City Guides / Los Angeles
The second most populous city in the United States with 4 million inhabitants, although when the sprawl of the Los Angeles metropolitan and Great Los Angeles areas are taken into account the total is over 18 million. It is the cultural, financial and commercial centre of Southern California.
The city was officially founded in 1781 by 44 settlers, they named it “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula”. Essentially a dedication to the Queen of the Angels which is an honorific of the Virgin Mary. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence, then in 1841 at the end of the Mexican-American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and became part of the United States.
Nicknamed the ‘City of Angels’, it is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, and sprawling metropolis. The city is also famous as the home of Hollywood, and is one of the leaders in the world in the creation of motion picture, recorded music, and television productions. LA also has a diverse economy in culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine, and research. It is one of the most substantial economic engines with the United States, its gross metropolitan product is only bettered by Greater Tokyo and New York.
Palihouse Santa Monica (http://www.palihousesantamonica.com/): Tucked a few blocks away from downtown Santa Monica, the Palihouse Santa Monica is a landmark Spanish Colonial Revival building originally built in 1927. It’s a discreet hideaway, with beautiful individually-styled rooms available for one night or long term residency.
Little Beach House Malibu (https://www.sohohouse.com/houses/little-beach-house-malibu): For Soho House members, this is one of the most stunning venues for this now global brand. Comprising an ocean-side dining room, bar, sitting room and terrace, be prepared for a laid back Malibu vibe, great cocktails and plenty of star spotting.
Sunset Tower Hotel (http://www.sunsettowerhotel.com/): For old LA glamour, you can’t beat the Sunset Tower Hotel on the Sunset Strip. Former residents included Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Bugsy Siegel. Grab dinner here, but be prepared for Dimitri Dimitrov, the powerful maître d’, who can make or break your evening with his table selection for you.
Rose Hotel (http://www.therosehotelvenice.com/): This former brothel in downtown Venice hosted Charlie Chaplin, Jim Morrison and Dennis Hopper over the years, before a recent remake turned it into a trendy spot for quick stays in the heart of Venice. Be prepared for achingly hip styling and shared bathrooms!
Chateaux Marmont Hotel (http://www.chateaumarmont.com/): Surviving no less that five earthquakes, the Chateau Marmont Hotel is an enduring tradition on Sunset Boulevard, with plenty of opportunity for celebrity spotting. It’s achingly cool, yet shabby interior is warm and welcoming, albeit with bar prices not for the faint of heart.
Gjellina (http://www.gjelina.com/): Sitting at the top end of Abbot Kinney in Venice, this local favorite is always packed and reservations are strongly recommended. Fantastic sharing plates and wines combined with a high energy Westside crowd make this a must visit venue. Next door is GTA, it’s takeaway sidekick and a few blocks away is Gjusta, it’s bakery and deli sister restaurant, also not to be missed.
Tacos Por Favor (https://tacosporfavor.net/): You can’t visit LA without trying the abundant Mexican restaurant options and Tacos For Favor with its multiple Westside locations make this easy to achieve. All the classics are here, including the amazing Mole Burritos.
Pedalers Fork (http://www.pedalersfork.com/): Located in Calabasas, cyclists travel from all over LA to reach this bike friendly restaurant, coffee shop and boutique bike shop. The avocado on toast is one of the best in the city and is perfect with coffee from 10 Speed Coffee. Nestled inside the venue is a full service bike shop for lunchtime repairs, or impulse purchase of Moots, Argonaut and Cielo frames and bikes.
Nobu Malibu (http://www.noburestaurants.com/malibu/experience/): This Malibu outpost of the global Nobu chain is by far the best one. Perched above the beach, the amazing fusion menu is complemented with fresh cocktails and usually a few Kardashians Booking is essential and try to time your visit for sunset, when the west facing views offer an amazing backdrop to your meal.
