A sprawling metropolis home to almost 4 million residents, Los Angeles can be a little daunting for first time visitors. It helps to have the inside scoop from a local!
The second largest city in the USA, Los Angeles wasn't always the sprawling metropolis we see today.
Founded on black gold, the city still sits atop the third largest oil field in the country. The city's elegant roots remain dipped in oil, though tourism is one of many contributors to the L.A. of today.
We caught up with Philippa Whitfield-Pomeranz, producer of reality style show Fashion Bloggers, who spent her twenties living in the 'City of Angels'.
When she visits now, she likes to pretend she's a local again, hiring a car to visit favourite haunts such as the historic Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena or driving the entire length of Sunset Boulevard, from the city to the sea.
Here are Philippa’s tips for discovering L.A.'s soul.
"I love Manhattan Beach, not only because I lived there for 13 years but because of its laid back, Californian vibe. There is so much to do here that doesn’t just involve the beach – which, by the way, is also great! Walk from pier to pier with a coffee or rent bikes and cruise the Strand, and end your day at The Strand House or Brewco where you can sip on a skinny margarita (made with agave and fresh lime) or house brewed beer. In summer you can watch people practicing volleyball, which is so Cali."
Petty Cash Taqueria
"The vibe in Petty Cash is almost as good as the food, which is a modern take on Mexican street cuisine. I recently found out some of the produce is grown on the venue's roof top garden, which is so cool. When I was last there the veggie nachos were laden with fresh, tasty veggies...it was to die for!"
Check out their menu: www.pettycashtaqueria.com
"Larchmont’s location is part of its charm. To get there, you have to drive through neighbourhoods steeped in Hollywood history – the grand estates in Hancock Park, past the legendary gates of Paramount Studios - which makes me giddy every time I have a meeting there - and the quaint Californian bungalows from the 1920’s. Larchmont’s main street bustles with locals getting their coffees, juices or bagels. My favourite café is Le Petite Greek. The Farmers’ Market on Sunday is also worth visiting."
"I love this hike. It’s not as crowded at Runyon Canyon and it has a lot more shade. Start at the bottom of Fryman Canyon and walk up, that way you get the hardest part of the hike over and done with fast. Park on Laurel Canyon to avoid a US$3 parking fee or make sure you have the exact change as it’s an honour system."
"I go to Pace every time I’m in L.A. no matter what. It’s an Italian restaurant set in a cosy neighbourhood, and is famous for its organic fresh produce and cedar wood grilled salmon. A little pot of crayons sit on the brown paper tablecloth waiting for you to solve the world’s problems. When you go to the bathroom you can see all the artists that have dined before you, handwritten on the walls."
"Sundays at Nobu in Malibu are the best. I loved going to the original back in the day and I didn’t think that it could get better but it did. The views of the Pacific Ocean are spectacular. Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno is so good. Definitely make a reservation to secure a table and request seating on the outdoor patio."
"This bustling rock ‘n’ roll pizza joint has a very cool late night bar scene, not to mention a long cocktail list featuring a few of my favourites – the Dirty Sue Martini, the Proud Mary and the One Night Stand. The staff is as friendly as they are good looking and match the equally cool clientele. Save room for the apple pie – trust me!"
See more at: www.joneshollywood.com
"Espionage is my go-to destination for gifts. There’s a great mix of chic and Hollywood vintage pieces. I have purchased everything from jewellery to candles, silver antler candlestick holders to a velvet bow tie. Espionage also has a custom gifting service so it doesn’t matter where I am in the world I can always count on this amazing little boutique."
"There is something magical about an evening at the Hollywood Bowl. I had the privilege of seeing Ray Charles perform there, watch Walt Disney’s Fantasia with a full orchestra playing in synch to the film and witness the sing-along Sound of Music spectacle. Picnicking under the stars in the heart of Hollywood is a must do experience. Book before you arrive."
Find out what's on: www.hollywoodbowl.com
Catch a Sunset
"Sunsets are the best so make sure you go to the beach at least once to witness this, or get up high for a better view. Soho House has the most spectacular view of L.A. and on a good day you can see the water on one side and snow capped mountains on the other. Perfection!"
Find more information visit Discover Los Angeles
Fiona Harper is a travel writer specialising in cruising, active and soft adventures. Follow her at Travel Boating Lifestyle.