la on the map
writer: emma ranne
pictures: emma ranne
In late September I dreamed one night that I was on a holiday somewhere under the sun. The next morning, when I woke up to a grey and rainy Helsinki I couldn't help but feel a bit of a longing to new adventures. Later that day I came across a really good flight deal from Helsinki to LA. I decided to take it as a sign. So I sent my friend a message to ask whether I could come over like I had promised her for the past 4 years. And that's how my probably most impulsive trip so far got it's start. But at that moment it just really felt like the right thing to do. And I think it was.
In November I found myself under the Californian sun, exploring the mood of the city taking things day by day. I loved adventuring around the different neighbourhoods of ''la la land'', trying to blend in as a local. This is a guide to the places where I found myself secretly dreaming of staying a little longer.
Venice is a bohemian and laid-back beachy suburb known for its health food cafes, skaters, artsy atmosphere and of course the beautiful sandy beach right at the Pacific Ocean. Take a train to Santa Monica from Downtown LA (it takes about 40 min and it’s super easy!) and take the stunning boardwalk walk from Santa Monica pier to Venice. You could even rent a bike and cycle there since it’s not too far.
In Venice check out Abbot Kinney St. for the cute small shops and cafes. Have lunch at the Butcher’s Daughter (my new restaurant crush) and maybe grab a coffee from intelligentsia on your way back to the beach.
Before heading back to Santa Monica (which you should definitely do during the sunset. The red and purple shades add a whole new magical level to your walk along the coast line. Let me tell you.) There are tons of talented skaters at the beach. I went to Venice twice and at both times I spent like an hour just looking at their tricks. It was hypnotizing and I secretly wish I knew how to skate. Too bad my balance is really off when it comes to me and boards on wheels. Oh well.
Silver Lake + Echo Park
If I were to live in LA, I would definitely opt for Silver Lake as a location to stay at. I love the creative vibe this area has to it. It’s located 15 minutes away from DTLA, but the atmosphere is a lot cozier and you kind of forget you are in a very big city. If I were to describe it with one word I’d say that it feels more neighbourly in a sense.
Silver Lake has a lot of cool little shops, cafes and restaurants to browse. Just walk down sunset Blvd and just pop in the shops you come along. Even if you weren’t going to buy anything, most of the shops have very cool interiors worth a check, and I thought it was so stunning to see lots of products made by designers and creatives that this area is known for. Support the locals!
Also check out Echo Park if walking around in this area. I loved the houses near Echo Park Ave, and there were a bunch of cool shops and cafes there as well.
Arts district is a creative corner, right in between DTLA and little Tokyo. Again an area with an laid-back and innovative atmosphere to it (haha, you probably already start to get a hang of the kind of places I like).
Lots of cool galleries, small shops with local design and clothing, cafes and definitely pop in at the ice cream shop Van Leeuwen, for delicious vegan flavours. It’s quite a large area to explore and you could easily spend a whole day here just soaking in the atmosphere and letting your daily dose of inspiration flow in.