In its physical landscape (from glittering beaches to shrouded canyons to funky urban quarters), demographics (140 countries and 224 languages are represented here), and culture—yes, culture—Los Angeles is far more varied than it's ever given credit for being, and way more complex. Yes, L.A. often feels like a city planner's nightmare, and, at least in certain locales, it can come off as maddeningly superficial. Yet even a single day reveals the city's myriad, wide-ranging charms: surfing Malibu at sunrise, hitting the Farmer's Market in late morning, lunching at Lucques, shopping on Melrose, watching the sun set from the Getty Center, sipping cocktails on a rooftop lounge beneath the stars.
Grilled cheese night at Campanile: on Thursday evenings, this restaurant—one of the city’s fanciest—gives itself over to comfort cuisine.
Shop therapy in Santee Alley, part of downtown L.A.’s Fashion District.
Renting a convertible and cruising, L.A.-style, down Sunset Boulevard or up the Pacific Coast Highway.