I’m no expert, and I’m still learning about this city that I live in.
I only recently started not hating it (studying abroad really messed up my attitude haha).
A few peeps have been curious about my recommendations, so I thought I’d do a massive brain dump since I spent a few days this weekend playing tourist in my own city.

I’m curious – if you do like this kind of “tour LA” post, I’d love to play tourist a bit more and document.
Let me know how ya feel!

There’s also 2 videos to get started! If you’re into those. Dang. Sounds like I need some self-assurance, huh. Meh.

So a few people have mentioned they have peeps coming to visit LA. I just had a friend visiting from London so I wanted to put together a compilation of what I dragged him to see in the 2 days he was in town.

West Side / Santa Monica
Some things I’ve done and recommend to you that exist over near Santa Monica.

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Santa Monica Pier
We were here for a Twilight concert series, a free series on the boardwalk that happens Thursdays. There’s also a kind of mini-amusement park with an arcade and all kinds of snacks. There’s a little aquarium and rogue skate sites too.

The last one of the Twilight concerts is September 11 at 7 PM: Charles Bradley w/ King James & The Special Men

I normally don’t come here, in my mind it’s packed with cars and people and I’m not much of a beach gal anyways.
The free concert was nice, you could bring a blanket and park it on the sand, but we just came late, smuggled in some beers and hung out on the pier.

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3rd Street Promenade
Shopping and commercial hub. I come here for the Lush, but it’s generally a safe and pleasant place to walk around, enjoy the sun, window shop and eat treats.

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There’s a candy shop on the promenade called “Candy Baron.”
This is where I found violet crumble, crunchies, and other candy bars I only could find when I was abroad.

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Venice Beach
You can walk for about 30-40 minutes and reach Santa Monica from Venice or vice versa.
I wouldn’t recommend Venice boardwalk in the morning, the shops aren’t open, the stands aren’t set up and there’s just not much to do.
The mini-donuts are from a delightful sandwich place called Zelda’s. Along Venice’s boardwalk you can also get mango con chili and lime. Which is so delightful to have on the beach. Also there’s a Mark di Suervo.

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If you hang out on Abbot Kinney (the diagonal street here), there’s a whole line of shops, boutiques, bakeries, restaurants and it’s preeetty cute. And a dog park nearby!
You can see a bit in my morning here.

Recommendation from : “I went to L.A. in 2009 and ended up staying at the Cadillac Hotel off the Venice boardwalk. Clean, comfortable, and in a good area to explore on foot. It was also nice to wake up at 5.30am with jet lag and be able to wander out and sit on the beach and enjoy seeing the calm before the storm on the boardwalk.”

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Since we’re over near Santa Monica in this post so far, I’ll throw out some fun hiking trails I’ve done in the Santa Monica mountains.
Malibu Rock Pool – just went there here.
Escondido Falls – as seen in here in my week from July
The Grotto – (Here’s the week I went) This hike is pretty difficult, just an FYI

I’d advise to do these early in the morning, especially Escondido falls. It can get crowded and it’s not fun to do a nature-thing surrounded by people.

Other places to check out near there:
Getty Villa (HA sorry just had to) – you do have to book online (for free) ahead of time
Neptune’s Net
El Matador State Beach

San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena
As you may or may not know, I’m from around this area…ish. Closer to Pasadena.
I don’t have up to do photos of lots of stuff, but if you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ve probably seen me at these locations.
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Firstly, gotta toot toot Progress Brewing.
First craft brewery in South El Monte, totally delicious and the vibe is so relaxed and awesome. Yes, my friend does co-own and brew, but really its success couldn’t have happened to more hardworking cool dudes. Try a flight!

Other places you should go to in SGV, Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel etc etc.
Boiling Crab!!
Boiling Point
Golden Deli
P P Pop for soup dumplings only

There’s just so much I would write here. But chances you’ll be randomly visiting this area I guess is pretty slim.

Downtown / Little Tokyo
You should just hang in Little Tokyo, go to MOCA at Geffen, JANM, eat and drink and eat all afternoon, walk around. *Delight!*
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Angel City Brewery
A craft brewery in the heart of the downtown “arts district.” This whole area is adjacent to Little Tokyo, one of my favorite places to frequent. I like to street park on the brewery’s side of Alameda. I also love to park it here with friends and bring board games. They have big picnic tables just waiting for you to park it. (I recommend the IPA or amber ale. YUM!)

From here, there’s a lot to see walking distance.

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The “arts district” is full of studios, art spaces, and murals.

