Have you seen my latest release of aerials from Los Angeles? I feel so lucky to be able to travel all around the world shooting some of the most beautiful beaches, but there’s something so special about getting to shoot in the city I call home. Today I’m sharing all of my must-see spots around my favorite city. So, if you’re planning a trip to LA, have always dreamed of visiting, or live here and want to find some new places to explore, read on...
There’s no shortage of hotels to stay in Los Angeles, so how does one possibly choose? First, you need to decide where you want to be. Are you looking to be by the water? If so, my favorite hotel down by the beach is Shutters. It’s right on the sand and in walking distance from all the hustle and bustle of Downtown Santa Monica. The iconic property is like an oasis, but the traditional decor still makes you feel right at home. The Surfrider is another option near the beach just a little bit north up the coast in Malibu. Staying at The Surfrider feels like you’re at the coolest beach house around. The nice thing about being in LA is that even if you’re not staying near the beach, it’s still very easy to get to. In that case, my favorite hotel in LA is The Beverly Hills Hotel. Yes, the hotel was the focal point of my Gray Malin at the Beverly Hills Hotel collection, but aside from that I just truly believe that a stay at The BHH is the ultimate in luxury hotel experiences.
Along with LA’s plethora of hotel options is an even more extensive list of places to eat. Whether you’re looking for an indulgent brunch, a casual lunch or dinner with friends, or somewhere you can go and get dressed up in your favorite outfit, there are options around every corner. Some of my favorite spots for a more casual lunch or dinner are Connie and Ted’s for seafood in West Hollywood, Sugarfish for some of the best sushi around, Blue Plate Taco for yummy mexican food right by the ocean, and Jon and Vinny’s for some of the best Italian food you’ll ever have. République is an amazing restaurant that features a french-inspired menu and is great for brunch, lunch, or dinner! The line can get a little long for brunch though so make sure you plan enough time. The Ivy is an LA staple. The food is delicious, the decor is even better, and there’s a pretty good chance you can get a celebrity sighting if that’s what you’re looking for. If you’re near downtown, I highly recommend taking a trip to Bottega Louie. If not for their delicious Italian-inspired menu, at least go to take a peek at their picture perfect macaron display. To satisfy your sweet tooth, my go-to spot for ice cream is Salt & Straw! Make sure to try their seasonal flavors while you’re there. When you’re by the beach and looking for somewhere yummy to eat, a great go-to is always Malibu Farm. They have a wide-range of options on their menu and it has amazing views right on the Malibu Pier. If you’re planning a beach day and looking for the perfect snacks to bring along, head no further than Bay Cities, an Italian deli in Santa Monica where you can get the best sandwich you’ve ever had.
One of my favorite parts of living in Los Angeles is being so close to the beach. It’s such a nice luxury that I definitely take for granted. What’s great is that all of the beaches have their own personalities. If you want to be right around the crowds, Santa Monica is the place to be. Bring your umbrellas, towels, and sunscreen and lay in the sun for a while, then head to the pier for sunset and maybe even go on the ferris wheel! Malibu is the place to go if you want to be a little bit more secluded and enjoy some peace and quiet. There are so many hidden private beaches around there and this guide can help you find the best ones. Venice is a nice happy medium between the two—you’ll still find some people around but it’s not nearly as crazy as Santa Monica.
When you’re in LA, you’re bound to do a little shopping. Everyone heads to The Grove and it’s definitely pretty spectacular there, but there are so many cool places to shop all around the city. The Brentwood Country Mart is right on the border of Santa Monica and offers luxury boutiques as well as stores like Goop and Sugar Paper. Not too far from the Brentwood Country Mart is Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. There’s a stretch of the street where you can walk around, go in and out of stores, and pop into Sweet Lady Jane for a piece of Triple Berry Cake. If you end up grabbing lunch or dinner at The Ivy at their Roberston location, head next door to Indigo Seas Shop for some of the cutest home decor. You can purchase The Ivy’s iconic dishware collection there too! Melrose Place is the home of everything trendy. Think fun pop-ups, Glossier, and, of course, Alfred Coffee and Alfred Tea (go on a Sunday morning for the Farmer’s Market and to try Yeastie Boys Bagels).
The best thing to do when in LA is to just explore. Runyon Canyon is a very popular hike that has stunning views of the city when you get to the top. It’s also really fun to rent bikes in Santa Monica and ride them up and down the boardwalk. If you end up staying at Shutters, they have a beautiful patio/deck right off the lobby where you can enjoy a glass of rosé, a tray of oysters, or your favorite cocktail while watching the sunset. For a little bit of R&R, head to The Now and treat yourself to a massage in one of their beautiful studios. If you’re up for an adventure, Malibu Wine Safari is an amazing adventure that everyone will enjoy. You’ll ride around the ranch in an open-air Safari truck, sip on delicious wines, and get to meet and take pictures with animals—you’ve probably seen Stanley the giraffe on Instagram.
Was that enough recommendations for you all? I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of everything there is to do in this city, but trust me, you’ll find your own favorite spots in no time. If you haven’t already, check out my latest release of images from Los Angeles here.