From grungy to bougie to uber-luxe.
L.A. has more neighborhoods and scenes than you can count, each making up its own little world. From grungy to bougie to uber-luxe, there’s nothing you can’t find in Los Angeles, which is why it’s such a magical city to live in. Use our neighborhood breakdown to find out which hood you should hang out in during your time in L.A.!
Downtown L.A. is the area to most likely give you a historic feel to Los Angeles. It’s the financial hub, government area and business district of L.A. DTLA is smaller and less dense than other metropolitan areas like New York or Chicago, thus it’s easy to walk around and see everything you want to see within a few miles.
Within DTLA there are cool distinct blocks like Little Tokyo, Fashion District, Chinatown and Arts District, each one with a different vibe and crowd. There’s no better place to go barhopping simply because there are so many bars all within walking distance from one another. Eating at Grand Central Market is a must, with tons of delicious food stalls located in one building. Multiple museums are located in DTLA such as The Broad, MOCA, Chinese American Museum and Ellison Onizuka Asian American Museum. There are a couple really nice parks to chill in as well, including Grand Park and L.A. Historic Park which just reopened.
With so much to see and do, DTLA is an amazing locale that’ll have you coming back time and time again for various occasions.
It’s hipsters on hipsters in Silver Lake. Joseph Gordon-Levitt lives there—need we say more?
Silver Lake is where all of L.A.’s hipsters congregate to grab coffee, eat at tiny trendy restaurants and drink craft cocktails. It’s a fun area to spend an afternoon strolling and perusing through comic book stores and cute boutiques down Sunset Blvd and Hyperion. Day time hot spots include Intelligentsia Café and LAMILL Coffee, while night time hot spots include Satellite, The Thirsty Crow and my personal favorite gay bar, Akbar.
Silver Lake Reservoir after which the neighborhood is named is a wonderful place to jog and chill in the sun as well. Just going to the dog park and watching all the hipsters with their dogs is entertainment enough for an afternoon.
Echo Park is having its moment in the sun as the spot attracting young creatives and transplants. It’s where all the cool kids who are over everything cool are hanging out these days. Tons of aspiring artists, actors, writers and other creatives are flooding to this residential area near Silver Lake to be with other young aspiring individuals.
The best part of Echo Park is the actual park, along with Elysian Park near Dodger Stadium, which are two of the greenest spaces in the city. Elysian Park is the best for having picnics, BBQs and chilling with friends, while at Echo Park you can rent rowboats and drink around the lake. On the top part of Hyperion Ave. you’ll find the hippest bars where all the scene-sters hang out like The Friend and Tenants of the Trees.
Go to Echo Park for a taste of L.A.’s emerging young, edgy, creative hustle.
Koreatown in recent years has become the cultural and nightlife mecca of the city. Although it serves as mainly an ethnic enclave for Koreans, Koreatown is a multicultural power force that brings together Angelenos of all cultures and backgrounds. It’s the most authentic, bustling part of the city that represents L.A.’s deep diversity.
In K-Town you’ll find the best food: from every variety of Korean dishes to Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Chinese and Mexican. Everyone knows K-Town bars are lit, with multiple hotspots serving cool vibes and drinks that are more affordable than in other parts of town. The major intersections for nightlife are at 6th and Wilshire as well as 8th and Ardmore, where tons of bars, pool halls, lounges and late night restaurants are packed into strip malls. My personal K-Town favorites include The Prince, Bleu, Escala and HMS Bounty, all of which are cool places to grab a drink and hang in an unpretentious setting.
Hollywood is mainly a tourist trap but it’s still fun to see it and get caught up in the hype. The heart of Hollywood is Dolby Theater and Grauman’s Chinese Theater, aka where the Oscars and movie premieres take place. Hollywood also doubles as a fun nightlife destination where many of L.A.’s hottest clubs and bars are located. On any weekend you can count on standing in long lines at trendy bars and clubs like Dirty Laundry, Avalon, Sound and Create. Hollywood is also where you get all the dreamy views up on the hills. Just hike Runyon Canyon or drive up Mulholland Drive and you’ll see why everyone moves to Hollywood to make their dreams come true.
