weekend in LA
April 18, 2007 12:28 PM   Subscribe

So, I'm going to LA this weekend. What should I do there?

I'll be in LA this Friday night until Monday. We're staying at the Hyatt West Hollywood on Sunset Blvd, and we'll have a car. Except for Disneyland (which I don't want to go to), I know nothing about LA, so I'm not sure what to do when we're actually there. Ideas?

We're specifically interested in:

*Quiet, warm beaches- we want to lounge around on Sunday and enjoy the (hopefully) warm weather. Is the water warm this time of year? Where should we go?

*Nightclubs- we want party like rockstars on Saturday at some club, preferably within walking distance of the hotel so we can stumble home all drunk. I know there are a bunch of places on Sunset Blvd, but how do I know if we're cool enough to actually be let in? I don't handle rejection well!

*Delicious mexican food- yum!

We'll also be checking out the Museum of Jurassic Technology and Venice Beach, and doing a bunch of shopping. Anything else we can't miss?
posted by logic vs love to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
i really like the getty...its not a normal museum. i don't even go for the art. its just a cool ass zone.
posted by alkupe at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2007

try out zuma beach. park your car at the very end of the road and walk a bit further down. at night, this becomes one of the few quiet places in L.A. apart from the crashing waves, of course. google map link

if it is a clear night, drive up the angels crest highway (hw2) after partying to mount wilson and enjoy the spectacular view of the brightly light LA. sometimes the yellow lights reflect in the haze/smog layer below the starry blue night sky. on a clear night you can see all the way to long beach, which will give you a good idea of just how huge LA is. you can also watch the planes descent on a long row of lights into LAX. google map link.
posted by krautland at 12:42 PM on April 18, 2007

events: check flavorpill. for food, take a look at http://franklinavenue.blogspot.com.
posted by krautland at 12:43 PM on April 18, 2007

You're there the weekend of the Brewery Artwalk - it's an artists' community and the artists open their studios to the public twice a year. Bonus: it's free, with free parking. (Full disclosure: I am a resident artist.)

There's tons of good Mexican food all over the place. Check this list. If you feel like venturing to East L.A., try El Tepeyac; closer-ish to you, Sonora Cafe. That's right near the Farmer's Market, with different food vendors all in one concentrated area.
posted by bedhead at 12:55 PM on April 18, 2007

MeFi user jonson has a handy map of his favorite places in LA to grab a bite to eat.
posted by chlorus at 1:08 PM on April 18, 2007

West Hollywood has a ton of bars, live music and restaurants. You'll find most of the clubs a little further east on Sunset. You can take a cab to spots like, Geisha, The Day After, Cinespace, Velvet Margarita, Spider Club/Avalon, Beauty Bar, etc. They are all located on or just off Hollywood Boulevard - between Highland Avenue and Vine.

Driving to the beach is a lot of fun. You can take Sunset to the water, but it's a very long drive. Take the I-10 all the way west until it becomes the Pacific Coast Highway. As you drive north, you'll pass Santa Monica and end up in Malibu. Some beaches are clearly indicated; others not. Pick one and go with it! I prefer the quieter beaches up north (particularly El Matador). The water's never really warm here.

Bars on sunset: check out the Viper Room and the Rainbow. You're close by the House of Blues. there's also many other places, like Red Rock, Saddle Ranch, the Whiskey, Barney's Beanery and Falcon. Also close by is the Troubador.

If you want a crash course in "LA", put some nice clothes together and go to the Standard Hotel downtown (not the one on Sunset!). You won't regret it. There's another good bar nearby - I think its called the Golden Gopher. Great atmosphere, but just remember parts of downtown can be sketchy.

West Hollywood has some great restaurant and clubs too. You can drive down to Santa Monica Boulevard from your hotel. It's a madhouse there on the weekends.

