As part of a new series, Travel + Leisure is exploring America one three-day weekend at a time. Here’s what to do on a short trip to Los Angeles.
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway in L.A. that has a bit more local flavor than the tourist traps of Hollywood Boulevard and the Santa Monica Pier, we have you covered. Our manageable three-day vacation is as diverse as the city itself, spanning the hipster ‘hood of Abbot Kinney, Koreatown’s vibrant nightlife, and Downtown’s thriving art scene.
Not sure how to navigate L.A.’s sprawling cityscape? Here’s an ideal itinerary featuring the best attractions:
Start off your weekend by unwinding in the city’s stylish seaside neighborhood of Venice, where you can stay at the chic yet breezy 14-room Rose Hotel, located just off the oh-so-trendy artists’ enclave of Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Meander down the streets of AK, perusing local design shops such as Sofia Kaman’s jewelry boutique or Vancouver apparel import Kit and Ace. Pro tip: if you get hungry along the way, you can always make a pit stop at Blue Star for brioche doughnuts dipped in a blueberry-bourbon-basil glaze.
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After watching the sunset with cocktails in hand at the High Rooftop Bar at Hotel Erwin, make your way to the Rose Cafe for California fare such as hanger steak al pastor served with padrón peppers, roasted onions, mole, and corn tortillas. If you’re lucky enough to have planned your trip to coincide with the First Friday of the month, you’ll find the streets alive with food trucks, live music, and festival vibes.
Related: 3 Days in Ojai, California
Jump-start your morning with a beachside ride down the bike paths on the Strand (the Rose Hotel rents them for $10 for a half-day), then pedal your way over to a late breakfast at Gjusta, where you’ll find smoked fish and pastries galore.
After you’ve noshed on lox and lattes, check out of your hotel, hop in an Uber, and head east toward Koreatown, where you’ll check in to the design-forward Line Hotel, which boasts views of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Park Observatory. The property seamlessly integrates street art and urban culture into its fabric, which just so happens to include three restaurants from L.A. culinary icon Roy Choi.
After dropping your bags and grabbing a quick bite at the Line’s cafe, head up to Griffith for a hike, or opt to decompress at Wii Spa, a 24-hour Korean mega-spa that locals love.
There’s no shortage of epic Korean food in the area, but our favorite is Kang Ho Dong Baekjong, a temple of sizzling meats named after famed Korean wrestler and comedian Kang Ho Dong that specializes in juicy cuts of pork and beef.
To shake off the meat sweats, keep your night going back at the hotel’s eighties-inspired Break Room 86, where you can book private karaoke rooms and catch live performances by lookalikes of icons of the era like Michael Jackson. Seeing them in action here is incrementally cooler than braving the Walk of Fame.
Brunch on California cooking inside a greenhouse at the hotel’s Commissary, then make your way via bus or Uber to Downtown L.A.’s Arts District. Bloom Square, at the intersection of Traction Avenue and East Third Street, has become one of the country’s most important destinations for street art, with works from Shepard Fairey, How and Nosm, and JR, and you can opt for guided art tours with folks like Cartwheel or the Los Angeles Mural Conservancy.
If it happens to be a Sunday, check out the Angeleno outpost of Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg, where you’ll find heaps of great clothing, design, and food vendors, including one of the city’s premier taqueros, Guerrillas Tacos. A trip to L.A. wouldn’t be complete without a taco-truck stop, after all.
Krista Simmons is a culinary travel writer and native Angeleno; she covers the southern California beat for Travel + Leisure. You can follow her adventures bite-by-bite on Instagram.
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