LA Travel Guide: How to See it All in One Weekend

LA Travel Guide: How to See it All in One Weekend

LA will always be one of my favorite cities. I spent a good portion of my twenties living there, and it will always have a special place in my heart. I try and get down there as much as possible (See link for previous trip), but sadly it doesn't happen as much as I would like. Earlier this month I had the chance to fly down for a quick getaway to see some friends. It was a blast! I ran around the whole city and felt like I got the full LA experience. 

LA can be a tough place to visit, with it's sprawl and massive size. You have to be strategic with your locations and time if you want to avoid spending it all sitting in traffic. No fear, I've got some tips on what to do and see in my 4 favorite LA neighborhoods!

Downtown, Arts District, West Hollywood & Venice!

First stop...

Downtown LA

I started my trip earlier in the week for some work down in Orange County. Once work had finished, I hopped on the Surfliner train and headed north to Downtown LA (side note: I highly recommend the train if you've never done it. You can take it as far south as San Diego or ride it all the way to Santa Barbara. It follows the Pacific Ocean the whole way and is incredibly beautiful. PLUS there is no traffic!).  

If you take the train you'll want to get off at Union Station.  Union Station is a classic train station in the heart of Downtown LA with a beautiful mix of Art Deco/ Spanish architecture. It always makes me feel as if I've been transported back to the 1920's. Definitely worth a quick walk around if you've never been. 


Look at those old ticketing counters!! Those grand windows. So beautiful. 

I had made plans to meet up with my friend Alex downtown at the Ace Hotel.  The Ace Rooftop is definitely one of the best spots to grab a cocktail and catch the sunset in the city. They have fantastic Moscow Mules, if that's what you're into ;) 


@alexbar7 's Flamingo shirt is EVERYTHING!


Aww, love this photo. We also unintentionally matched with our pastel pink shirts. 


The LA skyline downtown is constantly changing and growing. I didn't even recognize half of the new buildings since I last left. Also, loving they kept the vintage "Jesus Saves" sign in the bottom right corner. 

After watching the sunset, we decided we needed to grab some food. Alex and I walked a couple blocks to a quirky place called Clifton's Republic. Clifton's is a kitschy and eclectic spot that transports you to the middle of a dimly lit Redwood forest. It is full of fake trees, taxidermy and old Victorian furniture. Somehow it all works together in a charming way. It has four floors, with a soul food cafeteria on the first, and then 3 unique bars on each upper level. Highlights were the HUGE chandelier tree and the hidden glass mirror door that leads to a secret Tiki Bar. Definitely a fun place to explore.


Inside the Redwood tree was an awesome fire pit. It was so cool, but got a little too toasty too quick. 

Other spots to checkout when downtown

Perch Rooftop (A classy rooftop bar)

Verve Coffee (Amazing living wall)

The Standard Rooftop (A fun rooftop bar)

The Broad (Modern art museum. Lots of Koonz and Warhol's)

Grand Central Market (so much good food. Try Egg Slut if you can stand the line)

Arts District

Another one of my other favorite neighborhoods in LA is the Arts District. It's not too far from Downtown, but has an entirely different feel. I definitely recommend walking this area if you're a fan of street art and large murals. Tons of great insta spots!


My friends Brooks' was out of town and let me let me crash at his place while he was gone. Such a beautiful place!! So grateful he let me stay there for the weekend. Also, his rooftop deck was stunning. Such a great view!

After a night of good sleep,  I woke up early and walked to Blacktop Coffee to read for a bit and wake up.  They have the best coffee and are connected to a cute boutique shop, selling everything I want, but can't really afford. 


Mmmmm delicious. Take me back. The shop is called Alchemy Works, and it has a very curated selection of beautiful items to purchase. I'll take one of each!




Some of the fun murals in the Arts District. I didn't spend too much time in the Arts District this trip, but here are some of my additional recommendations.

Other spots to check out in the Arts District

Hauser & Wirth Gallery

Wurstkuche (Best sausages)

Stumptown Coffee

EightyTwo (Awesome Arcade Bar)

Bestia (maybe the best dining experience I've ever had?)

West Hollywood

Next I had brunch plans with my friend Ryan in West Hollywood (WeHo). We decided on a cute little place called the Hart and the Hunter. They never have a long wait and its very delicious if you're into comfort breakfast food. 


After brunch we walked around a bit in the Melrose area, eventually ending up at Alfred's Coffee at Melrose Place. This area is full of insta spots if you're feeling LA Basic (i.e Paul Smith Pink Wall, Made in LA wall, etc.) It's also a great spot to casually spot local celebs. I was once in line behind Kendall Jenner at Alfred's, and this trip we saw Katie Holmes walking around with shopping bags. Ryan eventually had to take off, so I decided to walk to the the nearby rooftop of the Restoration Hardware (one of my favorite secret spots). Always so peaceful up there, plus they have free wifi and a public restroom, which I desperately needed after all the coffee.


Hangin with @instaryry at Alfreds! Alfred Coffee had a great collab running with @overheardLA . Each of their coffee sleeves had a ridiculous statement someone overheard from someone else in LA. They were hilarious and ridiculous as you would expect. 


The rooftop of the Restoration Hardware. Very cozy, free wifi, and great views of the Hollywood Hills. 


Oh hey millenial Marilyn. Lookin' good. 

My next meet up was with my friend Sam at the Standard pool in Weho. Sam is a swimmer, so I thought it only made sense to meet at a pool for a drink. Plus the Standard pool is about as LA as it gets. We got a pitcher of something delicious and grapefruity and just lounged in the LA sun for a few hours. 


Loving the wavy vibes of this hotel. So fun. 


Hey @samstryker !

I later met up with my friend Grant and Mark for a couple drinks at a cute place called Zinque in the WeHo area. We had a few cocktails and caught up before heading off to the nearby gay bars for old times sake. I rarely go out these days, but it was fun to see familiar faces and old friends. I got tired around 11pm (Such an old man) and decided to call it a night.

Other places to check out in Weho

Verve Coffee (Love the outdoor seating)

E.P. & L.P. Rooftop (Great cocktails and great views)

Melrose Trading Post (Every sunday. Fun flea market)

Gracias Madre (Amazing plant based restaurant)

The Assembly Coffee (Cute minimalist interior)



On my final day I knew I wanted to spend some time at the beach. How can you go to LA and not visit the beach? Out of all the beaches, I would probably pick Venice as my favorite. Venice has an interesting mix of drum circles and new startup vibes. You definitely need to check out the Abbot Kinney strip of shops and restaurants. My friend Steve and I decided to try out the Butchers Daughter, which did not disappoint as a great brunch spot. 


Abbott Kinney is also the spot to go for all the colorful walls. There's a fun one on every corner!


Our latte's from Butcher's Daughter. I think we had about five each that day. We might have a bit of a problem. 

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We eventually headed down to the beach to relax in the sun. Hey @steverpaul! We set up our towels near the rainbow lifeguard stand they painted for this past Venice Pride. Of course I had to do a quick photoshoot. 


Other places to check out in Venice

Gjelina (Amazing pizza)

TOMS ( fun little coffee shop)

Venice Skate Park (the raddest skate park around)

The Venice Canals

Welp, thats my quick and easy LA travel guide! What places did I miss?? I think that is what I love about LA. There is always so much to see and do in that crazy city.  Happy traveling!

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