Have you heard? We just released our first travel series, “Go, Be You,” with Alaska Airlines! So we’re spending the next eight weeks highlighting every city we toured across the West Coast. This travel series is about more than the destination itself; we’re taking a look at why certain cities have the power to unlock the best versions of ourselves. As you get to planning your next trip, we hope you enjoy the suggestions that follow.
Los Angeles is a sprawling city where every neighborhood has its own unique vibe. But in each part of the city are new people to connect with and new places to explore. Los Angeles is a city that pushes you to cultivate meaningful connections and make the most of its varied geography, so here’s a quick guide to help you narrow in on the city’s seemingly endless possibilities.
Starting downtown, head west across LA with these stops along the way:
The Arts District is one of the only neighborhoods in Los Angeles where there is a real sense of community, and Zinc Cafe puts you right in the middle of it. If you can pull yourself away from the amazing food for a moment, then you’ll see people stopping to say hi to friends and catching up on the week. It’s a place that captures the unique energy of a vibrant and growing neighborhood.
The Last Bookstore
Not only is The Last Bookstore a prime location for all your vinyl and literary desires, it’s also a place that feels like it’s always holding onto mysteries just waiting to be discovered. As you walk the aisles, you’ll see friends recommending books to each other and people having impromptu photo shoots in the tunnel made of books. You may even see a proposal (OK, yes, this is where my husband asked me to marry him) somewhere in the maze of books on the upper floor.
Rubies + Diamonds
On the edge of Hollywood’s mayhem sits this lovely coffee shop that’s perfect for an afternoon boost. The ambiance is idyllic, with midday light pouring in, and it’s easy to get caught up in a conversation that lasts for hours. Whether you’re talking with an old friend or someone you’re just getting to know, the setting is perfect for caffeinating and connecting.
This store is a beauty product heaven, with décor that will make you want to move in. Once you start smelling each of the different fragrances and lotions, you won’t be able to stop until you’ve had a sniff of each one. That’s to say nothing of the broad variety of makeup and skin care products, which together means it’ll be hard to leave without a bag full of items.
Venice is the picture-perfect place to rent the hippie van of your dreams and hit the road. With a few friends and a good playlist, we recommend riding around the Venice Canals – not only is it a perfect place to show off your ride for the day, but you’ll get to explore some tiny local roads crisscrossing waterways between some amazing houses.
Red Rock Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains has beautiful trails that cater to conversation. Seemingly endless paths throughout the dry and scenic mountains of Southern California are perfect for meaningful conversation that’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city. As you retreat into nature, try allowing yourself to embrace the raw beauty of the landscape and open up to those who are with you.
You can’t spend time in Los Angeles without seeing the beaches. Go for a swim in the chilly Pacific Ocean and then lay in the warm sun on Carbon Beach and enjoy the stillness. Put the phones away and be present with others, letting the sound of the waves fill the silence.
The busy hipster-heavy atmosphere of this restaurant will make you feel like you’re a part of something just by eating there. From the moment you walk in, you can feel the activity stirring around you. Good luck deciding what to eat, because the choices are plentiful and everything is incredible.
Ingo’s Tasty Diner
Get after-dinner drinks at this vintage vibe diner that feels like an old favorite as soon as you walk through the door. Ingo’s is the platonic ideal of a favorite standby with whom to enjoy a delicious cocktail (or two) and talk about anything and everything. Think Cheers from “Cheers,” McClaren’s from “How I Met Your Mother,” or Central Perk from “Friends” but so, so much better. It’s a place for sharing food, building friendships and enjoying life.
This post was sponsored by Darling’s airline partner, Alaska Airlines. All thoughts and reviews remain Darling’s own.
Feature Image via Nathan Dumlao