Tell me what to do and where to eat for fun while visiting LA on business.
June 3, 2011 5:54 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in LA from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon for a business trip. What fun things can I do without a car in my free time, and where can I eat yummy vegetarian food that is close to my hotel in West Hollywood?

I'm getting into LA late Sunday afternoon and leaving Tuesday afternoon. I have work all day Monday but am completely free outside of that. I'm staying in West Hollywood. I won't have car and don't drive so I am at the mercy of cabs or public transportation. I'm vegetarian and need convenient, inexpensive places to eat two dinners, one breakfast, and one lunch. I like walking around urban areas (I live in Brooklyn), shopping (books, clothes, random quirky things), eating, and museums.

What should I do and where should I eat? How hard will it be for me to get around? I won't be going directly from my hotel to the airport, will I be able to hail a cab on the street or do I need to make some advance preparation? I tend to assume there won't be any culture shock, but is there anything I should keep in mind as a NYer visiting LA?
posted by (Over) Thinking to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, LA (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You can't hail a cab on the street, for one thing. Which is a big pain in the butt, I know.
Real Food Daily is on La Cienega between Melrose and Beverly, and is vegan. Yelp has a big listing, and LA yelpsters are a whole class unto themselves.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:01 PM on June 3, 2011

Santa Monica Blvd. runs through the heart of West Hollywood. You can hope on a westbound bus there and go straight to the city of Santa Monica, which has lots of little shops and restaurants, perfect for walking around. (Also, the ocean and the beach, if that interests you.) Then hop a bus straight back to West Hollywood.

You will absolutely not be able to hail a cab to the airport. Either google cab companies, or try something like Super Shuttle.

In terms of food, you don't necessarily need a vegetarian restaurant. LA is the land of salads, so virtually any restaurant -- okay, not In & Out -- will have something for you.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:11 PM on June 3, 2011

Take a bus down Fairfax to 3rd. The Farmer's Market is fun to wander around in, and there's lots of good stuff to eat (pick hits: crepes at the French Crepe Company, Bob's Donuts' huge apple fritters). Then you can stroll west on Third and check out the shops.
posted by Scram at 6:44 PM on June 3, 2011

virtually any restaurant -- okay, not In & Out -- will have something for you.

No, In & Out has something too: the grilled cheese. It's on the secret menu.
posted by Adventurer at 7:55 PM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

You can't hail a cab on the street, but any hotel will be happy to call you one, as will any restaurant nice enough to have a host at the front. If you're planning to check out of your hotel and spend a few hours hanging out, I would definitely say make some kind of arrangements in advance. I don't know about West Hollywood, but in Santa Monica you can always call Taxi Taxi at 310-444-4444. I suspect that other areas of Los Angeles have the same sort of hyper-local cab companies. I would just ask at your hotel - they probably have a dispatch they always use.

Google Transit will furnish bus schedules - I'd say just figure out the nearest major street to your hotel and stick with the main bus that runs on that street.

You will have no trouble finding affordable vegetarian food.
posted by troublesome at 8:45 PM on June 3, 2011

My vegetarian coworker likes M Cafe on Melrose/La Brea a lot -- but you shouldn't have much trouble finding a vegetarian option (and not just salads) no matter where you go; even Pink's Hot Dogs offers a veggie dog.

And Melrose between La Cienega and La Brea is kind of fun to walk because there are so many funny little stores.
posted by estherbester at 9:13 PM on June 3, 2011

Oh -- and if you're closer to Santa Monica at San Vicente, I see there's a Tender Greens nearby -- their Happy Vegan plate is about $11 and it's awesome!
posted by estherbester at 9:18 PM on June 3, 2011

The stuff about not being to hail a taxi keeps changing. Last year you could legally hail a taxi in downtown and Hollywood. I have no idea if the law allowing this was extended but I've never had problems flagging down a taxi when I'm on the westside. For a trip to LAX I'd definitely make an advance appointment for a taxi.

If you've got a smartphone and decide, for whatever masochistic reasons, to take the bus, will help keep the frustration level down. I like Native Foods in Westwood which is vegan and I've read good things about Pure Luck.
posted by rdr at 9:45 PM on June 3, 2011

Also in west hollywood, and vegetarian, is Green Leaves thai. Chili Addiction, next to Real Food Daily, always has a couple delicious vegan chilis on the menu.

If you go to the Farmer's Market, you'll be right next to the Grove (outdoor shopping mall), and a nice walk away from LACMA which has the Broad Contemporary Art Museum. Next to LACMA is the La Brea Tar Pits, which is a nice park with tar pits, and a small museum.

Or you can go the cheesy Hollywood route and head to Hollywood and Highland. There you'll get great views of the Hollywood sign, and you can see the Chinese Theatre. If a good movie is playing there or at the El Capitan, I suggest you check it out. The walk of fame is all through that area as well. Warning: Hollywood is touristy and parts of it are seedy.
posted by malhouse at 10:15 PM on June 3, 2011

I would head strait over to Projects and check out this awesome looking enterprise. I only wish they were around when I was over there 5 years ago. Being fellow mefites I am sure that they will be more than helpful.
posted by adamvasco at 12:26 AM on June 4, 2011

Real Food Daily is definitely worth a stop, though they're a little spendy. Their reuben with tempeh bacon is pretty tops.

Public transit isn't as bad as folks make out here — the Metro Trip Planner helps.

If you can get over to East Hollywood, Pure Luck is open for another week or so and is totally worth catching before it dies — jackfruit carnitas are one of the best things ever.
posted by klangklangston at 10:18 PM on June 4, 2011

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