Special thanks to Dana Pusateri and Victoria Johnson for recommendations
California may be the romanticized west-coast notion, but it's truly for anyone who loves the great outdoors, lively cities, and eclectic tastes. Whether you crave the beach or boutique shopping, want to see the dramatic coastline or the desert national parks, there's a reason Californians call the west coast the best coast.
Things to Do
Drive down Pacific Coast Highway: Beautiful views of the ocean that you can only find along this gorgeous part of California!
Malibu Wines: Either do a Safari or just go to buy a bottle of wine. Check online for live music details.
Malibu: Surf, hike, eat, and enjoy the beautiful California weather.
Santa Monica Pier: You get the beach with the fun twist of an amusement park atop the pier. They hold free beach concerts during the summer and the lineup can be found on the Twilight Summer Concert Series Website. It’s a must when in the L.A. area.
Electric Scooter Santa Monica: Check out the app "Bird."
Griffith Park, Runyon Canyon & Fryman Canyon: Some of the best hikes in the area. Griffith Park has a ton of trails and riding barns that allow you to rent horses and ride though the Hollywood Hills with a guide.
The Last Bookstore: This whimsical used bookstore is in Downtown L.A. There's a maze on the second floor and also an art gallery, cute shops and art instillations throughout. Only a block away from Grand Central Market which is one of the biggest indoor farmers market with tons of restaurants and shops.
Universal Studios & Citywalk: Full day activity that is perfect for families and any one in the mood for a little movie magic. The Studio Tour and The Wizarding World are must-sees if you’re into theme parks.
Places to Eat
Amaze Bowls: Acai bowls that look just as good as they taste.
Aroma cafe: Multiple locations, great casual vibe. Any sandwich or salad will satisfy your appetite.
Barton G: Unreal food presentation. Perfect for a birthday dinner or special occasion. We recommend the Nitro Popcorn for an appetizer, the Sea Bass (complete with samurai sword) for dinner, and the Dolla Dolla Bills Y'all for dessert.
Back On The Beach: The omelets and mimosas are spectacular.
Bondi Harvest: Health food you want to eat. This quaint and comfortable spot perfect for an LA beach day. Avocado pancakes and breakfast burritos you will be dreaming about long after you leave.
Eggslut: Amazing breakfast sandwiches. Casual, quick place but it usually has a line.
Gracias Madre: Vegan spot with an fresh brunch menu. Make reservations and request patio seating. Lunch and dinner are also incredible.
Jon & Vinnys: You'll need reservations extremely far in advance, but hands-down best Italian in the city!
Laurel Hardware: Speakeasy vibes. It looks like a hardware store from the outside, but awesome atmosphere. Try to get a table outside near the string lights!
Taste on Melrose: Pleasant restaurant with a big menu. Great brunch spot!
Urth Caffé: Any location will do. This cafe is great for casual dining and a quick breakfast or lunch.
Ysabel: Contemporary lounge that is ideal for a date night or bourgeoisie brunch with the girls.
Places to Drink
The Venice Whaler: Chill spot with great eats. This is a fun place to watch a game or catch a sunset view of the beach.
Bungalow: An L.A. staple with a casual but trendy vibe. Great with a group but get there early to beat the line. Also a fun spot to day drink at on Saturdays.
Black Rabbit Rose: Unique drinks in an interesting atmosphere.
Broken Shaker: Rooftop patio with a beautiful view and comfy seats.
Doheny Room: If you want to have a girls night and dance the night away, this is your spot. Get there around 10:45 because doors open at 11, and you’ll likely meet a promoter in line if you get there around that time.
Makai: Sushi spot by day, fun bar by night. They always play amazing throwbacks and have a 24 hour pizza spot next door. Need I say more?
The Highlight Room: Rooftop of the Dream Hotel in Hollywood. It's bougie but fun.
Tao/Beauty & Essex: They’re next door to each other and good for dinner/going out after
41 Ocean: Only walking distance from the beach, this is a great nighttime spot.