the longest out of anywhere on the list. Having followed their dreamy manicures on Instagram for what feels like forever, I was exceptionally excited to finally get my gel nail art I’d been fantasising over and it didn’t disappoint. Although not cheap, this was a total treat on my first day, and the ultimate spot to while away a little free time if you happen to be in the area.