For shopping, you're right around the corner from Beverly Hills. If you need to pick up anything, try to go to the Grove on the corner of Fairfax and 3rd Ave. This 'mall' has nice stores, as well as a beautiful open market where they serve at least a hundred different kinds of lunch.
posted by phaedon at 1:08 PM on April 18, 2007

If you like books and all things literary, you can go to the largest literary event in North America, the LA Times Festival of Books, which is held on the beautiful UCLA campus is beautiful and exciting Westwood. Map There's tons of stuff to do in and around Westwood, too. Shopping on Melrose, West Hollywood night spots (where all the celebrities hang out), Beverly Hills, Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade.
The weather here has been cool and windy this week.
posted by HotPatatta at 1:15 PM on April 18, 2007

Sorry to dash your beach hopes, but it looks like it's not going to be warm (at least not by L.A. standards) at the beaches this weekend -- Santa Monica, for example, is going to be in the 50s and probably rainy on Sunday.
posted by scody at 1:28 PM on April 18, 2007

The Getty is fantastic, but get there early. Once parking spaces are full, they don't let anyone in. And it fills up quickly. If you visit Our Lady of the Angels, you can also walk over to the Frank Gehry-designed Walk Disney Concert Hall. The downtown library is cool, too. Venice Beach is a fun place, but possible rain may keep the trannies, street performers, and sidewalk vendors in doors. You may end up walking down the street, only to be met by the dogged fire-and-brimstone evangelicals.

LA is a hard place to visit in a weekend because it is so spread out. Stick to the west side since your time is limited.
posted by HotPatatta at 1:36 PM on April 18, 2007

Yep, too cold to sit at the beach or (brrrr!) go in the water, but you could just drive up PCH, look at the ocean from the warmth of the car, then hang out at Neptune's Net for a couple hours.
posted by clh at 1:45 PM on April 18, 2007

Here's a good neighborhood guide. Since I was an LA tourguide for years I'd normally write a bunch of stuff but I'm short on time. So I'll just lazily say... previously.

And if you want good Mexican food? San Diego is the place to go (Roberto's Carne Asada, baybee!!!!). In LA you must go to El Coyote for margaritas, though.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:55 PM on April 18, 2007

BTW, check out the LA Weekly the second you get there. That will tell you everything going on in town.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:56 PM on April 18, 2007

I would recommend the Bar Marmont on Sunset. It's in a historic hotel (Chataeu Marmont), and it's a classy place, but without the mega-exclusive door policy.

You'll get the best of both worlds- no velvet rope, but not a tourist-crammed trashy nightmare like the Saddle Ranch.

Go the Rainbow if you want to stumble into an amusing/sad 80s timewarp and see Lemmy from Motorhead by the video game in the corner. Go the Viper Room if you want to see mediocre-awful bands. Go south to Santa Monica Blvd. if you want to see the sterotypical over-the-top gay clubs with the awful pounding dance music .
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:17 PM on April 18, 2007

Ahhh, I haven't been to Bar Marmont in ages. Trust me, they used to have a really obnoxious doorman. That guy was ridiculous. I'm sure he's enjoying his busboy nightshifts at Denny's now.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:37 PM on April 18, 2007

For Mexican food I don't think you can go wrong with El Cholo, but perhaps the fact that the chimichanga is the best anywhere is blinding me to other faults. I also suggest Frida in Beverly Hills or the Sonora if you want a place where the servers are not dressed as senoritas.

If you go to the museum of jurassic technology you'll be near the Apple Pan, which is an LA institution.

For shopping you are probably looking at 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica, the Grove, and maybe a stop at Rodeo drive. As a local, I actually prefer to shop at the Beverly Center. The Grove is loaded with tourists [they drop them off by the bus-full] and has an amazingly low number of stores that you want to shop at. Seriously, it has a Pottery Barn kids, but no Pottery Barn. It has a Nordstoms but no Macy's. It also has a Abercrombie store that is like a master class on how not to design a retail store. Loud music, no lights, everything tucked away. Maybe I'm just old. The Grove has a disneyland feel to it, which is whay it is so popular. Third street Promenade has the best combo of chain stores and interesting boutiques.

