We spent 36 hours in Los Angeles this weekend, and I took dozens of photos, so I am sharing a travelogue here of where we stayed and what we did. As with most of our vacations, there was a good deal of eating and drinking involved! We had a good friend in town from Atlanta which ended up being a good excuse for a mini college reunion of sorts.
LA is such a huge, spread out city that it’s easiest to pick a few pockets to explore rather than trying to drive back and forth across town. We drove directly from San Diego up to downtown Los Angeles and spent our first few hours there. When I grew up in South Pasadena, downtown was a place people worked, but no one lived there and there were no trendy bars or restaurants. So much has changed and now I often go there to try new spots.
Downtown Los Angeles
J had never been to the Los Angeles Public Library, so he humored me and let me drag him there for an hour to explore its rooms and exhibits. It’s definitely the most gorgeous library I’ve ever been in.
I insisted on trying Bottega Louie for lunch. It’s a bustling all-white space straight out of Manhattan. We expected it to be a fun tourist mecca but surprisingly the service was top-notch and every dish we ordered was delicious.
We headed south a few blocks, into a part of downtown straddling the line between revitalized and original where The Last Bookstore has opened in a space that once housed a bank. I had never been and had heard wonderful things about it, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a very strange, magical space full of art and books. We wandered upstairs and found ourselves in a maze of little warrens and nooks, even passing the old vault. They have event space where jazz bands play, galleries, a coffee shop and a record store, and while we were there a high school class was holding a short story and poetry reading. Amazing. The best shot I took was on my phone but you can check it out here.
I’ve read rave reviews of a tiny LA shop called Poketo and wanted to visit while we were already downtown. It’s near Little Tokyo in a strip of trendy businesses surrounded by warehouses. We parked in front of Wurstkuche, where at least fifty hipsters waited to get inside for the famous sausages and beer. Poketo had a terrific mix of jewelry, home goods, gifts and clothing. And they had a nice selection of Clare Vivier bags so I got my fix without having to face the temptation of a trip to her showroom!
After a night out in Culver City with our friends, we woke up and headed to Santa Monica for brunch near the water at M Street Kitchen. We filled up on their terrific food and then walked down to the sand. People were out everywhere, walking, running and riding bikes. It was the perfect end to a lovely, sunny weekend.
Where We Stayed:
Hotel Palomar, a Kimpton hotel in Westwood- nice rooms, VERY dog friendly.
Where We Ate:
Bottega Louie (downtown LA)- We had the Farmer’s Market Breakfast, the beignets, the Porchetta sandwich, and a Bloody Mary, of course!
City Tavern (Culver City)- We had fish and chips and the beet salad. The food was just okay but the beer list was great.
Blind Barber (Culver City)- We had Moscow Mules at this trendy “secret” bar behind a barbershop while a DJ spun and these ladies strolled in dressed as unicorns (no explanation given!). Loud, crowded and a lot of fun.
M Street Kitchen (Santa Monica)- We had the egg sandwich on a homemade English muffin, the farmer’s market smoothie and the Sunrise burrito.
It was so nice reconnecting with old friends, and even just a short getaway does wonders for my stress levels. Special thanks to my in-laws for keeping our kids busy while we escaped!
It’s funny, I was insanely happy spending most of Saturday surrounded by books, at the library and then at the bookstore. I didn’t think twice about J accompanying me until he joked that most men wouldn’t have been so eager to follow me all day while I wandered through aisle after aisle of books. It made me pause and reflect on how lucky I am to have his support. I may love books more than the average person, but anyone who loves me has to love that about me, and tolerate it even if they don’t quite understand it!