Things to Do in LA
Welcome to my ultimate list of things to do in LA! I’m simplifying tackling the Los Angeles scene with this curated list of hotels, restaurants and things to do. This is my LA-local’s guide to the city, so this guide contains a mix of classic Los Angeles hot spots and hidden gems that locals can appreciate.
healthy, delicious & casual spots for brunch, lunch, or dinner:
Zinque ( West Hollywood & Venice ) for a euro/relaxed feel.
One of my favorite lunch spots ever! I’m addicted to “Le Bowl” which is their brown rice bowl with tomatoes, arugula, tomatoes, cheese, & spicy sriracha mayo sauce ( I always order on the side! ). They also have a solid wine happy hour during the week & YUM flourless chocolate cake!
Gracias Madre ( West Hollywood ) for “healthy” mexican/good drinks.
This all-vegan spot has been trendy for awhile now, and I can’t complain about that. They have mexican-style vegan food that will actually rock your world and a drink menu to match. Also so good for happy hour!
Joan’s on Third ( West Hollywood ) for a classic WeHo lunch.
Joan’s is staple salad/soup/sandwich place. I’m obsessed with their butter lettuce salad, though I’m annoying and modify it ( no dried cranberries, add avocado & grilled chicken! ). It’s great spot to grab coffee & pastries as well as artisan cheese & specialty groceries.
Flower Child ( Santa Monica ) for a post-hike meal.
This is one of my top HEALTHY spots to eat lunch or brunch on the West side! Their ingredients are wholesome, their menu is DREAMY, they have SO many gluten-free pastries, and seasonal lemonade that is making my mouth WATER right now. I like the Vegan Ingredient salad, & I always add grilled chicken ( such good chicken, wowz )!
Coral Tree Cafe ( Brentwood ) for families/larger groups.
Coral Tree is a family spot in Brentwood, and it has been a go-to for my roommates & I since we moved to LA. I hang out & work at Coral Tree at least twice a week ( actually sitting here right now while typing this! ). I may or may not make all of my lunch dates take me to Coral Tree because its easy, LOL. When in doubt, Coral is the move. I like their grilled chicken panini on gluten-free bread, the brown rice bowl, or scrambled eggs/ avocado/ berries/ gluten-free toast if I’m doing brunch/breakfast. Also, their service in unmatched!
True Food Kitchen ( Santa Monica ) for a solid healthy meal.
So TF is a chain with locations in other cities, but whatever, I love it so much. True Food is our ride-or-die dinner spot. They serve whole foods with fresh ingredients, there usually isn’t a wait ( & if there is, there are always spots at the bar or in the shared table section ), & it’s always delicious. If I’m eating light, I’ll get hummus ( covered in veggies & feta cheese! ) with gluten-free pita as my meal. If I’m hungrier, I get the pizza with gluten-free crust or the tacos! ALWAYS order ginger/honey tulsi tea to start, and end with the flourless chocolate cake ( DIE ) or the lemon tart.
Butcher’s Daughter ( Venice ) for the instagram.
This spot is the most instagram-worthy, as the restaurant itself is beautiful & the food is healthy and vegetarian ( with vegan options ). For as much as I frequent this place, it should be higher on this list. Founded in NY, Butcher’s Daughter opened a location right on Abbot Kinney in Venice. There is usually a short wait, but it always takes less time than they predict. For brunch, I like their french toast ( I get gluten-free bread! ) or a side of toast with berries. All of my friends are obsessed with their surfer’s breakfast burrito. You really can’t go wrong here, & take a million photos!
Cafe Gratitude ( Multiple Locations ) for the clean-eaters.
Classic vegan spot. They have fresh, vegan food that actually tastes amazing. I’m partial to their bowls & smoothies. Their menu is pretty big, with lots of healthy-ass options, and I totally recommend it if you’re trying to eat clean!
Toast ( West Hollywood ) for a beat-the-hangover brunch.
A super simple breakfast/lunch spot with a huge menu, so there is something for everyone! It’s totally easy to stay healthy here. I’m OBSESSED with how huge/amazing their iced lattes are…. I dream about them daily. I definitely recommend this place for a group with all different tastes, and/or if you’re wanting to spot a reality TV show star. LOL, either/or. There is usually a short wait, but I think it’s worth it!
Malibu Farm ( Malibu ) for a meal by the water.
This is a go-to Malibu spot on the pier for healthy, simple food. They have good drinks, too! If you’re looking to eat over the water, Malibu Farm is one of the most affordable ways to do so. Definitely recommend this place if you’re spending the day in the Malibu area.
if you’re looking for something a little more boujee/fancy:
The Ivy ( West Hollywood/Bev Hills ) for the BEST, most PERFECT lunch/brunch ever.
This is the place I make my parents take me when they come into town. The Ivy is the CUTEST brunch/lunch spot in the world with great service, an amazing menu, & delicious desserts. It’s a must-go during any trip to Los Angeles. I like the sea bass with mashed potatoes or the vegetable salad with shrimp for a meal. For dessert, the red velvet cake will literally make you cry happy tears and the cookies you get to take home post-meal are incredible.
