Los Angeles is lovely no matter when you go—but these 15 reasons will inspire you to book a trip to the City of Angeles this season. The sunny SoCal metropolis has a beauty that isn’t immediately evident to the visitor. After all, it’s a ginormous urban sprawl dotted by strip malls, freeways and all that horrid traffic. But if you know exactly where to go, Lalaland is a dream for culture vultures, fashionistas, art aficionados and foodies. From seductive restaurants and rooftop lounges to wondrous views and beautiful beaches, get the insider scoop on the culture and hot spots in L.A. right now.

The Broad

The city has a brand-new, world-class museum by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. It’s an architectural marvel with a top collection to boot. Circa 2,000 pieces include Baldessari, Basquiat and Warhol. It’s a must.

The Observatory

Get a sense of the vastness of L.A. as it stretches before you towards the ocean in a shimmering mass from this vantage point in Griffith Park. The actual monument to public astronomy, the Observatory itself, is worth a tour as well. Near the entrance to the right is a bust of actor James Dean, immortalizing the fact that “Rebel without a Cause” was filmed here. Watch out! Lots of selfie sticks and prime view of the Hollywood Sign for Instagramming.

 

griffith-park-observatoryGriffith Park Observatory, Photo Credit: Yelp

The Getty

The heat waves of late summer and early fall are over. Perfect time to take in the awe-inspiring architecture and incredible views at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Admission is free. Bring a lover or bestie and a snack for a picnic on the grass. The Getty is one the most visited museums in the entire United States. Its landscaped garden and vast vistas alone is worth the trip, even if you’re not in the mood for admiring paintings.

 

getty-centerGetty Museum, Photo Credit: Yelp

Sunset Junction in Silver Lake

Flip flops no more. On late Saturday mornings, this corner of Silver Lake is teeming with hipsters sipping iced coffee at Intelligentsia and showing off the latest in L.A. East Side fashion styles. It’s a sweet spot for a late brekkie and some serious indie chic shopping.

The Grove

Everyone in L.A. congregates at this fantabulous outdoor mall in Hollywood, located on parts of the old Farmers Market. It features kitschy, pseudo-Euro design, a fountain show with Frank Sinatra music, top celeb spotting and cool stores like Taschen and Anthropologie. The Grove is a great place for some retail therapy, people watching, sharing a tasty bite and cocktails. And it’s beautifully decorated for the holidays.

 

The Grove, Photo Credit: Fodor’s

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles

Install yourself at this sexy hot spot hotel du jour in DTLA for prime access to all of the bounty the revitalized downtown area has to offer. Mingle with rock star locals and international travelers on the rooftop lounge. If at all possible, try to see a show at the adjacent, ornately gorgeous, Theater at Ace Hotel.

The Standard Hotel Rooftop

Grab a drink at The Standard rooftop lounge at dusk, before the cheesy crowds arrive. It’s chill, the music is good, the atmosphere urban minimalist and the views of L.A. panormaic. There’s also a cute Biergarten with pretzels and beer.

 

standard-la-rooftopStandard Photo Credit: Yelp

Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier

The pier is a bit dégoûté but the Ferris Wheel offers a riveting ride where you feel suspended over the glistening Pacific ocean. It’s a very cool experience.

 

view-from-ferris-wheelView from Ferris Wheel, Photo Credit: Yelp

Malibu Country Mart

Mingle with affluent locals in flip flops shopping for Oliver peoples, John Varvatos, Ralph Lauren and more in this sequestered beach “village” right on the famous Highway 1. We’ve spotted many an incognito famous face here.

El Matador State Beach

There are so many beaches to choose from, it’s mind boggling. Most visitors end up in Santa Monica but we like this picture-perfect, secret spot since it reminds us of old school California Coast, rugged and raw, with its jagged rock formations. It’s like a mini Big Sur.

 

el-matador-state-beachEl Matador Beach Photo Credit: Yelp

Clifton’s

A just-finished, over-the-top face-lift of this venerable institution draws the fabulous people. Dine amid a fake redwood tree, taxidermy and dioramas at this nostalgic eatery, which the LA Times described as a “David Lynch fever dream.”

 

cliftons-la-timesCliftons, Photo Credit: LA Times

Bestia

This still new-ish, incredibly cool and delicious downtown Italian restaurant draws a lively and beautiful crowd. It’s model Emily Ratajkowski’s fave L.A. restaurant, and our current hot spot.

Swingers

You’ll want a bit of classic Hollyweird. This famous diner in Hollywood is a classic for people watching, and the food is way better than average for a dinette. The style is retro cool Americana and the scene vibrant yet relaxed.

 

swingers-yelpSwingers Photo Credit: Yelp

Maxfield

It’s not new, but it is an L.A. experience. As they say: It’s “more than a destination. It’s a state of mind.” This epic shop is not for the faint of heart, selling highly original luxury goods in a highly curated space. The staff isn’t always nice, but so what!

Olvera Street

Go as the sun sets, shop for Mexican goodies like Frida Kahlo art, rabbit feet for good luck, worry dolls, leather purses and indigenous, embroidered dresses, and treat yourself to a margarita and cochinita pibil at Casa la Golondrina. Olvera was Los Angeles’ very first street!

 

olvera-streetOlvera Street, Photo Credit: Yelp

Annenberg Community Beach House

Angelenos love this place. Part of a former estate, the Beach House has a pool, playground, good eats, free Wi-Fi and more perks. The beach down from the House gathers fab peeps and their cute kids. We love that you can get stuff you forgot at home like sunscreen, umbrellas and magazines, as well as an iced latte.

Los Feliz: Vermont Avenue

Hipstah alert! Grab a bistro table and glass of wine at sidewalk Figaro Café, take in the scene, then shop at the cool little stores and boutiques, including a couple of very good book vendors such as Skylight. Another must: The Original Churro Ice Cream Sandwich at Churro Burrough is to die-for. We like ours with green tea ice cream.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Explore a bit of upscale beach folk atmo at this stylish yet chill gathering place for West Siders. There are great sushi restaurants (Wabi-Sabi or Shima), art galleries and the sweetest little boutiques and art galleries.

Perch

The weather is balmy all-year round, perfect for feasting and craft-cocktailing atop the city in a Frenchified setting with equally fashionable folks, admiring the art deco buildings of the City of Angels. Perfect for Sunday brunch, too.

 

perch-laPerch Photo Credit: Perch

 There is so much more to do in L.A., it would take months to explore this giant metropolis. Hot spots open around the clock and new, hip neighborhoods are gentrified at warp speeds. Enjoy the classics as much as the latest locales. And come back soon! Did we omit anything? Let us know!

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