Here’s how to make your weekend in L.A. as magical as La La Land.
Worldwide fave La La Land is a love letter to Los Angeles—and after a weekend scoping out cool architecture and amazing meals, it’s not hard to see why everybody’s crushing on this charmer of a city.
It’s appropriate that the Redbury Hotel has a moody rock-and-roll vibe, given that it’s located in the shadow of the iconic Capitol Records tower. The boutique suites are decked out with blood-red wallpaper, heavy drapery, vintage artwork and your own personal record players, but the bohemian touches are paired with plenty of luxurious ones, too (think rainfall showerheads and modern Bertoia wire stools).
Drop your bags and stretch your legs with a walk to Barnsdall Art Park, a pretty pocket of green space that also happens to be home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Hollyhock House. If you’re feeling inspired by the architecture (or the exhibit of local artists at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery next door), stick around for a workshop at the park’s Art Center, which has been providing classes in ceramics, book making and painting since 1946.
Down the street, catch a set at the Upright Citizens Brigade’s Franklin theatre. Though the idea of watching amateur comedians at work might make some cringe, the comedy school co-founded by Amy Poehler turns out such high-calibre improvisers that student and alumni shows (which will often feature special drop-in celebrity guests) consistently sell out.
But be back at the hotel in time for dinner, because lobby resto Cleo offers stellar mezes in addition to a convenient commute to your room. Avoid the temptation to fill up on the standout house-made laffa bread (even better when dipped in carrot harissa) and share orders of fresh tomato and burrata salad, chicken tagine with preserved lemon, and saffron rice. For dessert, though, venture down the block to the Pie Hole for a slice of Earl Grey Tea or Mexican Chocolate pie—the sweetest nightcap in town.
Start the day off in true L.A. fashion by hitting up trendy Juice Crafters for an acai bowl—essentially a deconstructed smoothie packed with superfood ingredients like guarana and goji berries. It’ll be good fuel for your morning workout at Prevail Boxing studio. The boutique gym—a fave fitness spot for models—is Instagram bait, with a feature wall decked out in inspirational sayings (“Never, never, never give up!”) and a neon “SWEAT BOX SCULPT” display behind the front desk. It also happens to offer a killer workout, combining circuit training with classic boxing moves.
Reward your now-tender muscles with lunch at Republique—Jay-Z recently booked out the airy, rustic room for his birthday party, so rest assured that the comfort-food-gone-chic menu is bold-name celeb approved. Try the shakshouka, served up in a personal cast iron skillet and loaded with beautifully seasoned stewed tomatoes, farm-fresh eggs, yogurt and mint.
Spend your afternoon exploring Griffith Park. The views of the Hollywood Hills (at least in low-smog conditions) are stunning, and the art deco masterpiece that is the Griffith Observatory is gorgeous inside and out. The building—which played a starring role in both Rebel Without a Cause and, more recently, La La Land—isn’t the only element of the park that’s graced the silver screen: grab a copy of Hollywood Escapes for a self-guided tour of film locations that are scattered throughout the park.
If it’s not booked for a red-carpet premiere, the Fox Theater is the ideal place to indulge in a perfect movie night after your hike. Built in the 1930s, the Spanish Mission-meets-Art Deco tower is full of retro design surprises (a flashing neon sign outside, Gold Rush murals in the lobby) but plays Hollywood’s latest in the audiophile-approved screening room—a definite step up from your local multiplex.
Paley is located in Columbia Square, home of the original CBS studio, and takes its name from the broadcasting company’s original CEO, William S. Paley. But though it nods to history, the menu is thoroughly modern. Salmon carpaccio is served with blood orange and white ponzu; spaghetti is tossed with king crab, Santa Barbara uni and saffron; tater tots are paired with truffle Parmesan. The seasonal cocktail list gets seriously experimental, too: try the wild and wonderful Lil Ricky, which mixes tequila with kumquat and cinnamon.
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Try to snag a table on the patio at Alcove to soak up some California sun as you tackle oversized platters of crepes stuffed with peaches and espresso-infused whipped cream or chilaquiles rojos smothered in spicy salsa. You’ll need the fuel to tackle downtown L.A. First stop? The Rock ’n’ Roll Flea Market, a charming mix of music memorabilia, vintage tees and artisanal eccentricities (like jam from a punk rock drummer turned marmalade entrepreneur) that overtakes the Regent Theater the first Sunday of every month.
Then, it’s off to the Broad. Take a lap around the Diller Scofidio and Renfro-designed building to admire the modern architecture before exploring the 2,000-plus pieces of Eli and Edye Broad’s contemporary art collection, including iconic works from Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Koons. Make sure to book a time slot for your turn to explore the Infinity Mirrored Room, an optical illusion designed by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, filled with twinkling lights and a peek into the abyss.
Wind your way through the stalls of Grand Central Market in search of your last L.A. meal. Between trendy brunch counters (Eggslut), crispy wood-fired pizza (Olio GCM) and organic Thai comfort food (Sticky Rice), it’s going to be a tough choice, but we recommend a classic: snag a spot at the counter of Sarita’s Pupuseria, where you’ll get a gooey, cheesy handmade pupusa based on Salvadoran family recipes for under $5.