And the top 9 (non-touristy) spots I recommend you visit
I finally took my first trip to LA and it was phenomenal.
It was everything I saw on Instagram and more. The traffic, the weather, the endless rows of palm trees and the fooood was all incredible.
I had the opportunity to travel down to California to shoot a lookbook for Bikini Empire (published here) and thankfully the theme was to explore it all in a bikini, because that is exactly what I did.
- Near Melrose is a hotdog spot called Pinks, super touristy, but it's actually worth it. You can stack your dog with avocado, chili, grilled onions, mushrooms, 4 different kinds of cheese and the usual suspects: ketchup, mustard and relish. Amazing.
- The flower district is a dream come true, blocks of flowers in every formation and bouquet combination you can think of and most are under $20USD
- In Chino Hills, you must visit Afters Ice Cream; where they combine ice cream and cereal, fill a donut with the mix and toast it. It's sinfully delicious.
- Dripp Coffee in Chino Hills is also a cool spot to go if you're looking for cool cafes. There's only 2 locations in California, but it's worth the trip.
- Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong Korean BBQ. Best 4 courses of meat on da planet. They cook it in front of you, there are half a dozen dipping options (including egg, cheese and corn) and all the staff yell a farewell when someone leaves the restaurant which is both terrifying if you aren't expecting it and sweet when you're the one leaving.
- The light tunnel in Little Tokyo! Just because it's cool.
- Kelso Dunes. If you manage to get a car, don't mind driving 3 hours or hiking an hour in the scorching sun (without cell service), the results are beautiful. You won't realize how special flawless sand dunes and limitless blue skies are until you see it for yourself.
- Laguna Beach for classic LA beach and Crystal Cove for seclusion.
- Mashti Malone's Ice Cream in Hollywood. A hidden gem with classic Persian flavors.