Los angeles locals! Need your help | Los Angeles - LikeALocal Guide

Los angeles locals! Need your help

By Traveller October 22, 2018
Los Angeles

Los angeles locals! Need your help

(11 answers)
By Stephanie Traveller October 22, 2018

Hello all,

So I will be visiting LA next spring on my own from the UK because I'm crazy like that.

My plan is to stay in a nice hostel the first few nights to meet people & then spend the rest at an airbnb (I will be there for a week in total)

Can anyone recommend any nice social areas I should consider staying in? I am open to spending a few nights in 1 area & then maybe shifting to another. As I'm a solo traveller I'd like to stay near where the action is at & try avoid the danger :p

I'd also appreciate any local recommendations on the following:

Art deco architecture
Old hollywood homes
Vintage shopping
Persian/Mexican food
Pop up/outdoor food/event spaces
Latino / r'n'b hiphop clubs
Rooftop bars/spots with good views
Hiking/nature trails

Also considering I only have 7 days...would a trip to San Fran or Yosemite be pushing it? Or should I just stick to LA?

Thanks for reading:)

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11 answers

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Traveller October 22, 2018
Hey Stephanie, Los Angeles is amazingly big and depends if you want to stay near the water or inland. Can uber/lyft anywhere really and dont rent a car since the traffic is insane
Traveller October 22, 2018
I was hoping to do a bit of both if possible :p Of course I want to see some of the main attractions and explore the city buzz but I also like some chill time to soak it in by the beach:) I am struggling to narrow it down into 7days to be honest!
Good place to stay is around UCLA...westwood....if u want to do both
As for Mexican food- it's excellent and cheap all around. You couldn't go wrong in just googling the best spots and having a go. My personal recommendation is Guisado's, a small chain on the east side http://www.guisados.co. Best I've ever had.

As for hiking/views- give Griffith Park a shot. It's got some great trails and at the top is the observatory, a beautiful landmark with maybe the best view of the entire LA sprawl.

As the entire LA sprawl- ho boy it IS a sprawl, with constant traffic, and if you're renting a car you'll be gobsmacked at how long it takes to get anywhere.

LA's definitely not the least creepy of American cities- especially for a solo female traveller- and if you're going pedestrian, Uber if you feel the need. I don't want to over-alarm you- it's mostly a safe place- but it has it's sinister edge. Keep your eyes out.
Local October 22, 2018
Thanks jacob, I'm reallllly excited to try the mexican food :D so I'm glad to hear about that. Safety wise I'm hoping I should be fine cos I lived in London for a while so have a good eye for spotting the sinister characters in a big city. But I think uber is a good idea being in a new territory! What about pick pockets? Is it bad for that or is it just a case of keeping your wits about you? Are there are no go zones I should avoid?
Well, if you've lived in London, I'm sure your radar is pretty well in-tune to danger in a major city. Your general common sense should be enough...I guess one unspoken advantage of LA not being very pedestrian-friendly is that pickpocketing is pretty much unheard of...nothing to watch out for, there.

Beyond that, it's just the basics- stay away from badly-lit streets, walk away from crazy...thing about LA is that it's the annual mecca for a part of the population who think that if they just believe enough in their dreams, it'll all work out...there's a lot of naive American Idol rejects wandering about and consequently, there's a lot of creepos and con artists around to take advantage.

Specifically- Downtown can be a lot of fun, but watch out on the border of Main Street. That's where Skid Row unofficially begins and it can get pretty skeevy. Also around Hollywood (Hollywood Blvd. from Vine St. to La Brea.) once it starts getting past midnight.
Jacob Local October 22, 2018
I would recommend you split your time between Venice Beach and West Hollywood. Hollywood itself can be a bit dirty and nasty, and it's easy to get there to see the tourist stuff from West Hollywood (WeHo!).

I think doing San Fran might be pushing it, but it depends how much time you like to spend getting to know somewhere. As for Yosemite, you'll need to rent a car for sure and undertake a lot more planning if you want to do that.

