Travel

City Guide: The Westside of Los Angeles

City Guide: Westside Los Angeles

Our city guide series continues today with the second half of our Los Angeles tour: the west side. We enlisted Hannah Henderson, co-owner of General Store, to share her favorite spots along the coast (including Venice, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades), like the prettiest restaurant on a pier and a magical neighborhood that feels like a time capsule…

City Guide: Westside Los Angeles

Hannah Henderson: Venice has been my home for the past 12 years. It feels like a small town within this huge city, which is comforting. On the west side, the beach is our backyard. Los Angeles is massive and we have the freedom of being on the fringe, not so locked into notorious traffic. On the west side you have everything you need, in a little bubble… a little bubble that happens to contain the Pacific Ocean.

City Guide: Westside Los Angeles

City Guide: Westside Los Angeles

Gjelina

WHERE TO EAT

Gjelina in Venice might be my favorite restaurant. The food is always, always perfect. The pizzas, seasonal burrata dishes (with prosciutto and stone fruit in the summer) and mushroom toast are especially great. If you’re in a group, share a bunch of plates to taste everything! A reservation on the back patio makes the experience even better. If you’re in a hurry, stop by the neighboring Gjelina Take Away and grab an order to go.

Holy Guacamole in Santa Monica is a hole-in-the-wall place that serves quick, authentic Mexican food. Their quesadillas can make any kiddo cheer right up.

For brunch, try Cora’s Coffee Shop in Santa Monica. It’s tiny, relaxed and gorgeous (it has bougainvillea-covered patio!). I like getting the burrata caprese omelet and a cappuccino.

For lunch, stop by Gjusta in Venice. It’s a beautiful, laid-back café by the people behind Gjelina. Order the veggie sandwich (with tahini, avocado and roasted peppers), egg sandwich (with gruyere, bacon and hot sauce) or chocolate babka (made with croissant dough). Even the bathroom is lovely, with rustic styling and French-pane windows. Go at an off-hour or later in the day to avoid the rush.

Consider going to Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica — a resort-style Italian restaurant (think: light pink walls, tropical patterns and fresh flowers everywhere) — at sunset. It’s not cheap, but it’s a classic dinner experience. I recommend the delicious lobster pasta and the Ivy Gimlet made with homegrown mint.

If you’re up for a short drive, Malibu Farm Pier Café, off the Pacific Coast Highway, serves tasty, organic food at the end of a pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Try the crab cakes with baby potatoes and arugula.

City Guide: Westside Los Angeles

Eames House

WHERE TO HANG

Visit the Eames House in Pacific Palisades. It’s the private residence of American designers Charles and Ray Eames, and it’s stunning. Reservations are necessary, and it’s $10 to tour the outside. For adults only, special interior tours are available at a much higher price ($275!), but the fees go toward their 250 Year Project to conserves the site. If you’re into grand old houses like this, take a detour on the way and drive through Rustic Canyon. It’s a magical residential neighborhood that feels 100 miles away from the rest of Los Angeles. With huge eucalyptus trees and mid-century houses, it’s a real estate dream.

Spend a couple of hours wandering up and down Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. (GQ Magazine calls it “the coolest block in America.”) There are great shops, like Aesop, Bazar and Urbanic. Opened by a husband and wife after their move from Tokyo, Tortoise has simple Japanese home goods. At the coffee shop Blue Bottle, order the New Orleans, a cold-brew with organic cane sugar, for a sweet jolt. On Sundays, Guerilla Taco Truck sits outside Blue Bottle. Their menu is flavorful and delicious, with items like a sweet potato taco with almond chile, feta cheese, fried corn and scallions. My kids also go nuts for Salt & Straw ice cream. The honey lavender is my favorite.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the Miracle Mile has amazing exhibits — through September, there is a Agnes Martin (an American abstract painter) show. The museum is also next door to the La Brea Tar Pits, which my kids love. A couple years ago, the city discovered thousands of fossils when they were digging to build a new parking structure. You can now watch scientists cleaning the fossils of ice-age creatures that used to roam Los Angeles.

Hiking is big in L.A., and one of my favorite spots is Temescal Canyon. The two-and-a-half mile loop takes you by ocean views and 100-year-old trees.

If you want to hang at the beach, head to Surfrider in Malibu, a classic surf spot. Or go a little farther up the coast to El Pescador for a quieter experience. It’s a secluded cove with tide pools at low tide. Bring water bottles, snacks and some friends to make a day out of it.

