Los Angeles

Introduction

By now, it’s no secret that Los Angeles is booming. No longer just a Hollywood town, the sprawling metropolis has outgrown its stereotype as a superficial city, and is now considered to be one of the most exciting and desirable places in the United States—both to live and to visit. For years, creative types have been drawn to L.A. for its laid-back lifestyle, open spaces, and inspiring scenery, and 2015’s opening of The Broad—philanthropist Eli Broad’s contemporary art museum—solidified L.A.’s designation as one of the most important cultural destinations in the world. Add to that a bustling restaurant scene, world-class shopping, an ever-growing number of new and renovated hotel options, and, with the 2016 return of the Rams, a professional football team, and there are more reasons to visit Los Angeles than ever before. The city’s even found a way to avoid its infamous traffic—the Expo Line, a light rail that travels from downtown to Santa Monica in approximately 46 minutes. From the east side of Silver Lake through West Hollywood and Beverly Hills to the coastal enclaves of Venice and Malibu, we share where to go, what to see, and how to get behind the velvet ropes in this singular city.

Best Time to Go

With ideal weather year-round, any season is a great time to travel to Los Angeles. Avoid the summer crowds by visiting in the late spring (April, May) or early fall (September, October), when the temperatures are still warm, the humidity low, and the days long. If possible, avoid “June Gloom,” a nickname for the southern California weather pattern that can cause cloudy, overcast skies and cooler temperatures, especially by the coast.

Airport Info

Los Angeles International Airport, located in Southwestern Los Angeles, along the Pacific Ocean, is the largest and busiest in L.A. County, and the biggest international travel hub on the U.S. West Coast. An American Express Centurion Lounge is planned to open between Terminals 6 and 7. The Burbank Bob Hope Airport is a much smaller airport that services Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley, but is actually significantly closer to Hollywood and the eastside of L.A. than LAX. It is also the only airport with direct rail connection to downtown. This can be a particularly good option for travel to and from cities in the western United States, as well as New York City via daily red-eye flights on Jet Blue. Private air travel is best operated through Van Nuys Airport in the San Fernando Valley, or Santa Monica Airport, for service to the westside.

Public Transport

Los Angeles is still a driving city, and the best bet is to rent a car during your stay. However, Uber is now readily available, with low wait times and experienced drivers, especially if using Black or SUV options. The L.A. Metro has also recently upgraded and extended its Expo Line, a light rail that travels 15.2 miles from downtown to the Santa Monica Pier in approximately 46 minutes—even during L.A.’s infamous rush hour. It won’t take you everywhere in the city, but with clean trains and easy navigation, it’s worth trying if you happen to be traveling on that route (the tracks run down Exposition Blvd, parallel to the Santa Monica Freeway, with stops in Mid City, Culver City and throughout the west side along the way).

Can’t Leave Without

1. Stopping at the Beverly Hills Hotel for a famous McCarthy Salad at the Polo Lounge. (9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310-276-2251; dorchestercollection.com)

2. Taking a scenic sunset stroll along the coastal bluffs of Palisades Park, which runs parallel to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica.

3. Visiting one of the city’s local farmers markets, which pop up on different days of the week throughout Los Angeles—from the original at Third & Fairfax, next to The Grove, to Melrose Place to Brentwood, and everywhere in between.

Deserves the Hype

Despite the camera-toting tourists and flashy cars, there is still something exhilaratingly L.A. about walking down Rodeo Drive. Impressive renovations of top luxury flagships—such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Tiffany & Co.—as well as recent arrivals of brands like Balenciaga, Carolina Herrera, and Saint Laurent make shopping on this iconic street more au courant than ever before.

Local Dish to Try

If Los Angeles didn't invent the chopped salad, then it certainly perfected it, and there's no better version than the one at La Scala. Go for lunch and order the original with salami. (434 N. Canon Dr.; 310-275-0579; lascalabeverlyhills.com)

Local Drink to Sip

These days, Los Angeles is all about juices and smoothies. Great options can be found at Beaming, an organic superfood café with locations throughout the city.

Seasonal Highlights

WINTER: Winter means one thing in Los Angeles: Awards Season. After the holidays, the city is bustling with star-studded events that span from the Golden Globes in early January until the Oscars, held at the very end of February or beginning of March. If you are unable to access the action behind the velvet ropes, awards season also attracts a number of pop-up shops, special menus, and spa and hotel packages, making this an especially exciting time to visit.

SPRING: Spring in Los Angeles already offers summer weather, without the crowds. It’s a perfect time to head to Pasadena’s legendary Rose Bowl Flea Market, which takes place on the grounds of the stadium on the second Sunday of each month. Be sure to arrive early to avoids lines and assure prime picks from the over 2,500 vendors displaying vintage clothing, rare antiques, and other quirky finds—for the truly dedicated, VIP admission is offered from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. (323 Rose Bowl Dr.; 323-560-7469; rgcshows.com)

SUMMER: Drive up the Pacific Coast Highway for a beach day in Malibu. Zuma Beach (30000 Pacific Coast Hwy.; 310-457-2009; zuma-beach.com) is famous surfing spot that’s easily accessible and very family-friendly, while adventure-seekers may choose to trek down the steep winding staircase to the private bluff of Point Dume (Cliffside Dr.; 310-457-8143; parks.ca.gov).

