It’s hard to believe but its been almost 16 years since the last time I went to California! So when I had the opportunity to go to LA for a work trip this past weekend, I couldn’t say no! With the short time frame though, I wanted to make sure I could pack in as much as I could in my down time. The one perk to traveling alone? Crossing everything off your travel bucket list (I’m still so exhausted!). Whether you go alone to LA for work like I did or with your girlfriends for a fun weekend trip, I’m sharing every spot you can’t miss next time you’re in LA.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Joan’s On Third: This was my first stop after checking into my hotel and was the ideal place to fuel up. This gorgeous market and casual counter spot (reminded me of Meryl Streep’s spot in “It’s Complicated”!), is a classic LA favorite and has everything you can think of. From their to-go section, freshly made sandwiches and salads, dessert and coffee bar and hostess gift ideas, you’re guaranteed to find everything you need. I went with their famous Chinese Chicken Salad, which is a huge portion, so delicious and was so relaxing to eat at their tables outside in the sun.
Sqirl: I had heard so many great things about Sqirl and was so excited to try for an early morning breakfast. Unlike NYC, everyone in LA is up super early on the weekends so I was very surprised to see a line around the block right at 8 am when they opened. Since I was short on time, I was only able to try their famous Ricotta & Homemade Jam Toast and an iced latte (which was insanely good) but definitely would go back when I have more time to relax and try more on their menu.
Café Gratitude: I was in need of a healthy morning meal on Sunday so I headed over to Café Gratitude in the Arts District near my hotel. This LA favorite has a few locations around the city and is known for their incredible vegan menu. I sat at the bar and enjoyed their vegan breakfast tacos, a green juice and latte and it was such a calming way to start a busy day!
Alfred Tea/Alfred Coffee: Alfred Tea and Coffee has become one of the most Instagrammed spots in LA and for a good reason. Not only are their multiple locations filled with Instagram bait, they also have some of the best tea and coffee to fuel up with. I stopped by the all pink favorite spot Alfred Tea on Melrose and there was no shortage of customers and phones snapping the cute sayings.
Carrera Cafe: Another Instagram favorite, Carrera Coffee is famous for being able to turn any image into latte art! It’s also right across from the famous Paul Smith pink wall so you are for sure set on content capturing here.
Moon Juice: If you’re in need of a health boost, Moon Juice is the place to go. Known for their range of powders, they also have a ton of juices, smoothies and snacks to help fix any health problem you may have that day.
Milk Jar Cookies: I’m picky when it comes to cookies, and these did not disappoint one bit! From birthday sprinkles to classic chocolate chip to white chocolate raspberry (my personal favorite), these huge cookies are the perfect balance of crunch and chewy, doughy centers.
Salt & Straw: Since it was National Ice Cream Day while I was in LA, I couldn’t resist trying the local favorite spot. With a range of classic and unique flavors, every scoop at Salt & Straw was out of this world and hoping they make their way to NYC soon!
Bottega Louie: I’ve had this spot saved for so many years so I loved stopping by this gorgeous French bakery and restaurant. While I didn’t get to try anything, their beautiful macron and dessert display was to die for!
Jon and Vinny’s: The number one recommendation I got before going to LA was dinner at Jon and Vinny’s and I definitely discovered why. I did a to-go order of their popular spicy fusilli and their Ham & Yeezy pizza (it had been a very long day) and it hit the jackpot. With so many different pasta, pizza and appetizers on the menu, I’m anxious to go back next time with a group of people so we can try even more!
Grand Central Market: Another great spot to go if visiting LA alone was Grand Central Market. Similar to Chelsea Market in NYC, this open air spot is packed full of different food vendors and endless options on what to eat. I got an insanely delicious carnitas taco from Tacos Tumbras A Tomas and for under $5, I got so much food and was full the rest of the night.
Sugarfish: Nothing is more LA than takeout from Sugarfish thanks to their chic takeout boxes and most importantly, fresh sushi.
WHAT TO DO
Shop On Melrose Avenue: Melrose Avenue is packed full of designer boutiques, vintage stores and adorable coffee shops. I spent the afternoon browsing the stores, like Violet Grey, Mansur Gavriel and the new Glossier location with an Alfred Tea drink in hand.
Visit The Beverly Hills Hotel: The Beverly Hills Hotel has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember so it was so surreal to walk around this classic California spot. Not only is the palm print walls and pink furniture my dream way to decorate, everything from the pool area to Polo Lounge bar felt straight out of Old Hollywood.
Have A Picnic At LACMA: Eating alone at dinner is not my favorite thing to do and was the one thing I was nervous about when visiting LA. So I was so delighted to discover on Friday and Saturday nights outside at the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art that there is free music on the lawns. The LACMA is famous for their lamp post light structure, but I loved discovering the huge grassy area surrounding the museum, making it the ideal spot to enjoy my takeout on a gorgeous LA night.
Shop At The Last Bookstore: I loved exploring this incredible bookstore in DTLA that’s packed full of both new and used favorites, along with a huge selection of vintage records. I found so many gorgeous fashion coffee table books (for $10!), and wish I could have filled up my suitcase with them!
Visit The Broad Museum: The Broad was close by to my hotel and with their free admission and amazing exhibits from artists like Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol, it was such a fun thing to do on Sunday night. While the museum has a wait if you don’t reserve tickets before, I was able to get in easily about an hour before closing. One of the main attractions at The Broad currently is Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms that are on display. The Infinity Mirrored Room requires a separate ticket so my biggest tip is getting in line first for that exhibit and then walking around until you receive a text your time is up! Everyone only gets 45 seconds to snap as many photos as possible so have your camera ready!
Get A Mani/Pedi at Olive & June: Working in the beauty industry, I had heard so many great things about Olive & June and knew it would be the perfect way to end my trip. The space is California cool with their chic leather seats and an amazing range of polishes to choose from. They are also famous for their nail art so I couldn’t resist coming home with small palm leaves on my ring finger!
Do you have any favorite LA spots? Reminder to find all my travel guides here for wherever you may be heading next!