Dhiraj's Guidebook (A Locals Guide to LA)

Dhiraj

Dhiraj's Guidebook (A Locals Guide to LA)

Sightseeing
After you park at the Grand Central Market and are done there walk to City Hall. Visitors are allowed to go the top of the building for free. You’ll need to check in with the officers at the lobby. Bring your ID. 360 view of the downtown area from the top. You can see all the way to Hollywood and possibly the beach on a clear day. If you’re lucky the mayor is in his office and he might even take a picture with you.
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Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street
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After you park at the Grand Central Market and are done there walk to City Hall. Visitors are allowed to go the top of the building for free. You’ll need to check in with the officers at the lobby. Bring your ID. 360 view of the downtown area from the top. You can see all the way to Hollywood and possibly the beach on a clear day. If you’re lucky the mayor is in his office and he might even take a picture with you.
This is both sightseeing and a great food scene. Plus it’s a 100 years old. Take the Historic Angels flight tram ride across the street and visit the Broad museum. Recommend Sticky Rice for Thai food and Sarita’s for Salvadoran Pupusas but most of the places are pretty good. Parking is attached to the building. Make sure to park there and not the on the street or anywhere else. Multi level parking attached to the GCM. Parking cost here is the cheapest in the area. Entrance to parking off hill street. Small entrance so you might miss it the first time but definitely park here. LOL!
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Grand Central Market
317 S Broadway
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This is both sightseeing and a great food scene. Plus it’s a 100 years old. Take the Historic Angels flight tram ride across the street and visit the Broad museum. Recommend Sticky Rice for Thai food and Sarita’s for Salvadoran Pupusas but most of the places are pretty good. Parking is attached to the building. Make sure to park there and not the on the street or anywhere else. Multi level parking attached to the GCM. Parking cost here is the cheapest in the area. Entrance to parking off hill street. Small entrance so you might miss it the first time but definitely park here. LOL!
Park on 4th street in one of the city lots. First 90 min are free and walk or bike to the pier for games and sightseeing. Plus it’s a landmark. Make sure to take a pic south of the pier in front of the workout area (there’s a photo op spot right next to the bike path) for a great background shot of the pier and the beach. Bike rentals are also available near Big Deans Bar for $25 for the day. Locals secret there’s a cheaper place on 4th street between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd - Santa Monica Bike Rentals just below the parking structure for $15/day. Enjoy!
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Santa Monica Pier
200 Santa Monica Pier
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Park on 4th street in one of the city lots. First 90 min are free and walk or bike to the pier for games and sightseeing. Plus it’s a landmark. Make sure to take a pic south of the pier in front of the workout area (there’s a photo op spot right next to the bike path) for a great background shot of the pier and the beach. Bike rentals are also available near Big Deans Bar for $25 for the day. Locals secret there’s a cheaper place on 4th street between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd - Santa Monica Bike Rentals just below the parking structure for $15/day. Enjoy!
Free. Great permanent collection. They have parking but I recommend walking here from the Grand Central Market. Park at GCM and take the historic Angels Flight Tram ride up towards the Broad. Closed Tuesday’s.
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The Broad
221 South Grand Avenue
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Free. Great permanent collection. They have parking but I recommend walking here from the Grand Central Market. Park at GCM and take the historic Angels Flight Tram ride up towards the Broad. Closed Tuesday’s.
You HAVE to go to Venice beach if you’re visiting LA. Rent a bike at one of the many stands. Prices are similar most everywhere ($25 for the day) or $15 at Santa Monica Bike Rentals on 4th Street. Cruise along the bike path from Venice to Will Rogers Beach. Worth it for a good workout and great people watching. Awesome Street Art Everywhere. And all kinds of people from everywhere! Lots of food and cafes along the way. Stop at the cafe in front of the Annenberg Beach House for a drink and you can even take a dip in the public pool inside if you don’t want to go into the ocean. Small fee might apply. On the Venice side options are endless. I recommend grabbing a hot dog, pizza or taco and eating in the grassy area across the Venice Art Wall for great people watching. Sunday nights Is the Bicycle parade with Marcus. Bicycle’s and people decorated with lights cruise from Venice to the palisades and back. Usually starts at sundown and meet up is by the Venice circle.
