Emily's Travel Guide to L.A.
For those of you that know me, you know that L.A. is my favourite place to visit (and maybe to live one day??!!). I’m lucky to have a job that brings me to this awesome city once or twice a year. Usually it’s all work and little play – but this past labour day, Jeff and I took a mini vacay to the land of the rich and famous. I don’t think a weekend or a blog post will do this city justice – it’s huge and sprawling and you really need a lifetime to actually see and discover all that it has to offer. This trip, we stayed on the west side in Santa Monica and hung out in Venice for most of our time. So this blog post is beach and west side focused – with a few must do things that everyone has to do on every trip to the city of Angels.
Every trip to LA needs a quintessential hike up Runyon Canyon. The drive alone to the starting point is mesmerizing (the houses are sensational!!!). This is the land of the Hollywood Hills through West Hollywood. The hike is challenging but fun and it gives you a great vantage (and photo op) of the Hollywood Sign. Wear your sneakers - this isn’t a leisurely stroll, and be prepared to gush in awe of the luxury and excess! Swimming pools galore!
Drive to Malibu:
Jeff and I took a morning drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu. It’s a stunning drive and great sightseeing (again…the houses!). We stopped for lunch at Nobu – which is a must do – the restaurant overlooks the ocean and it’s always a scene. Keep your eyes peeled for celebs!
Walk Santa Monica Beach:
Santa Monica beach is gorgeous, clean and huge! Take a walk along the boardwalk past Muscle Beach and down to Venice Beach. The people watching is next level and the ocean is breathtaking. If you’re looking for a glass of wine or a snack – stop in at Shutters on the beach. If you’re up for a party, The Bungalow at the top end of the beach is a total scene any time of day!
Wander the Venice Canals:
We absolutely love Venice and are already planning to retire here. The vibe is relaxed and fun. Think upscale Parkdale, on a beach. What could be better? Wander through the canals and daydream about your life in California. Check out Main Street for snack or some great shopping.
Shop Abbot Kinney:
Abbot Kinney is a great shopping and dining strip in Venice. Every store seems to be better than the last. A mix of independent shops and awesome chains (AESOP! LE LABO! VELVET! WARBY PARKER!). Mix in Blue Bottle coffee, Salt and Straw Ice Cream and some amazing restaurants and you really have the ultimate haven. Plan an afternoon stroll and dinner here. It's a must!
LA has some of the best restaurants in the world. I keep a running list of new spots I HAVE to try each time I go. Here’s a list of some of my current faves:
Son of a Gun:
Seafood at it’s best. We tried almost everything on the menu and wished we could have tried more. The service is superb and the room is great fun! Try a cocktail or two from the bar.
(Image from Jon and Vinny's Instagram)
This is hands down the best restaurant I’ve ever been to. We loved it so much we went back for lunch the next day before getting on our plane. And we bought the cookbook. It’s worth a trip back to LA just to go to this restaurant. Try the mushroom toast. PERFECTION.
(Image from Gjelina Instagram)
A yummy restaurant with lighter fare. We loved their pea toast – spicy and delicious. A great wine selection and the room is bright and airy.
(Image from Sincerely Jules Instagram)
I could eat breakfast here everyday. Try the breakfast burrito. It could feed two people (or an army) – but it’s so delicious you’ll try to eat every bite. The coffee and pastries are also very note worthy.
(Image from The Rose Instagram)
If you’re looking for a boozy brunch try Sunny Spot. They have bottomless Caesars and Mimosa’s all day. The chicken sandwich is superb.
(Image from Sunny Spot Instagram)