Felix Trattoria (http://felixla.com/): New to the Venice dining scene, Felix has become an instant hit due to the amazing variety of fresh pasta made on site. A small, cosy bar makes a great spot for a pre-dinner negroni and a table next to the kitchen allows you to watch the meticulous preparation of the pasta before it reaches you plate. Booking essential.
Randy's Donuts (http://randysdonuts.com/): Open 24 hours, this LA landmark is famous for it’s huge lines and amazing prices. Look for the giant rooftop donut in Inglewood for the best donuts you’ve ever tried.
Townhouse (http://www.townhousevenice.com/): This is the oldest bar in Venice and existed as a speakeasy during the Prohibition. Today, getting a drink is much easier and you can also check out live music, DJs, comedy and burlesque most nights of the week.
Arts District Brewing Co. (http://213hospitality.com/artsdistrictbrewing/): Located in Downtown LA (DTLA), this is one of LA’s few craft brewpubs. The cavernous warehouse space offers up a dizzying variety of beers, with great burgers and chicken sandwiches to go with them.
Bar Marmont (http://www.chateaumarmont.com/barmarmont.php): Sitting inside the Chateau Marmont hotel, this bar has amazing (but pricey) cocktails to sip on whilst star spotting. Fans of Californication can relive the show as many scenes were shot here. Great martinis and negronis!
Alfred (https://alfredcoffee.com/): Offering six locations across LA, Alfred and it’s “But first, coffee” moniker is synonymous with great coffee and a chilled atmosphere. The Gibraltar is their take on a Cortado and a great post ride pick-me-up.
LAMILL coffee boutique (https://lamillcoffee.com/): This Silver Lake stalwart can always be relied on for a great coffee and space to check email and catch up on work. A must visit institution in this part of town.
Intelligentsia (https://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/): Whilst not an LA-native, Intelligentsia’s quirky set of locations across LA make it a reliable option for great, Direct Trade coffee.
Menottis (http://menottis.com/): Located just across the street from Snap Inc.’s main office in downtown Venice, don’t be surprised to see dot.com millionaires scoring their morning lattes here. Great vinyl tunes and dark, rich coffee to start your morning by the beach.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard (http://www.abbotkinneyblvd.com/): Minutes from the beach, this mile long row of boutiques, bars and shops is quintessential LA. Expect to see screenwriters working on their scripts, jostling with locals and millennials from the Google and Snap offices nearby. Check out Salt & Straw from incredible fresh ice cream and boutique stalwarts James Purse and Aesop.
Virgil Normal (Normal Ave) – Hip boutique carrying new and vintage menswear, think old school skate style.
Spaceman Collective (firstname.lastname@example.org) - Based in Ventura, they make authentic handcrafted surfboards, the Board Curator is Alex Banyay, David Millar’s mechanic his final years racing.
Golden Saddle Cyclery (Lucile Ave) – Arguably one of the coolest bike shops in the world. They take their community almost more importantly than their retail, regularly holding spontaneous beer drinking sessions in the terrace/alley next to the shop, beware of The Club. The whole gravel cycling culture is not a new thing with this lot, in fact they are very much are the pioneers of it and, dare I say, the holder of the standard. Put it this way, The Radavist lives next door.
Topanga Creek Outpost (http://www.topangacreekoutpost.com/): Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, between Pacific Palisades, Malibu and Woodland Hills, is this unique local bike shop and ride destination. The team run many weekend gravel and MTB rides, so check their website for details.
Bike Effect (https://bikeeffect.com/): Located in downtown Santa Monica, Bike Effect is a high end bike store, fit studio and service centre. Stocking high ends frames and kit, their expert staff are always available to help with local knowledge or quick fixes when you’re traveling with your bike.
Cub House (https://teamdreambicyclingteam.com/pages/the-cub-house): The home of Team Dream Bicycling Team, this tiny store is always in threat of shutting down as they are located in a old Pacific Bell phone company building, scheduled for demolition. Check in here for some East side riding vibes and unique kit.