Close your eyes and imagine Los Angeles.
What do you see? I’m guessing the beach, a bright yellow sun, and palm trees. Am I right? Close? Maybe a convertible? Well, I don’t blame you. LA is known for its beautiful climate and coastline. But that’s not all! LA is huuuuge and spread out across about 500 square miles, encapsulating over 80 neighborhoods, all waiting to be explored. So where in the world do you start?
A few months ago, we posted A Free People Girl’s Guide to NYC, a not-so-typical city guide to spots around New York that you wouldn’t find on a typical guidebook. As with the New York version, I enlisted the help of Free People girls across LA and asked them to share their favorite things to do in the City of Angels. Because of the whopping size of LA, we’ve created two guides: The City and The Beach editions. We will start with the city edition today, which includes the Downtown, Hollywood, Echo Park, and Silverlake neighborhoods… and more. The beach edition, coming out next week, will include the beach-side cities like Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, and surrounding coastal areas. Check out the guide below:
Jordan, Store Manager at Topanga: “I love hopping on the back of my boyfriend’s motorcycle and cruising through the Mulholland Hills. It’s just another excuse to rock fringe! If you’re an early riser, you can catch a breathtaking sunrise over the San Gabriel Mountains.”
Elaine, South and North LA Senior District Manager: “Ok, here we go! Elysian Park: hiking trails and wandering hillside. It’s my sanctuary to get centered and get back to what’s truly important. Cookbook: a tiny grocery store in Echo Park: local, organic, soulful. Neighborhood folks created it and run it… it’s my fave. Silver Lake Wine: the best damn wine shop in town. They have Pinot in a can (yes, seriously)… and it’s good! Plus they sell Heirloom LA lasagna cupcakes that are to die for. Moon Juice: cold pressed juices and wellness shots that will literally keep any cold at bay! 1810: I love this Argentinian restaurant! It’s truly one of my faves. The food is great and the staff is lovely.”
Lindsay, Assistant Store Manager at Santa Monica Main Street: “Sushi Komasa in Little Tokyo is THE BEST sushi in town! Then go to Davey Wayne’s, an awesome new bar in Hollywood. You enter through a refrigerator door, and arrive into a ’70s atmosphere with records playing, as well as live music later on. The One-eyed Gypsy is also an awesome bar downtown in the Arts District. DJ’s play sets with vinyl, there’s live music, skee-ball and a photo booth! What more can you ask for?”
Rebecca, Senior Visual Manager for South LA: “The flower mart is one of my favorite places to go in Downtown LA. I’ve been going there for years with my sister (she is a florist) and always leave incredibly inspired. There’s a shop within the mart called Wasabi Green and they have the most beautiful assortment of natural materials + treasures – from crystals to driftwood and an amazing array of air plants!”
Niree, Store Manager at Studio City: “The Edison, prior it to be converted into a lounge, was LA’s first private power plant. In quoting their website, “it is an industrial cathedral crafted from the architectural artifacts of LA’s first private power plant.” It is considered to be a place that celebrates an era of invention and imagination, which I think Free People is all about. When you walk in, you go through a series of mazes and steps that lead you down to a basement that used to be the power plant’s boiler room. It is now a restaurant and lounge with Persian and Moroccan rugs, candles, couches all over the place — a great spot to hang out. The boiler fixtures are still up and they have kept true to what it used to be. So although the power plant does not exist anymore, they have kept the culture and architecture alive and have honored the fact that it was LA’s first power plant. When my husband and I were first dating, we would always go there and hang out. The atmosphere is amazing!”
Alex, Visual Manager at Santa Monica Main Street: “There is no escape like a trip to Origami Vinyl. It’s a teeny-tiny record shop in the heart of Echo Park that hosts live performances by local LA bands. Super awesome atmosphere, and a lot of great music!”
Keep an eye out for the Free People Girl’s Guide to LA: Beach Edition next week!
+ Let’s keep this guide growing! I know there are many more city favorites out there — leave them in the comments!
Follow fp joanna on Instagram!