City Guide: Westside Los Angeles

General Store

WHERE TO SHOP

I’m definitely biased, but my shop General Store in Venice curates a mix of handmade home objects, clothing, jewelry, books and vintage goods. It’s the perfect place to find California gifts.

There are two locations of Lost & Found near each other on Main street in Santa Monica. One has women’s clothing with a sweet kids’ section, and the other one is for the home. Filled with natural light, the women’s shop has Italian sandals and quality clothing in natural fabrics. You find items there that you’ll wear for years.

For those who love flea markets, Los Angeles has some of the best, and they happen every weekend! The Santa Monica Airport Antique Market is open the first and fourth Sundays of the month. If you are venturing east, stop by Pasadena City College on the first Sunday of the month and the Rose Bowl Flea Market, the mother of all flea markets, on the second Sunday of the month. Melrose Trading Post at Fairfax High School is open every Sunday.

City Guide: Westside Los Angeles

The Rose Hotel

WHERE TO STAY

The Rose Hotel in Venice is a low-key, 14-room hotel that’s close to Muscle Beach and the Venice Skate Park. It’s a touristy area, so be prepared to navigate crowds. If you’re willing to brave the crazy boardwalk, my favorite place is the roller disco rink next to the skate park, which is packed with wonderful characters dancing in their roller skates. It’s a time capsule — and incredibly fun to watch.

Or, consider renting a house in Venice. That way, you’ll be walking distance to Abbot Kinney and the awesome shops on Lincoln. You’re close to everything — it’s the best way to experience the town. Make time to stroll down the Venice “walk-streets” (pedestrian-only pathways). The tree-lined sidewalks still have that old Venice charm.

If you want to sneak a bit east to Hollywood, I highly recommend staying a night at the legendary Chateau Marmont. It was built in 1929 as a deluxe apartment building, but the rooms were quickly changed into hotel suites and bungalows. It’s a beautiful Los Angeles landmark with so much old Hollywood history, you can feel the energy when you walk in. It’s been a star retreat for decades — F. Scott Fitzgerald, Annie Leibovitz, Hunter S. Thompson and Sofia Coppola, to name a few, have produced work here.

City Guide: Westside Los Angeles

FINAL TIP

Los Angeles is a great place to visit any time of year because the weather is so wonderful, but it gets busier in the summer. If you come then, start your days early and do things on weekdays for the best experience. In the winter, sand sledding is a Venice tradition! The city builds huge sand dunes on the beach, and we slide down them in snow sleds. It’s really fun for everyone.

Thank you so much, Hannah! Have you been to westside Los Angeles (or do you live there)? What else would you add?

P.S. Where to stay, eat, shop and hang in central L.A. — and Nashville, Seattle and Minneapolis.

(Top photo by Nicki Sebastian. City guide graphic design by Miss Moss. Gjelina exterior photo by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. Gjelina pizza photo via Kelli LaRocca. Eames house photo via NC Modernist. General Shop photo via their website. The Rose Hotel photo by William Jenkins. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for editing this series.)

  1. Awesome tips, they are really helpful! Nice post :)

  2. I’m shocked that Bergamot Station Arts Center didn’t make it on the list! Bergamot is a collective of over 30 galleries in Santa Monica–it’s the largest group of galleries on the West Coast! It’s free and parking is easy!

    • Jill says...

      I totally agree. As an LA Native, we have so much fun here at all the different galleries. Fun to walk around with kids.

  3. Could you please tell us sources for Hannah’s outfit? Just check out her instagram and I aspire to work high waisted jeans like she does. Thanks!

  4. Erin Mary says...

    Come to my ‘hood and have drinks at the Culver Hotel! http://www.culverhotel.com/ It has a really cool history (including it being where the munchkins stayed during the filming of The Wizard of Oz!). And the ambience is really fun.

    Have dinner at Father’s Office- they have Pliny the Elder on tap, which is really hard to find here in LA :)

    Nearby, you can trek up the Culver Cit Stairs and get a really cool view of the Westside. Culver City is really neat these days. There’s lots of outdoor art, and fun little food spots!

    • Lisa says...

      I second the recommendation for Father’s Office!

  5. that pizza looks so good

    xoxo
    cristyproca.wordpress.com

  6. Any LA natives want to chime in on their favorite beaches and tips (where to park, when to go)?

    • Gwen says...

      El matador state beach up past Malibu is beautiful but sometimes busy. You have to find a spot on highway 101 to park.

    • April says...

