Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Frugal City Guide: 7 new spots to try in LA

Top: £59, MonsoonJeans: £49, Monsoon. Sandals: £39, Monsoon. Photograph: Christopher O'Donnell
LA, the City of Angels. And, surprisingly, one of my favourite places. After travelling there for work countless times (I've been there for one night before doing a photo shoot), it's so nice to go as a 'visitor'. It's very spread out and you need a car and sometimes it gets tiring driving around (tiring for my husband I mean, I was a mere passenger!) but all the destinations are worth it. We were also really lucky with the weather, it was low to mid 20s the entire time - perfect mooching weather. Here's a little guide on what we got up to:


Ace Hotel, Downtown LA

Hotels in LA are expensive. Fact. What with the extra tax and city tax and everything else on top (same goes with car rental, there's never just a bog standard price, always extras), we couldn't afford a hotel for the entire time. We knew we would be staying in friends whilst in San Diego and save money with our Air BnB so we booked the Ace for Friday and Saturday - at roughly $200 a night (and Hotels in US are always cheaper if you stay a Saturday night). We just wanted 2 days to stroll around, relax and get over our jetlag - and we'd never stayed Downtown before. It's a great position right by cool stores APC, Acne etc and you feel very 'in it' - the rooftop pool is great for those early jetlag mornings too (although it is not for swimming! Too shallow).

Brunch at The Ace Hotel

It was so nice to be a part of LA you could walk around, we walked to Little Tokyo for the first time, which obviously I enjoyed - much more of an 'area' than I thought it would be. And we loved walking past all the old theatre signs.

Top: £185.30, Club Monaco. Dress: H&M (bought instore but buy similar from Asos here). Watch: Shore ProjectsBag: £51.60, Aurora London. Sunglasses: £118, J Crew. Shoes: Asos (old but buy similar from New Look here). Photograph: Christopher O'Donnell


Ledlow, Downtown LA

Tile porn forever, and a great place for brunch - the french toast (and Bloody Mary) was worth the calories. 

Mules: £128, All Saints

Grand Central Market, Downtown LA

A total foodies heaven, similar to Borough Market in London with all street vendors etc - sushi, oysters, pulled pork, pressed juices etc - you can get pretty much anything here - make sure you go hungry! There's a lot of seating areas, and some restaurants have their own seating area (there were queues for the seated ramen area, obviously).

Leather jacket: Jigsaw (old but buy similar here). Dress: And Other Stories (sold out sadly). Bag: £64.50, Aurora London. Sunglasses: £118, J Crew (I bought the red ones instore). Sandals: £275, LK Bennett x Bionda Castana. Photograph: Christopher O'Donnell

WHERE TO STAY - Silverlake

For the last part of our trip, we wanted to feel a bit more like locals. A lot of the make-up artists and hairdressers I work with all live in Silverlake and it is considered the more 'creative' area. We found this gorgeous bungalow just off of Sunset for 4 days and as we drove up, we passed so many coffee shops and boutiques (it's right by a Clare Vivier store which I went straight into) - we knew it was the right area. We had on street parking (valet at the Hotel was $30 a night) and we could walk to local restaurants. An instagram follower recommended Night + Market Song for dinner, which was on the road opposite. We had to queue from 6pm but it was worth it, absolutely packed, great atmosphere and the Thai food was out of this world.

White top: £29.99, H&M. Hat: £30, Catarzi at Asos

Iced coffee from Alfred's, Silverlake
Night + Market Song. The queues are totally worth it. Go in and sign up on the form on the wall (don't wait to be asked, like us!)

BEST FOR SUNSETS - Manhattan Beach

Can you justify a 40 minute drive for a sunset shot? We can...it's a great beach for a walk or run, the promenade is full of runners. And the town just up from the sea is gorgeous filled with coffee shops, restaurants and stores (I spotted a Free People store but had already spent my money in Madewell!).
Hat: £30, Catarzi at Asos. Dress: Mes Desmoiselles. Leather jacket: Jigsaw (old but buy similar here).

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING - Larchmont Village

It's basically a cool, gentrified area of LA near Beverly Hills with cool cafes and shops, it has Farmers Markets etc and so great to grab a coffee and watch the world go by. Funnily enough, we stumbled upon it as we were shooting some outfit pictures in a quiet street and a lady came out of her house to ask what we were doing (cringe) - and when we explained we were from England she gave us loads of places to go. Larchmont Village was at the end of the street and we hadn't even noticed! So we went for a coffee whilst TV agents were gossiping around us, it felt so Hollywood.

Leather jacket: Jigsaw (old but buy similar here). Dress: £40, Monsoon.  Sandals: £16, AsosBag: £59.50, J Crew

BEST SHOPPING - Abbot Kinney Boulevard

We've been to venice so many times but never really strayed from the beach - such good window shopping (and it remained window shopping for me, with shops such as Vince, Current/Elliott etc), great restaurants, cool graffiti and a general great LA vibe. If you're looking for healthy, organic LA lifestyle then look no further.

We had lunch at Gjelina, a Venice institution - healthy, good food. Be warned - they don't serve bad things like Coca Cola and they won't modify any dishes (I asked for cheese on my mushroom pizza and instead, just had to order something else!). But it was packed, the atmosphere was great and food was delicious. 

And afterwards, we rented bikes and got ourselves hand-made salted caramel ice cream. Because, why not. 

Top: £59, MonsoonJeans: £49, Monsoon. Sandals: £39, Monsoon

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  1. Fab post Alex ... now I just need to book some flights to LA ;)

    Mel x

    1. Thank you! It's definitely worth the airfare, for insta pics alone ;)


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