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I Love LA: How to Spend 48 Hours in La La Land

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:29
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(Before It's News)

Los Angeles had an image – maybe two. Up until a few months ago some viewed it through the lens of a dark history of crime and brutal gangs, or perhaps the saccharine lifestyle of a Hollywood set of actors and singers in their multi-million dollar mansions, totally out of touch with reality. However, the success of musical comedy-drama La La Land has brought the United States’ second biggest city into the spotlight in a positive way. After its spectacular night at the Oscars (best picture mix-up notwithstanding), many fans will be desperate to visit some of the 40 locations across LA where Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) strutted their stuff.

The good news is that despite its size the speedy traveller should be able to get an overview of the City of Angels in an extended weekend. That’s despite the fact that the traffic is legendarily horrible – worse than Istanbul, Mexico City and Bangkok, according to recent research from traffic data firm Inrix featured in LA Weekly. So be prepared to plan very ahead – and don’t think you’ll just be able dance your way through it like Stone and Gosling.

Evening one

We’re assuming that you’ve arrived on a Friday evening and have a few hours to hit the  bars and restaurants and get some food. Where you eat will largely depend on your location, as there are many different great hotels in Los Angeles; the vibe in Downtown is completely different to South Bay, for example. Sticking with the centre for now, and Thrillist named 50s-style speakeasy lounge Birds and Bees in Downtown among its new hot locations for 2017 – so sip a cocktail in honour of Desi Arnaz, Doris Day, Pat Boone and more.

Chinatown, Little Tokyo and Koreatown are all within walking distance, so one can easily travel from one locale to another on foot before making your final dining choice. Kinjiro, in Little Tokyo, has a wonderfully extensive menu of seafood including grilled surume squid, black cod with Sakyo miso, and Japanese Octopus, Cucumber, Tomato and Seaweed Sunomono. Ring ahead if you’re considering it wash it down with a Japanese craft beer or sake.

For a good old-fashioned slab of meat and jumbo lobsters you’ll do no better than The Palm in Downtown (complete with prime double cut New York Strip 36-ounce if you have company), or perhaps hot dog experts Sumo Dog – described by Vogue as “a new hybrid of East-Meets-West L.A. cuisine, slightly Japanese, slightly south of the border spicy, and wholly cutting-edge American”. Or maybe Italian at Bestia, with a menu of stinging nettle raviolo and warm fuyu persimmon ricotta tart among other highlights.

For the evening, consider a show, or maybe hit Staples Center for the Lakers, Kings, Clippers or Sparks, or a concert – the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are appearing there in 2017.


A word on planning: two days is simply not enough to enjoy the full experience of Paramount Studios or Universal Studios could probably eat up a day, or a night if you choose the After Dark Tour at Paramount complete with dark and mysterious alleys and passageways, and the techniques used to film them. So if you choose these options, you’re limiting the day.

If you need a breakfast sweet treat for breakfast try FrankieLucyBakeshop on Sunset Boulevard for its Filipino pastries and coffee, or Get Em Tiger, Dinosaur Coffee or others. From there, take a short walk to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, watching out for photographers and people not looking where they’re going. You might even want to nominate your own favorite star.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon could literally be spent gazing at landmarks in and around downtown. Within a concentrated area there are literally hundreds of distinct, beautiful buildings, including the Union Station and City Hall, which houses the 1984 Olympic Torch. To prevent random meandering and add a little structure to your day, consider a walking tour to comprise LA’s beginnings, the arts district, and old and new downtown.

For dinner, the Grand Central Market, a ‘downtown landmark since 1917’ will serve up any combination from virtually anywhere in the world, while mingling with the locals. A burger at Belcampo; scallops, clams and sea urchin from shellfish master Christophe Happillon at The Oyster Gourmet, or handmade pasta from Knead and Co are just three of your options from among near-100 vendors.

For those who fancy getting slightly closer to the stars, the Griffith Observatory offers a great view of the famous Hollywood sign, as well as live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. It’s 20 minutes from Vermont and Sunset, and will be well-remembered for those who loved La La Land.

Upon your return head for Echo Park or Highland Park, both of which have been described by critics as the greatest neighborhoods in the city and could see your afternoon turn into an evening. The former boasts LA’s oldest park at Elysian (1886) and Echo Park Lake, as well as the Echo and Echoplex hosting the bi-monthly Bootie LA dance party. The latter boasts old-school bowling at Highland Park Bowl, and Johnny’s Bar and the York – two bars that sit side by side and will supply all the music, beer and gastrofood you need.


A more leisurely approach to your last full day could include a trip to Santa Monica; 3.5 miles of golden sand that’s easy to reach by bus, bike, or rented car. Thankfully it can now also be reached by Metro to bypass the infamous traffic. Ideal for sunrise or sunset alike, you’ll see young surfers and veteran swimmers, young families and serious joggers on one of the country’s most famous beaches. Find your way there using the beach’s official website.

Activities might include working out on Muscle Beach or taking a ride at Carousel Park. If you’ve cycled to the beach you might wish to continue on the saddle along The Strand – a scenic 22-mile route that starts at Pacific Palisades and finishes at Torrance, packing in 22 miles of inspiring coastal scenery.

We mentioned South Bay at the start of the piece, and let’s return there for your concluding meal. Burger City Grill is humungous, while Baran’s 2239 on Pacific Coast Highway boasts an extensive menu of delights including truffle linguini, king crab gnocchi and date-glazed quail, to be complemented by a wine list that spans the Pacific. By then you’ll be full of good food in time to depart – but planning your return already, and maybe another viewing of ‘the film’

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