Travel

City Guide: Central Los Angeles

COJla

The sprawling city of Los Angeles has a million places to eat, drink and hang out. So, we’ve divided our L.A. city guide into two parts: central and west. First up, we enlisted Erica Chidi Cohen, doula and co-founder of LOOM, to share her favorite spots in the central part of L.A. (including Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Echo Park, Atwater Village, Koreatown, Downtown and Hollywood), like where to find the best enchiladas and see the greatest view of the city…

City Guide: Central Los Angeles

Erica Chidi Cohen: I love L.A. The culture here is vibrant and eclectic, with undiscovered gems everywhere. You can really feel the history of the place. I love the Spanish-style, art deco and craftsman architecture, as well as the diversity of the people and families that live in the neighborhoods. It’s a beautiful thing.

City Guide: Central Los Angeles

City Guide: Central Los Angeles

Bar Amá

WHERE TO EAT

For a tasty breakfast, brunch or late afternoon snack, try Sqirl in Silver Lake. They can have crazy lines (and they close at 4 p.m.), but it’s worth it. Pick up a jar of their seasonal jam, like Blueberry Rhubarb, and order the Sorrel Pesto Rice Bowl, which comes with a poached egg and feta. Their menu always has a great twist on seasonal California fare.

For delicious Japanese drinks and small plates, dine at Kinjiro, tucked away in Little Tokyo. Everything on the menu is perfectly portioned and always hit the spot. I’d recommend the Uni Risotto (it’s rich and creamy with sea urchin) and the homemade Agedashi Tofu.

For awesome Tex-Mex food, stop by Bar Amá. This is my favorite restaurant downtown. Order their La Pina (a tart pineapple and mezcal cocktail) and Mom’s Green Enchiladas. They also have “Super Nacho Hour” throughout the week until 7 p.m. with specials on margaritas and their famous nachos — house-made corn tortilla chips layered with the best queso, salmorejo salsa and avocado salsa. It’s not to be missed.

If you’re going on a date, head to All’acqua, in Atwater Village. With wood-beamed ceilings and old-school Italian food, this spot always feels romantic. I love the spaghetti with Manila clams — it’s served in a white wine sauce with chili-garlic butter.

In Hollywood, go to brunch at Salt’s Cure. I’d recommend the oatmeal griddle pancakes. They come with this insane maple cinnamon butter that may or may not contain duck fat — trust me, they’re delicious.

City Guide: Central Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Flower Market

WHERE TO HANG

Olympic Spa in Koreatown is amazing. It’s a traditional, female-only Korean spa that uses all natural products. All the women guests (young and old) are naked in the pools, and it’s very relaxing. If you’re short on time, try a simple soak in the hot and cold tubs, followed by the Himalayan salt room (where the walls are made entirely out of salt bricks). If you have more time, get the Milk and Honey Body Smoothie, which includes a body shampoo with fresh warm milk, jojoba oil and honey, a full-body scrub, deep tissue massage and gentle hair washing. It’s the best.

The Underground Museum in Arlington Heights exhibits some the best contemporary art in Los Angeles. It just looks like a storefront, but inside is an incredible gallery. The current show Non Fiction, investigating the culture of violence perpetrated on black citizens, will be up through next year.

Grand Central Market (downtown) is a 99-year-old food court packed with some of California’s best vendors. It’s the greatest place to hang because you can wander and snack your way through the entire place. Try the bone broth at Belcampo Meat Co. and find a killer cup of cold brew at G&B Coffee. People also go crazy for the cardamom iced coffee and falafel at Madcapra, run by two female chefs.

The new contemporary art museum The Broad, also downtown, is fantastic. You need advanced tickets (like weeks in advance), but you can also try waiting in the standby line, especially if you’re going in the middle of the week. It’s worth all the trouble to get in. Right now, there’s a big Cindy Sherman exhibit.

City Guide: Central Los Angeles

Individual Medley

WHERE TO SHOP

If you go to Grand Central Market, pop up the block to Ariel Gordon’s jewelry showroom. She has delicate necklaces and simple studs. Her showroom also has one of the best views of downtown.

