221 S Grand Avenue
Downtown Los Angeles
+1 213 232 6200
The Broad (pronounced road with a b) is the newest contemporary art museum on the scene in LA, and it was everything I hoped it would be: a collection as impressive as the building itself (by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler) small enough to get through without feeling overwhelmed (the building is 120,000 square feet, but only houses two floors of gallery space), and has renewed the public’s interest in contemporary art (in LA at least, where the lines to get in still snake around the block). Admission is free and you can get tickets ahead of time online, but as far as I can tell, those tickets are “sold out” months in advance. So here is a SUPER important Select 7 tip: if you go to the gift shop and spend $75, you get two same-day tickets. So yes, it takes away the “free” admisision, but if you’re only in town for a quick visit and don’t want to wait or the day is sold out, this is a good option that they don’t promote.
1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles
+1 310 440 7300
I can’t tell you anything about the art housed here because I never went inside – it’s mostly pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts – which just isn’t really my thing. But it doesn’t matter because a visit here is MUCH more about the the gardens, the buildings (by Richard Meier) and the staggering views of LA . We opted out of the trolley ride from the main entrance area up to the museum, and walked through the sculpture gardens up the hill (it’s about a ¾ mile walk) to the museum instead, where we spent countless hours wandering through the exterior, looking at the view and just enjoying the day. The trolley is a fun ride, though, so we took it back down. Next time I vow to go inside to see some of the art, but either way this is really a don’t miss
189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles
+1 323 900 8080
The Grove is something of an enigma to me: it’s basically a giant outdoor mall that looks like the Disney Land of shopping (35 stores, 10 restaurants, 8 snack shops and a movie theater). But people in LA LOVE The Grove! And I have to admit, that while I may not understand it, I loved it, too. The movie theater is the most glamorous I’ve ever seen with plush carpeting and vintage sconces and chandeliers, and while the shopping is pretty mainstream, it’s still shopping, so there’s that. And The Farmer’s Market, which is attached (less of a Farmer’s Market, more of an outdoor food hall) has some great options for terrific food, too.
HIKING IN LA
You can’t go to LA and NOT take at least one hike. A city built between mountains and the ocean, you’ll want to get some height so you can see what this place is really all about. You can google "hikes in LA" and get a ton of answers, but some of the most popular are Runyon Canyon, Temescal Canyon, Los Liones Trail (there’s a great bench midway to the top with some breathtaking views) and the Beachwood Canyon Secret Stairs that will take you as close to the Hollywood Sign as you can get.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
+1 323 857 6000
The exterior of this museum might be more beautiful than the interior, although there are some pretty spectacular views from insIde the galleries as well.
23000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
+1 888 310 PIER
This pier doesn’t have the amusement park appeal of the Santa Monica Pier, which for many is actually a blessIng. This one is all laid back Malibu, with the delicious and perfectly curated Malibu Farm, a fantastic shop at the end, and plenty of people fishing off the pier, which makes for great conversation with Malibu locals. The pier also offers Whale Watching and Coastal Tours.
PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
+1 323 930 CARS
This museum just underwent a huge renovation and whether or not you’re into cars is besides the point. It’s incredible: cars from every era, including a room dedicated to only silver models, which you can imagine makes for quite a beautiful spectacle. There’s also a room devoted to “famous” cars: Walter White’s Pontiac Aztec lives there and of all the things to see, I think this might top the list.
SANTA MONICA PIER
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
+1 310 394 8042
Like Coney Island but considerably smaller, the Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909 (in fact its original purpose was to run treated sewage into the ocean via a pipeline underneath the pier). Since then its undergone many collapses, rebuilds and renovations, and is now home to dozens of vendors hawking tourist-y goods, a few food stalls and restaurants, and a full amusement park. It’s pretty cool, and the view of it from anywhere along the beach is iconic.