There are plenty of places to read about things to do in LA (and you should) but if you want to skip the major tourist attractions and sceney restaurants and just chill like a local, try these spots — all tested and approved by yours truly. You could even hit them all in a day and it won't cost you more than fifty smackers.
Before we get started, know that you're probably gonna need some wheels. LA is getting (a little) better about providing pubic transit but unless you're going to a specific spot right off the metro line, driving is usually the best idea. Okay, let's get started.
2000 N Fuller, 90046
Make like a local and start your day by fighting for parking near this popular hiking route. The 45 min loop is the perfect way to get a little sweat going and take in some crazy views. If you're into free yoga (while hikers pass by, FYI), they have that! Here's the schedule on their Facebook page.
801 N Fairfax Ave, 90046
LA always does fancy coffee right and this place especially won't let you leave without being fully juiced up. You'll love the sleek, stylish space right on Fairfax but, more importantly, you'll love the top-of-the-line coffee. More.
Melrose Trading Post
7850 Melrose, 90036
If it's Sunday, browse this centrally located flea market (at Fairfax High School) that's just as fun as the Rose Bowl (but way easier to navigate). Entry is three bucks and you can find all sorts of vintage clothing, tchotchkes and furniture, but if you don't have room in your suitcase for extras, it's still worth it just for the people watching.
639 N Larchmont Blvd, 90004
Hey, you're in LA so lunch it up at this vegan (or raw) spot. If you can get past the pretentiously-named menu items and the thought provoking question of the day (your server really wants you to have a deeply-felt meal) the food is light and amazingly delicious and you'll probably spot a celebrity or two (just sayin'). Don't neglect a stroll down Larchmont after lunch. More.
Carmela Ice Cream
7920 W Third, 90048
You just had a vegan lunch so treat yourself to a good dose of dairy at this shop on third. Their prices are highish but after you have some of their amazingly inventive flavors, you might be surprised they aren't higher. Make sure to take them up on their offer to sprinkle your cone with sea salt (yum!). More.
Museum of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Blvd, Culver City 90232
Unlike the other biggie museums in LA, I think this quirky place is best experienced if you go in with no expectations. If you're ready to roll the dice stop reading now. Still here? Ok, I'll do my best to describe it: a collection of creepy, fascinating oddities that one Yelp reviewer describes it like this: "If Wes Anderson opened a museum this is what it would look like." Exactly. Suggested donation is just five bucks and make sure to grab some tea on the roof. More.
2800 E Observatory Rd, 90027
This is my favorite spot in LA. The peaceful park, the expansive views and the cool science exhibits inside (entry is free unless you want to see the planetarium show) is just the perfect combo. Go at night to look through the telescope or go anytime and just hang out on the lawn, look at the ocean and pretend like you're James Dean. More.
There's so much more going on: downtown, the beach, the eats! LA locals speak up and tell us what's on your must-do list.