After a busy conference in Seattle, I was looking forward to a week of relaxation and exploration in my final stop of the trip: Los Angeles. My two best friends Paula and Katherine live in LA, so I found it the perfect opportunity to finally spend some time with them in the city they now call home.
The sprawling and widespread layout of Los Angeles is often talked about, but is difficult to grasp until experienced first hand. The city of Los Angeles is a mixing bowl of over 114 neighbourhoods over a 1,302 km2 area. It is the second most populated city in the US, after New York, and accommodates a population of almost 4 million people. Fun fact: California’s population is greater than that of Canada – not to mention consistently better weather daily!
I stayed with my friends in the west part of LA, splitting my time between Culver City and Marina del Ray. Due to their close proximity to Venice, I spent most of my week exploring this particular, popular, neighbourhood – including the famed Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The Abbot Kinney strip was one of my favourite parts of my Los Angeles experience: it offers an eclectic mix of trendy retailers, bohemian artists, top-tier restaurants, and health and wellness services. Three of my favourite spots on this street were: Huset, a Scandinavian design store; Intelligentsia Coffee; and Burro, a California-inspired gifts shop.
The last few days of my week were spent trying to explore the hotspots that were too far to walk – thank goodness for Uber here, too. I visited the Santa Monica Pier and Beverly Hills, wandered through The Grove and the historic Original Farmer’s Market, shopped on Melrose Avenue, and finally saw the famous installation at LACMA, Urban Light by Chris Burden. In Downtown Los Angeles, we explored the Arts District, an industrial area of the city with a growing art scene evident throughout the numerous art galleries, museums, and colourful street art interspersed throughout. The Arts District leads into Little Tokyo, another of my favourite spots in LA. Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo is the largest of the three official Japan-towns in the USA, all of which happen to be in California.
I definitely ate my way through Los Angeles - I was consistently blown away by the quality of the food and restaurants, so at least I don’t feel guilty about it! Some of my favourite spots included: Café Gratitude, Great White, 26Beach, and Gjusta in Venice; Urth Café in DTLA; Fala Bar on Melrose Avenue; The Tasting Kitchen on Abbot Kinney Boulevard; and Ekkamai Thai, Kustaa, and Fin in Culver City.
Los Angeles is unlike any other city in the world. There is so much to do and see, that even with a car, you would be hard-pressed to do everything you want to do in only a week’s time. There truly is something for everyone in LA, and I think that’s why it’s so appealing to many – it's a city where the world is at your fingertips. I can’t wait to go back!