Delilah ( West Hollywood ) for dinner ambiance, celeb-spotting, and all-night chilling.
Chateau Marmont ( West Hollywood ) for a low-lit, boujee-ass dinner.
Gjelina ( Venice ) for an amazing dinner on the West side.
Cafés ( Coffee & Juice )
Blue Bottle Coffee Multiple Locations
Highlights: I fell in love with Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco, where it all started. Blue Bottle has a few locations in LA ( namely in Venice & Downtown ) and I’m always looking for a reason to grab coffee here.
Coffee Faves: The NEW ORLEANS ICED COFFEE is life changing. Trust me.
♥ Bungalow 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
Highlights: OMG. I spent most Saturday/Sundays at Bungalow in Santa Monica BECAUSE I LOVE IT. The decor & vibe is PERFECT at this little spot right across the street from the beach, and the people are usually painfully beautiful. I like the Bungalow during the day on the weekends, because it gets really packed at night and the line can be ridiculously long. This is a MUST go if you’re in LA ( it’s almost annoyingly ‘trendy’… but it’s definitely worth seeing! ).
Drinks: Sangria or Sea Breeze Punch
Nobu Malibu 22706 Pacific Coast Highway
Highlights: Like I said when I mentioned Nobu in the ‘Restaurants’ category, the views here are SO beautiful. The last time I was at a Nobu (before Malibu) was in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and let me tell ya, this location’s vibe is just as good. It’s a little ‘scene-y,’ but it’s certainly something to check out once. If you can score a table on the deck for sunset, you’re golden. I definitely recommend Nobu for the daytime and early evening over the late-night dining scene.
Dranks: The Spicy Acai Martini is my favorite. The Cucumber & Pineapple Martinis are also ballin (but ask them to add a little jalapeno for extra spice). Also, snag a glass of Rosé if you’re a wine gal (the one from the South of France had me reminiscing on my Nice days).
HYDE Sunset 8117 Sunset Blvd
Highlights: Hyde is a really popular lounge with a really swanky setting & a pretty young crowd. It’s always a good time, especially if you can spring for a table with your friends, and it’s the best on weekend nights. If you’re looking for a more clubby atmosphere ( without being too clubby ), then you should definitely go to Hyde.
Health & Beauty
FaceHaus 8377 West 3rd Street
Highlights: I did a really informative interview with one of the estheticians at FaceHaus because I’m SO obssessed with this place! Every time I leave, I feel refreshed & relaxed. Its a trendy, quick little facial place (& they sell Eminence! Favorite). Not bad on price either. This is definitely a tourist-friendly place to stop and freshen up before or after a long day in LA (or before an event!).
Fav Facials: I really like the Haus Special (simple, straightforward) and I always add a $10 ‘blast’ to my bill. The Cool Blast is my favorite… its so… coool. They also have a $10 pimple-popping service (the Main Squeeze) for ‘unwanted visitors.’ No more f-ing up & messing with your own pimples, ladies.
Skin Laundry Multiple Locations
Highlights: Skin Laundry is a cute little skincare shop/spa with multiple locations in Los Angeles. They sell a full line of skincare products at Skin Laundry, my favorite being their Hydrating Sheet Masks ( you can also buy online! ). I was really happy with the facial I got here.
Facial Fav: Skin Laundry’s Laser & Light facial is physician-grade, and super quick. Before you start, you FaceTime with a physician to go over your skin issues & she approves you for the treatment. Then, the facial takes about 10-15 minutes, and its a series of lasers/lights and cooling products. This deep-cleansing style vaporizes dirt & bacteria, tightens and brightens skin, improves complexion, and ( when done in series ) evens skin tone, reduced sun damage and stops wrinkles in their tracks.
Activities / Things To Do
Highlights: If you want to spend some time hangin’ out in a more relaxed, quaint setting, you may want to drive out to Orange County for a weekend. Right now, my favorite spot is Laguna Beach, because I love the town & how quiet it is. You can see all of my Laguna faves in my recap on my weekend spent there. It’s definitely worth the trip!
Seasonal & Events
Los Angeles Dodgers Game 1000 Elysian Park Ave
Highlights: I’m a huge fan of baseball games ( my family is really intense about this sport in particular… we go to a game in most places that we visit ) so I LOVED hanging out at Dodger Stadium in the evenings. I recommend going a little early to avoid the insane traffic and grabbing a beer & a dodger dog ( or 3 ) to watch the game. Okay… I didn’t really watch that much but we still had a great time.
Twilight Concerts 200 Santa Monica Pier
Highlights: For about a month in the summer, the Santa Monica Pier hosts free concerts every Thursday evening. You can go up on the pier, eat, and grab a drink in the 21+ area, OR ( my favorite thing to do is ) get a group of friends, a blanket, some snacks and wine & find a spot to sit on the beach.
Helpful Resources & Links