Los Angeles City Guide: The Westside

In keeping with our sister theme, we wanted to introduce you to our new sister-in-law, Kelley!  She has put together a three-part city guide to Los Angeles and it is fantastic.  Without further adieu, here is Kelley:

guide

Since moving to Los Angeles over a year ago, we have had a steady stream of visitors looking to escape the cold weather or just spend some time on the west coast. I love having people come visit, because it gives me a chance to show off our city and all the things that make it such an amazing place to live. One of my favorite aspects of this city is that each neighborhood is like a city unto itself. There’s so much to see and each day you can have a different experience, just depending on where you are in the city.

So, I decided to put together a city guide for you, highlighting a few of my favorite places in Los Angeles and offering you a chance to see some of the great places different neighborhood have to offer. This by no means is an exhaustive list, but it’s definitely a start.

THE WESTSIDE

We’ll start by working our way west to east, or as best I can. The Westside encompasses neighborhoods such as Santa Monica, Venice, Brentwood and the Pacific Palisades and is traditionally what someone pictures when they think of Los Angeles. The beach is obviously the main attraction, but the Westside also has some amazing restaurants and lots of culture as well.

to eat

Breakfast: Café Gratitude

This is one of Farrell’s favorite spots in LA, and for good reason. As someone who drinks a smoothie for breakfast nearly every morning, Café Gratitude’s smoothies cannot be beat. I suggest ordering the “I am Strong” smoothie, but if you need to have your morning coffee, the “I am Luscious” provides the caffeine pick-me-up you’ll need to keep you energized.

Lunch: Holy Guacamole Tacos

This is one of my favorite taco spots in the city and I nearly always take guests here when they come to visit. I first ate here when I was a tourist in LA and Teddy and I made sure to hunt it down as soon as we moved (we ate here the day after we settled into our apartment). The fried fish tacos are perfectly fresh and crunchy. Though there’s not much seating, you can usually squeeze into a spot across the street at the coffee shop and eat your tacos in peace.

Dinner: Sunny Spot

The Sunny Spot offers an open to close happy hour that cannot be beat. May I suggest ordering the yucca fries and the heirloom tomato salad. However, if you’re looking for something a little larger, the half jerk chicken is the way to go.

Drinks: The Bar at Hotel Erwin

Sweeping views of the city and ocean provide the perfect setting for a sunset cocktail after a long day.

what do

The Westside is teaming with activities for tourists and locals alike. Some landmarks, like Venice beach, are famous, some not as much. Below is a list of my favorite activities.

The Getty Center: Admission to this incredible museum is free (though parking is exorbitant). While the museum itself does have some incredible artwork, it’s more about the views and the tram ride up the side of the mountain.

The Santa Monica Pier: If you’re not too scared of Farris wheels, be sure to hop on this one. The views are truly incredible.

The Brentwood Country Mart: This quaint little shopping area is one of my favorites. Be sure to check out Sweet Rose Creamery for some of the best ice cream in the city.

The Venice Canals: You can rent a bike from someone on the beach and ride through the streets made famous by so many movies.

Playa del Rey Beach: This is my go –to beach in Los Angeles. Away from all the congestion of Venice and Santa Monica, Play del Rey offers a quite sanctuary next to Marina del Rey where you can watch the sail boats come in and out of the bay. The whole town feels like another city and reminds me of one of my favorite vacation spots, Anna Maria, FL.

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