West Hollywood is where everyone goes to experience the good life. Cruising down the glitzy streets of Sunset and La Cienega lined with palm trees is what everyone dreams Los Angeles to be. From chic boutiques to trendy restaurants, everything in West Hollywood is about glamour, luxury and being seen.
The hottest restaurants where it’s difficult to get reservations like Sur, Catch and The Ivy are all located on the Westside. There’s no lack of trendy bars either with various themed bars like Laurel Hardware and Now Boarding, and perennial hot spots like Skybar at The Mondrian, Bar Marmont and 1OAK. West Hollywood is also home to L.A.’s sparkling gay district, referred to as WeHo for short. Santa Monica Blvd is always going off with gays partying and being fabulous at favorite clubs and bars like The Abbey, Fiesta Cantina and Penthouse. The Sunset Strip continues to house legendary venues that’ll never go out of style like The Laugh Factory Whiskey-A-Go-Go, The Roxy and Viper Room.
Westside is where L.A.’s rich and famous like to play. With a big wallet and the right connections, you can also experience all the luxury and glamour L.A. has to offer.
Continue going all down west from Hollywood and you hit Beverly Hills, one of the top luxury destinations of the world.
Everything is luxe and just like the movies in the 90210 with sports cars rolling around every corner and glossy looking human beings decked out in designer threads. Rodeo Drive is the most iconic setting in Beverly Hills where every luxury brand storefront glitters and anyone can feel like a star walking down the street. Cruise through the beautiful tree-lined streets of Bel-Air and you’ll see celebrity homes and millionaire mansions galore, as well as UCLA’s picturesque campus in Westwood. Post up at the Beverly Hills Hotel or Petit Ermitage for the ultimate hidden luxurious getaway and pamper yourself among the world’s rich and famous.
Beautiful, opulent and expensive, Beverly Hills is exactly how you imagine it to be, so come see how the other side lives the next time you’re in town.
Santa Monica is the epitome of sunny, SoCal beach life while Venice perfects boho-chic beachside living.
At Santa Monica you’ll find a plethora of fit, tan beach boys and girls running around in trendy shopping centers, healthy organic cafes and bougie nightclubs. Santa Monica Pier continues to be an iconic spot for visitors and romantic dates in the summertime. Just walk down 3rd Street Promenade towards the beach or grab a drink at the bar at Hotel Casa del Mar to feel the best of California living.
Walking through the Venice Boardwalk and Canals never gets old (personally I prefer Venice, California to Venice, Italy). The boardwalk is always vibrant with unique characters performing, painting and hustling. Abbot Kinney shows us the finer side of life in Venice with high end bohemian boutiques, food trucks and stylish restaurants where you’ll be dying to post your next Instagram photo.
Culver City was rapidly coming up for the last few years and has finally arrived at the hip, yuppie mecca that it is now. It’s become the place where young professional couples move in together and get a dog before they get married.
There’s a neat line of bougie, hipster bars all along Culver and Washington Blvd, like Rush Street and Blind Barber, many of which are perfect for after-work bites and drinks. The crown jewel of the area is Culver Hotel, a historic stomping ground for Hollywood stars since the 1920s, and the beautiful hotel bar continues to be a glamorous hotspot for live music and jazzy décor. Though my personal favorite spot will always be Sake House for their ridiculously cheap reverse happy hour from 9-11 pm.
Other than that, Culver City offers nice outdoor activities like hiking up Kenneth Hahn and going up the Baldwin Steps. Its’ like a neat suburb within the city where you can escape from L.A.’s most congested parts and just chill.
North Hollywood and Burbank are located a couple freeways apart from the city center, but they’re incredibly active as major powerhouses of the film industry. Burbank is where Universal Studios, Disney and Warner Brothers Studios are located, thus there are tons of studio tours and attractions galore. If you don’t feel like going to the theme park, Universal Citywalk is a fun spot to just walk around and shop. Burbank also has a lot of commercial shopping centers the most notable ones being Empire Center and Americana which is closer to Glendale.
North Hollywood is one of the chillest districts in L.A. It’s not very flashy so it’s a good place to visit to get away from craziness in the city center. There’s tons of small independent cafes, diners and galleries to frequent, particularly in NoHo Arts District where low key hipsters like to make and look at quirky art.