Hi Frugalistas! For this insider guide we’re off to Los Angeles. I have to confess Los Angeles is not one of my favorite destinations, but one of my favorite people, Nyssa of The Cultureur, has accepted the challenge to make me fall in love with her home town. Has she succeeded? You be the judge!
A lot of first time visitors to LA have the expectation they’ll be tripping over celebrities on every street corner. How realistic is that expectation, and where are the best places for celebrity spotting?
What is your favorite place in LA to take out of town visitors, and what makes it so special?
Tell me about your favorite place that I wouldn’t find in a guidebook.
With a city as grand and famous as Los Angeles, it’s hard for any corner to be untouched or uncovered by guidebooks. But that doesn’t take away from the incredible places that are housed in the city. One of my favorite places is at the top of Runyon Canyon Park, located at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. The breathtaking views of the city and stunning sunsets from the top of the hiking trail make every step worth it. Perfect marriage of adventure and fitness.
What is your perfect day out and about in LA and why?
I’m not a beach person, so my “perfect” itinerary is largely urban-focused. The day would most certainly start with brunch at one of my favorite brunch joints in the city: Bottega Louie (try the lemon ricotta pancakes and macarons!). After my dose of people-watching, champagne, scrumptious food, and macarons, I’d probably walk around downtown LA for a bit taking in the hustle and bustle of the city and cultural relics that are dotted throughout the area. No “perfect” day in L.A. is complete without shopping and stunning aerial views. So that leads me to a stroll around Melrose Place or Robertson Blvd. for some retail therapy before I head over to the Getty Center for some culture, much-needed ME time, and sublime panoramas of the City of Angels, especially at sunset. Rounding out that perfect day would be a glass (or bottle) of wine or champagne at Culina at the Four Seasons or AOC Wine Bar. Mind you, in between all that perfection is idleness in traffic, which can never be avoided in L.A. and should always be accounted for while making any plans in the city.
There are many great day trips from Los Angeles. Could you share some of your favorite day trip destinations?
Angelenos are spoiled as a wide range of terrains is all within a few hours away of the city. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city is so necessary sometimes, so some of my favorite day trips are to the dessert in Palm Springs, the beaches in Orange County, the vineyards in Santa Barbara, and the mountains in Big Bear.
What is the best way to find out about concerts, exhibitions and other special events?
Some quick fire favorites now:
Favorite window shopping street: Rodeo Drive or Melrose PlaceFavorite market(s): The Original Farmer’s Market on Third and FairfaxFavorite spot for a tea or coffee: Urth Caffe or Julius Meinl coffee at Bier BeislFavorite value for money restaurant(s): gourmet food trucks dotted throughout the city