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Venice Beach
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You HAVE to go to Venice beach if you’re visiting LA. Rent a bike at one of the many stands. Prices are similar most everywhere ($25 for the day) or $15 at Santa Monica Bike Rentals on 4th Street. Cruise along the bike path from Venice to Will Rogers Beach. Worth it for a good workout and great people watching. Awesome Street Art Everywhere. And all kinds of people from everywhere! Lots of food and cafes along the way. Stop at the cafe in front of the Annenberg Beach House for a drink and you can even take a dip in the public pool inside if you don’t want to go into the ocean. Small fee might apply. On the Venice side options are endless. I recommend grabbing a hot dog, pizza or taco and eating in the grassy area across the Venice Art Wall for great people watching. Sunday nights Is the Bicycle parade with Marcus. Bicycle’s and people decorated with lights cruise from Venice to the palisades and back. Usually starts at sundown and meet up is by the Venice circle.
Great views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica and LA. Most visitors to LA don’t realize there’s great hiking here too. Park at the beginning of the trailhead - designated parking spots or park on the street. Make a loop or go up and down the same way. Give yourself about 2-3 hours to park, chill and drive home.
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Los Leones Canyon Trailhead
510 Los Liones Dr
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Great views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica and LA. Most visitors to LA don’t realize there’s great hiking here too. Park at the beginning of the trailhead - designated parking spots or park on the street. Make a loop or go up and down the same way. Give yourself about 2-3 hours to park, chill and drive home.
Local spot for live music and drinks since 1931. Park in the public lot next door. Or take a ride share to be safe. You can also take the train from the house. Walk to Bundy and Olympic and catch the train there going west. Exit at the end of the line. Don’t drink and drive! If you’re in town Sunday night there’s an awesome show here every Sunday - The Toledo show. MUST for first timers to SaMo!! And Wednesday nites is performance by House of Vibe - hip hop/ funk band. Good crowd. Chill vibe Age range is 25-65. Mixed ethnicity. My go to spot to take friends when they visit on Sundays or Wednesday’s. Cover charge at the door but money goes to band so worth it!! Cheers!!
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Harvelle's
1432 4th Street
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Local spot for live music and drinks since 1931. Park in the public lot next door. Or take a ride share to be safe. You can also take the train from the house. Walk to Bundy and Olympic and catch the train there going west. Exit at the end of the line. Don’t drink and drive! If you’re in town Sunday night there’s an awesome show here every Sunday - The Toledo show. MUST for first timers to SaMo!! And Wednesday nites is performance by House of Vibe - hip hop/ funk band. Good crowd. Chill vibe Age range is 25-65. Mixed ethnicity. My go to spot to take friends when they visit on Sundays or Wednesday’s. Cover charge at the door but money goes to band so worth it!! Cheers!!
Another of my favorite spots to take friends. Great views of Santa Monica beach and the world famous Santa Monica pier. This place is located at the top of the Shangrila hotel. Park on the city public lots on 2nd street between Wilshire and Arizona and walk over or take a ride share from the house if you’re going to be drinking a few. On the pricey side for drinks but worth the price for the beautiful views. Cheers!!
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ONYX Rooftop Bar
1301 Ocean Avenue
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Another of my favorite spots to take friends. Great views of Santa Monica beach and the world famous Santa Monica pier. This place is located at the top of the Shangrila hotel. Park on the city public lots on 2nd street between Wilshire and Arizona and walk over or take a ride share from the house if you’re going to be drinking a few. On the pricey side for drinks but worth the price for the beautiful views. Cheers!!
Learnt to surf at this spot. Park on the right side lot which is by the hour not on the main lot which is much more expensive. There’s a common meter closer to the bike path - $1/ hour (remember your parking spot #) Or take the better option, the Blue Bus from the house by Bundy and Ocean Park. You could also walk from the house which I’ve done plenty of times. (Approximately 1 hour) Great spot to catch waves in the early morning or the sun in the afternoon. Or Sunsets if that’s more your thing. Rent a bike at Perry’s $25/ day and cruise the bike path from Venice to the palisades. Walk/ bike over to Shoup’s deli on Main Street (yelp it) nearby and get a grilled salmon BLT to go and eat it in the grassy area next to the parking lot! Enjoy!!
Lifeguard Tower 26
2559 Ocean Front Walk
Learnt to surf at this spot. Park on the right side lot which is by the hour not on the main lot which is much more expensive. There’s a common meter closer to the bike path - $1/ hour (remember your parking spot #) Or take the better option, the Blue Bus from the house by Bundy and Ocean Park. You could also walk from the house which I’ve done plenty of times. (Approximately 1 hour) Great spot to catch waves in the early morning or the sun in the afternoon. Or Sunsets if that’s more your thing. Rent a bike at Perry’s $25/ day and cruise the bike path from Venice to the palisades. Walk/ bike over to Shoup’s deli on Main Street (yelp it) nearby and get a grilled salmon BLT to go and eat it in the grassy area next to the parking lot! Enjoy!!