I love stores that curate clothing, beauty and home goods — and Individual Medley does just that. It carries California brands like First Rite and vintage home accessories, including hand-painted ceramics.

The Los Angeles Flower Market downtown is the largest wholesale floral district in the country. Get up early and grab a bundle of seasonal flowers, for a great deal. It’s a beautiful, magical place.

City Guide: East Los Angeles

City Guide: Central Los Angeles

Hotel Covell

WHERE TO STAY

Hotel Covell, nestled in Los Feliz, is a charming five-room boutique hotel that’s close to tons of fun east side spots. Each suite feels like a stylish apartment, packed with amenities. They also have a delicious wine bar downstairs.

The Line is a design gem in the middle of Koreatown. (Ask for a room facing the hills!) You can have fresh Korean-American food downstairs at POT, drinks upstairs at Commissary (their greenhouse set next to the pool — the drinking water is even served through a garden hose) and find your way to the karaoke suites tucked away in Break Room 86.

If you’d rather rent a house, book an Airbnb in Echo Park. You’ll feel like you’re part of the friendly neighborhood, but it’s enough of a quiet hideaway (with such pretty golden sunlight!) that you can totally unwind. Silver Lake and Los Feliz are also great neighborhoods for vacation rentals.

City Guide: Central Los Angeles

The L.A. River

FINAL TIP

Don’t forget to take advantage of the outdoors! Griffith Park, in Los Feliz, is huge and rambling. Grab a coffee at the sweet Trails Café, then hike up to the Griffith Observatory, for beautiful views of the city, especially at sunset. Also, stop by the L.A. River, if you’re visiting during the summer. From Memorial Day though Labor Day, you can sign up for a kayak expedition. You’ll paddle through the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve and the scenic Glendale Narrows. Be sure to bring a hat, especially on a hot day.

Thank you so much for the tips, Erica! Have you been to L.A. — or do you live there? What would you recommend on the east side?

P.S. Erica’s beauty uniform, and our past city guides.

(Top photo by Nicki Sebastian. City guide graphic design by Miss Moss. First photo of Erica by Morgan Pansing. Photo of Erica at the flower market and photo of Individual Medley by Lauren Moore. Bar Amá margita photo via Instagram. Bar Amá nacho photo by Dylan + Jeni for Bon Appétit. Photos of Hotel Covell by Bethany Nauert. Los Angeles River photo via Los Angeles District. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for editing this series.)

  1. Liz says...

    Your city series is so wonderful! I sincerely hope you feature Philadelphia soon! It’s so often overlooked, but it’s one of the largest metros in the US & is so rich with culture, incredible food, it has the most public art of any city in the world… I could go on & on. Hey! The pope & the DNC deemed it worthy enough of a visit…

  2. Samantha says...

    Best tacos in LA are Yuca’s in Los Feliz! Go to the one on Hillhurst! SO GOOD!

  3. FRM says...

    I went to LA in March and didn’t rent a car – we stayed in Los Feliz and used public transport/our feet to get everywhere – including The Getty! It can be done as long as you research transport ahead of time (or have wifi at all times!) We loved Los Feliz and ate there most evenings after having explored different neighbourhoods during the day. I have been told that West Hollywood is the best area to stay in if you want to explore without a car and are new to LA as it isn’t too far from most of the tourist areas/attractions you’d want to see. However, I wasn’t a huge WeHo fan and would definitely return to stay in Los Feliz or Silverlake (which we walked to several times). If you do have a car Highland Park seems like a fun spot to stay too. Will definitely consult this guide before our next trip :-) Although for anyone balking over the steep prices at Hotel Covell I’d definitely check out airbnb – the prices are really cheap for LA and we stayed just up the road from there on a quieter street!

    • I did my first car-less visit to LA last summer – Uber was key! It is not too expensive, and I HATE driving, especially on crazy LA freeways – the reduced stress was so worth it.

    • Madi says...

      This is great info. We are thinking of going to LA in April and im trying to decide to rent a car or not (would rather no) so this is helpful!
      Thanks!

