Full disclosure: Los Angeles is not my favorite city for several reasons, biggest of which might be that it is way too spread out and that the public transportation system is very inefficient. If you know where to go, however, you can easily spend a few days roaming around and enjoy your time.
If you are relying on public transport to get you places, pack a book to read and make sure you have a working GPS since the buses don’t always tell the next stops. Oddly enough, even though one single fare is 1.75$ the bus drivers were very happy with just a $1 note. An example of just how insane the traffic and distances in LA are is my 2 hour bus ride from Venice to Echo park. The trip should have taken no more than 40 minutes by car (depending on traffic).
During my week in the city of Angels, I took a day to roam around the stylish boulevards of Santa Monica and walk down along the beach to the well-known Venice beach, home to the famous muscle beach and "alternative lifestyles". I was surprised to see the variety of homeless people, athletes, tourists and young people hanging around in a nice mix. Down by the beach, the vibe seemed a bit too trashy for my taste, so I was lucky to wander to Abbot Kinney, the hipster street filled with boutique shops, eateries, coffee shops and juice bars. Rising from a sketch neighbourhood, Venice is now one of the most expensive areas to live in LA, and Abbot Kinney houses some prime real-estate in the city.
On another day, I walked down Sunset Boulevard from Los Feliz to Silverlake. Again, a bunch of cool hipster cafes, and even more cold-pressed juiceries than in Venice! Walking up or down Sunset Boulevard makes for a nice afternoon stroll, and any of the cafes are perfect for people spotting. Silver lake/Echo Park are great areas for some street art, as well as general hang outs. They are definitely up and coming neighbourhoods, with still very cool vibes.
All over LA, you can find top notch fashion, cheap Mexican food, cold-pressed juices, cold drip coffee on tap, kombucha, and organic food stores all over the place. Vegan cafes are aplenty, and some cafes offer matcha instead of espresso in their coffee drinks; almond milk is a given option. Unless you earn money like a Hollywood star, be prepared to cringe when paying for your treats. I will always fondly remember the time I bought a $6.25 coffee (ok it was iced cold drip with horchata but still). I did my background check on where to get the best brews in LA, but I've dedicated another post for that (stay tuned!). When it comes to health food, a simple Google search will point you to the direction of Cafe Gratitude (also found in Santa Cruz), Gracias Madre (also found in San Francisco), The Springs and many many others...this list might be give you a hint on what's going on in the munchie scene in LA. Bon appetit!
If you are interested in something else than walking around, eating and sipping coffee, go check out the Annenberg Space for Photography. They have changing exhibitions guaranteed to provoke some thoughts. During my visit, the exhibition was about identity; sexuality, race, gender and class in America. If you only do one cultural thing in LA, go here. It's free.
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