Hey! I'm a recent LA transplant with a group of friends. We flounder around most days trying to figure out this place and not be overwhelmed; but it's got me to wondering, as someone who's lived here a while what would you consider the top 10 things to do in the city?
Surprisingly I haven’t been in LA that long. It will be two years at the end of May, but I did go HAM on the city and it’s the most amazing place in the world. There’s truly nowhere else I’d rather be than Los Angeles.
The great thing about LA is that, while large, it’s surprisingly manageable. Working on the assumption that you have a car, the list below will be a combination of tourist-y things and local haunts.
1. Griffith Park. All of it. It can take you a month to do everything. The Observatory, hiking (don’t hike Runyon, it’s a piece of shit and essentially a nasty dirt road filled with people wanting to see celebrities or pretend to be celebrities), Travel Town Museum (i fucking love trains), The Zoo, The Autry, Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn (more trains, but also Walt Disney’s awesome-ass barn), the Carousel, random drum circles, the Fern Dell, the Trails restaurant, etc. I’m not kidding. Griffith Park is the single greatest asset in the world and I’m so lucky to live as the base of it.
2. Malibu. Don’t fuck with beaches anywhere else, it’s just not worth it. Malibu is always worth it. Unless you go to the shitty beaches. Don’t go to the shitty Malibu beaches. Go to Point Dume, scramble over the rocks when the tide is low, and then enjoy your private beach that only rich people have access to, but is actually free to the public. If you have a dog, go to Leo Carrillo State Beach. It’s amazing. Even if you don’t have a dog go to Leo Carrillo State Beach because they have amazing tide pools. Also the only three places in Malibu worth eating at are Malibu Farm, Nobu, & Neptune’s net. Stop at the Gelson’s in the Palisades and load up on delicious food and bevies and bring a picnic. Oh wait, I think a Juice Served Here opened up in that area. Go there. Love them. Get the Black Lemonade. It’s made with clay.
3. Disneyland. Just do it. Do it all day. Suffer. Enjoy. But go with someone who is actually a park expert and knows how to minimize suffering. You’ll still suffer, but it’s a numbers game at this point.
4. Go to the movies. We are a movie town. There’s no denying it. Go to the Arclight. Go to the Chinese Theatre. Go to the Egyptian. Go to the Vista. Go to the Los Feliz 3. Go to the Dolby Digital. Go see a movie.
5. Go see a movie outside. There’s nothing better than sitting outside as the sun sets and you’re in a graveyard, or a museum, or whatever. There’s tons of local programs that screen movies outside during the summer.
6. Koreatown. Know it. Love it. It’s where you go if you’re looking to get completely obliterated. It’s where you go if you’re starving. It’s where you go if you need to find a really random piece of fruit that only a specific market sells. It’s where you if you wanna have a good time. The Line Hotel is one-stop-shopping at night because you have 2 restaurants, a lobby bar, the most amazing house DJ’s, and a cafe that sells slices of fucking sheet cake, Hawaiian bread, and good fucking drinks. Also valet is pretty cheap.
7. LACMA. Get some fucking culture on you. It’s amazing.
8. Food trucks. Find a Kogi Truck. Eat some fucking Kogi. Accept Roy Choi as your lord and savior.
9. Architecture. Buy a Taschen book. Educate yourself and then enjoy the visual orgasm that is Los Angeles architecture. Learn the difference between Spanish Revival and Arts and Crafts. Drive out to Pasadena and just be gobsmacked while walking through the Gamble House. Drive down the streets of Los Feliz and just fucking marvel that at the Mayan Revival homes of Frank Lloyd Wright. Spot a Wallace Neff home and almost wreck your car. Tour the Historic Core and be amazed at the buildings and the movie palaces of old. Los Angeles is everything.
10. Drive. Drive aimlessly. Pump your jams. Drive so hard. Drive through the canyons. Drive along the coast. Drive the 101 at 2AM through Downtown LA and say fuck the speed limit because the city is beautiful and there’s no traffic and you’re just gonna live.
Nestled away in Griffith Park, the Travel Town Museum is an old place with a lot of history. With tons of trains decommissioned since their hey day carrying people to and from Los Angeles, there’s an odd kind of beauty and sadness here.
Made another incredibly short trip to Travel Town today and snapped this fun pic. I would have been content to let Billy wander at his own pace for a while, but my husband kept getting impatient and decided we were done. Sometimes his lack of patience with the boy can be a little frustrating, but to be fair Billy was begging him to be picked up a lot of the time. That can get old kind of fast. I think tomorrow we’ll just stay close to home, take it easy. I have to be back to work on Monday.
Oy. Okay. So, photo on the left was taken five years ago. Mom and I went to Travel Town, an outdoor museum in Los Angeles dedicated to methods of travel. It was an incredibly hot day, so I spent the whole time sweating. Despite that, I wanted to take a selfie with a train. I took one look at it, thought “NOPE” and didn’t take any more selfies that day. I looked and felt completely not cute. The right photo was taken just now. No makeup except my eyebrows (which I’m still figuring out but it’s nice to see I’m better at filling them in than I was five years ago), my hair’s a little windblown because I just took my dog out, lighting’s not so great, and I’m purposely trying to replicate the smile in the other photo so I’m not looking my best either way, but I feel cute. Not “Let’s take 50 more selfies and update all my profile photos” cute but cute enough that I’m not hating this picture at all. And most importantly, I can see my progress.