Los Angeles

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Los Angeles has much to offer the aesthetically inclined, whether it's listening to the Philharmonic amid the sweeping curves of the Walt Disney Concert Hall; ambling around Bergamot Station, a sprawling compound of modern art galleries in Santa Monica; or admiring the view from the marbled aerie of the Getty Center. While the city still struggles with the concept of a strolling district (notable exceptions include Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade), Old Town Pasadena to the north is a good place to leave the car parked for an afternoon. The city's eclectic haute cuisine rivals that of New York. And just as in New York, it's a mistake to neglect the classic hotel addresses here: Hotel Bel-Air, The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Peninsula and Beverly Wilshire continue to shine, and treat their return patrons like family. 

Editor Tips

A Revitalized Downtown

The revitalization of downtown Los Angeles continues, evidenced by the continued success of The Broad contemporary-art museum. The space is in a striking building, with a “veil and vault” design, that houses some 2,000 works from the private collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, including pieces by artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. Have lunch at the NoMad hotel after your visit.

Contemporary Art

Another one of our favorite places to view contemporary art is at Bergamot Station Arts Center, a set of warehouses in Santa Monica that has served as a trolley stop and a celery-packing plant. Under new management since 2018, this unique complex houses galleries and a pleasant café.

Architecture Tour

In order to learn more about the architecture and history of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, we booked a tour of those cities (they’re municipalities separate from Los Angeles) with Laura Massino Smith, who runs Architecture Tours L.A. Since her groups are limited in size by the number of seats in her minivan, we didn’t book a private tour, though it’s possible to do so. An architectural historian, Smith has extensive knowledge of architecture in general as well as the history of the Los Angeles region.

Hiking Trails

Runyon Canyon came highly recommended by every local we asked about hiking. And indeed, our walk here proved memorable in every respect, taking in sensational views of the Century City skyline, the downtown Los Angeles skyline and the iconic Hollywood sign. The people-watching also proved to be quite good. We started at the Fuller Avenue entrance and kept to the right, taking the East Trail, so that we had a steep uphill climb followed by a long, slow downhill walk, taking the first left off the East Trail in order to make a loop of approximately 2 miles.

Vintage Clothing

Decades sells gorgeous vintage and consignment clothing and accessories dating to the 1920s. On my last visit, I coveted a vintage Hermès leather travel bag almost enough to pay the $8,000 price.

Literary Los Angeles

Before a recent trip to Los Angeles, we browsed through a book called “Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018.” Editor David Kipen combed through a vast array of journals and correspondence to assemble this collection of mostly short musings on Los Angeles and its residents, all written by people living or staying in the city. Rather than organizing the quotes he pulled chronologically, he arranged them according to the day of the year when they were written.