People give LA a bad wrap. They’re just doing it wrong.

{eats}

Cafe Gratitude [lunch, dinner]: Don’t let it’s extreme descriptors deter you (organic, vegan, raw), this place is legit. The raw lasagna made me consider becoming a raw vegan (don’t worry, false alarm).

Ollie’s Duck & Dive [gastropub]: Gourmet pub food with great vibes. The fact we ate lunch opposite Gerard Buttler was a bonus.

Taco trucks: Not a specific one, just any. Tacos. Taaaaacos. Ta, cos.

Pressed Juicery: Pretend like you’re on a juice diet and blow way too much money on a juice here.

Overland Cafe [brunch]: No frills brunch fare.

{bars}

Good Times at Davey Warne’s [reckless fun, btfo]: Enter through a thrift shop facade, this speakeasy has everything. Outdoor rooftop patio, alcoholic snow cones, dance floor. Hollywood, you’re alright.

{explore}

The best way to get around is to hire a car, and avoid rush hours. Uber is super cheap, so skip the taxi.

Venice Beach: Get your fix of weird with a stroll along the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Getting high off passive smoke is not out of the question.

Santa Monica: Dodge the selfie sticks at Santa Monica Pier; get ready to run up a bill on your CC shopping.

Malibu: Drive north on Route 1 and take in the multi-million dollar mansions that line the cliffs. Take a hike at Charmlee Wilderness Park to get vistas over the Pacific.

Runyon Canyon: Views over LA and quality people watching. It’s kind of like walking through the set of Nip Tuck and Botched.

Griffith Park Observatory: Hike up to the Hollywood sign. I would look at some kind of map before you start (we got lost and it turned into a 3 hour trek + we lost our car…).

{stay}

The Standard Downtown LA: I wouldn’t stay in DTLA for a vacation, but for work this place was a gem. The rooms were huge, which made working remotely seem more like work from “home.” Gorgeous rooftop area. A word of warning: this place turns into an absolute circus on the weekends, get ready to see some serious LA weird.

***