The best way to spend 48 hours in Los Angeles, California
Disclaimer: this is not going to be some post about walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame or shopping on Rodeo Drive (sorry, not sorry).
Everyone assumes that if you’re from SoCal then you must know the city of angels like the back of your hand. Well, it’s been 23 great years seeing the world around me, and I think I’m pretty lucky to say that going to L.A. is still a new adventure every time. Especially these last couple of times, but it definitely helps when you have someone who lives in the city to show you the ropes.
So now that I got the inside scoop on how to experience the city like a local, I figured I would share it with you so you don’t have to look like every other tourist wandering around the city the next time you’re there.
Start your weekend by getting to the city early and checking out the free exhibits at The Broad. If you’re a fan of contemporary art then you’ll enjoy all of the weirdness that this museum and its constantly rotating exhibits have to offer. Something to keep in mind: if you’re hoping to see the infinity Mirrored Room you’ll need to get to the exhibit extra early as the room where it’s housed has a very limited capacity and the line gets long fast.
Once you’re done take a walk over to the oldest and largest open-air market Los Angeles has to offer. Grand Central Market has some of the best local food vendors with flavors from all over the world, and is a great place to sit and people watch for a bit. While you’re there, you can even enjoy some locally brewed craft beer from Golden Road, and some delicious, freshly baked pastries from Valerie Confections.
For a more traditional art experience, check out the largest museum on the west of the U.S., The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Located next to the infamous La Brea Tar Pits, this is where you’ll find one of the most well known outdoor installments as seen on Instagram, Urban Light. If you do end up here, then you have to take a walk down to the La Brea Bakery for lunch and have some of their artisan bread (thank me later).
Spend the afternoon checking out the streets of L.A. and be sure to stop by The Los Angeles Public Library. Built in 1872, the building was styled with the influence of Ancient Egypt and Mediterranean Revival architecture in mind. Sounds pretty cool, right? The inside is equally as stunning with super high ceilings and walls that house some very historic wall murals.
Around the corner from the library you’ll find my second favorite building in downtown Los Angeles, a designated historic-cultural monuments, The Biltmore Hotel. The inside of this place is epic. Every single wall, doorway, ceiling, and room is exquisitely decorated and gives way to a captivating visual experience that you really can’t find anywhere else in the city.
By the time you’re done with all of this, chances are you’re going to need a drink and wouldn’t you know it, you’re literally a five minute walk to one of the trendier hotels in DTLA, The Standard. Make your way through the lobby to the rooftop where you’ll find a very hip scene of well manicured fake shrubbery, plenty of room to lounge around, a chic pool and a fun little bier garden. Since you’re on the roof, the whole atmosphere is very sky high and offers a great bird’s eye view of the downtown centre that’s hard to beat anywhere else.
Sometime after drinks, when you’re ready for dinner head over to Bottega Louie for a gourmet Italian meal and delicious french pastries. It’s a weird combination, but the high ceilings and crisp white walls within this 10,000 square foot space easily accommodate both the restaurant and bakery. If you eat in the restaurant you have to order their famous portobello fries as an appetizer, and you can’t go wrong with any of the main dishes as they all taste as good as they look.
If you’re not looking for a crazy night out, then I suggest grabbing drinks in the Historic Downtown area located just a few minutes walking from Bottega Louie. But first, you have to check out some of the buildings in this area because the Art Deco Buildings of Historic Downtown are my favorite part of Los Angeles, especially at night.
The bright blue glow of the Eastern Columbia Building and its traditional clock tower can be seen peaking out from every side of the street, and it’s even more beautiful up close. Another epic and iconic building in this area is the black and gold facade of the Richfield Tower. The building, including the tower on top, stands at almost 500 feet tall and is definitely a sight to see when it’s all lit up.
Now, on to the after dinner drink spots. I’ve found a lot of hip bars in this area, but the two trendiest and most interesting to drink at are The Edison and The TIki-Ti Cocktail Lounge.
If you’re in historic downtown then hit the Tiki lounge first, it’s a little bit hard to find because it’s located upstairs but if you can find the Clifton’s then you’re there! I don’t want to give away too much about this place because it’s definitely one of those you have to see it to believe it kind of places. But I will say this, it’s about as tropical as you can get – Hawaiian shirt not included.
Last but not least is one of the coolest bars I have ever been to. Like seriously it’s top 3 (and trust me I’ve been to a lot of cool bars in a lot of cool places). The Edison is a power plant turned speakeasy complete with burlesque shows, live music and of course hand-crafted cocktails. The renovated building screams funky and is one of the world’s most unique visionary spaces. I guarantee it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced in any other bar or restaurant you’ve seen before.
After an all-inclusive Saturday in L.A. start the morning off right by doing brunch in style at Perch (reservations highly recommended). The name kinda says it all, it’s a rooftop lounge perched above the city to offer some great views and yummy french inspired small plates. Definitely prepare your tastebuds for an epic meal. Both the salmon and crab Benedict are to die for and the bread pudding literally rocked my world.
One more thing before you head home! Spend the afternoon at Griffith Observatory. The hike up to the top will help you burn off all those calories you just sacrificed to have the bread pudding at Perch (worth it, trust me), and it also affords some cool views of the Hollywood sign from afar. At the top on a clear day ,you’ll have an epic 180° view of the city from the balcony of the observatory, and be sure to take the trail on the backside of the mountain (to the left of the observatory) back down to get the full experience.
So, there you have it. An epic 48 hours in Los Angeles spent like a true adventurer. Don’t forget the traffic though! No trip to L.A. would be complete without some traffic. Enjoy that on the drive home with a Starbucks in hand like a real local.
Think I missed something? Tell me your favorite things to do in Los Angeles in the comments below.