In LA, everyone gets up really early, even on the weekend, mostly because it’s so hot for so much of the year. So, like everyone else, I would start with a hike. It’s worth pointing out here that a Los Angeles hike is just a stroll up a hill. Sure, you can throw on some athleisure wear but it’s still just a walk. The famous trail is Runyon Canyon and occasionally you’ll spot a celebrity there, but only because they’ve tipped off the paps in advance. I would stay away from Runyon and go instead to the Griffith Park Observatory, and then up to the top of the hill. LA is a great sprawling mass and it’s very hard to get a sense of it geographically. But up at the top of Griffith Park, you get a 360-degree view of the entire metropolis; the sea on one side, the snowy mountains on the other, and in the middle, the Blade Runner-style futurism of Downtown.
For breakfast, I would go to a lovely little under-the-radar spot: Clark Street bakery in Echo Park. For those with a British palate, it’s hard to get your head round everything being 10-15 per cent sweeter here, especially the bread. The great thing about Clark Street bakery is it does the most European-like homemade bread in the whole of LA and I love its open-face sandwiches.
I’m a workaholic, so my dream day would inevitably involve some writing and then a power lunch. The truth is that most LA power lunches happen behind closed doors at one of the city’s many private members’ clubs, but there are some more open places that still have a bit of that vibe, such as All Time in Los Feliz. It’s the sort of place you might see Jonah Hill having lunch with the Beastie Boys.
After lunch, I would want a bit of culture so I would head to Skylight, a fantastic indie bookshop that’s also in Los Feliz. One of the big misconceptions about LA is that it doesn’t have the culture of some other big western cities. But the art scene here is thriving, particularly in Downtown with its massive Hauser & Wirth. The wider Downtown neighbourhood is great to explore: some of it looks like 1970s New York and some of it looks like it’s from the future. And the restaurants there are the best in the city.
This being my dream day, I would want to look sharp for the evening so I might head to Mohawk General in Silverlake, one of the few stores in the world where you can buy Golf le Fleur, the new fashion line from Tyler, the Creator. Or if I fancied a proper Californian experience, I might head to The Americana at Brand shopping mall, which is the subject of more hipster memes than pretty much anything else in LA.
LA’s nightlife is basically the polar opposite of Barcelona’s: everyone is in bed at the kind of time you would go out for your first aperitif in Spain. Which kind of makes sense as LA is sprawling and it involves a lot of planning and a lot of travelling. There was never a time when I lived in London that I thought it might be normal to get a cab to Brighton and back just to go for a pizza, but that’s [the equivalent of] what people do here. Still, I’m a Brit so I would stick to my neighbourhood with a drink in Bar Henry in Echo Park and then dinner at Cafe Stella in Silver Lake.
If I fancied an after-hours drink, I might head to Zebulon, which is a great gig and party venue that’s super-popular with LA’s Gen Z kids, but really on my dream day, I would want there to be a designated driver and we’d head off for a night drive along Mulholland Drive, which snakes around the entire top of the Hollywood Hills. I’ve been here 12 years and I still cannot be cynical about putting on music and driving through the twinkly parts of LA at night.
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