People imagine a lot of things when they think "Los Angeles." Often enough the stereotypes involve celebrities, Bay Watch or traffic and smog. But it's actually a cultural melting pot that spans 468.67 square miles (that's not a typo!). Yes, we have beaches (a lot of them), but we also have mountain and desert landscapes within easy driving distance. In recent years, many neighborhoods have become more walkable and bike-friendly, with new cafes and restaurants sprouting up on a regular basis.
Taking distance into consideration, I concentrated many of the items below in the mid-city to downtown areas. And, of course, in a city this large there are thousands more places of interest that I didn't have room to include.
- Levitated Mass: Otherwise known as "the big rock" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
- Case Study House #8 (shown above): Also known as the Eames House, this is the former residence of Charles and Ray.
- Griffith Observatory: Wonderfully cool and educational. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the ocean.
- Los Angeles Conservancy: The Bradbury Building (shown above) shouldn't be missed, but you can't go wrong with any of their tours.
- Urban Hikes: Forgotten LA: Brought to you by the Architecture + Design Museum, you'll see hidden gems that even locals may not know about.
- Sunset Ranch: Ride on horseback to the Hollywood sign for one of the best views in Los Angeles.
- Poketo: Lots of cute housewares and accessories.We profiled their new brick and mortar location earlier in July.
- Pacific Design Center: Located in West Hollywood, this mecca to interior design can easily result in sensory overload.
- Heath Ceramics (shown above): From dinnerware to textiles to house numbers, you'll have a hard time leaving empty handed.
- Pizzeria Mozza: Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton's affordable Italian hotspot.
- Bottega Louie (shown above): Gorgeous light-filled restaurant and bakery.
- Wurstküche: Exotic sausages and lots of Belgian beer in a modern, friendly atmosphere. Save room for dessert and coffee at The Pie Hole across the street.
- The Standard Downtown: There are a lot of newer rooftop bars downtown, but my favorite for style is still The Standard.
- Intelligentsia Silverlake (shown above): I'll admit, I prefer Handsome Coffee Roasters or Urth Caffe for the beans, but this Intelligentsia location can't be beat for people watching and location.
- Barbarella Bar: Try an Elderflower Gimlet in this stylish
- Custom Hotel: Near LAX, this elegant and affordable boutique hotel is a hotspot for summer pool parties.
- The Standard Downtown (shown above): Walkable to many downtown sights and eateries, this is also close to public transportation.
- Hotel Erwin: Beachfront boutique hotel in Venice. Watch the sun set over the Pacific from the rooftop lounge.
Please help us out and add to the guide in the comments — what are your recommendations for Los Angeles?
(Images: 1. Flickr user Neil Kremer licensed for use by Creative Commons, 2. Flickr user Charles & Hudson licensed for use by Creative Commons, 3. Flickr user Ray_from_LA licensed for use by Creative Commons, 4. Michelle Chin, 5. Flickr user —rocketlaunch licensed for use by Creative Commons, 6. Intelligentsia, 7. Flickr user locationsite licensed for use by Creative Commons