The Everygirl’s Weekend City Guide to Los Angeles

Los Angeles: the second largest city in the United States, home to many distinct neighborhoods, a melting pot of cultures, wonderful food, and some of the most beautiful places in the entire country. This city is incredibly sprawling with new things to see and do at nearly every turn.

It’s tough to see such an enormous city in a weekend, but if you attempt it, get ready for one of the best trips of your life. Whether you decide to stick to a couple of neighborhoods or try to see it all, LA is a city that’s hard to not fall in love with.

Here’s how we’ve broken it down for you:

WHERE TO STAY:
Budget Hotels (less than $150/night)
Mid-range Hotels ($150-300 night)
Treat Yo’self Hotels ($300-500 night)

WHAT TO DO:
Entertainment
Culture
Relax and Indulge
Shop
Outdoor Fun

WHERE TO EAT:
Best Eats Under $10
Best Dinner and Brunch Spots
Drinks with the Girls

Where to Stay

Budget Hotels (under $150/night)

Seaview Hotel
If you’re hoping to stay on by the beach, the Seaview Hotel can’t be beat. In the heart of Santa Monica and just steps away from the Pacific, it’s perfect for beach-goers. The rooms are renovated, and though they’re basic, they’re all you need for a great weekend in LA.

The Hotel Hollywood


Source: The Hotel Hollywood

This historic hotel was once visited by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Clark Gable (you can even request to stay in their rooms!). While the rooms are relatively standard, you can’t beat the location or the price. This is a great option if you plan to use LA’s expanding subway system while visiting—the station is just a short walk away.

Mid-range Hotels ($150-300/night)

Viceroy Santa Monica


Source: Reema Desai

This stunningly beautiful property situated in Santa Monica feels luxurious and relaxed all at once. The rooms are plush with enormous marble bathrooms, and the pool area is one of the most beautiful in all of LA. Definitely take advantage of their free bike rentals as there are a number of fantastic bike lanes and trails in the area.

Mama Shelter


Source: Reema Desai

Located in Hollywood, Mama Shelter is a fun, affordable, and well-designed hotel full of great details. The vibe is hip and quirky, and a good rooftop restaurant and bar means you could very well spend your whole evening here. iMacs are housed in each room along with fun touches like scripts from movies and novelty lamps. It’s an easy walk to Hollywood Blvd., and the roof has beautiful sprawling views of the city.

Hotel Covell


Source: Telegraph.co.uk


Source: Lonny

A stay at Hotel Covell feels more like staying at your ultra-stylish friend’s apartment for the weekend. Rooms are flooded with light, and completely unique with details like brass fixtures and record players. Situated in Los Feliz between Hollywood and Downtown LA, it’s a great location that allows you to be close to the bustle of the city without being directly in the center of it.

Palihouse Melrose


Source: Live the Life

Located in what is easily one of the most chic areas in the city, this hotel oozes charm and elegance. With just 32 rooms, the property feels intimate while still boasting all the amenities of a larger hotel. Highlights include Dean and Deluca stocked mini bars, luxury linens, and a solid on-site restaurant.

Splurge Hotels ($300-$500/night)

Shutters
A Santa Monica icon, Shutters is as close you can get to staying right on the sands of the beach. The interiors are bright and beach-inspired with some rooms leading right out onto the sand. This is the perfect spot for those who want to have a chill, relaxed LA experience.

Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills


Source: Reema Desai

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a truly luxurious LA vacation, look no further than the Viceroy L’Ermitage. The rooms are incredible spacious (in fact, they’re significantly larger than most LA hotel rooms), beautifully designed with luxury finishes, and house the most feathery, plush beds imaginable. The hotel also offers a car service included with all room stays that will chauffer you around the area—a nice, unexpected touch.

The Line


Source: Remodelista

The Line is a bright, modern hotel in Koreatown that boasts beautiful interiors and also offers seriously great food. Legendary LA chef Roy Choi is at the helm of the dining program, and though there are a few different options on site, Commissary stands out (it serves dishes from inside a greenhouse!). The rooms have cool touches like original artwork created by local artists and several have great views of the Hollywood Hills.

The Avalon

Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, The Avalon is a flashback to the days of Marilyn Monroe who–fun fact, lived at the hotel for for 3 years. It’s a few blocks from Beverly Drive and central to West Hollywood and Venice.

Things to Do

Entertainment

Venice Beach Boardwalk
Well known for bringing out colorful types, the Venice Beach Boardwalk is one of the best people watching spots in LA. You’ll see it all here, and it’s worth the visit at least once. Take a break from the craziness to walk to the end of the Venice Beach Fishing Pier for a great view of the coast.

Skyspace LA


Source: Time Out

The newly opened Skyspace LA is home to California’s largest open-air observation deck, nearly 1000 feet above the city. Though the deck is lovely in its own right, the biggest draw is the Skyslide. Not for the faint of heart, you can slide down from the deck in this glass slide for unparalleled views of LA.

