Dec 30, 2021
9 min read
A Guide to Quintessential LA: Westside
Covering all of Los Angeles in one guide is, we’d argue, a disservice to the city. This is because LA is the equivalent of several small cities – who met, dated for a while, broke up, and are now as cordial as possible when they run into each other at a yoga class. This is why we’ve respectfully split our guides to LA up, so you’re not stuck in traffic on the 405 for hours.
From startups to tech giants, and emerging designers to established artists, the landscape of LA has certainly diversified in the last decade – though the backdrop of Hollywood and its entertainment industry will always reign supreme. Beyond that, what this part of the city is consistently known for is the excellent food, art, and fashion.
Read on for our take on the Westside of Los Angeles.
Where to stay in Los Angeles, Westside
Palihouse, Santa Monica
With locations in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, Palihouse defines itself as “not a boutique hotel and not a luxury residence.” In other words, it’s the best of both. The Santa Monica location is three blocks from the beach, with gorgeous courtyards – and we particularly love the bar here.
Set on a private ranch in Malibu wine country
with an exclusive beach club, Calamigos Ranch encompasses all of the best that Malibu has to offer. It’s just a short drive from the city, but when you’re there you feel worlds away.
Where to eat in Los Angeles, Westside
Though this spot is very much not under the radar, you should still go, because it’s great. Order the pizza, the mushroom toast, the squash blossom, and burrata… or anything else on the menu.
Brought to you by the people behind the above Venice mainstay, plus their takeaway shopGTA
, and Japanese fusion spot,MTN
, Gjusta is one of our favorites. Everything is great aside from the seating, which is usually taken at all hours of the day. Go anyway, and buy some peach jam to take home as a souvenir.
Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica
Jeremy Fox is a legend in the vegetable world, and Rustic Canyon is his flagship. This is everything you want in healthy, inventive Californian cooking. The menu changes daily based on what is in season, and their wine list is as good as the food.
Loqui, Culver City
There will be a line at this taco place, and there will also be a lot of people taking photos of their food. If you can move past that situation (figuratively and literally), then make sure to order the homemade flour tortillas. And as Loqui is located in The Platform, you can peruse the stores afterward.
Father’s Office, Culver City
You’ve might have been to the Montana location, but the Culver City spot is bigger and better and hands down our favorite burger in LA.
Bay Cities, Santa Monica
This place does a great Italian sandwich. Pick one up to take with you for a day at the beach.
Where to drink in Los Angeles, Westside
The Lincoln, Venice
The Lincoln does a lot for us. It’s large enough for bigger groups. It’s loud enough for a good atmosphere, but not so loud that you can’t have an intimate conversation. The music is good, as are the drinks. It’s arguably the coolest bar in Venice.
Neighbor is technically a restaurant, but we have never come here for dinner. It’s the perfect spot to meet someone at 4 pm on a Wednesday, when you want to chat over a glass of wine and maybe a small plate. The space looks like it was decorated by
magazine; ask for a seat on the patio if the sun’s out.
Hinano Cafe, Venice
This old-school Venice bar is not the place for craft drinks or cocktails, but great for a no-fuss beer after surfing, plus a burger if you’re hungry.
Where to get coffee in Los Angeles, Westside
Bar Nine, Culver City
Bar Nine is a beautifully minimal, industrial-looking cafe in Culver City. They roast their own beans, pride themselves on sustainability, and offer all kinds of kinds of milk. Our order is a latte with hazelnut milk, and a pastry to go.
Primo Passo Coffee Co, Santa Monica
Right on Montana Avenue, Primo is one of our favorite coffee shops. It isn’t necessarily the place that you would go to work all day, but their coffee is great and you can buy a bag of beans to take home.
Rose Cafe, Venice
This Venice staple is always a good choice for an afternoon snack. Though you could go for a full-blown lunch and be just as happy, we prefer to sit in the cafe area with our laptop, a coffee, and one of their homemade pastries.
Moon Juice, Venice
Moon Juice is our favorite juicery in LA. With locations in both Venice and Silverlake, we can’t get enough of their mylks.
Best bars for a date
Old Lightning, Marina Del Rey
BehindScopa Italian Roots
you’ll find Old Lightning. There is only room for about 30 people at any given time, which helps to keep this place hush-hush. The rum and tequila cocktails are their specialty.
Blind Barber, Culver City
You’ve probably heard of Blind Barber, however, the team behind the “bars behind the barber shops” consistently makes you feel like you’ve stumbled upon something no one else knows about. Even when they do.
Point Dume, Malibu
While Point Dume might be one of the more popular places, the staircase down to the cove is not. If you’re looking for a secret romantic spot, head down the staircase (it’s a bit of a trek, but totally worth it) around sunset with a bottle of Californian Pinot, and enjoy.
