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On business in Los Angeles

The City of Angels can be intimidating at the best of times. And when time is short on a business trip, it can be overwhelming – especially for first time visitors. Slice off a bite sized chunk, and it becomes much easier to swallow. Here’s our guide to making the best of your free time when on business in Los Angeles.

Where to eat

In the Arts District, near Downtown, Bread Lounge is a great place to grab a breakfast pastry or sandwich on the go, or hit Melrose Avenue for a leisurely breakfast or lunch. Try The Village Idiot (a Brit-style pub that even serves roast dinners on Sundays) or nearby Blu Jam Cafe, which is frequently named best breakfast spot in LA thanks to dishes like Brunch Carbonara – risotto with bacon, peas, Parmesan and poached eggs.

On a sunny day, you can’t beat a table on The Ivy’s flower-filled patio, or order the chopped salad at Beverly Hills power-lunch favourite La Scala, where the rich and famous break bread and make business deals.

A casual option with retro charm is Mel’s Drive In on Sunset Strip. This archetypal 1950s American diner serves buckets of fried chicken and mud-thick milkshakes.

And for those looking to impress? Book in advance at Tuscan E Baldi in Beverly Hills, which counts Woody Allen among its regulars.

Where to go for evening cocktails

Join the queues to be whizzed up by elevator to the terrace at Perch, where you’ll be rewarded with skyline views and live jazz.

Everleigh on Sunset Strip is effortlessly cool, with cows’ skulls dangling from the ceiling and weird and wonderful ingredients including snake oil and ‘forbidden bitters’.

In Pasadena, The Raymond 1886 has a menu of 21 cocktails that changes with the seasons and whims of the expert bartenders.

Tab Panel

Downtown speakeasy Varnish, with booths and live piano, lies behind an unmarked door inside Cole’s, or imagine you’ve traveled back a century to a windowless jazz joint in West Hollywood’s Delilah.

The Bar Marmont is also a great choice for those looking for a true classic. Serving elegant drinks and with butterflies pinned to the ceiling and incognito A-listers lurking in the shadows, this is a great place to spend a night off when on business in Los Angeles.

Top sights

Touch the handprints of your favourite celebs at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And for the obligatory Hollywood sign pic, check out a list of spots here. Film and TV buffs should also book a tour of Universal Studios.

The Getty houses one of the most impressive art collections in the world – and it’s free to wander between the Old Masters and manicured gardens. The Arts District, meanwhile, is perfect for a stroll while gawping at the impressive, intricate street murals and tiny motifs. Studio DIY has a guide to the most Instagram-worthy points throughout the city, here.

Looking to pack in the sites on your day off? Book the LA In A Day tour with Bikes and Hikes, with 32 miles taking in Greystone Park, Beverly Hills, Venice Beach and West Hollywood.

Great gifts

Pop into curiosity shop Wacko for books, artwork, bobble heads and tiki glasses. On Santa Monica, you’ll find Candle Delirium, an emporium of luxury wax and wicks. Pick up unusual jewellery and prints at Hemingway and Pickett in Silver Lake, and for music lovers Amoeba Music is wall to poster-covered wall with vinyl.

Poketo is a hip gift and homeware shop in the Arts District, stocked with bright, beautiful stationery, patterned socks and bracelets. Children’s boutique, Little Seed in the Larchmont neighbourhood, stocks handcrafted toys, books and cotton clothing.

Going local

For a taste of local life in Los Angeles, browse more than 100 restaurants, shops and food stalls at the daily Original Farmers Market in Hollywood.

Angelenos start their day with Intelligentsia Coffee, which has cafes in Silver Lake, Venice and Pasadena using organic, fair trade beans – a must when on business in Los Angeles.

For a stronger brew, Barrel Down has 24 rotating taps with local, American and imported beers in Downtown LA. Nearby, Nickel Diner serves up legendary breakfast scrambles, any time of day.

You’ll be raving about the crack bacon and Fossee cookies at Grub in Hollywood, and since LocoL opened, queues have been around the block and around the clock for this fast food joint with community spirit.

Where to break curfew

Gritty rock joint Whisky A Go Go on Sunset Boulevard is the perfect place to get into trouble, while the infamous Viper Room has a hidden bar stocking rare whiskies, tucked underneath the main stage.

More of a jazz cat? Baked Potato in Studio City is LA’s oldest jazz joint, with nightly revues and a carb-loading menu of jacket spuds.

If you’re chasing the night, vast nightclub Avalon is the place to party. For a late night meat fix, Pacific Dining Car, a steakhouse in a converted 1920s railcar, is open 24 hours, as is home-style joint The Original Pantry Cafe.

Having a laugh? Check into The Comedy Store for guaranteed giggles. Jim Carrey and Chris Rock are among those to have honed their humour here.


Written by Ella Buchan

Image credits: 

Downtown skyline © Discover LA

The pylons at LAX © Discover LA

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