Other yummy places around this area (not including Little Tokyo):
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Map link here.
If you walk down 2nd, Hewitt, 3rd and Traction, you’ll see all kinds of murals.
Also there’s a fun place called Poketo next to Wurstkuche on E 3rd that is a fun little shop.

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Here’s James in the outdoor patio of Wurstkuche.
Try their rattlesnake sausage! It’s great.

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Union Station
I might be biased, as I spent some time this year lookingly closely at this site. It’s the 75th anniversary and the Getty worked on a project that celebrated Union Station’s design. It’s also a functional station! Double whammy. Wander in and enjoy the air and architecture.

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Olvera Street
Across the street is Olvera Street, a Mexican market with food and giftshops.
You can also go up to the viewing platform to see the Siqueiros mural that was whitewashed in the 1930s for being too radical for the time. It was partially restored and now is being conserved.

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Little Tokyo!!
Truly one of my favorite places to go. Not only do I love the museums and have a personal connection to the Japanese American National Museum, but this whole area has always been a treat to explore since I was old enough to take the metro by myself from Pasadena.

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Sorry in advance that most of my things revolve around food. Here’s the map.
I have the Geffen Contemporary (MOCA)
Japanese American National Museum
Far Bar (great beer selection, happy hour and brunch menus)
Mitsuru Cafe (You must get imagawayaki and the takoyaki)
Hama Sushi (sit at the bar)
Shin Sen Gumi (my favorite ramen)
Wolf & Crane Bar
Max Karaoke Studio
Orochon Ramen (very oily, very spicy ramen if you’re into it)
Higashi Hongaji Buddhist Temple

Didn’t fit on google map:
Cafe Demitasse
Bento Man
Miyako Hotel (go see their Japanese Gardens)

Other places to see in Downtown:
Bradbury Building (sneak in!)
Grand Central Market (try the pupusas!)
Walt Disney Concert Hall (Just the outside is gorgeous enough)
MOCA on Grand
Angel’s Flight/Bunker Hill (ride up, or walk the stairs. There’s the view from 500 Days of Summer with the bench)

(I highly recommend a walking tour with Los Angeles Conservancy!)

Los Feliz / Silverlake / Echo Park / Highland Park / Eagle Rock
Yes, I’m lumping a huge area together. I don’t know TOO mcuh, so most of what’s in this section is a list with links.
I do have many posts that feature places in Eagle Rock, as it’s right near South Pas.
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Guisados (there’s also a Boyle Heights one), I recommend the sample of six. They are mini tortillas, made in house, with the most delicable and diverse array of meats, salsas and flavors.

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Griffith Observatory
You can hike up, walk up or drive up! It’s situated in Griffith Park, which has a Zoo, The Autry, Fern Dell trail, a theater and more.

Other random things:
Mituswa Market (with food court – try the tendon)
Thai Town
Sunset Beer Company (beer grocery store/lounge)
Short Stop (a bar haha)
Cha Cha Lounge (another bar!)
Cha Cha Cha (not a bar, but mad happy hour every week night)
Watts Towers
Sage Vegan Bistro
Cafe Dulce
Sawtelle/Olympic District (esp. Tsujita, Blockheads, and Beard Papas)
Dodger Stadium? (If you’re into that!)
Kogi Truck/Alibi Room
UCB Improv Theater
Hollywood Sign Hike
A studio tour if you want (Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros)
Melrose Ave
Fairfax Flea Market
Pasadena Flea Market
Culver City Hotel
Sweet Rose Creamery
Diddy Reese

Museums/Arts Places
The Getty (muhahaha)
The Hammer
Norton Simon
The Huntington (also for their gorgeous gardens)
Chinese American Museum
The Arboretum
Culver City galleries
356 Mission

If you’ve visited LA or have places you heard about, let me know. I’m curious to either share what I know about them, or try them for myself! Hope this whole post was useful in some way!

(This is not a complete list of all things I think are cool or do frequently, just a start!)

Blast from the past semi-relevant days from this blog
May 25, 2012: Going out to eat at L.A. Live and then drinks in K-Town
March 24, 2012: Culver City galleries, boba at Royal T, Bergamot Station, Umami Burger, ForYourArt, LACMA, german biergarten restaurant place…dang busy day.
February 25, 2012: LA Convention Center with Aryn, driving around LA, Mid-Wilshire, fish tacos, *whew*
August 15, 2010: Clifton’s Cafe (I think this might have closed gah) and just general old milling about weirdness.
July 2010: California Science Center Day (dang, this is soooo old!)

Crazy to go back in time on this blog. It’s hard for me…


Much love friends.

Posted by:sarahwaldo

By day I'm a content producer at an arts org in Los Angeles, by night I am the overly apologetic brain and face of

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