By Theresa Christine
Los Angeles is less of a bustling city to me and more of a bunch of interesting neighborhoods located close to each other. Because of this, to explore all of LA in one day is impossible. I’ve gone ahead and picked a couple of completely awesome things for you to do so you can get a little taste of LA:
To start out the day, you’ll want to grab something small to eat before heading to the beach. Playa Provisions has some quick and delicious options you can grab (pretzel croissant, anyone?), and it’s situated conveniently right by the Pacific. Make sure to grab a bottle of water for that LA heat! As for the beach, you can’t really go wrong in my opinion. For the sake of not driving all over tarnation, I suggest somewhere in or around Playa Del Ray. If parking is too much of an issue, you can head just a little bit south to Dockweiler State Beach which offers a paid parking lot and plenty of space to spread out and catch some rays.
After soaking up the sun, you’re probably feeling a little hungry. It’s time for some custom burger action! Although they have multiple locations, The Counter is a pretty stellar place to find yourself for lunch. Imagine everything you’d ever want to get on your burger — well, this place has all that, and more. Since you’re in California, it’s basically mandatory that you get avocado on your burger, but the rest is up to you. I usually do some kind of Greek food inspired burger with fried pineapple, feta, tzatziki, and whatever else is calling my name. Also, don’t miss out on their cheese fries. Trust me, you’ll be sorry if you don’t add those to your order.
You’ll want to make your way to Santa Monica to check out a super cool and completely free camera obscura. If you’re not sure what a camera obscura is, it’s basically a darkened box or room that has a small opening, and this opening lets light in and projects an image of the surroundings inside. When you walk into the building, you’ll hand off your license and be given a key to the room. Once you’re inside, you turn off all the lights, and an image of the surrounding area will pop up on a little white table in the center of the room. So cool!
After that bit of people-watching, go grab a drink at West 4th and Jane, a gastropub with some stellar beer on tap and even better tater tots. You might still be feeling a little full from lunch, but just go ahead and make room. I went in here not feeling hungry at all but still devoured at least half of the generous serving I was brought. Because I was inhaling tots like nobody’s business, I curbed my desire for a filling IPA and decided to go crazy with some sangria instead. They also have cider, so if you’re not a beer person you’ll still love this spot.
There are oodles of museums that you can check out in LA, but I highly recommend the Annenberg Space for Photography. The exhibits are absolutely amazing — I’ve actually returned to see exhibits a second time, I liked them so much. This isn’t your average art museum!
Now, I have a sweet tooth and there is nothing better than dessert before dinner. While you’ll probably have to wait in line, Diddy Riese is worth it. The cookies alone are insanely good, but if you really want to do it right, get an ice cream sandwich. You can get any combo of two cookies and any flavor of ice cream that you’d like. I went with candy cookies and vanilla ice cream, but there are tons of possibilities.
For dinner and drinks, stop in at City Tavern in Culver City. Whether you’re craving beer, wine, or craft cocktails, this place has ‘em. I’ve tried a variety of drinks here, but the one that stands out for me is the Cool Hand Luke, a mixture of vodka, limoncello, ginger foam (fancy!), and some other top notch ingredients. Food here is also amazeballs — their grilled cheese rocks my world.
To wrap up your evening in Los Angeles, head over to the Griffith Observatory. This is a place that will never get old for me. Whether I’m exploring the building and all it has to offer or catching an amazing sunset, it’s impossible to have a disappointing trip. I recommend taking your time to explore everything inside the building (but don’t miss the sun setting!), and then relax and watch the lights of LA twinkle at night. The view is absolutely spectacular.
Enjoy your stay in sunny Los Angeles! Check out next month’s Travel That to get more travel advice.