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Los Angeles city guide

Where to eat, sleep, drink and play in the City of Angels

Entertainment is L.A.’s business, and regardless of what the word means to you, the city doesn’t disappoint. Beyond the dazzle of Hollywood and the flash of Beverly Hills, there are vibrant international communities, award-winning restaurants, a thriving independent art scene and vast natural playgrounds from the mountains to the sea. With as many things to do in Los Angeles as there are sunny days – from laid-back beaches to urban adventures, celebrity star-gazing to gazing at actual stars from the Griffith Observatory – the City of Angels has you covered. People come here to reinvent themselves for a reason.

Words by Sandy Cohen 

Photo by Ádám Berkecz on Unsplash

Marina Del Ray/Venice

These two neighborhoods, though side by side, are contrasts in L.A. beach life. Marina del Rey is sophisticated—all harbor-view buildings and classy dockside restaurants. Venice is scrappier, with a mix of vintage stores and head shops among the charming houses along canal-lined streets. Bridge the gap at the Venice Whaler, a pub with an oceanfront patio that sits smack in between the two.

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The sidewalk stars. The let’s-do-lunch eateries. The sign. Hollywood has long been a celebrity haunt, but now it’s a nice neighborhood, too. The Hollywood & Highland complex—opened in 2001 as a shopping-and-dining mecca—sparked a revival that has made the area a different kind of destination. Today, Hollywood Boulevard’s historic theaters and Walk of Fame are surrounded by new bars, restaurants and retailers, though standbys like Musso & Frank Grill and the Frolic Room remain.

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Downtown Los Angeles

Nobody used to live downtown. There weren’t even any supermarkets. But the historic heart of the city is thriving now. Old bank buildings have been transformed into sleek hotels, while hip eateries are opening on streets that, once, no one would have dared (or bothered) to venture after dark. L.A. finally has a “real” downtown, where locals walk to work and take the edge off afterwards at rooftop bars like Broken Shaker, Perch and The Standard.

Best restaurants for foodies

Courtesy Broken Spanish

Broken Spanish

(213) 749-1460, 1050 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA

Known for its creative take on Mexican food, dishes at Broken Spanish include albondigas soup with duck meatballs or beet pibil, which blends yellow beets, achiote, pickled onions and bitter greens. The creative cocktail menu leans heavily towards tequila and mezcal, while communal seating makes for a lively atmosphere.

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Mike Baker

Grand Central Market

(213) 624-2378, 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA

Spanning almost a full city block, this arcade of eateries and specialty grocers has operated in its downtown location since 1917. The vendors have changed over the years, but the atmosphere at Grand Central Market remains vibrant and selections varied, whether you’re craving a fried-egg sandwich, a cold-pressed juice, an ice cream or a glass of merlot.


Zen Sekizawa


(310) 836-6252, 3455 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034, USA

Plan ahead—like, months ahead—for a table at n/naka, chef Niki Nakayama’s intimate dining spot known for its artistic 13-course tasting menus. Reservations open once a week and quickly book out. A meal at n/naka is an immersive, memorable experience, with its Modern Kaiseki menu comprising dishes of various textures and components easily spanning three hours (and over $300 per person, including drinks).

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Classic Los Angeles restaurants

Tina Whatcott-Echeverria

Musso & Frank Grill

(323) 467-7788, 6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA

At Hollywood’s oldest restaurant, on Hollywood Boulevard since 1919, you might sit at what used to be Charlie Chaplin’s preferred table, or on a barstool that once accommodated Marilyn Monroe. With its retro décor and classic American fare, Musso & Frank is still a hit with entertainment types, but sipping a perfectly poured martini at its dark wood bar would make anyone feel like a star.

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Pink's Hot Dogs

Pink's Hot Dogs

(323) 931-4223, 709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038, USA

Sure, it’s a hot-dog stand, but only the uninitiated would expect a quick bite at Pink’s, which has drawn epic lines since it opened in 1939. Located at a busy Hollywood intersection, Pink’s Hot Dogs attracts plenty of celebrities, though few can match its star power, having appeared in countless TV shows and movies. Stay classic with the chili dog or go crazy with the bacon burrito dog.