Highly recommend for first timers to LA. On a clear day you can see the entire Westside from here. Drive to the top and park for a fee $10 or park on the street for free and take the stairs for a great workout. Views include the Hollywood sign, downtown, the ocean, Sony picture studios. Enjoy!
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Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
6300 Hetzler Rd
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Highly recommend for first timers to LA. On a clear day you can see the entire Westside from here. Drive to the top and park for a fee $10 or park on the street for free and take the stairs for a great workout. Views include the Hollywood sign, downtown, the ocean, Sony picture studios. Enjoy!
Don’t mind the picture here. Locals don’t want tourists cramming up this spot. Lol. Located on the famous Mulholland Drive. Great views of the San Fernando Valley (this used to be all orange groves back in the day) from here and of course Universal city and universal studios. Worth a drive if you have time. Prolly a 30-40 min drive from the house. Park along the side of the road and make sure to look both ways before crossing street due to curvy roads. Recommend to continue onto the Jerome C Daniel before taking the road down to universal city. If you do go visit Universal city walk. It’s a open air mall like area outside universal studios with restaurants, bars, bowling alley, theaters and shops. Parking is usually about $20 for the whole day.
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Universal City Overlook
7701 Mulholland Drive
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Don’t mind the picture here. Locals don’t want tourists cramming up this spot. Lol. Located on the famous Mulholland Drive. Great views of the San Fernando Valley (this used to be all orange groves back in the day) from here and of course Universal city and universal studios. Worth a drive if you have time. Prolly a 30-40 min drive from the house. Park along the side of the road and make sure to look both ways before crossing street due to curvy roads. Recommend to continue onto the Jerome C Daniel before taking the road down to universal city. If you do go visit Universal city walk. It’s a open air mall like area outside universal studios with restaurants, bars, bowling alley, theaters and shops. Parking is usually about $20 for the whole day.
Recommend coming here after you visit the Universal City Overlook. It’s a few minutes drive past it. Park in designated spots and watch for no parking signs so you don’t get a ticket. Located Off famous Mulholland Drive. This place has great views of the Hollywood Sign and of downtown LA . The picture you see on most LA postcards with DTLA in the background is most likely taken from here. Prolly a must visit for first timers to LA. Continue on to the TCL Chinese theatre from here if you’re not going to visit Universal Studios/ Universal City Walk.
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Jerome C. Daniel Overlook above the Hollywood Bowl
7036 Mulholland Drive
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Recommend coming here after you visit the Universal City Overlook. It’s a few minutes drive past it. Park in designated spots and watch for no parking signs so you don’t get a ticket. Located Off famous Mulholland Drive. This place has great views of the Hollywood Sign and of downtown LA . The picture you see on most LA postcards with DTLA in the background is most likely taken from here. Prolly a must visit for first timers to LA. Continue on to the TCL Chinese theatre from here if you’re not going to visit Universal Studios/ Universal City Walk.
This place is a LA landmark. And also located on the world famous Hollywood Blvd. Recommend parking in the mall lot underground for best rates and access to the area. You can easily spend a couple of hours in this area so be prepared for a bit of walking. Lots to see here besides the movie stars handprints in front of the theatre and the Hollywood Stars on the pavement. Enjoy!!
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TCL Chinese Theatre
6925 Hollywood Blvd
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This place is a LA landmark. And also located on the world famous Hollywood Blvd. Recommend parking in the mall lot underground for best rates and access to the area. You can easily spend a couple of hours in this area so be prepared for a bit of walking. Lots to see here besides the movie stars handprints in front of the theatre and the Hollywood Stars on the pavement. Enjoy!!
Food scene
Definitely a locals only kinda place even though it is located in touristy Santa Monica. Recommend all foods. My favorite is the pork adobado. Parking on premises.
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Gilbert's El Indio Restaurant
2526 Pico Boulevard
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Definitely a locals only kinda place even though it is located in touristy Santa Monica. Recommend all foods. My favorite is the pork adobado. Parking on premises.
One of the best spots in the city for burgers. Plus the vibe is chill. Don’t forget to get their banana cream pie 🔥 Seating can be a problem but usually moves at a decent pace. Later it gets the busier they get. Closed Monday’s. Parking on premises.
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The Apple Pan
10801 West Pico Boulevard
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One of the best spots in the city for burgers. Plus the vibe is chill. Don’t forget to get their banana cream pie 🔥 Seating can be a problem but usually moves at a decent pace. Later it gets the busier they get. Closed Monday’s. Parking on premises.
