Travel Diaries: Los Angeles
BY MAHI KUMAR
I recently had the pleasure of going to LA twice in the same year (yeah, a bit of overkill I’m aware…). So if you have an upcoming trip, here are my tips to having an EPIC time in an untraditional and non-touristy way.
3 May 2023
Ahhh, the city of angels.
LA gets a bit of a mixed rap when it comes to being a travel destination. On one hand it well and truly is the land of opportunities, but on the other…? It does feel a bit contrived, people seem fake nice, and the fact that everything is so geographically dispersed does my HEAD in. There’s nothing worse than LA traffic.
Although LA is vast, here are my tips to having an EPIC time in an untraditional and non-touristy way.
Tourist Bucket List Things
I hate Hollywood boulevard and the walk of fame. It’s tacky, the area is pretty gross and littered with rubbish, and it just ain’t it. If you do need to get that basic tourist fix though, then the best place for you to visit is Santa Monica pier.
The Santa Monica pier is filled with rides, food options, there’s always live rap battles and dance-offs, and a bike ride from Santa Monica to Venice beach is just a nice cruisy day. This is really a one time thing in LA, but always fun to see.
If you’re a museum person, then the Getty villa is a MUST. The museum is phenomenal and would require a couple of hours. The architecture is gorgeous but the art is on another level. It’s located in the area of Brentwood, which is a very affluent suburb so you’ll also get a peak at some exquisite homes on the way in. If you’re anything like me and like to see a place with locals, you can get a rich Brentwood man who owns a bougie restaurant in Brentwood to drive you around and show you the suburb so that you’re fully acquainted.
Finally, you can’t miss the Hollywood sign photo opps and a trip to Griffith Observatory. Griffith Observatory is on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood and gives you a breathtaking view of the entire Los Angeles basin and the southwest of the Pacific ocean. It’s a great view during the day, but if you can go at night it brings a whole new vibe.
Where to Eat
Now, when it comes to where to eat? I am your girl! Like... have you not read Mahi Eats?
You CANNOT go to LA without going to Catch LA. Only one of the best eating and drink spots located in West Hollywood.
Famous people (and influencers) are known to go there. What I love about LA is that people are pretty down for anything. If you’re talkative, fun and spontaneous, you will thrive. if you’re anything like me and love a good chat, you can make friends with the bartenders (shout out to Alicia and Patrick!) so that they give you free food and drinks ALL night (like… all I paid them was a $50 tip…) and then take you to a party with them after. Tell me HOW I had a 5am night on a Monday, with absolute strangers who felt like long time friends…
No trip to LA is complete without a trip to Malibu. On my travels, I met a lovely movie director (he’s directed great thrillers and horrors and at the time was working as a writer on a show called the Night Agent.)
He was gorgeous, charming and sweet and offered to show me Malibu as I’d never been. He took me to Cielo Farms Vineyard, which became one of my favourite vineyards I’ve been to. Nestled on a farm on the rolling hills of Malibu, the wine was exquisite and you were surrounded by a warm fire pit. The cheese platters are absolutely delectable and the vibes are unmatched.
Finally, if you’re a fan of sashimi and sushi… no trip to LA is complete without going to Nobu. You can hit Nobu Los Angeles or Nobu Malibu. When my friend and I went to LA, we met a professional animator for comics who offered to take us on a date to Nobu. We ended up doing the chef’s special which involved eating whatever they decided to give us. The sashimi was next level, but the Japanese oysters seasoned with chilli were out of this world. Again, I stand by the fact that the best way to see a city is with locals. If they want to take you out for a $700USD dinner, who are you to say no?!
Visiting iconic rooftop bars is a must in this city. While LA has a plethora of these, I’ve narrowed it down to my top two that you have to visit if you’re limited for time.
EP & LP In West Hollywood is incredible. It follows a music theme, gives you sweeping views of LA and feels exclusive. I also had some incredible tacos there (because a girl gets peckish) so not only are the drinks a win, but also the snacks!
The Proper Hotel in downtown LA is away from the main hustle and bustle of the bar life as ironically, more people go out in West Hollywood or Santa Monica, not downtown LA. Cara Cara is the rooftop bar located here, and it’s always full of people after a late night beverage. The ambiance is cozy yet sophisticated, and you can’t pass up a chilli margarita here.
Hopefully I’ve given you some fab LA inspo for your visit to the city of angels!