You’ve got your rental car ready and the Waze app downloaded. Now what? Get ready to drive, since seeing the city of angels neighborhoods is basically like playing chutes and ladders (except with freeways and rush hour re-routes). But between the gorgeous celebs, the sprawling landscapes and the historic architecture, it’s so worth it. Here’s a healthy mix of iconic sites and insidery escapes.
21 Things You Must Do When Visiting L.A.
Besides, ya know, Instagram everything in sight
1. Three things you need right away: a drink, a patio and an Oscar winner within earshot. Grab a spot at Hollywood’s most infamous hotel, Chateau Marmont, and start this trip off right.
2. Stroll through the long-beloved Los Angeles County Museum of Art (the one with all the antique lampposts outside). Ogle ongoing James Turrell light exhibits and any other special treats (like the current blockbuster, “Rain Room”).
3. But also visit downtown’s new Broad Museum (a public cultural center that houses local moneybags Eli Broad’s art collection). Notable fact: $140 million was spent to create a building that looks like a cheese grater. But the Basquiat, Haring, Hirst, Koons and Kusama give it legit cred.
4. Hike Runyon Canyon, the huge park that starts on Hollywood Boulevard and climbs upward toward the sign. Extra points if you look like a local by clutching a Starbucks latte, wearing Day-Glo tights and staring at your phone.
5. Reward yourself for being both artsy and active by window shopping along Rodeo Drive. Use every ounce of self-restraint not to enter a store and immediately scream: “Big mistake…HUGE.”
6. While you’re in Beverly Hills, try the liquid nitrogen ice cream that’s made right before your eyes at Ice-Cream Lab. The “Banilla” flavor (banana, Nilla wafers and caramel) is a game-changer.
7. Get a facial like a celeb--involving electrical currents and white LED lights--at Kate Somerville’s swank Melrose Place salon.
8. Be reminded of how fascinating HBO’s Going Clear was and take a self-guided (grain-of-salt) tour of the anti-psychiatry museum founded by the Church of Scientology.
9. Lighten things up with a trip to Malibu. Pretend you’re an oceanfront homeowner by finding an empty stretch of sand to sunbathe on using a handy little app.
10. Order all the sushi at Nobu.
11. Keep with the day’s design-porn theme and swing down to the Pacific Palisades. Subsequently drool over all things midcentury at the Eames House.
12. Make your way to Venice and creep on all the quaint bungalows along the Abbot Kinney-built canals.
13. You may be in Venice but go all “when in Rome” and have a crazy vegan snack of house-made tree-nut cheeses served with pickles, mustard seeds and fennel crackers at Plant Food and Wine.
14. But also eat the food of the people! Chat with a mix of internationals and locals while you wait in line to choose among scores of fancy doughnuts in Koreatown or dozens of hot dogs in Hollywood.
15. And buy the city’s best cupcake from a vending machine.
16. Rent a paddleboat and cruise around the newly refurbished Echo Park Lake. On heat-wave days, cool off by paddling under the fountain in the middle.
17. Or find a pool, any pool, that serves brunch. We’re partial to Viviane at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills.
18. Watch the latest action flick while lying back in a recliner and having a server bring you a beer at the iPic Theater in Westwood.
19. Snap an Instagram (sure to ignite jealousy among your friends) of any and all In ’N’ Out burgers.
20. Catch a comedy show or concert at Largo in West Hollywood, the small club that’s unleashed decades of talent on the world (like Ben Folds and Sarah Silverman, who still hosts a monthly comedy night).