When tourists think of Los Angeles, chances are they picture Hollywood Boulevard: a great view of the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, the Dolby Theatre (famous for hosting the Oscars each year) and the Chinese Theatre.
While these are all definitely sights to see, people often don’t realise how crowded and touristy this area really is. Full of chain restaurants, costumed buskers and, most conspicuously, other tourists, there’s so much more to see in LA than can be found on the Hollywood strip.
If you’re looking for a less touristy part of town, why not check out some of the streets recommended by Monica, our LA local ambassador.
1. East 3rd Street, Arts District
The Arts District is currently exploding with new potential, and East 3rd Street is right at the centre of it. With popular new restaurants like Wurstküche, Umami, and Cafe Gratitude moving in every day, the area is quickly becoming a foodie hotspot. At one end of the street you’ll find the Southern California Institute of Architecture, which has student exhibitions for viewing, and on the other you’ll find the hip arcade bar, EightyTwo.
This is also where you’ll find Angel City Brewery, a great location for budget beer drinking that offers darts, cornhole and board games. This section of the Arts District is basically an adult playground.
Photo credit: Wally Gobetz
2. Broxton Avenue
A lot of Hollywood’s appeal is its tradition in film and the idea of spotting a celebrity. What most people don’t know, however, is that many Hollywood premieres actually take place at the Westwood Theatre right in the centre of Broxton Avenue, just up the street from UCLA. The street is lined with different shops and restaurants, hosts its own farmers market once a week and is the home of Diddy Reise, where you can get amazing ice-cream sandwiches for $1.50.
Photo credit: Ken Lund
3. Larchmont Boulevard
Larchmont is a special part of LA because, for a moment, it makes you forget you’re in a huge metropolitan city. Gushing with small-town charm, Larchmont is a six-block shopping area filled with eateries, coffee places, hip stores, acupuncturists, yoga centres and even a sweat lodge. It’s a great place for families, couples and people with pets, and you won’t find too many tourists here, though you might happen to catch a glimpse of a celebrity.
Photo credit: Ryan Vaarsi
4. Sawtelle, Little Japantown
There are two large pockets of Japanese culture in LA, and Sawtelle in West LA houses the newest one: Sawtelle Japantown (the other is Little Tokyo which is also worth a peruse, but it’s a bit more touristy). Here you’ll find boba, dim sum, art galleries, karaoke bars and some of the hottest new restaurants in town.
If you’re interested in art, head to Giant Robot 2 (the gallery partner of Giant Robot, a cool knickknack shop just up the street) and check out the exhibitions. Come hungry, too, as you’ll find some of the best Asian food in LA. While most of it’s Japanese, you’ll find many different types of cuisines with some sort of Asian influence, such as the popular Plan Check burger restaurant.
Photo credit: jpellgen
5. Sunset Boulevard
This one is tough because a lot of Sunset is very touristy. There are two halves of Sunset though; the one after the Sunset/Santa Monica junction being a less-touristy East Side version of Venice’s Abbot Kinney. Once you make it to this half, you’ll be greeted by the artsy-bohemian-hipster area of Silver Lake. Here, you’ll find great Mexican food, excellent coffee, funky bars and some really interesting art galleries. Just a block off of this section of Sunset you’ll find Echo Park Lake, which offers a beautiful view of downtown and a pretty footpath by the water.
While you’re in the area, make sure you stop at Guisados for delicious tacos.
Photo credit: Lei Han
Opening photo credit: Kristy Plaza