If you want to shop places that aren't a total mall, try Silverlake and Melrose. Melrose has changed from a "We're still trying to be punk" wasteland to a subtly pop place. There are also a lot of great shoe stores. If you visit Melrose I suggest taking some time to walk the south alley, the north alley has good spots as well but the south alley is where some of the best graffiti murals are. I think they are beautiful, and it's like a secret gallery. If it isn't your thing it isn't your thing.

In Venice, be sure to actually drive or walk around the remaining canals

The Getty is great, although for me it is all about the building and not so much about the collection. Remember that the Getty Villa just re-opened if older stuff is more your scene.

If you like acoustic-y singer-songwriter music you may want to check out Hotel Cafe. It's not the same sort of scene as you seem to be looking for, but it's the best at what it does. For more of a scene, you'll be staying right by Skybar, which is the only place I ever see celebrities that people would want to see, so you can try there. I'm hopelessly lame and cannot offer any additional nightclub advice.

For a scene at Breakfast, try The Griddle. It has great pancakes and great people-watching. It isn't on the menu, but you can order a short stack of any of the pancakes. which dramatically reduces the odds you'll have leftover pancakes for days.

Peruse a few la blogs to see if anything random and cool is going on [secret shows, flashmobs]. Laist, LA Observed,

There are architecture tours of LA. I've used the second link for group architecture tours. If you like TV and Movies, the WB has a good tour and you usually get to walk the ER or Gilmore Girls set.

Since it isn't far from where you'll be, I'll also mention that you can go horseback riding in Griffith park.

Mullholland Drive
is something I very much recommend if you like scenic drives. If you'd rather just get where you are going, skip it.
posted by Mozzie at 5:38 PM on April 18, 2007

when i was in l.a. for the first time in december, i referenced this askmefi thread from a few months back about what to do there.

i'd recommend
-Getty Center
-Griffith Observatory (free reservation required online 48 hours prior)
-Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles (not exactly classy or mexican food, but surprisingly delicious and a unique experience)
- drives: 1) north on the PCH ( Hwy101 ), 2) Mullholland Drive 3) through Topanga Canyon (can't remember the road, but it's northeast of downtown L.A.)

for more, you may want to browse through past askmefi posts about los angeles
posted by eli_d at 7:51 PM on April 18, 2007

Standard Hotel downtown

fair warning: the hotel room windows are not mirrored, they are just darker. film crews working in the building across the street will see you brushing your teeth naked in the living room, enjoying that stripper and inserting a giant needle into your penis (seriously, that still haunts me).
posted by krautland at 12:01 AM on April 19, 2007

If you like driving and pretty views, I really strongly recommend finding Mulholland drive and then driving it. This is especially good if you have a mildly sporty car (handling-wise, you won't be going very fast). To get there from West Hollywood (ish), I drove north on Highland Ave. and then just sort of drove along (but not on) the 101. Eventually you'll see a turn off to the right that says Mulholland Drive. THis is not the one you want. Instead, keep going a bit further and there'll be a sort of unmarked left that you can take. Google maps. I provide these elaborate directions because it's not entirely easy to find if you don't have a good map. My dad says they did this on purpose at some point 'cause people were racing there and stuff.

Also, be advised that there is a Getty Center and a Getty Villa, and that these are two different things. I ended up at the Villa, which is a collection of ancient art (think Greeks, Romans, etc.). The place was pretty neat, but small, and ancient art isn't really my bag, anyway.

Finally, if you like Rock\Metal and Metal Skool is playing at the Key Club on Sunset Strip, it might not be a bad thing to go to. I had the weird experience of seeing the bassist from System of a Down play a lick for some guy from Wu-Tang to rap to. And then Jerry Cantrell came up and they played some Alice in Chains stuff. Even if all that hadn't happened, Metal Skool was good, campy, hair-metal fun, and they played pretty well.
posted by !Jim at 1:48 AM on April 19, 2007

The Books are performing at the malibu performing arts center this coming sunday night.
posted by fac21 at 5:56 AM on April 20, 2007

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