Lost in Los Angeles

I just spent a wonderful weekend in LA with Jon and Rashmi. Unlike my previous 3 visits, this time I really felt like I found "the city in the suburb".
Whats the secret to enjoying LA?

  1. Buy a decent street map and skip the freeways. Last time I spent hours on I405 and I10 … this time drives down Wilshire, Western and Sunset stunned me with just how colourful the city is.
  2. Have a car (OK, OK, so this is obvious, but you'd be surprised as to how many friends I have who have gone to LA and been p*ssed off that they can't get around easily on public transport)
  3. Hang out with locals who know fun places to go and where to park.
  4. If you can't hang out with locals, at least do some research before you go.
  5. Through a combination of 3. and 4., know where you are going before you start driving (reference "trying to find a cocktail at 4pm in downtown Culver City)

Talking of research, here are some tips on museums, cafes, bars, restaurants and neighbourhoods I would recommend:

trashy


CAFES

Creative City Cafe, 7310 Santa Monica Blvd · West Hollywood, CA · 90046
Free wifi, friendly staff, awesome sandwiches, and stacks of movie scripts to browse through.

BARS

Akbar, 4356 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90029
Funky gay/mixed bar, very good mojitos, interesting decor.

Cat and Fiddle, 6530 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
European pavement cafe meets British pub meets LA.

Coach and Horses, 7617 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046.
OK, so we didn't actually make it here but the barmaid who I bumped into elsewhere assured me that the happy hour is worth dropping in for (4-8pm), and it has the best juikebox in the city. Also its apparently murky, so if lkike me you occasionally need to escape the sun, its somewhere to head.

Good Luck, 1514 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Apparently this place used to be too trendy for its own good, but we found it welcoming. Cosy chinese decor.

MUSEUMS

Watts Towers, 1765 East 107th St, Los Angeles, CA.
A must see. Hand built by Simon Rodia over 34 years. Eerily reminiscent of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Well off the regular tourist track which makes it even more of a must see.1765 East 107th St,Los Angeles, CA.

watts towers

Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA
To be honest the mostly 17-19th century art was lost on me, but the Getty is worth a visit for the view, the view, the view, the view and the view. Did I mention the view? And the burgers in the cafe. And the monorail public transport experience (a rarity in LA). And the building. Stunning.

getty view

Museum of Jurassic Technology, 9341 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA
Very very odd. To get in the mood, make sure you have a Margarita or 2 at the Mexican place on Bagley Ave. south of Venice Blvd (we found this place after walking round the neighbourhood for 30 minutes, see tip 5 above). Make sure you go upstairs to calm down and have some tea.

NEIGHBOURHOODS

Firstly three non-touristy places where a Bay Area resident/European can feel at home:

Two places to go eat:

Two touristy essentials (combine with the above to stay sane):

  • Venice Beach – everything you have heard is true. You can see David Hasselhoff down there busking on most Tesday afternoons.
  • Hollywood – As tacky as hell but worth a trip for the Chinese theatre, street of stars (can you spot Lee Majors and Big Bird?) and possibly the world's longest news stand.

bigbird hollywood star

RESTAURANTS

Electric Lotus, 4656 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027
In the Los Filez neighbourhood – a funky Indian restaurant, where intriguingly all the staff look like they auditioned for Beverley Hills 90410.

Palms Thai, 5900 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Great thai food, but who cares about the food when you have a Singha beer and a splendidly croony Thai Elvis impersonator?

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12 Responses to Lost in Los Angeles

  1. Holy crap, what a thorough writeup!
    -J

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  3. Eric Masaba says:

    Hey Rick,

    RE: Final Piece in the Fulfilment of Search vs Travel

    I liked your piece on this. I have got a scheme called Texxi which will aim to make visitors to an area find language tour operators who also happen to drive cabs. Couple this with being able to travel with like-minded / like-languaged people and you have a great way to promote tourism as well as being ecologically responsible.

    The integration between the boundaries of online search and travel will become increasingly blurred to the point where the two activities are seamless.

    If one considers that the intentions of a large number of people start with an online search (including mobile online search) then there are two fulfilment paths to consider:

    In the first case, the intention is fulfilled by moving an item TO the person who executed the demand. This is handled extremely well by the logistics business space. There is room for evolution, but generally it is a problem with excellent solutions. When the item required is digital in nature, this is taken care even more effectiviely by the network / bandwidth provisioning companies (Digital Logistics).

    Secondly, an intention is fulfilled by moving the person TO the intended place. This is handled neither particularly well nor seamlessly.

    Assume I am a tourist looking for an attraction to visit in a foreign city. Normally I would use a (space-domain) map, figure out where the attraction was located, then figure out how to get there and how much the trip would cost. I would then go to find the transport and try to coincide my itinerary with a timetable.

    Now with an evolved Texxi model, I would use my mobile communications device with either a time-location-domain map of attractions OR a cost-location-domain map of attractions (these are maps which show loci depending on how long it takes get there or how much it costs to get there; the actual distance is normally a secondary consideration, it is just that this normally has some reasonable relationship to the time it takes to get there).

    Then the final and critical piece. I click on the map and instruct the DRT Exchange that this is where I wish to go. Texxi (the Broker) takes care of the rest through its DRT Exchange activities and I am moved by a DRT Fulfilment Provider (shuttle, taxi, bus, private jet) from either directly where I am located or from nearby with a group of people with a similar itinerary. This group is further filtered by behaviour/reputation parameters – so I don’t get put in with football hooligans.

    This is 21st century travel. Effectively “FedEx for People”.

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