There is nowhere in the world quite like Los Angeles. In a lot of ways, it's exactly what you see in the big Hollywood movies and on prime time TV. But to get a true taste of the City the Angels, you'll want to avoid the more-touristy sides of town. To help, here are seven ways to experience Los Angeles like a local:
1. People watch in Venice Beach
Venice is Los Angeles' upbeat, wild and eclectic side. Here you can stroll along the Venice Beach boardwalk filled with beach vendors and characters from all walks of life - or if you prefer a hipper vibe, wander around the Venice Canals area or the hipsters' nirvana that is Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
3. Binge on over-the-top sweets and treats
Even after you've filled yourself at brunch, make some room in your stomach for something sweet. Some of the biggest treat trends were birthed and/or perfected here (cronut, anyone?). Try the cruffin or monkey bread at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse (pictured above), or a candy bar or panda-inspired donut from California Donuts, or the lavender honey ice cream at Salt & Straw. Or maybe just one of each!
4. Go for a hike
After stuffing your face you'll probably need to burn off a few calories. Angelenos pride themselves on being active and the city provides the perfect setting. Scattered throughout the hills and parks are beautiful, well maintained, and free hiking trails. The best and most popular are the Griffith Observatory trails, the Hollywood sign hikes (where you can hike to both the vantage point in front or right behind the famous sign), and the Runyon Canyon trail.
5. Keep an eye out for beautiful walls everywhere
Believe it or not some of the city's hidden gems are on the outside of some of the most unassuming buildings. Los Angeles is filled with beautiful murals and statement walls (read: seriously Instagram worthy), including the infamous pink wall at Paul Smith, the Made in LA wall, and others. Check out this list by Studio DIY for more inspiration.
6. Hang out in the Arts District, DTLA
There isn't a whole lot to do in downtown Los Angeles (DTLA, for short) but the Arts District neighborhood is reason enough to visit the area. Here you'll find amazing breweries, trendy eateries, and collaborative art and retail spaces. Come before dinner to walk around the area and check out the Arts District Co-op, then dig in at the likes of Wurstküche and The Pie Hole, and end the time with some good drinks and fun games at Arts District Brewery or Angel City Brewery.
7. Lay out in Malibu
No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a proper beach day. Skip Santa Monica and head further north to Malibu for a more relaxed environment. Parking along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is generally free so grab a spot, lay out and enjoy the views. If you end up near Malibu Pier you can enjoy sunset drinks or dinner at the adorable namesake restaurant.We couldn't think of a more perfect way to end a day in the city.