      I live in Redondo Beach (just a little south of Santa Monica along the coast). If you are looking for an off-the-beaten path experience I highly recommend the beach cities (Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach). They are beautiful, less crowded and have lots of cute shops and restaurants on each of the respective piers.

  7. As a westsider, I’d like to add a few things!

    – Downtown Culver City is really charming, filled with lots of good restaurants, shops and bookstores. (My all time favorite restaurant is The Wallace)

    – The Expo Line just opened a few weeks ago so you can now take the metro from downtown LA to Santa Monica Beach! There’s also a bike trail that goes along it, ending up right near 3rd street promenade.

    – If you hate crowds and traffic, head to the South Bay (Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Palos Verdes) for nice neighborhoods and good beaches!

    • Hi Marla,
      I want to try the Metrorail and take it to the Broad museum! Is there someplace to park in Santa Monica to take the Metrorail downtown?

    • Lisa says...

      Sherrelle- make sure to make a reservation for The Broad. It books months in advance and without a reservation you could be waiting a couple hours. As for parking and riding, I’d skip Santa Monica and move a little inland. There are parking lots along the expo and stop somewhere a mile or so further inland and it’ll be easier! I love the Broad and while you’re downtown, you can’t miss Grand Central Market!

  8. Nicole says...

    From an LA native, this is a strong list. But saying that west LA is free from the burden of traffic is a joke. The 405 could win a national traffic award if there was such a thing. Tip for travelers is to also not go out during rush hour at all, unless you want to take an hour to drive 2 miles.

    • Shannon says...

      I 100% agree! The west side has some of the worst traffic in the city. (But great article nonetheless!)

  9. Trish says...

    I’d second the comment about wanting to know about Hannah’s outfit. Those jeans are awesome, and the blouse looks beautiful with them!

  10. Emmanuella says...

    Haha, that was so funny reading this because it was like “west side west side west side… LACMA?! (bug eyed emoji). That’s a good 30 min to an hour east of the westside depending on traffic”. But it is definitely worth it. Good suggestions all around. Where does she hail from? The most fun thing about l.a. is hearing where people are coming from :)

  11. We want to visit!!! And I think Hannah is so effortlessly cool. I’ve been following her on Instagram and love her photos (and denim).

  12. I love this post and read all the comments and took notes. My family just moved to LA from Atlanta. My husband and I met here 23 years ago so it’s a 360. We were poor college students back then, living in Palms and didn’t have kids so it’s a change. Culver City has changed so much! Currently we are staying in Santa Monica (which has been fun), but just found a place in Pacific Palisades so we’re excited. If anyone has any Palisades tips (shop, eat, do, great services), please let me know! I wrote about one of my favorite beaches in Malibu, El Matador, that I feel is a must-do when you visit LA. http://iamsherrelle.com/la-stories-el-matador-state-beach/

    • Gigi says...

      I grew up in the Palisades and it was an amazing childhood! I now live in Dallas and I’m expecting my first baby here. It pains me to know that my kiddo won’t have the same type of childhood in Dallas that I had growing up in LA (filled with beach trips, hiking, and summer road trips along the coast) but Dallas isn’t a bad alternative (just different).

      My favs for food are Cafe Vida, Naturally (healthy lunch), Vittorio’s Pizza, Beech Street Cafe, and Pinocchio’s (authentic Italian). If you want cocktails, Pearl Dragon is the only bar in town. The farmer’s market on Sunday can’t be beat! And for general activities other than the beach, as kids, we loved going to Lake Shrine, the Getty Villa, hiking Temescal Canyon and playing at Palisades Park. The whole place is really family oriented so you will always find sports and activities for kiddos of all ages.

      I still shop at Elyse Walker, Boca/Boca Man, Black Ink, Petit Ami, and Marc Michel Eyewear.

      My last note is, don’t go out of town for July 4th! The Palisades is seriously the best place in the US to celebrate! Participate in the run in the morning, go to the beach mid-day, enjoy the parade in the afternoon, bbq with friends in the evening, and fireworks all night long from every direction – just plan on using your bike and/or feet as transport for the day. Seriously, until I moved away I never realized how awesome it was and I miss it on the year’s that I can’t make it back.

      Enjoy this little slice of heaven with your family!

    • Oh wow Gigi you have me excited! I have already eaten at Cafe Vida and love it! I’ve been the the Lake Shrine in past years on vacation and didn’t even know it was right there in Palisades, so that’s awesome. I have a teen daughter, so we thought the Palisades would be a good place for her to be able to walk around the village with friends – glad to know that we are right on point. We are renting a house in the hills above the village, so that sounds perfect for the July 4th fireworks. I am writing down all your suggestions – thanks so much!

