Angelino Assistance Needed!
January 6, 2013 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Recommend me some stuff to do in Los Angeles in January!

Starting on Monday, I'm going to be in Los Angeles for two and a half weeks for work. I'm gong to be staying with a friend who is familiar with the city, so I will have a part-time tour guide. I'm looking for good food (street food and kick-ass mexican are a bonus), good local music (my inner music geek wants to go to the Whiskey A Go-Go. is it worth it?), cool bars, art (I am staying close to LACMA, so I am definitely going there), touristy stuff (especially off the beaten path film history. Not really interested in Disneyland), and, for my wife who will be joining me for the final weekend, vintage clothing stores. I won't have a car, so tips for getting around when my hosts will be unavailable are also appreciated. I have considered getting a rental car, but I am not getting paid a fortune for this job, so recommendations on that issue would also be welcome.

Los Angelinos, go nuts!
posted by vibrotronica to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
LA is a pain to get around. Where does your friend live?
posted by k8t at 9:21 AM on January 6, 2013

If you can, hike yourself to the Getty Villa. It's such a nice place to wander around, and the works on display are terrific.
posted by xingcat at 9:23 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you like pastrami, go to Langer's

If you like dinosaurs, go to the Page Museum, home of the La Brea Tar Pits

Definitely go to LACMA
posted by honey badger at 9:25 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Museum of Jurassic Technology will blow your mind. You can now get there easily on a new train extension.
posted by quarantine at 9:39 AM on January 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

For vintage clothing stores, there's a bunch of stuff all over town, but Melrose Ave has multiple stores in one area, so it's kind of a fun way to spend the afternoon. American Vintage is one of them, and it's stuffed full of clothes. Lots of cool boots and their bridal section is kind of amazing, but it's a little dusty and not necessarily where I'd go for party dresses. Most of the shops are on Melrose between La Brea and Fairfax, but use Yelp or some other app to figure out the ones that are slightly off Melrose. If your wife wants to/doesn't mind shopping alone, I love Shareen Vintage downtown. It's got an enormous, enormous selection and is especially great for 50s party dresses. There are things to be aware of though, so check out reviews. For example, no men allowed, no dressing rooms (you just try stuff on in the middle of the store), and no price tags. She's got another store closer to Melrose and where you'll be staying, but I haven't been. I imagine it's smaller.
posted by loulou718 at 10:23 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Right down the way from the Museum of Jurassic Tech is a fantastic Indian place. (At least in 2006 when I last lived there) Grab some veg samosas and a mango lassie then go to the museum!
posted by phytage at 10:34 AM on January 6, 2013

In addition to the answers you get here, also check out some past similar questions here and here and here and here.
posted by Dansaman at 10:43 AM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Go to a TV show taping.
posted by fairmettle at 10:49 AM on January 6, 2013

Can't address your other questions, but please note that rental cars out of LAX are dddiiiiiirrrrt cheap. Fox wanted $8/day for the smallest for the trip I'm headed out on. They're a regional brand but I've never had any issues.
posted by ftm at 11:45 AM on January 6, 2013

We visited our son in LA briefly in Dec. and went to the Getty Museum, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Natural History Museum by USC where the space shuttle Endeavor is on display, and a bit of Santa Monica and Venice Beach. We enjoyed them all.
posted by mermayd at 11:58 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Take your wife to The Way We Wore. I can't afford anything there, but if you want to drool over vintage Pierre Cardin, that's the place to go.

If you actually want to buy vintage clothes, Jet Rag is a fun/weird place that occaisionally has some nice clothes, and I like Flounce, but Echo Park might be totally out of your way, so grain of salt.

For slightly off-the-beaten path film history, I suggest a tour of the Hollywood Forever Cemetary. (Caveat: I haven't been on the tour, but I have visited the cemetary).

Not off the beaten path, but my favorite place to take someone in LA: Griffith Park Observatory. I suggest parking in the Fern Dell area of the park and hiking up. It's an easy hike if you're in moderate shape.

I'm not sure if you'll be able to make it with your work schedule, but check out the Weisman Foundation if you can.

The Getty Villa > Getty Museum.

While it might not be the hole in the wall you're expecting, Loteria is amazing. It's a little pricy, but you may be able to duck over there for lunch if you work near LACMA. Just the best Mexican food I've ever had.

For a real hole in the wall experience, grab some tamales from La Indiana and eat them in Hollenbeck Park. (Warning: If you are freaked out by the "ghetto," skip this step).

Public transportation right around LACMA is pretty good. If you have a smart phone, I really, really recommend the Smart Ride app. Makes waiting for the bus much more bearable. If you can swing it, rent a car for a weekend when your wife's in town. The name is terrible, but Rent-a-Wreck is fine.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 12:42 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just went to the National Japanese-American Museum. The permanent exhibit, which is mostly about the internment camps, is very interesting, and you can get through the whole museum in a few hours. Go in the morning (think it opens around 11) and grab ramen for lunch in Little Tokyo.
posted by dismas at 1:00 PM on January 6, 2013

Tacos Leo (taco truck with al pastor tacos, $1 each, only at night, not far from LACMA)
Mariscos Jalisco shimp taco

I just spent two weeks with people from out of town and other (crowded but good) food highlights for them were:
Umami Burger
Joan on Third (turkey meatloaf sandwich with house made pickles)
Gjelina Take Away
Sunny Blue (omisubi in Santa Monica)

For other recs, I'd check the Best of LA...they have some fun off the beaten path suggestions.
posted by biscuits at 3:49 PM on January 6, 2013

Succulents - a desert/Mediterranean plant - bloom in winter; January is the peak of the season. There is a fantastic collection of them at The Huntington Botanical Gardens.
posted by conrad53 at 5:07 PM on January 6, 2013

there is an incredible Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA right now. perfect timing!!
posted by Kloryne at 1:26 AM on January 7, 2013

Nthing the weisman as a remarkable LA experience.
posted by lalochezia at 2:48 PM on January 7, 2013

You want good Mexican food? El Tepeyac in Boyle Heights (East LA). As a native Angeleno, now an expat in DC, I have to tell you that I would also recommend you get a car. You will be miserable if you don't (or you won't be able to take advantage of these great recommendations listed here). Get it at the airport. That's the cheapest. And, you might just want to get it when your wife arrives to keep costs down.

I also recommend the Museum of Jurassic Technology. I work in a museum in DC and the Getty and LACMA are great (there are a number of food trucks that park themselves right across the street from the LA County Museum of Art. There's also the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown.

As conrad53 said the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens are incredible. They are in San Marino, NE of downtown.

Here's something you might like if you're looking for a different Hollywood experience: visit the Hollywood Forever cemetery where a lot of movie stars are buried (say hello to my Uncle Louie if you go, not in the industry, just buried there -g). It's on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 4:02 PM on January 7, 2013

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