Top 7 experiences for a couple’s escape to Los Angeles
Photography by Hannah Yakobi, courtesy of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board and their partners, and courtesy of each venue
This week, in our third and final installment of #FAJOtravels in Los Angeles, we explore our favourite experiences in the city that would cater to the needs of a modern couple.
From a hip hotel to delicious food options and fun activities, we have it all covered in our Top 7 list below!
Experience 1: Farmer’s Daughter Hotel
This unique property in Mid-City of Los Angeles offers country-inn styling at its best, paired with modern service and amenities. Farmer’s Daughter Hotel’s location is extremely convenient and provides the opportunity to walk to a variety of restaurants, bars, strip malls and boutiques in the area. The Grove — which is every shopper’s heaven — is literally across the street.
The modern interiors of the hotel feature denim duvets with coordinating plaid curtains and throw pillows, custom-made wood upholstered recliners or Adirondack rocking chairs, and hardwood floors. The luxurious bathrooms include rain shower heads. Huge mirrors adorn the walls, sometimes spanning across entire sections of the room. Cheeky pillows that say things like “Be nice or leave” can also be spotted here, as well as fresh flowers displayed in little watering cans. Everything inside the rooms is done with a sense of humour: FixItFixItFixIt box has a first-aid kit inside, DoItDoItDoIt box contains condoms and a lubricant, while candy and nuts are housed in three jars placed side by side on the wall with letters E, A and T on them.
There is a lovely outdoor pool and the reception area has two budgies in a cage. Staying at the hotel is reminiscent of being inside someone’s really funky but cozy home, with surprising elements and smart décor choices.
The property also offers a variety of unique experiences — for example, with the hotel services’ fee, guests can enjoy complimentary on-site yoga, a membership to Easton Gym, bike rentals and a daily digital copy of the New York Times.
Last but not least, the on-site Tart Restaurant is absolutely delicious and offers room service, aptly called Picnic in Bed/Room. Your meal will arrive in a large and very cute basket. In terms of what to order, we recommend the Breakfast Burrito, which features scrambled eggs with chorizo, white cheddar and home fries wrapped in a flour tortilla with salsa verde and lime cream. It will be served with a variety of sauces on the side and is a good choice for brunch, especially when paired with a latte.
Experience 2: Farmers Market
Open all week, from early morning to early evening, The Original Farmers Market in L.A. is undoubtedly one of the most quintessential L.A. experiences. Originally a dairy farm, then an oil field, and subsequently a charming open-air market, it has grown and transformed with the city around it. This is where locals and tourists mingle every day, just as they have since its opening back in 1934.
The Farmers Market is still one of the best places in the city to get fresh groceries — it offers a wide selection of local and organic fruit, vegetables, meats, fish, baked goods, ice cream and nuts. It’s also a great spot to grab a bite with friends, or go on a cute date. In addition to being a hot spot for a food hunt, the Market is a perfect stopover for shopping. And, it has been attended by countless celebrities over the years.
There are many family-owned and operated stores, restaurants and cafes here; and our favourites are listed below:
- 82-year-old Magee’s Kitchen and Magee’s Nuts — the latter had Ringo Starr write them a thank-you note, calling the store “fab”, and getting all Beatles to sign it.
- Kip’s Toyland — this is L.A.’s oldest toy store. You may spot the Duchess of York here.
- Gill’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream — this spot has been in existence since 1937. Mr. Gill is the original owner and he is in his 90s now. Word is that he invented the rum-raisin ice cream flavour.
- Patsy’s Pizza — the first pizzeria in the city. The original brick pizza oven is still baking great pizza here, more than six decades later.
Other interesting spots are The Gumbo Pot (New Orleans-themed restaurant), Du-par’s (their pancake recipe is supposedly locked in a safe, because it’s so popular), The Barbershop Club (an old-fashioned barber where you can get a straight razor shave), T&Y Bakery (Russian bakery and delicacies) and Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market (a French-themed store).
The market is beautifully decorated throughout the year — for example, over the holiday season in November/December, it is decorated by both market’s team and the vendors themselves. The market also runs decorating contests with its vendors. Last year, they had a wide-range of caroling, karaoke and band performances for Christmas, as well as a large celebration for Hanukkah that featured a giant Lego menorah. Vendors also often engage in charity work — for example, last year, Kip’s Toyland hosted a toy drive for patients at two hospitals.
In addition, the Farmers Market launched a Mardi Gras celebration in 1989, which continues to be one of its most rousing parties. Featuring many Cajun and New Orleans bands, beads and beer, the weekend party includes Mutti Gras: a costumed pet parade and beauty contest to pick canine Kings & Queens.
Experience 3: The Grove
The Grove is a world-renowned shopping, dining and entertainment destination that sits right next to the Farmers Market. It features old-fashioned trolley rides and large “dancing” fountains that are a popular photography pit stop.
