Insider’s Guide to La-La

You know that ironic California tourism commercial, the one with Kim Kardashian, Betty White and the Jonas Brothers, and Kim says, “People have a lot of misconceptions about California, but none of them are really true?” Well, I recently took a little trip out to La-La land (because lezbehonest, that’s really what the ad is for), and I must say I was quite surprised by what the city had to offer.

Everyone was sooooo curious to see if I would like LA, since I’m a big critic of cities, so I was determined to find some good in the ridiculously kitschy patch of urban sprawl. While some things remain totally true about LA, like how it’s the second worst dressed city, behind Boston, as rated by GQ, and practically everyone there has convinced themselves they are “somebody” (read: actor, musician, model, screenwriter), yet they still haven’t quit their day job (aka waiter or barista), there are some really neat, genuine spots to the city.

This unassuming neighborhood, just minutes away from West Hollywood, completely removes you from the punked out sidewalks of Melrose and the overwhelming sophistication of Beverly Hills. You’re sure to see some celeb sightings here, although you probably won’t recognize them because they look just like normal people. Larchmont is a mere two blocks long, but packed with different boutiques (with clothes you would actually wear) and delicious bistro-esque restaurants. Try Kiku for outside-the-bento-box sushi rolls and Larchmont Village Wine & Cheese for satisfying, fresh sandwiches.

The Hudson
The Hudson is a neighborhood watering hole on Santa Monica Boulevard. It’s cool for many reasons, the most obvious being that the restaurant is built around trees. It pretty much feels like a tree house.

The Melrose Trading Post
This certainly explains why many LA-ers have terrible, grungy style (I actually went to this flea market wearing a short, see-through linen tunic over a bathing suit…and no one cared), but there’s a lot more to it than just vintage clothes. I wish I could have purchased the entire contents of my apartment at the flea market; it’s filled with distressed cottage style furniture, brightly colored mirrors, and one-of-a-kind bed frames. I was particularly infatuated with the rows upon rows of cowboy boots (and other weird hipster shoes) and vast selection of old school Louis’. The best part is you can haggle with everyone! Every Sunday from 9 AM – 5 PM.

Beverly Hills Farmers Market
While I don’t think many people actually use their kitchens in LA, the Beverly Hills Farmers Market was one of my favorite things to visit! You honestly don’t even need to buy anything because all the vendors stuff you full of samples, but all the produce is so fresh and delicious out there it’s hard not to! Don’t be fooled by the photo—there weren’t nearly as many people when I went—but it’s still a great way to spend a Sunday morning. Every Sunday from 9 AM – 1 PM.

El Carmen
El Carmen is a seriously quirky tequila bar and taquería wedged in between two storefronts on West 3rd. The walls boast mounted bull heads, scary wrestling masks and red lights. This is a great place to go and get intimately drunk with your boyfriend, which is exactly what I did. I can’t remember what their happy hour deals were…but they were amazing.

Posted by Hannah

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