Gourmet organic cafe that's a great place to go if you're sick of burgers and fries. You won't have to subsist on wheatgrass and beansprouts though, they do great chicken salad, hefty sandwiches, soups, good desserts and cakes too.
Urth Caffé - West Hollywood
8565 Melrose Avenue, (310) 659-0628, between Robertson and La Cienegahttp
This is one of my compulsory stops in LA especially late nights. I understand that the breakfast is legendary - perhaps next trip - but this is one place where the t-bone is large and the coleslaw legendary. It claims that it has never shut since it opened its doors in 1924. Open 24 hours a day all year round.
Old fashioned cafe with minimal decor that looks like a cinema set for a b-grade movie. Even the cashier is behind a wired cage! Be warned - no credit cards.
Corner of 9th and Figueroa, in downtown L.A. (next to LA Convention Centre)
For $3 an MTA daily travel pass allows you to range as far and wide as you like via bus and metrorail train. Riding the bus is not only by far the cheapest way to get around (and out of) LA, it's also the best way to experience the city's fantastically complex social, racial and cultural mix. Passes can be bought from bus drivers or at Metrorail stations. Journeys can be planned in detail ahead of time by using the MTA's excellent website (www.mta.net).
A Mexican market. It's bustling, fun, great atmosphere. And while there, you can visit the oldest house in LA (on the same street) and walk around the grounds of the beautiful church nearby. When I was there, there were also street performers in the square at the end of the street. You really feel like you've not only left LA, but left the country! It's great - by far the best LA experience I had.
As a denizen and big fan of this crazy, mixed-up city, may I recommend:
Yuca Taco Stand www.ericgarcetti.org/blog/000039.php
and there's a lady from Oaxaca who has a cart (the one under the blue umbrella, usually) on Echo Park Boulevard just south of Sunset Blvd., between Sunset and Echo Park Lake, Wednesdays thru Saturdays from noon until 5:30--she's illegal (so no links here) and delicious!
Traditional blue corn quesadillas with huitlacoche (an earthy black fungus paste that grows on ears of corn), squash blossoms, and other wonderful things to put in, pickled cactus to put on top--$3! Sometimes she doesn't show because she's afraid of the policia, but she's worth taking your chances. Yum.
Both of these places are on the eastern side of town, the far more interesting half. While here, work up your appetite and get a taste of local life by taking a hike in either Griffith Park (www.ci.la.ca.us/RAP/dos/parks/griffithPK/griffith.htm) or Elysian Park (www.laparks.org/dos/parks/facility/elysianPk.htm). Views from both.
Although LA is known as the city of the car the whole area has got a well developed public transit system consisting of light and heavy rail, subway and buses. It's cheap too -- you'll pay a fraction of the cost of comprable journeys in England. It pays to plan in advance, though, because it can be quite confusing if you don't live there (the fare structuring is very different from the UK as well). Also, tourists seem to get pushed onto high cost transit - for example, there's a light rail station adjacent to LAX but you'd never know it from the signs at the airport, all which would much rather have you use a cab or shuttle bus.
(Sitting in a hire car in heavy traffic on a freeway rapidly loses its gloss. Think "M25 with poor quality concrete surface"!)
www.mta.net -- it links into other transit systems, also try web searches.
Do not be deceived by it's diner-esque front, the cuisine here is of the very highest calibre. I lived in Hermosa Beach for over a year and ate all over Los Angeles only to find this: by far the best restaurant I went to in LA; in my last week. Mains are $12-$17, but this is a snip for the quality of food and service and for the extremely pleasant atmosphere.
1501 Hermosa Ave, Hermosa Beach
Tel: 310 376 2084
This is an amazing art museum in Pasadena. It has quite a small collection, but its quality surpasses that of the Getty. It also has a small but lovely garden.
You can get there on the Metro, though natives of LA will not believe you.
An unassuming canopy on west 3rd hides a dimly lit, but atmospheric bar. Serves over 270 types of tequila, great Margarita's and all else until late to a hippish, relaxed LA crowd. Has chic mexican wrestling decor, once your eyes have adjusted to the nice low light. Yum.
8138 W 3rd Street, Hollywood CA
A fish'n'chip joint par excellence! Situated on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), you sit at tables overlooking the ocean eating superb freshly-cooked fish and seafood from an extensive menu. Line up at the cooking shack, choose your food, and it is cooked to order. Those in the know bring their own plates and cutlery, wine etc. Watch the sun set over the Pacific, it's magical - or go anytime for a cheap delicious meal.
PCH (Highway 1), Malibu.
Found this online today: for $199 (adult) the City Pass gives you entrance to five (5) amusement parks: Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, SeaWorld in San Diego, Universal Studios Hollywood and San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. You have 14 days to use it. Saves a bundle if these parks are your funky thang.
Theme park of extreme proportions that is well worth the price ($59). It's a day trip with loads of events and the famous train ride around the film lot.
On their website they actually write this:
"Located conveniently in Los Angeles, CA." Hilarious.
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608.
The finest Craftsman house in Pasadena, built in 1908 by architects Greene and Greene. The style is Charles Rennie Macintosh with a Pacific Rim twist; everything, down to the light switches, was specifically designed for this house. It also has a great bookshop, with a huge selection of books on design, architecture and art.
Orange Boulevard, Pasadena
Everybody, of course, goes to Universal Studios in Hollywood. Fair enough, it is the biggest but is it the best? It used to be but, alas, no longer. Now try the Warner Bros. studio tour and you'll see the difference, especially if you are a film buff like me.
Warners is far smaller but it is quieter and it is a working studio but most of all the moment you go round the back lots you can immediately see the sets for the familiar 30's and 40's films like Jimmy Cagney's 'Public Enemy', Bogart's 'Maltese Falcon' and Flynn's 'Robin Hood'. While these will mean nothing to the 'Sponge Bob' or 'The Shrek' generation, who will doubtless prefer to enjoy the hussle and bussle of the Universal tour, old fuddy-duddies like me will enjoy the 'WB's. They don't make'm like that anymore. Go enjoy!
Also, don't miss the small movie and TV museums on Sunset, Hollywood and Vine either. Many sadly do, you'll never forgive yourself.
Warner Bros. Studio is at Burbank. Universal Studios is at Universal City (on the way to Burbank). Hollywood Museum, Movie and TV Museum and Max Factor's old make-up palace (now also a museum) are all on or just off Hollywood Blv.
With 2 branches in L.A. (the original in west L.A. on the old Route 66 and a more recent addition in Santa Monica) this is a fine place for a few beers from an enjoyably broad beer menu featuring brews from all over the world. There's no need to go for the usual U.K. available labels so try a nice Fat Tire or Anchor Steam instead, and add a fabulous calzone or chilli bowl from their equally long food menu. Shoot some pool, play the jukebox or look at the tabletops which are full of showbiz memorabilia and great old celebrity pictures.
3rd St Promenade,Santa Monica,CA
Possibly the world's best record store, this place has hundreds of thousands of records, CDs, posters and more, new and used, and I have spent many hours sifting through the endless aisles of every genre, picking up obscurities, bargains and the general good vibe of the store.
Sunset Blvd, CA
The music festival held in the middle of September. This is the most relaxed festival of it's kind i have ever attented, everyone brings a chair and just sits around drinking wine and watching fantastic live music. Right in the middle of Austin the transport is organised with millitary precision. The grounds are clean, grassy and have plenty of shade - perfect for people of all ages.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com