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