In the world of travel, Los Angeles suffers from an image problem. Visitors often complain of lacklustre attractions, inaccessibility and aloof locals. Yet this often-misunderstood city is actually exceedingly interesting and as Jo Stewart discovered, “you just have to find the organic heart that lies beneath the glitz, glamour and silicon!”
“If you find yourself in LA and don’t want to be disappointed, why not step away from the usual tourist traps, hire a car and scout out more authentic experiences? Authentic may not be a word typically associated with Los Angeles, but remember, there are millions of citizens who call this vibrant city home, who don’t frequent Hollywood Boulevard or Universal Studios.
Start the day at Urth Caffe, for freshly brewed coffee and organic shakes and breakfasts. This hotspot on Melrose Avenue is a fave hangout for local actors – from the Hollywood Hotlist to B grade ‘where do I know their face from?’ starlets. Next door, the delightfully rustic Bodhi Tree Bookshop is packed with health, wellness and esoteric books, so if you’re interested in that type of thing, you’ll easily lose hours here. In-house psychics and tarot card readers are also on call to help out!
For a dose of Vitamin D, why not commune with nature and take a midday hike in Griffith Park? You may not associate Los Angeles with the great outdoors, but Griffith Park is a green gem that many visitors overlook. It’s hard to believe that snakes, cougars, hummingbirds and iconic American eagles live so close to the high rises and mansions of Tinsel town. Hike one of the trails to the top of for excellent views of the Hollywood sign & LA (if you can see beyond the smog)! Science nerds and stargazers will love the observatory and planetarium perched at the top of the trail. It not only holds a fascinating array of interactive exhibitions but has also been the backdrop of many movies, including James Dean’s acting triumph – Rebel Without a Cause.
After working up an appetite, head to hip West Hollywood (We-Ho) where the Farmer’s Market provides some of the best food in LA. With everything from mouth watering Argentinean barbecue to sickly sweet thick shakes and delectable donuts, the Farmer’s Market is a top place to get a feed!
By night, why not head to Venice Beach to see a different side to this world-famous area? After the sun goes down, the Muscle Beach body builders, tourists and eclectic peeps tend to retreat and Venice is turned over to locals. Stop at a boutique bar for a drink or grab a slice of pizza and soak up the bohemian vibe.
So there you have a full day in LA without a Hollywood back lot tour or typical tourist rip-off in sight!”
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