  4. Yay for L.A.! I’m a native and just moved back after 2 years in Colorado. I think it’s funny to see this little debate about the names…it’s such a weird, sprawling city that lots of people have different ideas about where’s what. The main thing is, there’s nowhere like it on earth! After 2 years in Colorado what I appreciate most is the diversity! We moved to Highland Park, a neighborhood in Northeast L.A., and I just went to a meet n’ greet for a Moms club in the region, and was just marveling at the diversity in the group. In CO I could go a long time with only seeing white people! Anyway, I love this list and can’t wait to try out the places I’ve never been. It’s so fun being back in a huge city where there’s always something new to try!

  5. B says...

    East or West, never central! And for the love of all things avocado / that empty 405 on Saturday mornings, never “Weho” or “Noho” haha. ;)

  6. I love this, thanks Joanna! We “just” moved from our beautiful Brooklyn Heights/Cadman Plaza neighborhood (can you tell I miss it badly) to the Westside of Los Angeles. Can’t complain, my office building has an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean and sits right in Santa Monica…but my heart longs for good ole’ NYC. I love this guide as a great way to know the eastern part of LA. Thank you!

  7. Emmanuella says...

    Pretty good list! As an l.a. native, I approve these suggestions (haha). What’s funny about l.a. is that there are so many parts and so many vibes that you could almost do an l.a. city guide from ten different perspectives. I’d call this one the bohemian guide to l.a.

    I also like that there isn’t any bitterness here. I laughed when she said she likes the Spanish, deco and craftsman arch styles. They are sadly being demolished to dust at the hand of many $$ hungry developers. They’re tearing down the culturally significant landscapes of L.A. to build up mayor Garcetti approved cheaply-made, expensive-to-rent high rises with total lack of character.

  8. El says...

    Can you please do a San Diego guide? :D

  9. Lynn says...

    West Coooooovvvviiinnaaaaaa…. (Sorry, can’t get that song out of my head.)

    • Carmen B says...

      lol. I love that show.

  10. Nikki says...

    Not be a negative Nancy, but I live right by the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve, and I think if anyone went to kayak there, they’d be sorely disappointed. I take my dog on walks there because it’s super close by and “nature-y”… but that’s only if I look down and ignore that I can clearly see the 405, the 101, and 2 super busy streets immediately surrounding the area. The LA River itself is just a sad little stream of maybe foot-deep water in a concrete trench. Some places have trees and whatnot lining it, but overall, you’re still surrounded by concrete, and the water is definitely not sanitary (I don’t even let my dog stand in it)! For those wanting to see some nature in LA, there’s great hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains and Pasadena/Alta Dena area, or even in Griffith Park. My personal fave is Echo Mountain/Inspiration Point. You can go halfway to some old ruins and hear the infamous “echo,” which is about 5 miles roundtrip, or go all the way to the top of Inspiration Point which has amazing views, and is about 10 miles roundtrip.

  11. I a native of L.A. so its always fun to see my city through the eyes of someone else. It’s a huge city so there’s always a lot to discover, whether or not it’s been Instagrammed by people I don’t follow. Very cool post. I’ve been to some, but not all of the places Erica recommends. I still haven’t been to the Broad Museum!

  12. Luna says...

    As someone from Europe who has spend a month in LA (near UCLA, because I was there for research), I must say LA is very, very inaccessible. You need a car to get anywhere and as a European I wasn’t prepared for that. I thought ‘you don’t need a car in a city.’ Not true for LA! There is very poor public transport. You cannot just walk around either (not even downtown, or maybe especially not downtown). Sometimes the pavement would simply end and all roads look like highways.
    Definitely not all the neighborhoods are ‘tourist friendly’. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, because I try to relate to the people living there and I know (and have seen) that life can be very hard there. I think that LA, as no other city (well, perhaps Washington DC), shows how segregated the US can be. Of course, we also have cities in Europe where there are ‘better’ neighborhoods and ‘less good’ ones, but I dare to say that we don’t have such ‘divided’ cities as LA.
    It is may be obvious to most Americans that not all LA-neighborhoods are accessible, but trust me: it is striking to someone from Europe. I just wanted to share that, because when I was there and talked to people (not being UCLA professors), it became clear to me that most people there don’t even realize that life can be different. I don’t want to pretend that Europe is perfect – far from that – , but as someone with an ‘ordinary’ background (read: not wealthy) , I sure am happy to have been born in Europe and not the US.