Lots of food options here to choose from. Mostly Asian. Tatsu, Tsujita and Daikokuya Ramen are all good. Kura Revolving Sushi and Sushi Stop. And pop in to shop at Daiso Japanese Market for Japanese candy and other must have items for cheap! Expect some wait times everywhere. But lines generally move pretty fast. Parking can be tricky here. Look for street parking further away and walk in to the area.
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Sawtelle Japantown
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Lots of food options here to choose from. Mostly Asian. Tatsu, Tsujita and Daikokuya Ramen are all good. Kura Revolving Sushi and Sushi Stop. And pop in to shop at Daiso Japanese Market for Japanese candy and other must have items for cheap! Expect some wait times everywhere. But lines generally move pretty fast. Parking can be tricky here. Look for street parking further away and walk in to the area.
This place is a 100 year old institution/ landmark in LA. Get the French Dip sandwich. I always get mine double dipped. Free parking on premises. Iconic.
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Philippe The Original
1001 North Alameda
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This place is a 100 year old institution/ landmark in LA. Get the French Dip sandwich. I always get mine double dipped. Free parking on premises. Iconic.
A must for first timers to California/ LA. Best Burger in California. Iconic, Good food, Great Value. Free parking on premises.
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In-N-Out Burger
9149 South Sepulveda Boulevard
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A must for first timers to California/ LA. Best Burger in California. Iconic, Good food, Great Value. Free parking on premises.
Walking distance or short drive from the house. Great Value for your money and delicious. Lunch deals start at $5.99 for quarter chicken special includes rice and naan bread. My go to spot when I feel indecisive.
Chutneys
2406 S Barrington Ave
Walking distance or short drive from the house. Great Value for your money and delicious. Lunch deals start at $5.99 for quarter chicken special includes rice and naan bread. My go to spot when I feel indecisive.
Another spot close to the house. Walk here or short drive. Trader Joe’s and Marukai are my favorite market’s. Besides all your grocery needs they have a ready made food stand towards the front of store. Fresh food daily includes Sushi, Bento Box (preset complete meal), Chicken Karage (Japanese style fried chicken) and lots of Japanese desert options. Make sure to stock up on Asian style thick cut bread, Instant ramen noodles and oranges (Asian markets always have the best oranges).
Marukai
12121 West Pico Boulevard
Another spot close to the house. Walk here or short drive. Trader Joe’s and Marukai are my favorite market’s. Besides all your grocery needs they have a ready made food stand towards the front of store. Fresh food daily includes Sushi, Bento Box (preset complete meal), Chicken Karage (Japanese style fried chicken) and lots of Japanese desert options. Make sure to stock up on Asian style thick cut bread, Instant ramen noodles and oranges (Asian markets always have the best oranges).
Another of my favorite food spots in SaMo. Waking distance from the house or a short drive over. This place is a must if you like grilled chicken aka chicken kabobs aka Mediterranean food. Get the grilled chicken plate, dark meat of course, with a side of babaganoush (roasted eggplant) and lentil soup. Good size portion. Enough for 2 people for the small eaters. You can also add an extra skewer if you’re going to share. Rice and Pita bread is complimentary and you can always ask for more pita.
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Crimson
2901 Ocean Park Boulevard
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Another of my favorite food spots in SaMo. Waking distance from the house or a short drive over. This place is a must if you like grilled chicken aka chicken kabobs aka Mediterranean food. Get the grilled chicken plate, dark meat of course, with a side of babaganoush (roasted eggplant) and lentil soup. Good size portion. Enough for 2 people for the small eaters. You can also add an extra skewer if you’re going to share. Rice and Pita bread is complimentary and you can always ask for more pita.
My favorite Chinese food place on the Westside. Similar to Din Tai Fung without the prices or the lines. Recommend the pork soup dumplings, green beans, beef roll and Dan Dan noodles. But really most everything is great here. Plus it’s a short drive from the house. Free parking on top of the building off Wilshire.
Northern Cafe Brentwood
12009 Wilshire Boulevard
My favorite Chinese food place on the Westside. Similar to Din Tai Fung without the prices or the lines. Recommend the pork soup dumplings, green beans, beef roll and Dan Dan noodles. But really most everything is great here. Plus it’s a short drive from the house. Free parking on top of the building off Wilshire.
I like this location of urth caffe for the location. Lots of great graffiti and street art in the area. Make sure to walk around the neighborhood and visit some of the galleries. Worth a visit. Plus great coffee and food. Hipster vibe. All ages. Parking on street or lot across the cafe.
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Urth Caffé
451 South Hewitt Street
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I like this location of urth caffe for the location. Lots of great graffiti and street art in the area. Make sure to walk around the neighborhood and visit some of the galleries. Worth a visit. Plus great coffee and food. Hipster vibe. All ages. Parking on street or lot across the cafe.