Catch a Concert
Los Angeles is a music town, and there’s a good chance that an act you love will be playing while you’re in town. Whether you’re seeing a local act at El Cid or an international superstar at the Staples Center, experiencing the music scene is a definite must. There are frequent outdoor music events and festivals throughout the city so be sure to check Time Out LA for concert listings before your trip.

The Dog Cafe


Source: LA Eater

Dogs. Lots of them running around, playing, and hoping to meet you as you sip on coffee and tea from the cafe. The Dog Cafe is similar to the Japanese animal cafes you hear about except at this particular one you can adopt any of the animals you meet. Make sure to book your visit to the cafe in advance, they tend to fill up! Your admission price goes towards the dog rescue so you can do good, and get your puppy fix all at once.

Venice Canals


Source: Orbitz

If it weren’t for the difference in architectural style, you might find yourself wondering if you were in Venice, Italy or Venice Beach. The canals are a truly iconic spot just a short 5-minute walk from Venice Beach. The sidewalks along the canal allow for picturesque views of the old wood bridges and houses that line the edge. You’ll envy the locals who get to enjoy the view on a daily basis.

Culture

The Stahl House


Source: RuBaRue

Tucked into the Hollywood Hills, the Stahl House is an architectural marvel designed by Pierre Koenig. The stunning property is a must-visit for design and architecture buffs, and just about anyone can appreciate the stunning views from the house. To visit, you’ll need to book a tour well in advance as tickets sell out very quickly.

The Getty Center


Source: Modern LA Living

Famous for the architecture and views, The Getty Center is one of the most visited museums in the United States. The center features art from the medieval times to modern day, and admission is free of charge. Head there just before sunset for unforgettable views.

LACMA


Source: LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest museum in the western U.S. housing over 100,000 works. There are a fantastic variety of featured and temporary exhibitions including the famed Rain Room. The museum is just a quick walk from the La Brea Tar Pits so you can easily fit in both in one afternoon.

Relax and Indulge

The Spa at Terranea


Source: CN Traveler

The Spa at Terranea is located outside the city, but it’s a special place and more than worth the drive. With 25 treatment rooms, a wellness center, spa cafe, and outdoor spa pool, plan to spend the entire day relaxing here. The property overlooks the ocean, and more beautiful views can’t be found anywhere.

The Raven Spa


Source: Monocle

You’ll be transported to Southeast Asia upon visiting the Raven Spa. Here, you can opt for a traditional Thai massage that will leave your muscles completely revived. Your spa treatment ends with a plate of fruit and a cup of tea—a sweet detail that makes all the difference.

Spa Montage


Source: Montage Hotel

Skincare, beauty, and wellness are all rolled up into one package at the Spa Montage in Beverly Hills where you’ll find a wellness pool, whirlpools, traditional massage packages, and anti-aging treatments. The property feels ultra-luxurious, and makes for a perfect day of pampering.

Outdoors

Griffith Observatory


Source: Reema Desai

If you’ve seen a panoramic shot of Los Angeles that made you long for a vacation, it was likely taken from the hills just outside of Hollywood near the Griffith Observatory. There are hiking trails from the bottom that lead to the observatory, or you can opt to drive and park at the top for the scenic views. The Griffith Observatory itself has space and science related displays and information that are worth checking out, and admission is free!

Runyon Canyon Park


Source: Juan B. Melendez III via Friends of Runyon Canyon

One of the most famous spots for a hike in LA, Runyon Canyon Park is a good place to work up a sweat. The trails are typically crowded so head there early in the day. Extra bonus? You’re bound to see dozens of cute dogs hiking along with you.

Drive the Pacific Coast Highway

Known as one of the most scenic drives in the U.S., a ride down the PCH is a must while in LA. Drive out to Malibu, explore the beaches, and get away from the city for the day to enjoy some incredible outdoor scenery.

Surfing Lessons


Source: Reema Desai

You’re in California—why not make the most of it and try surfing? The Santa Monica Surf School offers two-hour lessons that include a wetsuit and a board. While you won’t be going pro after just a couple of hours, the lessons are a great way to gain confidence as you get into the sport. There are several surf schools that offer lessons in Malibu as well.

Where to Shop

The Apartment by the Line


Source: Indie Home Collective

This concept shop is a truly beautiful spot to visit whether or not you leave empty-handed. The store is set up like an actual apartment with all items up for purchase where you’ll find everything from designer shoes to brass trinkets to rare art books.

Poketo


Source: Shop Design Gallery

With two locations in the city, Poketo is a design-driven shop with a plethora of fantastic finds curated by the founding husband and wife team. In addition to a good variety of products at both locations, the shop regularly hosts workshops as well. Check their schedule in advance to see if you’re able to catch one while in town.

Amoeba Music
Music lovers can’t miss a stop at Amoeba Music, the world’s largest independent record store. You can easily get caught spending hours browsing the shelves, and you’re likely to find records here that you can’t anywhere else.