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Best restaurants for celeb spotting

Bakeries and coffee shops

Brian Feinzimer

Porto's Bakery & Cafe

(818) 956-5996, 315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203, USA

A local favorite since Rosa Porto opened her first tiny storefront in 1976, Porto’s Bakery & Cafe now has four Los Angeles locations that are as beloved for their special-occasion cakes as their Cuban pastries, savory snacks and sandwiches. Don’t miss the papas rellenas (meat-stuffed potato balls) or the signature guava-and-cheese strudel.


Best cocktail bars

Art Gray


(323) 844-0717, 1746 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

The cocktails are as sumptuous as the surrounds at this sophisticated speakeasy with the same apothecary-inspired look as the New York original. The creative drinks menu at Apotheke in Downtown Los Angeles includes the locally inspired Angelino’s Way, with cilantro-infused tequila, watermelon, billberry, lime, habanero bitters and a shake of Old Bay seasoning. 


Where to drink craft beer

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Imperial Western Beer Company

(213) 270-0035, 800 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

Housed in an historic building at Union Station, the city’s central train depot, the Imperial Western microbrewery has incredible art-deco architecture, free brewery tours on request, new take-home crowlers and a range of craft brews that includes the Union Station pale lager and Superchief IPA.

Courtesy Los Angeles Ale Works

Los Angeles Ale Works

(424) 456-4191, 12918 Cerise Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250, USA

Launched with a Kickstarter campaign, Los Angeles Ale Works has grown to include a spacious tasting room and outdoor patio for sipping its locally inspired brews like the Pacific Playground or SpaceXPA, named for Elon Musk’s nearby rocket company.


Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

Beachwood Brewing

(562) 436-4020, 210 E 3rd St, Long Beach, CA 90802, USA

What started as a barbecue joint has grown into a successful brewing operation with a new specialty division dedicated to producing Belgian-style beers. Most of Beachwood’s brews are West Coast IPAs, with a stout or two in the mix. Make like a local and try the LBC IPA.

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Best bars with a view

Frank Lee

Broken Shaker

(213) 395-9532, 416 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014, USA

Ultra-hip, yet relaxed, Broken Shaker at the Freehand Hotel has quickly become a downtown hotspot thanks to its city views, cool design and creative cocktail menu. For a real boost, try a Carrot Colada (gin shaken with Montenegro, carrot, coconut, orgeat and marjoram pink peppercorn cordial).

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Wonho Frank Lee


(213) 712-2683, 633 W. 5th Street, 71st Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90071, USA

As the highest restaurant west of the Mississippi, 71Above in Downtown Los Angeles is fully justified in calling itself a “skylounge.” With walls of windows, it delivers elegant bar bites like hamachi crudo and steak tartare, original cocktails named for L.A. neighborhoods, and 360-degree views of the city.

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Five notable locals show us how to do Los Angeles, their way.

For a first-time visitor to Los Angeles, a pre-trip to-do list might look something like this: Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive , Hollywood Boulevard. For the people who live in L.A., however, these famous destinations (and the La La Land conventions they embody) don’t begin to tell the story of...

Historic Los Angeles hotels

Courtesy of The Hollywood Roosevelt.

Hollywood Roosevelt

(323) 856-1970, 7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA

Opened by a group of movie titans in 1927, the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel still symbolizes the glamor of Hollywood’s golden era. The first Academy Awards were held at this Hollywood Boulevard landmark, and the hotel is still a hotspot thanks to its hip nightclub, Teddy’s, and its 24-hour burger joint, 25 Degrees.

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles

Millennium Biltmore

(213) 624-1011, 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071, USA

With its carved marble fountains, oak-paneled walls, crystal chandeliers and frescoed ceilings, the Millennium Biltmore hotel is as grand today as when it opened in 1923. This storied landmark in the heart of downtown has more than 600 guest rooms and is a short walk from Walt Disney Hall and other attractions.

