SK City Guides: Los Angeles

Posted on April 04, 2017

Whether you were born and raised in LA, transplanted here, or just visit periodically, you've likely had an excellent meal in a strip mall, traveled by car to the far reaches of the city to meet a friend for a drink in a bizarre, old bar, and devoted entire days or evenings to driving through the hills, window-shopping for homes and taking in views of the city. LA is a very particular place, and as you spend more time in the city, you'll likely uncover a number of places to go to that are distinctive, often strange, and wonderful. 

Continue on to discover some of our favorite, lesser-known places: speciality stores, dive and cocktail bars, historic movie theaters, sushi restaurants, and so on—from Pasadena to The Valley. 

E A T 

Little Flower in Pasadena has amazing sandwiches-- especially the Green Turkey

Casa Vega in The Valley has amazing Mexican food and positively deadly margaritas, all set in a crazy adobe curved structure. The servers are dressed to impress in authentic fiesta gowns. 

Erewhon has a few locations across LA: On Beverly and Fairfax, in Venice, and in Calabasas. The readymade sushi is excellent, the salad bar is the best in LA, and the organic skincare and supplement aisles are legendary.

Trattoria Bella Roma is great for authentic, simple Italian food

Nick's in Manhattan Beach has a well-thought and delicious menu and a great cheese plate!

Fratelli Cafe on Melrose is a family owned vegan-and-carnivore-friendly cafe where everything is delicious, everyone is attractive, and the environment is fun

Honda-Ya has Japanese bar food—Yakiniku, Izakaya, sashimi, and pitchers of beer. It's a great place to come with a bigger group and they serve past midnight

Guelaguetza has great Oaxacan food and is perfect for large groups

HomeState for their Breakfast Tacos!
Jitlada is famous for serving great Thai food and being located in a Hollywood strip mall. They have menu items that you won't find everywhere else. 
Sushi Gen has the best sushi lunch in LA—without question. Get the Sashimi Deluxe, it's half price for lunch. Be prepared to wait in line if you arrive at the wrong time. 
L&E Oyster Bar has a great happy hour and tons of good seafood. Order the Daily Dozen! 
Maneula Downtown's atmosphere, located inside the Hauser Wirth & Schimmel arts complex, is comfortable and has a classic mid century feeling, making it perfect for an intimate and casual gathering. They use locally-grown produce and seasonal ingredients. The Verbena Mule is delicious! 


Full Haus is a gallery operated by two artists and friends of Spinelli Kilcollin, named Becca Lieb & David Muenzer. The gallery is in their Silver Lake one bedroom home and Studio. They produce strong shows by emerging LA artists. Viewings are by appointment only. 

Vista Theatre, which opened in 1923, is a historic single-screen movie theater in Los Feliz

The Hollyhock House is a gorgeous landmark by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is, according to Lloyd, a meditation on the "freedom to make one’s own form." Read about the history of the Hollyhock House here on our journal! 


Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale has an organ built into the rollerskating rink, with an organist who plays live every Tuesday night. The rink draws a diverse crowd, many of whom appear to be regulars--drawn together by their enthusiasm for the activity.

The Flower Mart, followed by a trip to Moskatels, which is a great store for all of your craft needs

Old Zoo at Griffith Park has slightly eerie hidden caves and spots to discover on a hike

Mill Creek Equestrian Center is a quiet, hidden oasis hidden in Topanga Canyon

Hike near The Griffith Observatory in Los Feliz for great views of the city, and Los Leones Trail and Topanga Canyon in the Pacific Palisades and Malibu for the beautiful, scenic views on the Malibu coast


Beyond Baroque in Venice is a great venue for small arts and literary events. It's sort of a hub of Southern California writing and will never be boring

The Greystone Mansion was built by  Doheny's for the oil heir son. He was mysteriously found dead along with his house servant—maybe a lover's tussle? You can stroll the grounds and stand on the hilltop that overlooks LA and imagine what life would have been like in LA in the '20s. 

Record Surplus has an excellent selection of quality vinyl, and the staff is always friendly.

Gloss Nail Spa is not relaxing and parking is nearly impossible, but if you need a great  manicure then ask for Helen

S H O P  

Wacko's Soap Plant is a weird and wonderful store located between Hollywood and Los Feliz that supplies strange, random gift options

Skylight Books in Los Feliz is an independent bookstore with a great selection of texts on art

Whimsic Alley is an Anglophile fan shop on Wilshire blvd where Potter Heads, Whovians, and Thronies alike can get both authorized merchandise and non-licensed homemade artifacts

Happy Isles is a dreamy one of a kind bridal (and special events) boutique. It's by appointment only and she offers alcohol!
The Fine Art of Design in Palm Springs has an extensive collection of finds, like 70’s Yves Saint Laurent silk dresses, Halston and more!  
Mohawk General Store sells Acne, Dries Van Noten, Rochas…If you’re into it, this is your place.


Republique on La Brea has great plates to share, an amazing bar, and an interesting, beautiful interior 

Bar 9 in Culver City is maybe the best coffee shop in LA

Abigaile in Manhattan Beach has an amazing dirty martini. The upstairs has a nightclub and rooftop seating which is always fun to run-up to after a drink!

Barnacles in Hermosa Beach is a complete dive and is nice for a game of pool after the beach

Dia Del Campo in Hermosa Beach has an amazing happy hour, with fresh, spicy margaritas and $1 Oysters on Tuesdays!

Good Luck Bar in Los Feliz has good mixed Tiki drinks and Chinese lanterns!
Wendell in Downtown LA is local casual spot
Rainbow Bar and Grill is a great 80s bar — keep your eyes out for Ron Jeremy
Bar Stella in Silver Lake has some of the best cocktails in LA  
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