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A guide to the ideal stopover in LA

Los Angeles is home to 75 miles of stunning uninterrupted coastline and with the airport situated so close to the city’s iconic beach cities, you’d be crazy not to venture outside of the airport.




EAT: Gran Blanco, developed by the Aussie owners of nearby cafe, Great White, is a casual Mediterranean restaurant and bar in the heart of Venice located next to the famed Venice Sign and boardwalk. The menu is composed of seasonal shared plates highlighting fresh California produce. 


DO: The world famous, pedestrian-friendly Venice Boardwalk is the place to be if you’re into people watching, alternative cultures or simply want to experience a vibe that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Palm readers, tarot card readers, sand sculptors, portrait artists and all manner of creative types expressing their individuality make Venice Beach a must-see.



EAT: Charcoal Venice is a neighbourhood restaurant and grill house serving a variety of vegetable, seafood and meat dishes. Michelin-starred chef and owner Josiah Citrin demonstrates his passion for wood-fired cooking in a beautiful contemporary space with light natural woods and beamed ceilings.


DO: Paddle board and kayak in Marina del Rey Harbour with Pro SUP Shop. It’s conveniently located at Marina “Mother’s” Beach, a calm cove that is perfect for beginners to learn stand-up paddle or kayaking as it is protected from waves and ocean currents.


SOUTHERN BAY BEACHES (Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo)

EAT: Have a bite at Mosa. It boasts fresh seafood, handmade pasta, a rooftop herb garden and a carefully chosen wine and beer list.


DO: Bask in the Californian sunshine at Manhattan Beach, which is only a 10-minute taxi / Uber ride from LAX. Walk the pier for breathtaking ocean views, explore the free Roundhouse Aquarium, or pedal the Strand coastal path with a rented cruiser bike (about USD $10 p/h).



For those keen to stay within the airport, there’s no shortage of things to do. LAX is in the midst of a significant multibillion-dollar modernisation program, the largest public works project in Los Angeles’ history.


EAT: Trejo’s Tacos is located in Terminal 1 of LAX. It serves up authentic Mexican flavours from Hollywood Legend Danny Trejo, with freshly-made tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more.


SEE: As part of the renovation, LAX has transformed many of its public spaces into art spaces by featuring permanent public art commissions and temporary art exhibitions and installations throughout the airport. Air Garden, by Ball-Nogues Studio, is a large-scale sculptural installation currently on show in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.


DO: Pat some furry friends while waiting for your next flight. LAX features dogs in the customer service team, wearing red ‘Pet Me’ vests as part of the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program. The friendly dogs are a great way of reducing passenger anxiety at the airport.



With 24+ hours up your sleeve, you can venture a little bit further, checking our neighbourhoods like a revitalised Downtown Los Angeles or the star-studded beaches of Malibu.



EAT: Dine at Veranda, a poolside restaurant located within Hotel Figueroa serving an authentic Mexican popup menu. Mixologist Dushan Zaric has created an agave program that spotlights some of Mexico’s finest Tequila and Mezcal distillers and their unique takes on the craft.


PLAY: The Broad -a contemporary art museum opened in 2015 by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in DTLA. The museum, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is home to the nearly 2,000 works of art including works by the likes of Andy Warshol, Jeff Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons.


STAY: Hotel Figueroa - a hotel that first opened in 1926 and originally served as an exclusive women's hostelry by the YWCA. Since then, it has undergone an extensive renovation and is also home to poolside restaurant, Veranda.



EAT: Dine at a staple of the Koreatown dining scene - Soowon Galbi. Unlike many Korean barbecue spots, Soowon Galbi is not All-You-Can-Eat, but the Combo Specials are top notch, making it one of the best restaurants in L.A. for group dining.


PLAY: Sing your heart out at Break Room 86. It’s an '80s?themed karaoke hotspot at the back of The Line Hotel. With cocktail names that are reminiscent of favourite teen idols and mix tape songs, it's always a fun time. Private rooms are also available for karaoke or Atari.


STAY: Hotel Normandie has history and status as a 1926 City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument landmark, while the restaurants and bars inside are among the most unique in the area.



EAT: Enjoy the intimate 12-seat restaurant, Mon Li. It features an inventive 12-course liquid tasting menu, with Chef Biancaniello blending food and alcohol together using ingredients from local farmers markets, the Santa Monica mountains and the bar’s garden. He takes the guests through 12 sips of culinary treats with five courses of sustainable bites.


PLAY: Wine Tasting at Malibu Wines. Nestled in the hills of Malibu, Malibu Wines is an outdoor tasting room with picnic tables, live music and a variety of regional wines.


STAY: The Surfrider Malibu - a modern California Beach House inspired by the picturesque Malibu landscape and rich heritage of California surf culture. Personifying Malibu’s historic beach-town community, the complete redesign of the original 1950s-era motel has transformed The Surfrider into a contemporary boutique hotel.



With a good couple of days in L.A, you can really get under the skin of some of the lesser known neighbourhoods - as well as revisiting neighbourhoods you thought you’d seen, but hadn’t yet scratched the surface!



EAT: Be part of Hollywood history at Musso & Frank. Visitors can sit in Musso & Frank’s comfortable worn-leather booths, peruse their 90-year-old classic menu or sidle up to the mahogany bar.


PLAY: Take in a clear view of the Hollywood sign at Mama Shelter’s rooftop restaurant. Housed on top of a funky boutique hotel, it’s a great way to relax above the hustle and bustle of the city.


STAY: Dream Hollywood is a progressive take on classic California living. It’s a hotel buzzing with glamour and style, where each room features luxurious black walnut finishes, a cozy sitting area and spectacular views of the Hollywood Hills and Downtown Los Angeles.



EAT: Night + Market Song - the vibe at this restaurant is California chill meets Bangkok frenzy, fueled by natural wine. The menu is likewise a mash up authentic, old school Thai with some ‘90s Asian-fusion influences


PLAY: Catch a show at The Satellite. A legendary tastemaker for the eastside indie rock set, the Satellite embraces (and makes stars of) rising bands from across the world and down the block.


STAY: Silver Lake Pool & Inn is slated to open in November 2019 at Sunset Junction, just south of the lively intersection of Santa Monica and Sunset. The 54-room boutique property run by Palisociety Hotels is set to feature an elevated pool deck and Marco Polo, a coastal Italian-inspired outdoor restaurant and bar. 



EAT: Dine at HomeState, a Texas kitchen serving breakfast tacos, queso, frito pies and brisket. Their breakfast tacos are available all day long, offering soft flour tortillas and simple ingredients


PLAY: Hike up Berendo Stairs to Griffith Park. Located north of Los Feliz Blvd at the intersection of Berendo Street and Cromwell Avenue, the beautifully constructed Berendo Stairs were built in 1924 and ascend 181 steps..


STAY: Hotel Covell is an independent hotel focused on luxury and satisfaction. Their boutique suites are designed for the complete experience of comfort, peace and style. Each suite feels like an apartment, complete with an array of amenities that are ideal for hosting short or long-term guests.

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Published: 11 November 2019

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