An inside guide to Los Angeles
Explore the City of Angels in style
Nestled upon California’s rugged coastline, the vibrant city of Los Angeles is bursting with culture and world-famous sights. This is a city of legends and wonder, where stars are born and history is shaped. It is also a city of contrasts, from the relaxed surfing beaches to the bustling high-end bars, you can find almost any atmosphere and activity in this eclectic city of wonder. Combine this with year-round sunshine and plenty of stunning beaches, and it’s little wonder the City of Angels is such a popular holiday spot.
Whether you want to spend the day relaxing poolside in your sumptuous hilltop hideaway or set off on a private tour through all the sights, here in LA you can do as much or as little as you want. From your own private chef to booking you into the city’s best spots, simply tell our expert Travel Advisors what you want to do and see and they’ll handle the rest.
What to do
There are so many diverse things to see and do in this city that your trip can really be whatever you make it. Those into culture and shopping should head into the city to see the sights and wander the world-famous shop-lined boulevards. Channel your inner Julia Roberts and head for a shopping session on Rodeo Drive. Lined with designer boutiques and flagship stores, this world-famous street in Beverly Hills is the place to see and be seen. If you're wanting something a little more low key, then Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a great option. This mile-long street is lined with shops, galleries and cafés - perfect for an afternoon of mooching around.
For something a little more highbrow, head to the prestigious Getty Centre. Set high in the hills above West Los Angeles, you’ll find countless masterpieces, lovely gardens and sweeping views over the city at this fantastic spot. If you’re over Malibu way, then the opulent Getty Villa is very much worth a visit too. Housing 7,000 years of ancient art, this is the ultimate day out for art history aficionados.
Those searching for some peace and quiet will relish the opportunity to get out and explore the countless hiking trails woven throughout the sprawling hills which surround the city. Los Liones hiking trail in the Palisades is particularly special - on a clear day, you are rewarded with breathtaking views across the entire coastline
Those looking for a great group or family activity should rent bikes and explore the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which runs from Pacific Palisades all the way down to Torrance. You can visit all the lovely little beach towns along the way, so make sure to pack your beach kit.
If you’re travelling with kids then fear not: there’s plenty for them in LA too. From a day on the rides at Universal Studios to encountering dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, the whole family will love an action-packed day exploring the City of Angels. Last but not least, a hike up to the iconic Hollywood sign is a must for any first-time visitors.
Where to beach
If you’re craving relaxation, then spend a happy afternoon soaking up the Californian sunshine at one of the city’s many famous beaches. For beautiful sea views and a relaxed atmosphere, we’d pick Amarillo or Carbon beach in Malibu or else the peaceful golden sands of Playa del Rey. If you’re into surfing, then Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach over in Orange County are the ideal spots to catch some gnarly waves.
With a bustling pier, plenty of activities and vast stretches of soft sand, Santa Monica Beach is a great choice for a family day out. Whereas those searching for a vibrant, bustling beach experience, will love pulling up a patch of sand on the iconic Venice Beach and spending a day watching all the cool and quirky people pass you by.
Where to eat
A pioneer of kaiseki cuisine, a traditional Japanese culinary form featuring multiple, meticulously-prepared courses, Los Angeles-born Chef Niki Nakayama’s n/naka is not to be missed by any foodie visiting the city. Boasting not one, but two Michelin stars, the dishes here are an absolute work of art, almost too beautiful to eat. What’s more, Nakayama’s humble presence in the dining room offers a degree of hospitality and personality rarely seen in restaurants which have reached these soaring heights.
Dazzling from every angle, Baltaire is well worth a visit if you’re in the Brentwood neighbourhood (it’s also worth travelling over for if you’re not). Tuck into juicy prime cuts and expertly-crafted cocktails while enjoying the gentle buzz of conversation in the elegant dining room and outdoor patio.
Forgo the carb-dodging LA diet for dinner at this incredible spot. Latin for ‘happy’, a trip to the aptly-named Felix will leave you feeling just that. The menu here is bursting with fresh Italian flavours and you can watch their famous handmade pasta being shaped right before your very eyes.
Enjoy innovative and sustainable seafood dishes in a tranquil setting at Providence. At the helm of the LA fine dining scene for well over a decade, Michael Cimarusti’s delicious Californian cuisine is infused with hints of Asia and the Mediterranean.
If you're travelling as a family (or just love pizza), then Pace is a great option. This cosy little joint serves up some of the city's best deep-dish pizzas, amidst a backdrop of cool wall art and relaxed vibes. What's more, their ingredients are sourced from local farmers markets and are organic wherever possible.
Where to drink
Enjoy panoramic rooftop views over the city from this glamorous rooftop bistro. Serving up expertly crafted cocktails amidst a relaxed yet stylish setting, Perch is a vibrant Downtown spot attracting locals and tourists alike.
This tiny little speakeasy boasts an impressive collection of rare liquors and spirits, perfect for any gourmands in the group. Due to its small size, just 25 seats, bookings are essential at Lightning. What’s more, you’ll need to come armed with plenty of conversation, as you’ll be required to check your phone in at the door.
Those looking for something a little different will love The Spare Room, a gaming parlour and cocktail lounge on Hollywood Boulevard. Enjoy innovative cocktails while taking turns on the vintage bowling lanes or embarking on a game of backgammon, cribbage or Monopoly.
Finally, if you're in need of a pick-me-up coffee (and maybe brunch) in the morning to cancel out last night's cocktails, then The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker and All Time both serve up killer coffees and tasty food.
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