What to do in LA?
February 17, 2007 8:17 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are in LA. What should we do?

My wife and I are in LA for the next four days. This is our first time here. I'm looking for suggestions on what we should be sure to see/do/eat. My wife enjoys going out in the evening so some good nightlife suggestions would earn me points with her. We got in last night and went to the Improv which she enjoyed a lot. We both enjoy good food tremendously (all types). I figure we have 12 meals left here so where should we eat? Are there any good Indian restaurants? We are staying downtown and both like to walk a lot. I figured today we'd walk a couple beaches. Any must see things at the beach?
posted by tr45vbyt to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have lunch at the Getty museum.
posted by cda at 8:27 AM on February 17, 2007

This thread has a lot of good eating/drinking suggestions. As far as beaches go, Venice Beach is the only place that comes to mind that has something to see. Third Street Promenade is much more interesting at night than during the day, given that it's a shopping area.
posted by puritycontrol at 8:35 AM on February 17, 2007

There have been many AskMe threads about things to do/places to eat in L.A. -- do a search and/or check for tags ("losangeles" as one word will probably get you more results). For Indian food specifically, I'm quite fond of Electric Lotus in Los Feliz.
posted by scody at 8:52 AM on February 17, 2007

Will second the Getty, as a matter of fact, do both. Make reservations for tea at the Huntington Library; Pasadena's right down the road. As far as Indian food goes, you can't go wrong with AKBAR in Venice (close to Marina & Culver City)
Washington 1 block south of Lincoln. Drooling, thinking about Tandoori Lamb Chops...
posted by JABof72 at 8:56 AM on February 17, 2007

The Getty is great for architecture, but you can't beat the art at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) which is actually closer to where you're staying.

If you like to walk, you may want to do the Melrose section of shops & restaurants. It's a fun, slightly touristy walk.

My recommendation: the Upright Citizens Brigade "Asssscat" show tonight at 8pm. It's hilarious. Reserve tickets and get there early for the lineup outside (about 7:30pm).
posted by sharkfu at 9:29 AM on February 17, 2007

The santa Monica Pier is a nice walk for visitors- there's a bunch of nice cafes and shops near the beach south of the pier as well. From there it's a couple blocks to the promenade, if shopping is your thing. If you're willing to make the drive, Venice and it's canal homes are impressive and unique- and boast some great architecture. The beach there is fun too, but mostly popular with tourists who want to see us weirdo Angelinos putting on a show. Now that you're over on the west side, make sure to check out the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art on Miracle Mile and the Hammer Gallery in Westwood.

Maybe Hollywood could come next- with Mann's Chinese and the shopping/tourist mecca on the corner of Hollywood and Highland ave. The area is served by a metro red-line (underground light rail) with a station right beneath the shopping complex- during the days it's quirky shops, wax museums, etc. on Hollywood Boulevard and hopping bars and cafes at night.

You can catch the light rail from several stops around the down-town area, but a local rail hub would be the station at Figueroa and 7th or if it's closer, Union Station just a little further north-east. While you're there, check out Olvera Street, a quaint little Mexican-kinda town that commemerates the location and feel of the original village of Los Angeles. Plenty of great Mexican food and vendors- I recommend "La Luz del Dia," a taco house at the West End of the street that makes THE best carnitas tacos.

Just around the corner from Olvera street is China town. I mean, literally just around the corner. Plenty of art galleries, neat little shops and restaurants- I recommend the Plum Tree Inn or Phillipe's, which makes a darn good french dip sandwhich. Also nearby is little tokyo- which boasts some great sushi and another Museum of Contemporary Art location (in addition to the on on the West Side and the one on Grand ave. in Downtown)

From Union Station Pasadena is just a 15 minute ride away on the Gold line- once there check out Old Town Pasadena on Colorado avenue- like the promenade but much smaller and more "real," the shopping area was a ghetto-fabulous urban planner's nightmare twenty years ago- but is now a model of urban renewal. They boast all sorts of neat shops and great restaurants. Check out Paseo Colorado, just down the street- it's Pasadena's out-door mall and is pretty popular with the tourists.

Also, if you're outdoor folk at all, there are some beautiful hikes to be had in the Angeles national forest- a vastly under-utilized resources that has some beautiful hikes. There are plenty of easy walk/hikes with trail-heads opening above Pasadena- check out the national forest webpage for some more info on that. I highly recommend it however.

Hope that helped a little... and have fun in LA!
posted by Waffle_King at 9:31 AM on February 17, 2007

AKBAR is awfully far if you're staying in Downtown, unless you happen to be in Venice anyway. I'd stay away from 3rd street promenade -- it's essentially a large shopping mall, and most of the stores you can probably go to back home, unless home is prison. Old Town in Pasadena also has a lot of chain stores, but somehow feels more quaint. Hollywood & Highland is a hoot if only because it just doesn't make sense, and you can take the subway directly there from downtown. Check out the Roosevelt Hotel while you're there -- they've got a restaurant called 25 degrees that serves the best hamburgers, and really great wine to go with it. Melrose isn't touristy at all, and for that reason it's probably my pick for the shopping area to go to. Melrose between Fairfax and La Brea is the area we're talking about here.