  13. Perfect timing! I am coming to visit in November for a few days. I am staying in Venice and trying to figure out what to do with the 3 days I am there (so much to see, so little time!)

    Gosh, I am excited… :)

  14. ooh good tip! thank you!

  15. I want those jeans!

  16. Liz says...

    Will Rogers State Park in the Palisades. Check out a polo match, take a picnic and sit on the lawn, tour the Will Rogers estate or take an easy hike to Inspiration Point for great views. Pick up sandwiches from Bay Cities Deli on Lincoln before heading over. Also, Thyme Cafe on Ocean Park in Santa Monica is a great breakfast, brunch and lunch spot.

  17. Jacy says...

    I think this give short shrift to the westside. Pacific palisades has an excellent French restaurant, Maison Giraud. Tonga park in sm (right across from the pier) is a must see — by the same people who did the High Line. Go to Palms for lunch at the new brick and mortar for game changing food truck, Kogi BBQ and stop by nearby Scoops for hipster weird ice cream. There’s lots of cool stuff to see in Culver City, they have a nice little farmer’s market on Tuesdays, you can go by the Helms Bakery District for a beer and a burger at Father’s Office and check out all the home goods stores. There’s the arts district there too. But the real jewel is the Museum of Jurassic Technology. A dark, even slightly shabby interior gives way to all these crazy exhibits. Only in la can you have a place where the real meets the fictional in a celebration of the absurd. And don’t forget the Armand Hammer museum, good contemporary stuff.

    • Jennifer says...

      Alas, Maison Giraud closed due to the Caruso project being built in the Palisades. Hopefully Alain and Catherine will be back when the new street opens!

  18. Could you please tell us sources for Hannah’s outfit? Just check out her instagram and I aspire to work high waisted jeans like she does. Thanks!

  19. Nicki S says...

    Oh this just makes my heart sing! So many great spots mentioned—and so much we have yet to discover in our own backyard! Miss you all, Team CoJ!

  20. That pizza is my favourite kind. I’m going to get some of that today.

    Shruthi
    http://nyambura.co

  21. Laura says...

    Loved reading about West LA on Cup of Jo, two of my interests in one!

  22. Michelle says...

    Thanks for the guide! This is perfectly timed – my husband, 8 month old son and I are heading to LA for a long weekend in November and we are trying to decide on where our home base should be. My husband has never been and I’ve only stayed in Santa Monica once and downtown LA for work a handful of times; does anyone have any thoughts on whether Venice would be a good spot to stay for us in November if we want to be near the beach? Other recommendations? Thanks!!

    • Stephanie says...

      Look at Manhattan Beach– great for kids, walkable, safe.

    • Venice can be fun to visit during the day but the beach area gets very dangerous and creepy at night. I agree with Stephanie that Manhattan Beach is good – safe and family friendly. Santa Monica is beautiful but does get very crowded. What about going even further south to Huntington Beach?

  23. Glad to hear Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach & Palos Verdes continue to be the best kept secrets in LA :-)

  24. Anna says...

    I also highly recommend a day trip north if you have time…Ventura (my hometown…sweet, funky surf vibe), Ojai and Santa Barbara are all about an hour or two away (depending on traffic…leave early and come back late). I recommend taking the coast route on Highway 1 for beautiful views.

  25. Katie says...

    Oh wow, what a lovely guide and so timely! I live in San Diego and while so close, have spent regrettably very little time in this area of LA. Yesterday we found termites in our home (yikes!) which means we will have to vacate later this week for several days while it is fumigated. I figure if we have to pay for accommodation we may as well try and make the best of it and turn it in to a mini holiday of sorts :) I’d love to spend the time exploring this area.
    One hiccup is that we’ve already taken our summer trip and depleted our travel budget so I need to keep costs as low as possible. My husband will be working remotely and I will be taking care of our little one and a half year old son.
    Does anyone have any recommendations for super central areas to stay? I would like to limit the cost of transportation/uber etc (not to mention the hassle of moving car seats and sitting in LA traffic with a toddler)…and we also really love walking places. Is there a neighborhood I should be searching for a rental or even an affordable hotel anyone knows about? Or any other thoughts/recommendations on affordable things to do with a little one in tow (the tar pits look amazing for example – but maybe better for older kids?). Thank you so much!!!

    • Kathryn says...

