Going home is always something I look forward to weeks before that email pops up with the flight reminder. Being born and raised in LA, I typically find myself making a mental hit list of all of my favorite places I must eat at, shop at, and get a little sweat in at. This particular trip I had four glorious days without an agenda other than experiencing all the places that makes home feel like home. When one friend offered to take me to whatever restaurant I had been craving since my last visit- I suddenly became overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of options I had. Being a local and feeling that way I suddenly realized how those LA 1st timers must feel. Especially when they realize all the sub cities comprise to make the LA we all see on TV aren’t exactly next to each other, and well taking the 405 is always a bad idea.
So here are a few of my favorite places in the place that made me.
26 Beach: If you have an affinity for brunch, especially one filled copious amounts of carbs served with a side of Ice Cream. 26 Beach is the place for you! Located in Venice, they are celebrating their 29th year, just one bite off their menu and you will see why their average wait without a reservation is over an hour. Tip: Call at least a week ahead in order to get a reservation during prime brunching time. Pro Tip: Order the Reece’s French toast with a side of Vanilla Ice Cream … You can thank me later.
Plan Check: If gourmet burgers are your thing, you must check out Plan Check. They hype that surrounds this place is unbelievable and although I am typically unscathed by the newest “it” spot in LA when this place opened just down the street from Gracis and my 1st apartment I became a full card carrying believer. Be prepared to wait at least 30 minutes, but grab one of their many glorious speciality cocktails and enjoy the view of the trendy, beautiful people stuffing their faces. Eat: The Chief’s Burger or The Blue Print. Drink: The Breeders Cup
The Penthouse: Located in the Huntley Hotel, this is hands down one of my favorite places to grab a happy hour cocktail. With 360 floor to ceiling windows you are guaranteed to score either an ocean view or a view of the sprawling city scape. Bonus points if you manage to get there as the sun is setting over the gorgeous Santa Monica ocean.
The Hermosa Beach Pier: Hermosa will always hold a special place in my heart as its where I was born and raised. The Pier in particular is where I received my 1st job as a teen. During the day I recommend going to Hermosa Cyclery and grabbing a bike- there is no better way to see the beach. After Dark, the Pier’s numerous bars, clubs, and pubs turn into one of the only locations you can bar hop in flip flops
Temescal Canyon: This is hands down my favorite hike in LA. Far less crowded than the overly hyped Runyon Canyon Temescal offers an amazing workout with Ocean, City, an Canyon views. You can do the popular “loop” or take the trail as far as 20 miles. Hands down my favorite way to sweat out doors.
Santa Monica Stairs: I cannot leave LA without doing a quick run to the Santa Monica Stairs and then running… okay walking these bad boys several times. If it’s Cardio you are craving this stop will surely deliver.
Abbot Kinney: If you are in search of a shopping experience that is all LA you must take a walk down Abbot Kinney. This famous strip is home to some of the best and most unique Boutiques, Art Galleries, and Restaurants. From clothes, to jewelry, to speciality home pieces- be careful after a day on Abbot Kinney you might have to buy a second suitcase to head home.
Third Street Promenade: This is the perfect one stop shop for all of your retail needs. I love aimlessly walking in and out of stores while street performers put on an always entertaining show outside of the store windows. Be warned the crowds get a bit crazy, but with such a gorgeous proximity to the Santa Monica Pier it is worth it.
While I could go on for days and days on amazing places to check out on your next trip- I think I have began to ramble a bit. Any other places I didn’t include you want an inside scoop on?
Image Via: The Lovelee Girl