FALL: In 2016, the NFL made its hugely anticipated return to Los Angeles with the arrival of the Rams. Check out a game during the must-see first season at their temporary home, the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in downtown L.A. A new 70,000-seat stadium—billed as the most expensive in the world—is scheduled to open in Inglewood by the start of the 2019 season. (3911 S. Figueroa St.; lacoliseum.com)

Quick Tips

Car Service to Know

Los Angeles Private Car Service
213-471-2828

Extended Stay

One Fine Stay
917-383-2182

Extended Stay

Hollywood Proper Residences
323-465-7767

Same-Day Dry Cleaning

Pico Cleaners
310-933-4927

Tailor to Know

Laura of Beverly Hills
323-944-0771

Hair Stylist to Book

Andy Lecompte
310-273-4100

Makeup Artist to Book

Violet Grey
323-782-9700

Personal Shopper

Catherine Bloom at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills
310-550-5900

Gym with Week Pass

Equinox

Best Hotel Gym

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
310-576-7777

The Fixer to Know

Element Lifestyle
310-289-0412
Hotels

The Beverly Hills Hotel

Steeped in Hollywood history, the iconic Pink Palace overflows with elegance.
Beverly Hills
FH&R

Montage Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills has no shortage of elegant stays, but this 201-room property stands out for its service.
Beverly Hills
FH&R

The Peninsula Beverly Hills

The details are what delight at this impeccable, opulent—but never stuffy—spot.
Beverly Hills
FH&R

Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Situated in a quiet residential area on Doheny Drive, this Four Seasons hotel is known for its relaxed California-style setting.
Beverly Hills
FH&R

Chateau Marmont

Known as much for its reputation as a celebrity playground as a hotel, the Chateau Marmont remains among the hippest stays in town.
West Hollywood

Shutters on the Beach

Maximizing its idyllic waterfront setting, the homey-yet-worldly Shutters provides some of Santa Monica's best Pacific views.
Santa Monica
FH&R

The Sunset Tower Hotel

Hotelier Jeff Klein's ode to the bygone days of Hollywood glamour draws no shortage of local and visiting heavyweights to its Art Deco building.
West Hollywood
FH&R

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Since Michael Dell acquired the property in 2006, the Fairmont has transformed into the one of the buzziest hotels in Santa Monica.
Santa Monica
FH&R

The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles

Located just steps away from the L.A. Live entertainment complex, The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles brought a new level of luxury to Downtown L.A.
Downtown L.A.
FH&R

Hotel Bel-Air

Nestled within 12 lush gardens in the heart of the exclusive Bel Air neighborhood, this Dorchester Collection property remains one Hollywood’s most storied hideaways.
Bel Air
FH&R
Restaurants

The Tower Bar

At this intimate hotspot in Jeff Klein’s Sunset Tower hotel, maître d’ Dimitri Dimitrov oversees the most carefully curated dining room in the city.
West Hollywood
American

Gjelina

For a midday shopping break or fun night out on Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard, you can do no better than this rustic, sexy spot.
Venice
California Cuisine

Nobu Malibu

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Malibu outpost, situated in a sleek bleached-wood structure, has become the spot to see-and-be-seen for Westside Angelenos.
Malibu
Japanese

Providence

For over ten years, Providence's delightfully modern take on seafood-centric cuisine has epitomized fine dining in Los Angeles.
Hollywood
Fine Dining

A.O.C. Wine Bar and Restaurant

Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin's small plates spot is now hotter than ever.
West Hollywood
California Cuisine

Jon & Vinny’s

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's namesake restaurant is an ode to classic Italian food in a tiny 55-seat space.
Fairfax
Italian

Spago Beverly Hills

In a city that is drawn to youth and trends, Wolfgang Puck has proven true staying power with this L.A. institution.
Beverly Hills
California Cuisine

Bestia

A labor of love from husband-and-wife Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, the eatery is known for its multi-regional rustic Italian cuisine made from scratch.
Downtown
Italian

Maude

Celebrity chef Curtis Stone's tiny 25-seat restaurant champions prix-set menus based around one key ingredient, which changes monthly.
Beverly Hills
New American

Cassia

This French-Asian hotspot is husband-and-wife team Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan's most ambitious effort yet.
Santa Monica
Southeast Asian
Bars + Lounges

The Spare Room

This spot at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel lets anyone release their inner child—but in a grown-up way.
Hollywood
Cocktail Bar

The Polo Lounge

This legendary watering hole at the Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows continues to reign as the perfect setting for a business deal.
Beverly Hills
Lounge