Where to shop in Los Angeles, Westside
General Store, Venice
This beautiful boutique in Venice carries a handful of our favorite designers and perfect CA-inspired home goods. Pick up cedar-roped incense, the perfect ceramic bowl or a beautiful woven basket to hold all the blankets you’ll need when you are sadly no longer in California.
The Platform, Culver City
The Platform is an outdoor mall of sorts in Culver City. They have rotating pop-up shops that keep things interesting (previously hosting LA art galleryTappan Collective
) and mainstays like Reformation and Frida Salvador.
Christy Dawn, Venice
LA-based designer Christy Dawn opened her first brick-and-mortar store here a few years ago. If you’re looking for the perfect boho dress to explore Topanga Canyon or Malibu in, you’ll find it here.
Marijuana is legal to buy in California, and MedMen is the place to get it in upscale surroundings. They curate their selection carefully and though things are very
focused on branding, they do stand by the products they sell.
Flowerboy Project, Venice
Part cafe, part flower shop, and part boutique, there are very few things you can’t get here. A dream store, really.
Where to buy gifts
Burro stocks good quality and well-priced homeware, jewelry, and books – for a stylish piece of LA to take back home.
Tortoise General Store, Venice
This place specializes in Japanese homeware and we wish we could buy everything – but usually settle for something that fits in our carry-on.
Where to get a hit of culture
Eames Foundation, Pacific Palisades
Head to the Pacific Palisades to check out this landmark of mid-20th-century modern architecture. The Eames House, or Case Study House #8 as it’s officially called, is some of his best work. Make sure to make a reservation beforehand.
The Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades
If we are being honest, we go here mostly for the villa itself, rather than the collection – for that, we prefer theGetty Center
in Brentwood. The villa is basically what happens when a very rich oil tycoon loves art so much that he builds a “gallery” modeled after the most luxurious house known to the Roman world. It’s incredible.
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach
Yes, Long Beach is on the cusp of Westside Los Angeles, but we promise this will be worth it. The Museum of Latin American Art was built in 1996 and is the only museum of its kind in the US (there should definitely be more, but until that happens, let’s celebrate this one wholeheartedly).
Where to workout in Los Angeles, Westside
trail will take you all the way to Topanga for a beautiful hike. If you’re looking for a short morning route, takeTemescal Canyon
trail’s basic loop which is about 2.6 miles. Or, if you’d rather have a flat route, take a walk or a jog alongPalisades Park
in Santa Monica.
Love Yoga, Venice
This yoga studio offers flow, prenatal, restorative and more. The bright and airy studio is unmistakably Californian, with bright blue floors and lots of hanging plants hanging. Head toSuperba Food & Bread
for after-class coffee and snacks.
Sweat Pilates, Mar Vista
These classes seriously kick your ass. We recommend starting with a “Classic” class, to get to know the basics, then working your way up. Most of the classes are on a reformer and some involve cardio, too. Good luck.
The best remote office in Los Angeles, Westside
Little Beach House, Malibu
We realize this is a very exclusive “office”, but if you are a Soho House member, or can get a day pass, this is absolutely the best place to work from. With a prime location right on the beach and an open-air interior, you won’t even feel like you’re missing out on a holiday. Little Beach House has valet parking, a buffet at lunch, and in the evening, the music switches up the vibe – stay all day.
Groundwork Coffee, Venice
If you can’t get into Little Beach House, head over to Groundwork Coffee. It’s an LA staple with multiple locations across the city, and the Venice location is great. With long communal tables, healthy food for lunch, and power outlets, it’s an ideal remote office.
Superba Food & Bread, Venice
Superba is the kind of place you show up at 9 am to get some work done and find yourself still there by 4 pm. You can use your laptop for most of the day in certain areas, and a sunshine-filled patio is a nice place for a meeting.
What else to do in Los Angeles, Westside
Will Rogers State Beach, Pacific Palisades
This is a great, clean beach when you don’t have time to drive all the way into Malibu, but want to get away from the Venice crowds. Keep in mind that parking is tricky, but there are a few paid options to try.
Mercado Sagrado, Topanga Canyon
Mercado Sagrado is the craft fair to win all craft fairs. It usually takes place every November, so get tickets if the timing of your trip coincides. There’s a beautiful curation of design and art, plus music and food. The focus is on community, ethical commerce, and well-being – it’s a feel-good festival.
Santa Monica Farmers Market, Santa Monica
There are tons of farmers' markets to choose from in LA, this is one of our favorites. It has all the organic produce you could dream of and great food stands, too.
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