      Hi Katie, I would highly recommend Old Town Seal Beach or the Belmont Shore or Belmont Heights neighborhood in Long Beach. They would both be way cheaper than LA but also more laid back. They still have so many wonderful activities and shops/restaurants all within walking distance. Check them out!

    • Katie says...

      Googling right now, thank you Kathryn!!

    • Emmanuella says...

      Los Feliz is very walkable and a great neighborhood for a mix of tastes and styles!

  26. love venice! gjelina is so delicious as is the tasting kitchen down the street on abbott kinney.

    i have a peplum tee roundup on my blog today if anyone would like to see! :) http://brittanyisablob.blogspot.com/

  27. Diana says...

    I’m shocked that Bergamot Station Arts Center didn’t make it on the list! Bergamot is a collective of over 30 galleries in Santa Monica–it’s the largest group of galleries on the West Coast! It’s free and parking is easy!

    http://bergamotstation.com/

  28. Rebecca says...

    Great guide with several of our faves! One teensy quibble: if you’re looking to hit the spots on this list, staying at Chateau isn’t convenient.

  29. Linda says...

    This guide and the comments are great!
    Also nice for brunch on Abbott Kinney is the Tasting Kitchen. Lemonade nearby is a quick-casual, CA style cafeteria with great salads and comfort food (although I’d pass on their desserts). There are lots of Lemonades throughout So Cal. Blue Star Donuts on Abbott Kinney is a must.
    I also like walking down Main Street in Santa Monica to visit MUJI (Japanese home store). Sunny Blue (omusubi), Groundwork Coffee Co., and Three Twins Ice Cream on Main are awesome for cheap eats. Great to grab on the go and enjoy on the beach nearby.

  30. Aly says...

    If you’re coming from the east coast with kids and they wake up at 5am when they’re jetlagged (like mine does!) then go to Urth Caffe on Main Street in Santa Monica for breakfast – they open at 6am! Reliably delicious and organic things like eggs and smoothies and coffee mugs as big as your head – all before sunrise ;)

    • My daughter is obsessed with their boba tea!

  31. Jennifer says...

    Great list! One thing though – the Guerrilla Taco truck has changed up its locations on Sundays. Per their website they’re at Smorgasburg on Sundays and the Blue Bottle on Beverly on Saturdays. I’m looking forward to the brick-and-mortar they’re opening next year!

  32. aly says...

    Highly suggest Sawtelle area (Little Osaka) on the border of west LA and Santa Monica to get a great asian/japanese experience (ramen, sushi, chinese, boba and hello, a Daiso!). Also for a date night/ girls night dinner cannot beat Cassia (singaporean fusion) with a beautiful high-ceiling interior and nominated for a James Beard award. Right across, get a pre-drink at the wine bar- Ester’s wine shop. For Mexican food, Tacos Por Favor is the real deal, with authentic mexican food. Instead of Abbott Kinney (thanks GQ for putting all the local places out of business RIP Roosterfish), Rose Ave, is where you find all the locals go for food (Oscar’s – his mom is the cook and Venice Beach wines where they have a bottomless mimosa brunch, not to mention Superba)

    • Lisa says...

      TSUJITA!!! The best ramen and tsukemen. Also a big fan on Plan Check and Bachi Burger

  33. sharon t says...

    the wednesday farmers market in santa monica is one of my all time favorites. but make sure to go extra early because lots of local restaurants source from them – the best items go fast! also, don’t forget to stop at the getty and getty villa. the getty has a beautiful view of LA, especially during low smog days. the getty villa is just breathtaking. also, public transport isn’t too difficult to use if you wanna avoid traffic. i’ve taken the metro from east la (where i’m from) all the way to santa monica. it’s not as fast as driving (sometimes) or convenient as the metro systems in DC or NYC (where i’ve been a summer intern before) but it’s a fun way to really get a feel of ALL of LA. you can plan stops at each transfer and really experience the diversity of the city.

  34. Ahh I wish I had read this a couple months ago! We spent a week in Santa Monica this spring and loved it! We’re traveling all over CA trying to find the best city to move to which best suits our family. Santa Monica had such an awesome family vibe, it’s high on our list.

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  35. heather says...

    I’m so glad you’re doing all of these LA guides! I’m taking my husband there for his 40th in a few weeks so he can see some of his favorite comedians live. Neither of us really knows anything about LA, so I am bookmarking these city guides! We will definitely be checking out The General Store. :-)

    Two questions for you: (1) we’re staying at Echo Park, and have tickets to a few shows at the Largo Theater. How do people get around? Call a taxi? Rent an uber or lyft? and (2) Going to the Largo… should we get dinner in another part of town and then head over there? Or are there places in that neighborhood worth checking out?

