Spotlights, fame and the big stars. That are my first thoughts when thinking of LA. How little I actually know about this city of dreams becomes clear when reading Gwen’s Do as the Locals Do report. Gwen left her Sydney life and started a brand new adventure in LA. If you’re as curious about her expat life as me, don’t forget to check out her blog.
So you’re coming to LA and you’re wondering what to do. But you’re not too keen on hanging out with the other tourists on the Hollywood Walk, Rodeo Drive or even Disneyland and Universal Studios.
There is so much to see and do in LA—and it’s so big—that you can wander the lesser-known places and not bump into a single tourist. OK, that might be a stretch but there’s so much more to LA than you might think.
What to do
Start the day with a hike. Los Angelinos love to hike. Give Runyon Canyon a miss, despite what they say about it being the celebrity hike I’ve never seen one on the numerous times I’ve been. Instead try Franklin Canyon—it’s a hidden oasis in the middle of Beverly Hills.
If hiking isn’t your thing but you’re by the beach, run along the beach. If Santa Monica feels too touristy for you, head further down towards Venice Beach or better still check out Manhattan Beach. Manhattan Beach not only has a great boardwalk but has glorious boutiques and restaurants—and fewer tourists!
Head Downtown and park yourself at The Broad. The Broad is a fabulous contemporary art museum with an amazing private art collection (yes I said PRIVATE ART COLLECTION!) of Eli & Edythe Broad. Located on the hip Grand Avenue in Downtown LA (DTLA to the locals) not only is the collection beyond belief but the building is incredible. The building was completely built and funded by the Broads themselves costing a cool $140 million. It opened in September 20 and you can practically smell the fresh paint. Here’s cheers to the Broads for sharing. (Did I mention its neighbour is the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall? Yep.)
For something totally different, consider taking the Metro downtown. It’s quick and easy and you don’t have to contend with traffic. (Warning: this is not necessarily something the locals do!).
Where to shop
Give Rodeo Drive a miss and head for Melrose Place. Yes, it really does exist. Pop in for a coffee at Alfred’s Coffee then wander the cute little shopping strip.
Melrose is one of my favourite places to shop. I love that it changes the further down West Hollywood you go—starting from great designers and boutiques to street fashion to grungier clothes. If you’re there on the weekend try Melrose Trading Post, a great vintage market with a vibe that’s very LA.
Parallel to Melrose is Third Street, home to many more quirky boutiques and cafes. You can tell where the popular places are by the queues of people waiting for a table while cafes down the road have tables going begging. Show you what a funny place LA can be.
Where to eat
If you time your trip to Melrose Place right you can have lunch or dinner at the fabulous Fig and Olive. The produce is fresh and the food is LA-inspired meaning it’s healthy yet delicious.
Los Angelinos love salad and sushi. Try Lemonade for a variety of fresh salads. There’s one in West Hollywood and another in Venice Beach—amongst other locations.
For sushi check out Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya while you’re in Manhattan Beach. Famous for its Hollywood and Brentwood locations Katsu-ya knows how to do sushi. Manhattan Beach still gets busy—there’s often a queue before opening at lunch, this is LA after all.
I hope you enjoy “My LA” as much as I do. Wherever you are do lookout for the paparazzi or a celeb doing the normal things they do. You never know here in LA!
Gwen moved to LA in August 2013 thrust out of her happy normal life in Sydney, Australia when her husband got offered a job to run a Post-Production company in Hollywood. She found herself smack bang in lifestyles of the rich and famous. Now her normal life has a twist of 90210 with a bit of Hollywood on the side. It Started in LA the Blog is born from the experiences she’s lucky enough to be privy to. Don’t forget to follow Gwen on social media: