Words by James Gregory Wilkinson
From the city you’d avoid in transit to America’s hottest destination, Los Angeles has come a long way in the last few years thanks to craft brewers, local fare and amazing entertainment. As you make your way to your final destination, why not make the most of your mini-holiday in Los Angeles with our 24-hour guide.
Letting Your Hair Down In LA
Coachella, headlined this year by AC/DC, Jack White and Drake, has become California’s biggest music festival and if you can’t wait until it happens again next April, you’ll still find plenty of great acts playing in the next few months, including unlikely dynamic duo Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, who are performing at the Hollywood Bowl in late May.
It’s also the town for stand-up comedy and improv shows, with some of the best being Nick Kroll and The Smokes, while plenty of the variety shows – from Conan to Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel – have audience tickets readily available.
You can also now experience a TV show on wheels with the TMZ Tour, where you’ll visit the spots of famous celebrity lock-ups and bust-ups.
Art fans should visit the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, where Rembrandt and Picasso take centre stage; the expansive Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with its 150,000 works spanning ancient times to now; and the Getty, with its sculptures, drawings, paintings, photographs and manuscripts in one of the city’s most architecturally striking buildings.
Norton Simon Museum
At the California Science Center, the star attraction is the space shuttle Endeavour, where you can get up close and personal with one of the world’s greatest aircraft.
On Sundays make a beeline for the Melrose Trading Post flea market at Fairfax High, a great place to spend your morning with a fairtrade coffee in hand. You’ll find vintage jewellery, antiques, fedoras, tees, signs, LPs, bags, books, typewriters, food stalls and buskers.
California Science Center
Tasting and Toasting
When it comes to food and drink, Los Angeles has skyrocketed up the charts in America to be one of the nation’s most exciting culinary destinations.
One of the biggest rising scenes is craft beer. Hop on a tour and explore what amber goodness the city has to offer with LA Craft Beer Tours, who’ll take you to Angel City, Eagle Rock, Golden Roads, Beachwood and the aptly named Smog City for stouts, wheats, IPAs, amber ales and more.
On Sunset Strip you’ll find Eveleigh, owned by Aussies Nick Hatsatouris and Nick Mathers. Here, the Kansas City pork chop, the California lamb leg and whiskey sours keep getting better on every visit. Expect mod-OZ meets SoCal country cooking. The result is fresh and flavoursome, especially when paired with small batch cocktails, Californian wines and more of those west coast craft beers. You'll also find antique adornments across the restaurant, a retractable roof and herb garden out back.
It’s more low-key at Jones Hollywood, where pizzas, short ribs, paninis and pastas sit alongside LA-inspired cocktails. Alternatively, fashionable drinks are to be had in the dimly lit whiskey saloon Roger Room. Get here early to score a booth and get barmen Jason Bran and Damian Windsor to shake, strain or stir something off the list.
Downtown is being gentrified through the roof at present and new bars, restaurants and cafes are opening on a monthly basis. At Seven Grand, there's plenty of whiskey (over 300 of them in fact). Order up one of the eight Old Fashions or seven Sours.
Take a drive out to Malibu along the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the world’s most scenic drives, and enjoy the Californian coastline. Here, you should stop in at Moonshadows for a Mojito, some prawns and oysters on the deck, most likely while catching some dolphins swimming past.
A Place To Lay Your Head
Los Angeles has hotels to suit all budgets and if you want to explore most of parts of the city and surrounding regions, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood are your best bets.
Sixty Beverly Hills is a hip designer property with a blend of 1960s coolness and modern California from the rooms and rooftop bar to Caulfield’s Bar and Dining Room – a top establishment off the lobby. Just keep in mind, the roof’s the place to be at sunset.
Sixty Beverly Hills
The Peninsula Beverly Hills is one of the city’s most luxurious hotels and it features 194 guest rooms, including 16 oversized private villas, along with a rooftop pool solely for guest use. There's also a spa and several eating and drinking spaces, including The Belvedere, for afternoon tea, and the Roof Gardens. Here’s a business-friendly tip: there’s no extra charge for an early check-in or late check-out, no matter if it is 6am or 11pm.
An affordable stay is to be had at the Ramada Plaza and Suites West Hollywood. Make sure you book the Marilyn Monroe suite.
Getting There and Around Town
Qantas flies daily to Los Angeles on Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400 aircraft that feature the airline’s latest long-haul seats across all cabins.
Qantas now offers the ‘Select on Q-Eat’, whereby no matter if you’re flying in Business, Premium or Economy, you can now select your meal before you fly from a Neil Perry Rockpool-inspired menu that includes an extra dish as an online exclusive. Once you land, it's best to rent a car to fully explore all that Los Angeles has to offer.