    • Casey says...

      LA is not inaccessible, but it is very famous for being a driving city. It’s part of what makes it LA, and it’s not something that’s wrong with it, just something that you have to accept. I’ve lived in both NYC and LA. I’ve waited for the subway in NYC and said “never again,” and I’ve waited in LA traffic and said “never again.” They both have their downsides. The famous LA “sprawl” happened because it is a driving city. You either like it or you don’t, but it’s one of the things that makes it unique.

      Also, the area that you stayed in is the single wealthiest, most exclusive area of the city. Had you settled in a different part of LA, you probably would have experienced a very different city. America has a long way to go in terms of racism, but speaking as a non-white person who has consistently had some very difficult and scary experiences in Europe because of my race (which has happened, comparably, very little in the US), I can say that Europe was striking to me for it lack of respect for diversity. I, consequently, am very happy that I was born in the US, even with all of our problems.

    • yes you definitely need a car! but the upside is that uber and lyft have made it super easy for you to get around, if you don’t want to rent your own. i was there for a long weekend this month and used them solely. most of the rides are super affordable, based on distance, not time spent in traffic (for the most part)!

    • You can actually get around LA just fine without a car (I’ve done it), but it requires planning and you MUST chose your hotel based on the reality of your transportation. I always say that LA is a very inaccessible city not from a transportation angle, but in figuring out where to go. It’s got the tourism schhlocky trip down, but LA is an incredibly interesting and layered city if you can figure out how to explore it. If you want to get to know LA then you need to focus on the city as a series of neighborhoods, and the easiest way to do that is to eat/shop your way through them.

      BTW, I have never heard the area of LA you cover in this write up described as Central LA. Say that to a local and they will probably think you mean South Central or the area below the 10 east of Culver City and toward downtown. We call each of these areas by their neighborhood names, like Korea Town , Hollywood, or Los Feliz/Silverlake area. Which really kind of reinforces my point above: LA is not a city, but a collection of suburbs that have densified and turned in on themselves to create a series of neighborhoods. Aside from the Westside and the Valley, there aren’t really regional identifiers so much a neighborhood identifiers.

      If you want to stay in LA without a car, base out of Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, or Westwood, and you can get to Santa Monica, Downtown and all around using bus (and now light rail). The Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica and the Metro buses are pretty fast. But you have to be on a line and not try to make the bus come to you. Same if you want to live in the city and get around on the bus/public transit. You MUST find your location based on your transit options because huge areas simply aren’t served.

      Finally, I will leave you with my favorite way to sum up LA:

      LA is a city that thinks it is a suburb, or a suburb that thinks it is a city.

    • As a European native who has lived in LA for 20 years I can attest that Los Angeles does not welcome as a European city does, where you walk around with your nose in the air, and can easily experience art and architecture and food. But LA is no more segregated than Paris or London or Rome (other cities where I lived). Yes, you do need a car for an easier experience but, as a reader mentioned here, Uber is a cheap and easy way to get around. Most “central” neighbourhoods have been gentrified or on the way to gentrification (not exactly a good thing but that is another, economic, story) and odd mixes of people cohabit happily. LA definitely requires an effort to be understood but the rewards are immense. And, as big cities go, it’s pretty safe, with the same drawbacks and problems of every other metropolis.

    • SC says...

