The beautiful L.A., the City of Angels, one of the most popular cities in the world.
Did you know that L.A. reached a historic milestone in 2018, welcoming 50 million visitors for the first time ever? The new record was 1.5 million visitors higher than 2017’s total, marking the eighth-consecutive year of tourism growth for Los Angeles.
So what should you see when you go? When visiting L.A., people tend to stick to the most renowned places: Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier and Beverly Hills. These are definitely a must for your first time in La la land, but here is a glimpse of L.A. that you haven’t seen enough of on Instagram. Below are a few must-sees for your next trip to California that we absolutely recommend!
Hauser & Wirth
If you love art and haven’t been to the downtown L.A. Arts District, you haven’t lived. Home to some of the world’s most famous murals, it also houses phenomenal museums, pop-ups and installations throughout the year. It is also home to Hauser & Wirth, an international gallery devoted to contemporary art and modern masters.
Founded in Zurich (with nine different homes worldwide), Hauser & Wirth is much more than just an art gallery. Situated in a former flour mill, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles is a vibrant, large, beautiful space that links art and architecture with a dynamic events program.
The changing installations are definitely not to be missed (we were there when the floating underwear was around: if you know, you know!), but in addition to working with many local and international cultural organizations, non-profits and universities, H&W L.A. fosters a beautiful link between the city’s population, culture and art in one.
As tourists, we are often told to steer clear of downtown when visiting L.A. because of its seedy reputation, but it’s changed quite a bit recently due to the gentrification of the area and Hauser & Wirth is definitely part of the glue that holds it together. Other than the art gallery and events, it is also home to shops, a phenomenal restaurant, called Manuela (epic meals with the whole garden-to-plate approach), and even a garden!
Remember that one photo with the lights that is all over Instagram, but not many people really know where it is? We are talking about Chris Burden’s Urban Light, a multi-tiered installation that graces the main entrance of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
The lights are grandiose and actually functional, light up at night and are powered by solar panels – how neat is that? LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States and was buzzing with people when we arrived. It is home to many permanent exhibits and has more than 150,000 works, ranging from the ancient times till present day.
The permanent collections are complemented by some fantastic temporary exhibits and a great variety of events as well (film screenings and music shows). Full details of all events, including the variety of daily tours, are available on the museum’s website.
Since life is about the right angles and photos, don’t miss out on taking a pic in front of the Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer at the Grand Entrance of LACMA. It’s basically a 340-ton boulder, resting calmly, and allowing you to walk under and around it. It’s not just immense in size but also in its effect: it leaves you feeling small and makes you reconsider perspectives (in case the exhibits inside already didn’t do that for you).
Movies are at the heart of Hollywood and Hollywood is at the heart of L.A. Now, imagine taking pictures of the costumes that Wonder Woman wore? Or checking out what Captain America’s suit looks like? Or maybe even snapping a pic of an Oscar? Say no more, you can see it all at the FIDM museum and Galleries.
Exhibiting Emmy-nominated costume designers, FIDM is home to some of the greatest craftsmanship known to man (did we mention Game of Thrones outfits!?). More importantly, it is also home to a college, which gives talent life and a home, and teaches young adults to create and really thrive in the best of environments.
FIDM is also where you can find someone you may know or stalk on Instagram – Nick Verreos. Nick is the heart of FIDM and was kind enough to give us the grand tour when we were in town. He is the perfect summary of what FIDM is: soul, spirit, art, talent and pure fire! So the next time you’re grabbing brunch at Botegga Louie in DTLA, walk a few blocks (who said L.A. wasn’t walkable?!), and head over to FIDM to marvel at some of the most intricate and incredible works of art.
Stop, pause, whip out your credit card and get ready to spend: The Grove is home to pretty much everything you will need in life. This huge outdoor mall has an immense selection of some of the best stores (grab the new iPhone and snap some pictures of you, sipping tea with macarons at Ladurée), stuff your face with delicious food from an incredible variety of eateries (see 189 by Dominique Ansel in our last L.A. story), or just sit back and people-watch at the grand fountain while sipping cappuccinos.
It’s a one-stop shop for all your needs, neatly located right next to the Original Farmers Market and not far from LACMA! It’s festive, glitzy, romantic and perfect for every type of person and every type of mood!
This area is home to the Art’s District and some of the most incredible murals you will ever see! Snap a few pictures with your friends (the iconic Global Angel Wings Project), stroll through to Hauser & Wirth (see above), head on over to the rooftop at the Standard Hotel for some celebrity sightings or head to the heart of what DTLA really is – the Grand Central Market. Now if that’s not Instagram heaven, we don’t know what is!
Sample some amazing food at this staple that has been around since 1917, which is constantly buzzing with people and ideas, and then grab the iconic Angel’s Flight (World’s Shortest Railway) up towards The Broad for a shot of Jeff Koons.
The little funicular goes only up or down, and can be boarded just after you grab an ice cream at the Grand Central Market! The Angel’s Flight will also bring you just a short walk away from the Walt Disney Concert Hall, where you can catch some sensational shows or simply snap a picture outside of the breathtaking architecture. Grand Central Market is also steps away from the Bradbury Building (sometimes closed off to public for private events) and is what we call #love.
FAJO would like to thank the Discover Los Angeles and its partners for organizing this trip and experience.