I spent last week in Los Angeles catching up with a good friend and we had so much fun exploring the city! I grew up in Southern California but haven't had a chance to explore downtown LA and Hollywood for quite a few years, so it was really nice to get a feel for a few areas. We fit a lot of things into our short week, but still managed to feel like we ran out of time to do everything. Here are a few highlights featuring some delicious food stops and random fun:
La Cienega Nursery: We stumbled upon this place driving down the street and even from the outside, it was such an inviting space we had to stop and peruse. There were so many interesting varieties of plants with unique textures and colors I had never seen before, so it was really lovely to take a serene break from the streets and just wander around inside.
LACMA: Art museums are my personal version of heaven, so I was a little bummed to find that we visited The Los Angeles County Museum of Art on a Wednesday -- note to self: that's the one day of the week they're closed! We were still able to enjoy some outside structures like the famous lampposts, the giant rock structure, and the uniquely pungent tar pits! Next time: the yellow noodles!
That Pink Wall: We ventured out after grabbing some iced almond matcha lattes to find that oh-so-famous pink wall at the Paul Smith store. It cracks me up that there is a security guard for the wall and a list of strict rules -- how very Los Angeles.
Malibu: We took a long, scenic drive to make it to the beautiful Point Dume; a promontory on the coast of Malibu. We climbed down a few steep stairs to get to a rocky beach right as the tide was coming in for surfers. It was so relaxing to be down by the salty waves, watching surfers, collecting interesting shells and taking in the breeze. We climbed back to the top of the hill to enjoy the sunset -- oh and also a rapper filming a music video during the sunset, because, Los Angeles. I love it.
The Original Flower Market of Los Angeles: I've wanted to visit the flower district in Los Angeles for ages, so I was stoked that we were able to make time to venture downtown to admire all the blooms! It smells SO good inside and another bonus is that there's an attached plant area connected to the market. I was most surprised by how affordable everything was! If I lived in LA, I'd most certainly make this a weekly ritual to stop here.
More Mural Hunting: We walked around downtown West Hollywood and admired tons of murals and a funky mix of shops; from elaborate costumes to DIY terrarium making, there's a little something for everyone. Do you have any favorite murals in Hollywood?
Alfred Tea Room: The absolute dreamiest of all the tea rooms is Alfred Tea in West Hollywood. It's in a famously swanky and calm neighborhood, housing tons of fashion designer store fronts. Everything is a muted tone of pink, complete with gold tables and tea "puns" along the back walls. I ordered an iced almond matcha (level 1 sweetness), and my friend ordered the iced matcha boba tea -- both were delicious! Next time, I'd love to try one of their bubbly jasmine teas on tap. Just down the street is Alfred Coffee in Melrose Place, which is pretty cute as well and has an entire wall of Compartes chocolates for your choosing.
Chicas Tacos: This was another random find we saw driving down the street and it was amazing! It's like an elevated taco stand with a really fresh menu highlighting organic, free-range and non-gmo ingredients with Baja flavor. I enjoyed a Chicken Taco with fresh veggie salsa, feta and cilantro, a Cucumber Lime Mint Fresca and a side of spicy pickled veggies. It was so delicious, I went back for another taco, this time opting for their Fish Taco, which is beer battered fish with a Caesar salad on top - yum!
The floor at Chicas Tacos was actually custom designed by the owner. It's #Ihavethisthingwithfloors goals for sure.
Ring: My friend was excited to have me try tofu donuts (and I'm always up to try something new), so we happily headed to Ring one morning to try some of their baked tofu donuts and grab a couple coffees. This place totally exceeded any expectations I had! The donuts were more filling and dense, but less sweet than a traditional donut. In contrast, the flavors offered were bold and really satisfying. I recommend the Earl Gray and Orange Cardamon, but if you're not feeling so adventurous, you can't go wrong with the Double Chocolate! My favorite part of the trip was probably the Sea Salt iced coffee though. It was the perfect mix of salty, sweet and creamy without being too much. It was so good, we swung by one last time before the airport to enjoy again. I can't wait to try my hand at making this at home!
Lifehouse Tonics + Elixars: This is a healthy smoothie and drink shop that uses medicinal mushrooms and herbs to create tasty tonics! The decor is both trendy and serene, complete with watercolor walls and hipster paintings of historical figures like Gandhi. My friend Celeste used to come here often when she was working in the area, so she had some great recommendations. I ordered the Love Shack [made with coconut water, coconut meat, strawberries, goji berries, rose water, pearl, passionfruit, and a few medicinal mushrooms] and it was light and sweet, mostly tasting like a berry floral concoction. They're super pricey, so it's more of a special treat yo' self type deal.
Baklava Factory: A sweet little shop with multiple locations in Los Angeles, the Baklava Factory has a generous selection of assorted Baklava desserts, from chocolate to pistachio to cream-filled flaky confections. They charge a fee to use a card, but the woman at the counter threw in a couple cookies to "off-set" the .50 cent cost, which I happily complied with. Highly recommend!
Cici's Cafe: Pancake lovers: take note! Cici's Cafe in Tarzana has pages upon pages of pancake options. I opted for the Green Tea Tiramisu pancakes and they were divine, topped with house-made whipped cream and powdered sugar. They also have a ton of other breakfast options that looked equally good.
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre: My friend and I grew up taking theatre classes together, so we thought it'd be fun to catch a show since it had been so long for both of us. For just $5, you can enjoy an improv or sketch comedy show at UCB and it's definitely worth it. Fun fact: Amy Poehler is one of the founders of Upright Citizens Brigade!
We also went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios -- but honestly, that was worth a post in itself, so stay tuned! ;)
Special thanks to my friend Celeste for hosting me and inspiring me with magic things like hot yoga, good conversation and out-of-the-box adventure. You can follow her passion project on Instagram at @sharingloveandlight.
"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... it has no survival value; rater it is one of those things which give value to survival." - C.S. Lewis.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Los Angeles?