Feel free to reach out to me as you get closer to your trip. Good luck!
Local October 22, 2018
Thanks steve sure will! haha I may need it!
There is a hostel in Santa Monica that is in a very central location. The Los Angeles Conservancy gives downtown Art Deco tours that is very good. You can take the metro from Santa Monica to downtown which is a new thing. It’s hard to say whether you have enough time to go to SF. It depends on how you travel. You could do a whirlwind tour of LA in 4 days and then fly to SF for 3 days. Yosemite would be hard bc it’s an arduous 5-6 hour drive.
Local October 23, 2018
Hollywood area with vintage clothing (melrose/la cienega area, flea market Sundays. This area is also perfect to stay for prox. To night life trendy restaurants. Uber around (on budget use uber pool). Our subway is metro and it goes to Santa Monica Beach and take uber from there to Venice (15 mins). If you go to San Fran rent car and see Muir woods and the Sequoia trees - breath taking. San Fran is 2nd fav in USA to NY. But trip is basically a day each way from LA unless u fly but flights can be delayed out of San Fran.
Local October 22, 2018
To get a real flavor for LA, I think it would be fun to stay by the beach ( Santa Monica or Venice) for part of the time and go East to the Melrose area ( have some good vintage shopping along Melrose Ave) or Hollywood area ( Hollywood is a little seedy though and Melrose has a Hollywood artsy vibe). I don't know when you are coming but Taste of LA is a pop up restaurant festival of many of the best restaurants in LA and they set it up downtown. It is best to go during the day. There are some cool architectural tours of downtown that have most of the old buildings ( art deco/ don't forget to visit Union station downtown- architecture to die for ). There are beautiful hiking trails in the Santa Monica Mountains ( Temescal Canyon) and also near Griffith Park Observatory ( North of Hollywood).
Persian food- I like Shamshiri Grill on Westwood Blvd in Westwood ( not far from UCLA).
I think there is so much to see in LA that it will be hard in 7 days. Adding San Francisco would be a stretch unless you are willing to see only the biggest sites, Yosemite would be impossible...
Good luck,
Local October 22, 2018
The Ace Hotel has great shows and is gorgeous.
If you can get an invite into the Magic Castle, it is a great experience.
Highland Park, Silver Lake and Echo Park are great areas to see what I know LA to be.
A quirky place to go is the Bob Baker Marionette Theater.
You could hike around to get that outdoorsy itch scratched. There are a lot of great places to do that.
Local October 22, 2018
Because I live here, I'm not sure what hostiles are best, but I've seen a few on Hollywood Blvd. Which is my neighborhood. But, Hollywood is a busy street full of tourists and those legendary Hollywood names in stars on the sidewalk. http://www.lamag.com/culturefiles/100-places-can-experience-retro-los-angeles/ some architectural places. Also look up Lloyd Wright his stuff is all over Hollywood. The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LACMA) isn't too far off. Don't know the exhibits right now. Wouldn't try to hit San Francisco. It would be way too much- plus getting there. There's the beach, annnd some great museums LACMA, The Broad... And some amazing food... Not up on the Persian but there's a lot of good Mexican, and little Ethiopia might be fun to check out- maybe less so solo (if your familiar with Ethopian it's like a big pot of dip you put bread in...mmmm). I'd recommend checking out Melrose. There are vintage shops, but they are expensive because they found the cute stuff and they're selling it to you. I'd say the area is safe, and second to the Griffith Park for a Hike. Also buses can work for travel...but they usually run late.
Local October 22, 2018
Rooftop Bars / Restos: Hotel Erwin in Venice, EP / LP in West Hollywood, Perch in Downtown LA

Smorgasburg is in Downtown LA and happens every Sunday pretty much - big outdoor food event. Also downtown you can check out Grand Central Market which is a historic food hall but they've updated it with a lot of great stuff, might be up your street.

Santa Monica, Venice, West Hollywood are all very walkable and have stuff to do / places to go. A beach city / west hollywood split would be pretty good. From WeHo you can check out hollywood hot spots, jump on the red line and get to downtown. Similarly from Santa Monica you can hop on the expo line for downtown.

For hiking, there's a couple nice spots out in Malibu like Charmlee (but might be hard to get to and from without a car). If you end up staying in West Hollywood or Hollywood, Runyon Canyon is the typical spot everyone goes.

Great mexican food is hard to miss in LA, stay away from Chipotle and you'll be fine. Guisados and Guelaguetza are typical recommendations, I like El Compadre for the atmosphere (and flaming margaritas).
Local October 22, 2018
hey christina! You must know me well I just stumbled across a youtube vid about Smorgasburg & it seems very up my street, I like the whole food/vintage markets thing ! It reminds me of the sunday markets we have here in Brick Lane. Yes I agree, I'm thinking to spend my first few days in weho (as there's a lot in that vicinity I want to visit ) & then maybe spend a couple days staying near venice/santa monica beach .

I was also thinking of spending a day around malibu/calabasas or heading up past palm springs to the joshua tree park. Which would you recommend? I'd like to spend 1 day out of the main tourist parts & get out into nature/laze around a bit
I would say a trip to San Fran (and especially Yosemite) would be pushing it. California is huge and even the fastest drive to San Fran is 5 1/2 hours. For a week, LA will keep you plenty busy. If you want a day trip out of town, I would recommend the desert and Joshua Tree National Park. There's a kooky Western movie set turned actual town called Pioneertown out there, not to mention the somewhat alien landscape and classic Americana atmosphere of Joshua Tree itself. And it's only 1 1/2 hours drive east.

Nice social areas depends on your jam, I suppose. Personality/social-wise, I'd say the most distinct neighborhoods are: In the West, Santa Monica and Venice are where the beach is; more central Hollywood and West Hollywood are tourist central (but have their charms); Silverlake, Los Feliz, Echo Park and Downtown on the east side are where the hipsters are at.
Local October 22, 2018
Thanks Jacob, I was looking at the Joshua Tree National Park as it looked pretty interesting, in fact it reminded me of some supernatural trees I planted on The Sims once once LOL. Although LA will keep me busy enough I wanted to at least try & get into the sticks a little bit since California has an overwhelming range of landscapes/terrains.