      Wow Luna,

      It’s so interesting how I can have such a different perspective being a second generation Korean American who grew up in the beach cities of Los Angeles and now am in North East LA… I recently returned from a trip to London, Amsterdam and Paris and had a great time but NO PLACE is like home. No where else do I feel as comfortable in my own skin where I blend right in with no one asking me where I am from or whether I speak English. LA is so diverse and accepting and it has its own special vibe. Having said that u DO need a car to get around if you really want to experience all that it has to offer. And this is coming from a UCLA graduate. And re: the East LA versus Central LA thing this could be its own post, Joanna. For me it’s all relative and it’s easiest to refer to the Eastside versus the Westside and Mid-City, etc.. Everyone has their own line dividing up the city. Great article and tips and I agree to all of the places in this Central LA Guide. xx

  13. I lived in Echo Park and Los Feliz for years (now I’m in Sweden). It’s a beautiful area of the city, with such amazing food and walks through the hills.

    If you go downtown to Grand Central Market, as Erica recommends, you MUST make a stop at the Bradbury Building! http://slate.me/1HApyqT

  14. Linda says...

    I grew up in LA. No one I knew ever went near the LA River. There is actually a current sewage spill of over 2 million gallons into the river. There are a lot of lovely natural rivers in California that would be better to visit!! There are some nice creeks and hikes up in Angeles Crest National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, too, which is probably a 45 minute drive depending on traffic.

    • The river has changed a lot. It is def not for swimming (haha) but there is a huge restoration push and some nice paths they have built.

  15. Tracy O says...

    I’m an LA County native, but from the Westside and I appreciate the recommendations. It’s true that general reservations for the Broad must be made months in advance. While general admission is free, if you’re willing to pay for a special exhibit like the Cindy Sherman one you can go to the rest of the museum without having to wait months to do it. Trying to get in without a reservation is a real challenge unless you’re cool with an extremely long wait. Now for the important question: Erica looks beautiful in that dress – where did she get it?! Thank you for your great website!

    • Fakey says...

      The Broad just implemented a new system May or June. Reservations for a given month open at noon on the first day of the month before. For example, I made my reservation for July on June 1st. It went smoothly.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s great, thank you!

    • Erica says...

      Oh! Thanks so much :) It’s from Zara. x

  16. Karin says...

    Just a warning that Grand Central Market is a zoo, so if you go there, be prepared to be squeezed into a sea of sweating humanity! My family just went there after reading so many rave reviews. We left because the lines were so long, there was nowhere to sit and eat even if we had managed to get food, and my son started to have a panic attack from the crowds. Perhaps if you go during the week it’s better; we were there on a Saturday afternoon. . .

    • Jessie says...

      As an LA native, I avoid the market like the plague on the weekends. Especially since it’s summer, it’s PACKED. Sorry you had such a bad experience! :(

  17. Anita says...

    So great to see Erica here again. And that Korean spa sounds heavenly.

    • Erica says...

      Thanks! And olympic spa is the best! <3

  18. Katherine says...

    Love all those places, especially Bar Ama for their Super Nacho Hour! However, I’m more interested in her lovely dress and mules! May I ask where they’re both from? Thank you in advance!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ll ask her!

    • Erica says...

      Thank you! It’s a Zara uniform — the dress and shoes xox

  19. There’s so much to see and do in LA that it can be overwhelming. I appreciate the mentions of some of the less known things to do. A great place to start!

  20. I really enjoy walking around the DTLA Arts district. Great murals and street art, a couple of breweries and Piehole (for yummy pie). I’ve got a few pictures linked here
    I’m still new to LA so I’m reading all the comments for suggestions!

  21. I lived in LA for 5 years before moving back to the east coast. SQRL was just a new thing when I lived there but loved it! Last time I went to visit I was blown away by how popular it grew! Cafecito Organico is my fave coffee shop and a great alternative to the Intelligentsia. I also loved Guisados for amazing tacos. But by FAR my favorite brunch is Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake. A beautiful location, great food, reasonably priced, and across from the farmer’s market. When I lived in Silver Lake it is the place I always took out of town visitors.

  22. Christine says...

    Also, Maccheroni Republic for hand made pasta in a cozy, lovely space!

  23. Christine says...

    I second Belcampo Meat Co. in Grand Central Market! Also, Guisados in DTLA for a very special taco experience (order the sampler for a taste of each kind!).