Shop, dine or see a movie here all day long. There is a variety of luxury and high-end brands (Diane von Furstenberg, Barneys, Swarovski, Sephora, Ladurée), as well as mid-level / high street brands (Anthropologie, Michael Kors, Topshop) dispersed in a large, maze-like arrangement of stores.
Experience 4: République
For a healthy, delicious and filling lunch, stop by République. The building that houses this restaurant was built in 1928 by Charlie Chaplin and designed by architect Roy Sheldon Price. It was initially conceived as a mixed-use space — with shops on the ground floor and office space above — surrounding an idyllic tiled courtyard. This was turned into a restaurant in 1989, when Chefs Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton made extensive updates and opened the seminal La Brea Bakery and, six months, later Campanile. Campanile closed in 2012, and the building was updated yet again to make way for République. This time, the primary goal of the design was to strip layers away, down to the original brick, tile and ironwork, and return the space to the airy, open feel of the original construction.
Expect a very large selection of food options here. Personally, we recommend the following: Green Juice (featuring kale, apple, cucumber, parsley, celery and ginger) and either the Kale Salad (roasted carrots, farro, goat cheese, lime yogurt, cucumber, avocado, tomato, dukkah and herbs) or the Chicken Salad (brussels sprouts, dates, calabrian chili, ceasar dressing, croutons and parmesan). Both salads come in huge bowls, so arrive hungry!
Experience 5: The Getty Center
The Getty Center is one of the most incredible sites in Los Angeles, offering spectacular views of the city from its observation point/balcony. Gardens and waterfalls here are a must-see.
Admission to the centre is free. A computer-operated, fully accessible tram takes you from the street-level entrance to the top of the hill; alternatively, you can also walk up or down the hill along the pedestrian sidewalk. The walk is about 3/4 of a mile, has a moderately steep grade and takes about 15 minutes.
The Getty features pre-20th century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, indoor and outdoor sculptures and decorative arts. The art works on display here are by a variety of art geniuses, such as Monet, Goya, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Cezanne.
There are currently 30 outdoor sculptures at the museum as well: 28 of them were donated by the trustees of the Fran and Ray Stark Revocable Trust. The late legendary film producer Ray Stark and his wife, Fran, had a passion for art that led to a fine collection of modern works. The installation at the Getty Center makes the collection permanently accessible to the people of Los Angeles, the city where the Starks made their home for more than 60 years.
Two of the other sculptures are Martin Puryear’s That Profile — which was commissioned by the Getty and is located on the Tram Arrival Plaza — as well as Robert Irwin’s Central Garden — which was also specifically designed for the Getty Center.
Experience 6: a.o.c.
An iconic restaurant in Mid-City of Los Angeles, a.o.c. is run by celebrity chef Suzanne Goin and her business partner Caroline Styne. Vines adorn the walls of the restaurant’s heated courtyard patio, with its European-style architecture and tent-like ceiling. Despite being very full on a typical weeknight, the structure of the building ensures you can still comfortably chat with your companion without having to raise your voice.
a.o.c. is a perfect stop for fine-cuisine gourmands, and a very romantic venue for a date night. A highlight on the drink menu is the variety of organic, sustainable and biodynamic wines from all over the world, including France, Austria, Santa Barbara County and Slovenia.
Dishes are meticulously prepared and often have unexpected ingredient combinations. Focaccia is topped with pomegranate seeds; arroz negro arrives slightly spicy and is paired with squid and saffron aioli; Spanish fried chicken features romesco aioli and chili cumin butter; while the cauliflower is in perfect harmony with curry and red vinegar.
Experience 7: The Comedy Store
Located on Sunset Boulevard, this legendary West Hollywood institution has been a training ground for famous and soon-to-be-famous comedians for decades. Since its founding in 1972 and subsequent takeover two years later by longtime owner Mitzi Shore, the Comedy Store’s stage has seen the likes of George Carlin, Jim Carrey, Roseanne Barr and Robin Williams.
The Comedy Store’s Original Room and Main Room provide intimate settings where, on any given night, you’ll be treated to sets by the who’s who of acts that sell out theatres when they tour, familiar faces from film, television and Netflix specials, as well as up-and-comers on their way to making it big. It’s not uncommon to see the likes of Marc Maron, Margaret Cho, Nikki Glaser or Neal Brennan on a typical night, honing material from their acts, and trying out new jokes.
Originally created as a space specifically for female comedians, the Comedy Store’s Belly Room is now where you can find any number of rising stars in the L.A. comedy scene, as well as club headliners, and the mega popular weekly Roast Battle. Regardless of what room you’re in, a night at the Comedy Store means seeing a dizzying number of the world’s best comics, and is sure to be a bright spot on any trip into town!
FAJO would like to thank the Discover Los Angeles and its partners for organizing this trip and experience.