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Emily Lewis

Consultant, Blogger, Explorer

Los Angeles Guide

Coffee & Tea

  • République

    The coffee is phenomenal - strong and smooth. They'll make lovely foam art even in your to-go cup - how can you not love that? And the morning ambiance is perfect for quiet solo contemplation or in-depth catch-up with friends. Plus the pastries are out of this world. Note: The lunch crowd is rowdy and upscale, and you can skip dinner here, but morning and afternoon are awesome.

  • Solar De Cahuenga

    If you're planning to camp out, this is the place to go. You'll find a super-friendly crew, great coffee, a large selection of teas, two covered patios to choose from if you want to be outside, and valet ($3) parking if you're not in the mood to hunt for street parking (walking distance from Hollywood & Vine metro stop too). They also have a full menu of salads, sandwiches and sweet & savory crepes. This is a neighborhood hangout with lots of regulars and lots of open laptops taking advantage of the wifi. Everyone is welcoming.

Shopping

  • Sumi's

    This is one of those purely delightful stores filled with beautiful, hand-crafted gifts and jewelry, many of which are from local artisans and VERY affordable which makes this shop stand out from the rest. It's the perfect place to go for a birthday or holiday gift or whenever you're wishing to treat yourself to something lovely. Note: They've moved locations! They're actually now in Los Feliz at: 1812 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

  • Unique LA

    This only happens on about 4 weekends a year, but it's the best-curated collection of makers you'll find in one place - everything from furniture to clothes to just cool shit you'll somehow decide you need - so practice patience and check it out!

Food

  • Craft

    Hands down the most delicious and decadent dining experience in town. This is the place to go if you want truly mouth-watering dishes, in their purest form; stand-out service, sans attitude or pretension; and a sleek yet welcoming ambiance where you'll easily be able to hear what your companion(s) are saying but not have to listen to your neighbors' conversations. Foodies like that they've heard of the chef: Tom Colicchio. But unlike many foodie rave spots, you'll recognize what you're eating and every ingredient is used to enhance the flavor of your food rather than fit some trend or sound exotic (eg. no jalapeno-infused, mesquite-smoked avocado foam on a kale root, etc.). Everything is simply outstanding, super fresh and potentially giggle-inducing, it's so darn good. If you have the means, go all the time. If you don't, save it for a special occasion and it will enhance your celebration.

  • Square One Dining

    Angelenos are spoiled when it comes to brunch places but this is one of my favorites. The banana-citrus french toast will send you into a very contented food coma. The grits will make their way into your dreams. And everything else is comforting quality goodness. The patio can get blistering hot but the staff is very conscientious and warns those in the hot seats. It's a very laid-back, friendly place. You'll never feel rushed once you're seated and the (inevitable, on the weekends) wait for a table is well worth it.

Bars

  • Cleo

    Delicious mixed drinks, amazing small bites Mediterranean food and a knowledgeable staff make this a great spot. It can get really loud, so better to go someplace else for intimacy; it's perfect for revelry with a great group of friends.

Adventures

  • Letting Your Inner Luddite Get Lost

    Everything about The Last Bookstore is lovely, if you love books. And even if you don't, there's something to love here. Housed in an old bank building downtown, it's got great bones for you to appreciate. There's a tunnel made out of books, a vault where they keep all the crime novels, small art galleries on the 2nd floor, a huge $1 section (part of which is organized by color rather than author or title - how great is that?!), comfy chairs in which to curl up and knowledgeable staff. Prepare to lose track of time. Note: It's a historic building which means no air conditioning. Keep that in mind if it's a hot summer day.

  • For Art Lovers, Families & Trekkies or...Everyone

    Even if you usually rank museums up there with dentists' offices, you'll love the Getty. The building itself is absolutely stunning and, no matter how many times you visit, you'll always discover a new nook, angle at which the light hits it or fossil buried in its walls (and, if you're a Trekkie, you'll recognize it as the fleet's headquarters in the recent Star Trek 2). The photography exhibits (most of which only run for a few months, so there's always something new for repeat visitors) are exceptional. Lovers of contemporary art can usually find at least one exhibit to explore, whether in the main buildings or in the research center. The permanent collection of medieval art and design elements is world class. The gardens, streams and fountains are a hugely popular draw unto themselves. You'll find couples, groups of friends, solitary visitors and families with normally antsy kids all taking full advantage of the pleasures afforded by the grass-covered hillsides, bubbling stream and abundant blooming flowers. And the vista to the ocean and downtown is phenomenal, particularly on a clear day. If you want an LA photo op, this is the place to go. Note: While the museum is free, parking is now $15 per car.

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