Stylist contributor Martha Hayes plans out the perfect two days in the City Of Angels.
When she’s not studying at Harvard, Yara lives in Los Angeles: “The Underground Museum and Huntington Gardens are two of my favourite places in LA, but number one is Italian restaurant Speranza. I’ve been going there for 15 years,” she says.
Here’s how to spend your days in L.A.
10AM: Housed in a sprawling warehouse a stone’s throw from Venice Beach, Gjusta (gjusta.com) is a bakery/juice bar/deli/coffee house/pizzeria/smokehouse where you pop in for a flat white and come out with a smoked brisket sandwich. But that, along with taking a paper ticket and standing in line, is all part of the fun. Grab a Wake ’N’ Shake smoothie (cold brew, date, banana and almond) to go and wander down to the seafront.
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12PM: Gjusta founder Travis Lett also owns chic upscale restaurants Gjelina (gjelina.com) and MTN (mtnvenice.com) on Abbott Kinney Boulevard, a mile-long strip of independent boutiques, coffee shops and street art, widely considered the hippest street in Venice Beach. Check out Brit designer Caroline Belhumeur’s collection for luxe-Cali brand Vince (vince.com), browse for gifts you never knew you needed at Burro (burrogoods.com) and stop for a scoop of Dandelion Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies & Cream at Salt & Straw (saltandstraw.com).
3PM: For serious shopping, visit Palisades Village (palisadesvillageca.com), opened last year by the people behind LA shopping institution The Grove. Situated in the most exclusive neighbourhood on the westside, The Grove’s cooler, younger sister boasts more than 40 shops and restaurants, including 20 female-owned businesses such as Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon’s first bricks-and-mortar store. Grab a late lunch at The Draycott (thedraycott.com), the first LA dining spot from the team behind London’s Bumpkin restaurant.
6PM: When the clock strikes cocktail hour, there’s only one place to go for an aperitif: Musso & Frank Grill (mussoandfrank.com). The iconic restaurant – it recently turned 100 and featured in Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – may be an institution but it serves the best martini in town and the old-school bar staff treat you like a queen.
8PM: While there’s no shortage of vegan restaurants that could convert even LA’s most die-hard carnivores, Gracias Madre (graciasmadreweho.com) is a game-changing plant-based Mexican restaurant that always results in a fun night. Grab a candle-lit table outside, load up on sharing plates (think jackfruit carnitas tacos and plantain chorizo quesadillas) and keep those margaritas coming.
10PM: Head to Tramp Stamp Granny’s (trampstampgrannys.com) – yes, that’s right – for a nightcap. The art deco piano bar owned by Darren Criss (he of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story fame) has pink glitter, tattooed mannequins and a selfie-friendly hall of mirrors. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch the former Glee star tinkling the ivories himself.
11PM: Call it a night (or don’t) at The West Hollywood Edition (from £300 a night; editionhotels.com). The hottest new hotel on the Sunset Strip has 360-degree views, a rooftop pool and a basement club that stays open until the wee hours…
9AM: For a taste of how the eastside of LA does brunch, look no further than bacon- serving, vegan-friendly restaurant Sqirl (sqirlla.com). Arrive early (there’s always a queue) and order the Sorrel Pesto Rice Bowl (topped with preserved lemons, hot sauce, feta cheese and a poached egg). And don’t leave without purchasing a jar of house-made jam. These guys are so serious about their preserves, there’s even a bi-monthly jam club.
11AM: Head into Silverlake for a coffee at Intelligentsia (intelligentsiacoffee.com) and a mooch around the shops. If you want carefully curated vintage but without the Beverly Hills price tag, check out 1619 (1619silverlake.com) and Ragg Mopp Vintage (raggmoppvintage.com). The Left Bank (theleftbankla.bigcartel.com) is also worth a look – it’s a family-run vintage store that donates a portion of its profits to local Los Angeles charities.
2PM: Hungry? Then Grand Central Market (grandcentralmarket.com) is ideal for grabbing something quick once you’ve made your way to Downtown LA. The city’s oldest farmer’s market – it opened its doors in 1917 – is now a bustling, neon-lit food hall brimming with some of the best street-food vendors in LA. Eggslut (brioche egg muffins), Lucky Bird (fried chicken) and Kismet Falafel (er, falafel) are all winners.
4PM: If you think of Downtown LA as a mini NYC, then there are some architectural landmarks you will want to tick off. The Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall is a good photo opp and definitely make time for The Broad (thebroad.org). A free, contemporary art gallery, it’s home to eclectic works by Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman. Some exhibitions require you to sign up for a slot on entering the museum – Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms are well worth the wait.
7PM: In a city where you can never order too many tacos, do yourself a favour and go for dinner at the new restaurant from street-food aficionados, Guerrilla Tacos (guerrillatacos.com). Formerly a taco truck, the service here is fast and the food is delicious – try the sweet potato taco and butterscotch doughnuts. It’s one of the hottest places to line your stomach in the Arts District.
9PM: If Japanese listening bars are having a moment (which they are, in LA) then In Sheep’s Clothing (insheepsclothinghifi.com) should be at the top of your list. This hip little drinking den hidden behind a pizzeria is perfect for losing yourself in experimental vinyl (Japanese techno-pop, anyone?) and equally experimental whisky cocktails.
11PM: With House of Hackney interiors in the rooms and al fresco dining all year around, The Hoxton (from £159 a night; thehoxton.com) is like a little bit of East London in LA. And as for grabbing a nightcap? Hanging out in a hotel lobby never looked so good.