  24. Always love reading your City Guides! Such a fun post. Adding LA to our dream destinations list. It looks like such a fun and vibrant place to explore.

    Aizzing
    http://icingandwrite.com

  25. I love living in La! There are so many hidden gems! Where else can you get such a diverse mixture of culture and foods? I love visiting the art district. There are so many cool little shops and cafes.

    http://www.thebeautydojo.com

  26. Lauren says...

    It’s funny that so many of your readers who are familiar with Los Angeles don’t find the areas listed as the East side. If anything, LA is West, Central, and East, and depending where you find yourself, what is east or west is relative (for me, Los Feliz and Silverlake aren’t Central LA, but the gateway to East LA (not to far from Boyle Heights, the actual city of East Los Angeles, and the like). Central LA for me is much more mid city (closer to the LACMA), because traffic free on the 10, it takes 30 minutes to get to Santa Monica (West) and 30 minutes to get to East Los Angeles (East). Either way, I loved that you shined a light on some interesting places in this lovely city :)

    • alexis says...

      Joanna,
      Very cool of you to amend the post – I was worried I came off like a troll.
      Geeking out now, but I wanted to share something inspired by Lauren’s comment. (Something should come from my family’s 150 years in LA!). The eastside does not end with Boyle Heights and surrounding communties. The county goes as far east of downtown as the Pacific Palisades is west of downtown. It includes great communities like Pico Rivera and Covina, Monrovia, Glendora, Monterey Park, Sierra Madre and Claremont. These places have as much claim to being ‘LA’ as Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and the Pacific Palisades, which are all incorporated as their own cities within Los Angeles county, too. The center of Los Angeles and east and west can feel really subjective and relative to each person’s own experience because it’s so vast and most people live and use only one small part of it. Whenever people share their opinions or takes on LA, I love to ask them ‘which LA’ they are talking about. It contains multitudes and I love hearing how different angelenos experience the city.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much, Alexis!

  27. These are great recommendations, but if you want to skip the crowds and still get great restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing, I would say to go a bit further north to Toluca Lake, Eagle Rock, Pasadena, and Altadena. Same feeling as Los Feliz or Silverlake but with better parking and less hipsters!

    • Amy says...

      Having lived in Glendale, Toluca Lake and North Hollywood for 7 years before moving back east, I totally agree. So many gems in these areas people consider not as cool. They’re missing out! I’d eat in quiet Montrose over busy Santa Monica anytime. :)

  28. Helga T says...

    As a native Angeleno, I think this is a pretty good guide for visitors. It’s really a little Northeast LA (NELA), downtown LA, and Central LA but I think calling it ‘Central LA’ is fine.

    I’d add MILK for ice cream, Highland Park Brewery for, ya know, beer and Mr. T’s for bowling. And DEFINITELY, the Independent Shakespeare Company at the old zoo in Griffith Park.

  29. LA is amazing! So much to do and see. The different parts offer their own unique vibes.

  30. alexis says...

    Hi,
    As a fourth generation native, I have to agree that none of the places you mention are in East LA. And it is also misleading to call the post ‘East LA’ because East LA is actually it’s own incorporated city (next to Boyle Heights and East of downtown) that is ravaged by poverty and gang violence and also sadly largely invisible. If you look at the whole of Los Angeles County (the way you are thinking of it, since most of the ‘Westside’ is actually not part of the city of LA, downtown is the center. I live in Silver Lake and my family (who grew up in Boyle Heights) consider me to live on the Westside. There is a gorgeous and fascinating city to explore East of downtown that has much more history and diversity than the newly developed Westside. The neighborhoods you describe are considered ‘central LA’ on craigslist, eater LA, etc… It probably seems petty to people who don’t live here or have history here, but I think it’s always better and more respectful to be accurate rather than perpetuate misconceptions that everything to do with demographics of race and economic class and nothing to do with geography.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, alexis. this is really helpful — apologies for our mistake here. i really appreciate your note.

    • Stephanie says...

      Yes, “Central” LA is even more accurate. Thank you Alexis for that further clarification.

