From the beachside haunts of Santa Monica and Abbott Kinney to West Hollywood and Downtown LA, right now, these are the hippest neighbourhoods to explore in LA. Whether you've got just a day or a week to look around, be sure to fit in a visit to at least one of these spots for a glimpse at a different side of Los Angeles.
1. West Hollywood
Explore the rock and roll history of WeHo’s Sunset Strip, home to Whiskey A Go-Go where The Doors were once a house band, the Viper Room, once owned by Johnny Depp and Chateau Marmont, where everyone from Led Zeppelin to Lindsay Lohan have stayed.
2. Santa Monica’s Montana Avenue
This tree-lined neighbourhood is one of the Westside’s coolest boutique shopping destinations. Enjoy a breakfast burrito at 17th Street Café or a latté at Café Luxxe, window-shop designer outlets such as Planet Blue and Ruti Boutique and grab yourself some flats at London Sole.
3. Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice
A few blocks back from Venice Beach, Abbott Kinney has a vibrant collection of boutiques, galleries, restaurants and bars. Biking is both the mode of transportation here and the accessory of choice. Pick out some designer threads and accessories at Guild, Weltenbuerger or Satine and grab a coffee at Intelligentsia or 3 Square Café.
4. Fairfax Village
Fairfax Village is where Judaica meets LA street punk. Orthodox men share the footpath with skateboarders and old mom-and-pop retailers site side-by-side skating and streetwear legends like Supreme and the Hundreds. It’s a walkable stretch between Melrose and Beverley, with no shortage of thrift shopping at places like Melrose Trading Post, Goodwill or Council Thrift.
Koreatown, just south of Hollywood, is one of L.A.’s most exciting neighbourhoods. Get naked, scrubbed and massaged at Korean day spa Olympic Spa, grab some delicious Korean BBQ at Soowon Galbi before exploring the area’s dive bars, speakeasies and Karaoke bars, including R Bar or the more upmarket S Bar.
6. Miracle Mile
Miracle Mile was once a migration route for prehistoric mammoths and a dirt path for Spanish rancheros before becoming a Downtown LA thoroughfare – the first commercial development designed specifically for the benefit of drivers. Learn about LA’s car culture at Petersen Automotive Museum, take in the exhibits at the LA Country Museum of Art, and then stroll through Hancock Park, where scientists still pull fossils from the black goo of La Brea Tar Pits every day.
7. The Downtown Arts District
Down by the LA River, the Downtown Arts District runs roughly from Second Street to Seventh and Alameda, is a neighbourhood to watch, a burgeoning hub for LA’s young, professional and creative. Explore the area’s former warehouse and factories, now upmarket condos adorned with street art, painted by artists including Banksy, antigirl and Tristan Eaton.
Silverlake is the Eastside’s trendiest neighbourhood, with a growing number of great restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Be sure to head to the sprawling dive; The Satellite, formerly known as Spaceland, where you’ll find a huge line-up of live acts. Visit the Chandelier Tree, a century-old sycamore with 30 chandeliers hanging from its branches and grab a coffee at Intelligentsia on Sunset Junction.
9. Little Tokyo
Little Tokyo harmoniously blends old and new, with the neighbourhood’s roots tracing back to 1886, and new shops and restaurants opening every week. Visit the Japanese American National Museum, browse through the eclectic selection of vinyl and vintage fashion, grab some vegan-gluten-free sushi at Shojin, Udon noodles at Marugame Monzo or pork-flavoured Tokushima Ramen at Men Oh, before hitting the karaoke bars.
10. Highland Park
Also on the Eastside, this emerging hotspot is home to a vibrant Latino/hipster community with a great selection of vintage clothes shops including Urchin and Squaresville, bookshops and vinyl outlets including Wombleton Records. As for food, you’ll find everything from vegetarian tacos and enchiladas at Cinnamon, beef bourguignon, duck cassoulet at BA, or Gastropub food like pulled pork Cuban sandwich with truffle Mac and cheese at The York.