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.
A Revitalized Downtown
The revitalization of downtown Los Angeles continues apace, 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 adjacent restaurant Otium after your visit.
Another one of my 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.
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.
Franklin Canyon Park is a 605-acre oasis of grasslands and forests with five miles of hiking trails. When the traffic and bling of the city start to become tiresome, a long walk here can be very restorative.