      This article is a good read and points to why the distinction is so important. even if it seems trivial to others.

      http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-eastside-battle-20140218-dto-htmlstory.html#axzz2uTConyu4

      There’s so much nuance to every city, so it’s hard to be able to cover/know everything. I love being able to read from locals in the comments section. Thank you, Joanna for keeping the conversation open.

    • Jessica says...

      Well said. Thank you, as a native Angeleno, I hate seeing the same neighborhoods and places listed on every guide. Maybe CoJ would be interested in having a native Angeleno do an insider’s guide to LA? With real, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and places to visit.

    • sharon t says...

      thanks for mentioning this alexis! i’m from monterey park and live right by the monterey park/east la border. we often get forgotten and misrepresented by travel guides so it was really nice of you and joanna to make the distinction :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      jessica, i’d love to hear your tips! we could always do a follow-up guide or add some of the comments to the bottom of this guide.

    • jenny says...

      Not to be a stickler, but East Los Angeles is not an incorporated city.

  31. Tara I says...

    raleigh-durham nc where I live:-)

  32. Becky says...

    I would recommend a visit to Milk Jar Cookies near the LACMA Museum. Best cookies in town and such a cozy little spot to enjoy some cold brew and cookies.

  33. Taylor says...

    I’d love to see a guide to Washington DC!

    • Beth says...

      Yes please!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awesome idea, we’re on it! xo

    • Sarah says...

      I’d love to help with this :)

  34. Lauren E. says...

    I just got back from San Diego, and now this is the second “LA is great” type article I’ve stumbled upon this morning. Southern California is calling to me!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha it’s a sign!

  35. Elisa Parhad says...

    This is a great list…I concur! If you have kids, I’d add Grand Park, esp in the summer–water play in the city!

    I just wrote a book on Southern California that tells you
    the why’s, what’s and where’s of all the things that make SoCal what it is, from beaches and billboards to taco trucks and tract homes. Check it out here:
    https://www.amazon.com/Southern-California-Guide-Eyes-Guides/dp/0982049722

  36. Rebecca says...

    This really makes me want to go to L.A., which is something I have never wanted before!

  37. Alice Quin says...

    Forage! My fave spot for lunch, hands down.

  38. Natalie Brennan says...

    I want to get on a plane right now for those nachos. Thank you Erica!

  39. My fiancé and I love bringing the kids, and renting houses all over LA to explore! I love how the sprawling city offers so much and has such different vibes in each city you hit! Now that we have children I love Santa Monica, but they are fun! I love guides so we can eat and play like the locals! Those nachos look incredible.!

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  40. Jessica says...

    Not one of these places is in actual East LA.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we actually are talking, generally, about the east half of LA, versus “East L.A.” — as if you drew a line down the middle of the city and then looked east. So, here we wanted to talk about silver lake, los felix, atwater village, downtown, hollywood, koreatown, etc… hope that helps!

    • Stephanie says...

      Yes, I was looking forward to something about East L.A., which would be VERY different than what is typically presented on blogs. Then again, I don’t think that area is somewhere many would go (which is precisely why I was shocked and excited that it would be featured). I think one could spend another separate post on Downtown LA alone, much like one could explore each neighborhood in NY. Perhaps this should have been titled “Eastern Los Angeles.” But thanks for the clarification, Joanna.

      This is not a knock on Erica or this blog, of course. These are great recs, but a lot of these places are already known if you follow any of the typical LA bloggers, which I’m sure many readers of CoJ do. Many of them are the most Instagrammed places. Again, I still love some of the recs, but these are frequented by many of the people that overlap with CoJ blog circles. So if you follow CoJ friends, there is a high chance you are familiar with these places, even if you don’t live in LA.

      I still liked the post and discovered a couple new places thanks to Erica, who seems like a fun and cool person.

    • This is such a challenge. I think I would suggest taking any North South East West indicators off any post referring to LA. Just like when someone asks “How far is that” we always replay with time and not distance, we just don’t talk about the city in terms of North South East West. But GREAT post! Sad the naming is becoming such an issue.