    Thanks for any advice!
    Heather

    • Lauren E. says...

      If your husband loves comedy, go to The Comedy Store on a slow night like Sunday or Monday and chat up a door guy or a bar back (i.e. low man on the totem pole) and see if you finagle a tour of the backstage area. By far one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in LA – there is so much history! And it’s supposedly haunted, if you believe in that type of thing… :)

    • Meredith says...

      Hi Heather! Most people take Uber or Lyft, and just make sure you give yourself enough time to get over to West Hollywood from Echo Park (45 min to an hour, believe it or not). There are a bunch of amazing restaurants in West Hollywood – Sushi Fumi is right across the street from Largo, or go extra early and walk down 3rd street for MANY amazing options (I love Gusto for Italian, Son of A Gun for seafood, or The Churchill for slightly cheaper gastropub food). There’s also an awesome bar right next to Largo called The Roger Room – there’s no sign for the bar, just a palm reader sign out front. Cocktails are pricey, but delicious, and the atmosphere is amazing. Can you tell this is my neighborhood? :-)

    • Personally – I drive in the daytime. If I don’t know where I’m going, I Yelp it first and search “parking.” People give tips of where they suggest leaving your car. For nighttime, I almost always uber. Parking is such a hassle and something I don’t want to deal with for going out at night.

      Also a tip, do not dismiss the taco trucks! Some of the best mexican food I’ve had in LA.

    • aly says...

      1. Take a lyft/ uber- it is the most affordable. With a taxi, the driver might take advantage and take you down the “highly most traffic area” to run the meter
      2. There are so many great places to eat in Echo Park to begin with but if there is a neighborhood depending on what you like, the arts district near Downtown LA is a great find with cool bars. I suggest Bestia on the higher end for dinner(reservations a must or wait in the line right when it opens), Factory Kitchen for Italian, Wurstkuche known for their sausage hot dogs and beer, ERB or Resident for a drink, Arts District Brewery for a drink and games. A great place to eat is also Animal near the Largo (especially if you are a meat eater). Also Gracias Madre has a beautiful patio, strong drinks, and vegan mexican food.

    • Chris Cook says...

      Definitely Uber or Lyft. As someone else noted, give yourself plenty of time to get to that side of town (especially during a work week – rush hour seems to start around 2:00 here). You might also want to check out Upright Citizens Brigade (two locations – a small venue on Franklin on a block with several cute food eateries and a larger venue in Hollywood). The Groundlings is also a great spot for comedy. I second Gracias Madre’s patio for an amazing meal in a beautiful space and recommend Guisados tacos in Echo Park!

    • Emmanuella says...

      1. I highly recommend getting a cheap rental car. Echo park to largo is about 30-35 minutes and there are just too many great things to see to be limited by taxis and ubers (which can add up fast if you’re hopping around town). 2. If you’re the casual fun type working with a budget, check out farmers market (next to the grove). Its a semi-covered outdoor space with vendors selling an array of different types of food. It’s great for breakfast lunch or dinner and you’d be close to the coronet theater. If you’d rather do a sit down dining experience, try Terroni on beverly, Mozza pizzeria on la brea or Animal on fairfax which gets rave reviews!

  36. love it! I miss living in LA so much

  37. KC says...

    I love that she mentioned Holy Guacamole, it is a gem. I would have also included Lares Restaurant on Pico, some of the best Mexican food around.

  38. Natasha says...

    If you’re with kids who get up early, note that Gjelina is open at 8 am for breakfast — it’s easy to get a seat, and the patio is lovely in the morning.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      ooh good tip! thank you!

    • Emmanuella says...

      I’ve always had amazing lunch there, but dinner has been either hit or miss. So there’s an extra bonus to going early :)

  39. Natalie Brennan says...

    I love the west side!!! My family is from there and we visit every year. This list is great and I would add the brentwood country mart for cute shops/toystores/etc and a great cheese counter/restaurant at farmshop http://www.brentwoodcountrymart.com/

    also the santa monica pier is crowded and super touristy but still fun for little kids!

    • And the Brentwood Farmers Market on Sundays!

  40. And the Venice canals! They have waterways just like in Italy, backing up to people’s houses, and you can stroll through alongside them and over these darling wooden arches. It’s the perfect after-dinner spot.