Los Angeles is one of those cities that is a place of longing for many… it’s the city of dreams (and broken dreams), the city of the stars, where films are produced, songs are written, deals are made and where everything looks like in the movies, well, because every corner has already been used as a movie set. It’s the city of angels, even if some might have broken wings. For sure it is a special place and I want to take you on a trip through my LA. Let’s go!
1. Rent an apartment & feel like a local!
It’s always been my dream to live in Los Angeles – Venice Beach specifically. I always loved the relaxed, yet hip atmosphere, the hippie vibe and, of course, the closeness to the ocean. So for my stay in LA, I decided, instead of going to a Hostel or Motel or Hotel, to rent a real apartment – I needed to have some space for myself after 3 months of sharing rooms and also wanted to finally feel like a real local. A new search engine for vacation rentals helped me make my dream come true – on HomeToGo I found a lovely studio apartment just meters away from the beach and spent some unforgettable days there. The great thing about this service is that it searches through all the other websites for you and compares all the rentals and prices, so you can just relax, look at the interactive map and see what’s best for you. I loved it and felt like a real LA girl… If you are planning a vacation right now, I can highly recommend it! Go to www.hometogo.de to check it out!!
2. Find the best organic supermarket!
Since you have your own place right now, you have enough space to cook, which is great because it means you can get around going our for dinner every night and having to pay loads on restaurant bills. You can invest the money you saved into some real good food from one of the organic supermarkets. California is really all about ecological awareness and I love how a lot of places have banned plastic bags and only sell fair trade and organic products. It might be a bit more pricy but also a lot more tasty. If you get the chance, also check out one of the farmers markets!
3. Go around by bicycle!
Everybody knows that LA is not only the city of angles, but also the city of traffic jams. So another great way to get around, other than by car, is on a bike. That might sound surprising, but especially the Santa Monica / Venice Beach area is totally bike friendly. You can rent bikes everywhere and there are even bike lanes. So get yourself a beach cruiser for a day and go down the beach from Venice to Santa Monica or the other way around – one of the nicest cycle paths in the world.
4. Find you favourite coffee place!
When you are exhausted from all the cycling, you should go and grab a coffee and some (cheap) lunch somewhere… the best places to do so are the small (organic) cafés you find everywhere from Santa Monica to West Hollywood to Silver Lake. Mainly using local products and fair trade coffee, straws out of paper and recycable cups, they are not only a good option to spent you afternoon at, but also ecologically friendly. My favourite one has always been and will alsways be the Urth Café. Take the Honey Vanilla Latte and the Three Layer Cheesecake and you’ll be a happier person! Trust me!
5. Be part of a community!
Sometimes, when you are by yourself in a city, it is nice to feel like you are not alone, so I like to do some activities, where I feel, I can be part of a community. In LA I found a really nice Yoga place that has a big variety of classes, including some meditation, sound healing and kirtan classes, and is donation based – so you can pay as much as you can. It was such a warm and welcoming place and it connects people with the same mindset. For me, that’s a great way to meet new, ingteresting people. Wether it is Yoga, surfing, skating or even wine tasting or Kombucha brewing, you find amazing communities everywhere that are happy to give you a feeling of home for a couple of days or weeks.
6. Go hiking! No, really, go hiking!!!
This is probably not the first thing you think of, when you go to LA, but, believe me, Los Angeles and it’s surrounding has great hiking trails and it’s a perfect way to stay fit, get out of the busy city for a couple of hours and it’s free. If you choose to do the famous Runyon Canyon Hike through the Hollywood Hills, passing the Hollywood sign and overlooking the whole city, or choose to go to Malibu and hike throug the Santa Monica Mountains, finding peace and quiet and waterfalls, doesn’t really matter: A hike always makes you feel good!
I did the Runyon Canyon Hike, the Solstice Canyon Hike, the Temescal Canyon Hike and the Escondido Falls Hike and can recomend all of them, but especially Solctice and Temescal Canyon.
7. Find hidden coves!
It’s not that easy, but they excist…. if you get away from the long, busy city beaches and drive to Malibu you can find some beautiful beaches that are, especially on weekdays, pretty empty. My favourite one is at Point Dume – there is only very limited parking space and you have to carry all you stuff down to the beach, but it’s worth it.
8. Go for a drink on Abbot Kinney Boulevard!
At the end of a long and maybe active day, you should definitely try to gather your last energy and go for a drink on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice – probably the hippest street in the city. Forget Melrose Ave, forget the Sunset Blvd. Abbot Kinney is the new place to be and a stroll down that street is a stroll through street art, passing boutiques and designer stores and you will for sure find a really cool bar for a wine or a craft beer or even an alcoholic Kombucha (I love it!). It is quite expensive there, but all the bartenders look like Hollywood actors (and maybe will be one someday), so, who cares?!