Travel Diaries: A Week in Instagrammable L.A / by Didier Young

I hopped off the plane at LAX with my dreams and a cardigan a couple of weeks ago for a full week in Los Angeles. This marked my first time in the City of Angels and I won’t lie, I had mixed feelings about going there. Prior to any trip, I usually ask people who’ve travelled to my future destination for recommendations and it seemed that LA was a city that people either absolutely fell in love with or fully swore to never step foot in again. As it turned out, the city is often overtly glamourized by Hollywood and I feel that some people might have their preconceived ideas of LA shattered when they visit. That being said, the city is an interesting mix of highs and lows and it can be quite pleasant if you know exactly where to go. In today’s post, I’ll highlight some of my favourite spots and neighbourhoods in LA and quick mentions of how to enjoy the city in the best way possible.


Beverly Hills/ Rodeo Drive

The city was made popular on TV thanks to the show 90210 and it is home to many celebrities and the Rodeo Drive shopping district, one of the most celebrated shopping areas in the world. Let’s not forget the iconic Beverly Hills hotel where you are sure to see a star or two during your time there.


Melrose Place

One of my favourite areas in LA was definitely Melrose Place. While it was still the host of high end stores such as The Row and Zimmerman, you could turn around the corner and see cooler brands such as ACNE studios and Bathing Ape. It is also home to a multitude of restaurant such as the celebrity-filled Catch, the vegan Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre and the always delicious Cecconi’s.

mansur gavriel

silverlake

Silverlake

If Brooklyn were to have a Californian counterpart, it would be Silverlake. The hipster area runs along Sunset Boulevard and contains a succession of beautiful eateries, cute coffee shops and some great shopping destinations such as Mohawk, Smock and the Odells.

la colombe
silverlake

Venice Beach/ Santa Monica

We started off in Venice Beach with the iconic Venice sign and a delicious meal at Great White right across the street. Venice is a skater’s paradise and you are fully encouraged to watch them perform their tricks along the beach. We then walked upwards til we reached Santa Monica pier. The theme park was fun and if you delve back towards the mainland, you’ll find yourself in another fun shopping district. Try sticking around for the sunset. It is quite magical.

great white

Downtown LA

Of course, no LA trip would be complete without stopping by downtown. It is the home of iconic spots such as the Bradbury Building, the Broad and the Walt Disney Concert Hall but it also had a New York vibe that I really liked. Drop by the rooftop lounge at the Ace Hotel for lunch and stop by Terroni for a lovely Italian dinner. Don't worry about killing time between the meals as there’s plenty to do there.


LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art may be best known for the lamp post installation in its courtyard but the museum itself is quite stunning. You might want to drop by for the iconic shot but try and make time for a museum visit as well.


Griffith Observatory

Whether you’re a star gazer or star crossed lovers, the Griffith Observatory will no doubt enchant you. The view is breathtaking at sunset but make sure to arrive early for planetarium visits as the tickets sell out quite fast. The place gets very busy so be ready to face the crowd.

Griffith Observatory

Coffee Scene

It’s no surprise that I often judge a city by their coffee culture and LA passed with flying colours. California is the birthplace of coffee legends Verve Coffee Roasters and Blue Bottle Coffee and Alfred is native to the city (along with the much instagrammed Alfred Tea Room). We also bumped into this adorable coffee shop called Full Service that fully looked like a gas station!


Chateau Marmont

I know I’ve used the word “iconic” a lot in this post but there’s truly no better word to describe this city. One of the iconic brunch spots in LA is the Chateau Marmont which is also one of the preferred hotels for celebrities in the city. Photos are not encouraged here due to the status of the people dining on location but the food was delicious and be ready for your AMEX card to get overheated when you receive the bill.


Disneyland & Universal Studios

Given the city’s focus on the motion picture industry, it is no surprise that there’s plenty of industry related tourist attractions to be found. The two major themed parks would be the original Disneyland in Anaheim and Universal Studios. Both require a full blog post to talk about and the Disneyland one is already up (click here) while the Universal Studios review will be out in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!


In N Out

There’s always been this debate about which is better between In N Out and Shake Shack and since In N Out is only available in California, I hadn’t had a chance to voice my opinion on the subject… until now. I am still on team Shake Shack though I will say that the price difference between the two would put them in two completely different categories if you ask me.


Of course there’s plenty more that could be said about the city of Angels and I feel like I barely scratched the surface in the seven days that I’ve visited. I was lucky enough to be there during the Oscar season and I accomplish my childhood dreams of going to Disneyland. I can’t wait to one day explore the City of Stars once more.

-Didier