- LACMA: The big draw in my hood are museums of which the seven buildings of LACMA, including The Pavilion for Japanese Art, the Renzo Piano-desiged Broad Museum and The LaBrea Tar Pits are the cornerstone. There's always something interesting going on here from the current Pompeii exhibit, where you'll see examples of beautiful tiles and inspirational garden design, to Friday Night Jazz. The park behind the museum is a great place for a picnic.
- The Farmer's Market & The Grove: You may laugh but this is the most successful and well-designed mall in the country. It's great for one stop shopping with all the staples here: Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie, Nordstrom's, Sur La Table and when you're beat, there's a selection of great food. If I have time I head up to the top floor of the parking garage. There's a 360 view of Los Angeles that's one of the best in town. One day, I'm going to throw a party up there.
- The Old Department Store Buildings along Wilshire Blvd.: The May Company (now an adjunct to LACMA) and Desmond's are just two examples of the Art Deco and Streamline Moderne styles that were cutting edge when these buildings were erected in the 20s. Duck into them to check out the lobbies with their warm dark wood paneling, their intricate grill work, the old-school floor indicators for the elevators and the intricate terrazzo flooring.
- Liz's Hardware: I live in old Spanish-style apartment and stuff just wears out. Instead of replacing it with new stuff, I pop in here for a working replacement. With everything from faucets to doorknobs to chandeliers, it's easy to get lost in here for hours.
- The A&D Museum: The only museum in Los Angeles where continuous exhibits of architecture and design are on view, is finally building a permanent home. Yay!
- The galleries of Wilshire: Artists dreaming of one day showing at LACMA can often be found in the small galleries carved out of the storefronts on Wilshire.
- Third Street, Beverly Boulevard, LaBrea and Fairfax: These four streets form the backbone of the design stores in Los Angeles where you'll find everything from antique furniture to cutting-edge designs. Check out Rebecca's in-depth look at Beverly Boulevard.
- Melrose Trading Post aka The Fairfax Flea Market: Open every Sunday, this small flea market/crafts fair can be hit or miss but it's always fun to check out and I've definitely picked up some great home accessories here from paintings to vases and dishware.
- The Walk Streets: Some of the best examples of the small Spanish-style apartment buildings and single family homes that are classic LA are found in my neighborhood and one of the best ways to discover them is by walking. The walk streets that cluster around Carthay Circle let you duck in and out of streets while avoiding the main thoroughfares. When you're done, drive over to nearby Hancock Park's duplexes and tree-lined streets and check out the mansions, including the House of Davids, that straddle the border between the Miracle Mile and Larchmont Village.
Oh, and when you're hungry, my neighborhood's got some of the best food (from super high end to totally low brow good) and most well-designed restaurants in all of LA but yeah, that's a whole other post.
[images: Abby Stone; hvnly's Flickr; Pocheco's Flickr; Dylan's Flickr; TV's Jessica's Flickr; Abby Stone; Abby Stone; MotoMo's Flickr; AlonzoD's Flickr; Abby Stone. All Flickr photos with a Creative Commons License.]