Best luxury hotels

Courtesy The Beverly Hills Hotel

Hotel Bel-Air

(310) 472-1211, 701 Stone Canyon Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90077, USA

This hilltop oasis in one of L.A.’s ritziest areas is like a mansion estate that happens to be a hotel. Nestled among the winding streets above Beverly Hills, the luxury Hotel Bel-Air is a secluded escape, with 103 guest accommodations — nearly half of them suites — on a lush garden property that's also home to four resident swans.

Courtesy of The Peninsula Beverly Hills

The Peninsula Beverly Hills

(310) 975-2855, 9882 S Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, USA

Five-star The Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel offers upscale patio dining, a rooftop pool and 195 guest rooms (including 17 private villas) just steps from Rodeo Drive — though chauffeured transportation is provided. There’s an available menu of only-in-L.A. activities at this luxury Los Angeles hotel, like a shopping with a celebrity stylist or a Hollywood-style photo shoot complete with hair, makeup and wardrobe.

Boutique hotels

The Farmer's Daughter

Farmer's Daughter Hotel

(323) 937-3930, 115 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

The Farmer's Daughter Hotel is centrally located, across the street from The Grove and L.A.’s Original Farmer’s Market, and walking distance from the La Brea Tarpits and the L.A. County Museum of Art. Originally opened in the 1960s, it’s been completely redesigned and remodeled with kitschy country charm.

Adrian Gaut


(213) 381-7411, 3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010, USA

This boutique hotel in the heart of Koreatown is infused with the energy of the neighborhood. Mixing midcentury architecture with industrial decor, the LINE LA is surrounded by Korean spas, barbecue spots and karaoke bars and boasts its own hip 1980s-inspired nightclub, Break Room 86.

Must-visit museums and galleries

Mike Kelly

The Broad

(213) 232-6250, 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

General admission is free at this contemporary art museum: Order tickets in advance at The Broad (pronounced like "road") or just show up and get in the stand-by queue. Philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad opened the downtown Los Angeles museum in 2015, and the white, mesh-like building is every bit as stunning as the art.

Petersen Automotive Museum

Petersen Automotive Museum

(323) 930-2277, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

A tribute to L.A. car culture, the Petersen Automotive Museum has vehicles on display from throughout the eras, from a 1910 Ford Model T to a 2018 Ford GT, exotic models, motorcycles and rotating special exhibits. There are 250 additional precious vehicles in the vault, which requires separate admission.

Watch a show in Los Angeles

TCL Chinese Theatre

TCL Chinese Theatre

(323) 461-3331, 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028, USA

World famous for the celebrity footprints in cement out front, the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood still shows first-run features with state-of-the-art technology— now on an IMAX screen. The interior is just as dramatic as the exterior, with real Chinese artifacts throughout.

Courtesy of The Groundlings Theatre and School

The Groundlings

(323) 934-4747, 7307 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA

Get a good laugh and see the Will Ferrells and Melissa McCarthys of tomorrow at The Groundlings, a theater and school for improv and sketch comedy performers, where both of the aforementioned are alumni. Shows play nightly and tickets top out around $20.

Hiking and biking

Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy

Palos Verdes Nature Preserve

(310) 541-7613, Burma Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, USA

A collection of coastal reserves on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, this nature area offers more than 30 miles of hiking trails, wild native plants, sea caves, tide pools and spectacular views of Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean.

Shopping in Los Angeles


The Grove

(323) 900-8080, 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

The Grove — which abuts a real movie set (CBS Studios is next door) — is an outdoor shopping center with perfectly groomed palm trees, a motorized streetcar and a dancing fountain amid its mix of restaurants and shops. Its age-old neighbor, The Original Farmer’s Market, promises more authentic treasures.

Brian Kinney

Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Dr, Los Angeles, CA, USA

You need deep pockets to buy anything on this world-famous stretch of luxury boutiques, with Chanel, Gucci, Rolex, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Prada among the designers boasting Rodeo Drive addresses. But people-watching is free, and the area is dotted with charming eateries (like Villa Blanca and celeb-favorite The Farm of Beverly Hills), or simply walk the Drive and watch the beautiful people go by.

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