The Eveleigh

Tucked within the center of the Sunset Strip, this rustic-styled hideaway makes a mean classic cocktail.
West Hollywood
Cocktail Bar

Las Perlas

This downtown bar dedicated to mezcal confirms L.A.'s obsession with artisanal spirits.
Downtown
Mezcal Bar

Bar Marmont

Tucked below the Chateau Marmont hotel, this perennially packed bar is a favorite of some of the city’s most bold-faced names.
Hollywood
Cocktail Bar

The Walker Inn

Accessed through a discreet entry inside the Normandie Club at the Hotel Normandie, this 27-seat cocktail haven has an ambitious menu that changes every four to six weeks.
Koreatown
Cocktail Bar

MmHmmm

Located through a secret entrance at The Standard, Hollywood, this underground hotspot is known for its star-studded dance parties.
West Hollywood
Club

The Bungalow

Since opening at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in 2012, Brent Bolthouse’s oceanfront ode to California surf culture has become the hottest gathering spot on the Westside.
Santa Monica
Bar + Lounge

The Nice Guy

This reservation-only restaurant and lounge is the preferred destination for the city’s young, hip fashionable set.
Beverly Grove
Cocktail Lounge

Wally’s Beverly Hills

Guess founders Maurice, Paul, and Armand Marciano opened this upscale vinoteca to cater to true oenophiles. 
Beverly Hills
Wine Bar
Shopping

Maxfield

Long before Los Angeles was known as a serious fashion destination, Maxfield established itself as the city’s go-to resource.
West Hollywood
Women’s Clothing

Decades

Here, drop-dead couture, ready-to-wear, and endless accessories from, well, decades past, change almost constantly.
Fairfax
Vintage Clothing

TenOverSix

This accessories-focused store prides itself on stocking a roster of fantastic young designers and exclusive one-of-a-kind collaborations.
West Hollywood
Women’s Accessories

Just One Eye

Tucked inside a landmark Art Deco building, this cult shop is a careful mix of super-luxe designer goods and rare works of art.
Hollywood
Clothing + Decor

Melrose Place

In recent years, this tiny three-block strip has transformed into one of the city's most exclusive shopping destinations.
West Hollywood
Men's + Women's Clothing

Twentieth

Since opening in 1999, Twentieth has been considered to be one of L.A.’s top sources for high-end international design.
Fairfax
Furniture + Design

Apolis: Common Gallery

The warehouse-like space in Downtown L.A.’s Arts District is the first store for the socially minded menswear and accessories brand.
Downtown
Men’s Clothing

Mohawk General Store

This veritable treasure trove offers items like midcentury furniture and steel pendant lamps alongside vintage McIntosh record players and contemporary clothing.
Silver Lake
Clothing + Decor

Curve x Tom Dixon

For his highly anticipated U.S. debut, famed British product designer Tom Dixon partnered with one of L.A.’s top style-setters: Nevena Borissova of the groundbreaking fashion boutique Curve.
Culver City
Concept Store

Brentwood Country Mart

The historic open-air shopping center contains a careful mix of longtime tenants, ranging from luxury boutiques to artisanal decor. 
Brentwood
Clothing + Decor
Things To Do

The Broad

Opened to much fanfare in September 2015, the Diller Scofidio + Renfro building houses the ever-expanding contemporary art collection of philanthropist Eli Broad.
Downtown
Contemporary Art

The Los Angeles Philharmonic

LA Phil is considered one of the most renowned orchestras in the world—and the city offers two incredible venues in which to see them perform.
Downtown
Live Music

Malibu Wines

Napa and Sonoma may get more attention, but Malibu is also home to some great California wineries.
Malibu
Wine Tastings

Architecture Tours LA

Art historian Laura Massino Smith takes clients through Los Angeles’s architectural past, present, and future.
Various
Architecture Tours

Grand Central Market

Since 2013, the iconic Grand Central Market—L.A.’s oldest food arcade—has slowly transformed into one of the city’s most ambitious culinary destinations.
Downtown
Food Hall

Paradise Bound Yacht Charters

Captain Alex G. Balian's impressive fleet of vessels take guests on sunset cruises, whale watching endeavors, or even overnight trips to Catalina Island.
Marina del Rey
Private Sailing

Another Side of Los Angeles Tours

Private guides take visitors on insider routes through some of the city's finest destinations.
Various Locations
Private Hikes and Tours

Camp Surf

With its picturesque beaches and ideal ocean conditions, Manhattan Beach is one of the best spots in Southern California to learn how to surf.
Manhattan Beach
Private Surf Lessons

Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Experience

There is no more quintessentially L.A. experience than a visit to one of the city’s historic film studios; get more out of the experience with insider access.
Universal City
Private Studio Tour

Bloom’s Room

In a land where celebrity stylists are a dime a dozen, Catherine Bloom’s 25-plus-year reign as one of the city's top stylists is nothing short of impressive.
Beverly Hills
Personal Shopping