Go to brunch tomorrow at the Pacific Dining Car. It's in downtown, and it's great. Very old fashioned. Feels like the place hasn't changed in decades. Go to the Downtown branch of the Public Library. Amazing architecture. They have tours, which can be cool, or you can just wander for twenty minutes if you want the short version. Look up -- the ceilings and wall murals are outstanding. Tonight you should go to the Downtown Standard -- rooftop bar, drinking under the stars, usually a decent DJ, and tons of eye candy (and it should be a fantastic night for drinking outside, considering how warm it was last night and hot it is today). You might feel out of place or you might fight right in, but either way, it's not to be missed. Get there early, 9-ish or 10-ish. Not sure how getting in there is these days. Ask your hotel. Dinner at Cafe Pinot, right next to the Library, is a good choice.

Those are my suggestions for things to do downtown. Personally, I'd stay away from the beach unless you leave early -- it'll be packed today because it's so nice. Perhaps tomorrow you could leave early, go beach it, and then go to the Getty. Also make reservations to check out the Griffith Park Observatory -- totally rehabbed, totally beautiful. That's right next to Los Feliz, where Electric Lotus is. That place is fun and frolicy, and the food is good but not great. I actually love it, but I know a lot of Indian food snobs who turn up their nose. Vermont Ave, where Electric Lotus is, has tons of great shops and cafes and things. Also a great movie theatre -- tiny, neighborhoody. If you are interested in 'classic' Los Angeles things, you should see who's playing at the Troubadour. It's an institution like the Improv is. A bit of a hike, on the border of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, but if you are really adventurous, you could go to dinner at Dan Tana's (another LA institution, Italian food circa 1947, Cary Grant and Ida Lupino eating next table over) and then go to the Troubador. Tonight, a band named Lifetime is playing. They're neo-punk. Monday night is free, but it's metal. Maybe the Troubador is a bad idea. Moving on!
posted by incessant at 10:07 AM on February 17, 2007

...you might feel out of place or you might fit right in at the Downtown Standard. No fighting there. Unless you're fighting for that really hot bartender's phone number. But then you'd also be fighting with your wife. Nothing to see here, move along.
posted by incessant at 10:10 AM on February 17, 2007

The Norton Simon art museum has a much better collection that eithe the Getty or LACM. Lots of nice eating places down the street as well. Later, go to the Huntington Gardens.
posted by DudeAsInCool at 10:29 AM on February 17, 2007

Getty Center is a must IMO, for the views and architecture. The cafe there is decent too, so you can get a nice lunch and sit outside. I recommend Venice beach even though its far away from downtown, but only on the weekends. It will be busy, but that's the point - its all about the people-watching in Venice.

For food - I recommend BLD in Hollywood for breakfast, brunch or lunch. For Sunday dinner, call Lucques and see if there are any reservations left - they do an awesome prix-fixe on Sundays. Opus on Wilshire is excellent too, they have great 3, 6 or 9 course tasting menus at $30, $60 and $90 respectively. For sushi, go to Sushi Park on Sunset Blvd and trust Peter to serve you what is good today (closed Sundays). For Indian, I also love Akbar, and its very close by if you go to Venice Beach. For great Chinese food in downtown - check out Liliya on 2nd St.
posted by Joh at 10:44 AM on February 17, 2007

The Norton Simon art museum has a much better collection that eithe the Getty or LACM

(Full disclosure: I work at LACMA, and have friends at both the Getty and the Norton Simon.) LACMA is one of the largest encyclopedic collections in the U.S. -- it's completely apples and oranges to compare it against the Norton Simon, which is a great collection (I personally am quite fond of their modernist holdings) but relative to LACMA much smaller and with a narrower collecting focus.

Comparing the N.Simon to the Getty also sort of misses the point, even though I actually agree that the N.Simon's collections are superior to the Getty's in some (though certainly not all) areas -- Norton Simon has more and better modernism, but the Getty Villa has infinitely better ancient art than either LACMA or the Norton Simon; it's not even a contest. But the Getty is as much about its spectacular settings as it is about the art, and as lovely an afternoon as you can have at the Norton Simon (the gardens are very pretty), there's just no comparison in that regard.

Again, none of this is to diss the Norton Simon, but for first-time visitors to L.A., there's not really a good reason to put it first on the list (third or fourth, yes!). [/museum geek]

posted by scody at 11:27 AM on February 17, 2007

Melrose isn't touristy at all, and for that reason it's probably my pick for the shopping area to go to. Melrose between Fairfax and La Brea is the area we're talking about here.

I have to disagree on this, as Melrose is one of the most popular and busy touristy areas in the city. The sidewalks most weekends are overflowing with tourists carrying large shopping bags and snapping pictures.
posted by RoseovSharon at 12:08 PM on February 17, 2007

The Bombay Cafe at Pico and Bundy does superb North Indian food. For fabulous veg South Indian go to Paru's on Sunset near the Children's Hospital. While you're in the Silverlake region try out the Thai/Vietnamese influenced food at Greengrass on Glendale at Silverlake. Lucky you.
posted by firstdrop at 6:01 PM on February 17, 2007

There are many Indian restaurants in Pasadena. If you go there to see the Huntington Library or the Norton Simon Museum they are convenient. There are listings for them here. Search for Indian cuisine. But firstdrop's recommendations are better.
posted by halonine at 7:16 PM on February 17, 2007

Ugh. I meant Gingergrass at 2396 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles
323-644-1600. Been away too long.
posted by firstdrop at 8:31 PM on February 17, 2007

Ruan Pair, cheap authentic Thai in Los Feliz (described here);

Amoeba Music, maybe the world's best music store in Hollywood.
posted by jouster at 12:46 AM on February 18, 2007

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