Mohawk General Store


Source: Dwell

The interior of Mohawk General Store is just as beautiful as the items up for sale. Here you’ll find clothing and home goods like fun beaded bowls and art books. While some items can get expensive, it’s a great place to head to if you’re looking to treat yourself.

Where to Eat

Best Eats Under $10

Pine and Crane


Source: Reema Desai

This fast-casual Taiwanese-Chinese spot is the perfect place for a quick, inexpensive lunch in a well-designed setting. The food is ultra-fresh, and you can easily get a bowl of noodles or a couple of small plates for under $10. The restaurant also serves a variety of teas along with rotating beers and wine.

Lemonade


Source: Lemonade LA

Another fast-casual pick, there are a few different Lemonades throughout the city, and the company continues to expand. They pride themselves on serving up colorful, seasonal dishes, and the restaurants themselves are cheerful and bright. Head here for lunch of citrus poached salmon filet or a roasted turkey BLT. Prices are low, and the selection is varied making it great for picky eaters. There are also a number of vegan plates on the menu.

Guisados


Source: Reema Desai

Los Angeles often touts that it has some of the best tacos in the world outside of Mexico. Guisados is definitely reason to believe that statement is true. Start by choosing one of their agua frescas to sip on while you mull over your taco order. The tortillas are all freshly made, and they will more than satisfy your taco cravings.

Joan’s on Third


Source: Jacquelyn Clark

Joan’s on Third is a lovely place to catch a quick breakfast before venturing out into the city. You can grab a scone and some coffee or an avocado toast for under $10, and there’s even a small market if you want to grab supplies for a picnic. There are two easily accessible locations in Santa Monica and Studio City.

Best Dinners and Brunches

Animal


Source: Reema Desai

The owners of Animal don’t shy away from any particular meat (hence the name), especially if it’s something you might not regularly order. They take cuts of meat most chefs wouldn’t consider, and turn them into succulent dishes that make you wonder why you haven’t tried liver, sweetbreads, or foie gras before. The inside is minimal but welcoming, and if you’re a meat lover, the only thing better than dinner here is their brunch.

Night + Market Song
Located along a stretch of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, this Thai restaurant is the east LA iteration of the original Night + Market in West Hollywood. This particular location takes absolutely no reservations, and tends to get busy soon after opening but it’s completely worth the wait. A side order of sticky rice is a must to go along with your main dish (we recommend the panang en neua, which is a hanger steak panang curry). In addition to dinner, they serve up an inexpensive lunch as well.

Gjelina


Source: Simone Anne

If you are a sucker for an amazing cocktail while noshing on fresh, local ingredients and a plethora of great pizzas, then make sure to add this hot spot in Venice to your list. The restaurant sits along the famed Abbot Kinney Boulevard where you can shop while waiting for your table. We recommend you grab a reservation if possible though. The wait times for dinner and brunch can get pretty intense.

Ostrich Farm


Source: Reema Desai

Ostrich Farm is a great restaurant located in Echo Park where you can dine in a bright, modern setting while enjoying new American cuisine. We recommend stopping in for brunch to grab a coffee and a cocktail or local draft beer. Check out the sandwiches and tartines and maybe even a cheese plate for dessert. You might just find yourself relaxing at the bar all afternoon.

Bestia


Source: Progressive Pulse

Named after the Italian word for “beast,” Bestia continues to be a pillar on the LA food scene. A husband and wife team work together to serve up homemade pastas, fresh pizzas, and fantastic house-made charcuterie. The restaurant’s popularity makes it difficult to snag a table so plan this one well in advance.

Drinks with the Girls

Cafe Stella


Source: Reema Desai

Cafe Stella is a French bistro where you can grab a bite to eat, but the real highlight is the cocktail bar. Have one of the bartenders make you something classic (like a sazerac or negroni) before finding a seat on their cozy patio to enjoy LA’s famously perfect weather. But know the entrance is a bit tricky to find!

Normandie Club


Source: LA Mag

Classic cocktails are the focus at this swanky bar located within the Hotel Normandie in Koreatown. Expect twists on classic drinks, along with a solid list of beer and wine. Drinks are strong yet well balanced, so sit back and take it easy. The ambiance is perfect for a group of friends.

Upstairs Bar at the Ace Hotel


Source: Remodelista

Throughout the week, the Ace Hotel hosts a number of events (think live music and pop-up shops) on its rooftop, making it a fun spot to unwind with a few drinks. While they do serve snacks, the cocktails are definitely the main draw. Check their events calendar before going so you can plan ahead!

Good Times at Davey Wayne’s


Source: Travel Channel

How often do you get to enter a bar through a door that disguises itself as a retro refrigerator? After stepping through you’ll find yourself in a series of rooms with lots of cushy seating and retro 70s decor. There’s an outdoor patio as well where you can order yourself a boozy snow cone. They frequently host live music, and the vibe is funky and upbeat.

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