No matter how far I go, Los Angeles will always be home. All of Los Angeles. I had the pleasure of living in several cities across the county (thanks to gentrification) so I have a diverse taste of what I like about the city. LA culture has unequivocally changed but some aspects remain the same. The colorism is still real, the traffic is still over-the-top, the sunsets are still a gorgeous pollution pink. Most people miss out on the city’s soulfulness because their itineraries rarely lead them past a rooftop brunch, Venice Beach medicinal counters, or Hollywood. All of it is well and good, but take a look at my itinerary; it’s a sample of what I consider to be the “perfect day” in the city of Angels. It’s six stops, budget-friendly, appropriate for most age ranges and accessible by bus, Uber/Lyft.
Stop 1: Wake up and get it! Head over to Kenneth Hahn State Park and break a sweat. The only downside is that they charge for parking on weekends which is annoying, or I recommend going on weekdays. Early morning is the best time to go- the crowds are smaller, the smog is less overwhelming, the views of the city are gorgeous. Some of my favorite memories have been convening friends to get a strenuous (yet fun) workout facilitated by my favorite trainer Kris. Tell him I sent you and receive a discount on the workout your body is craving.
Stop 2: Grab some delicious, healthy breakfast to set yourself up for success. At Simply Wholesome, you can order a hearty meal, listen to some soulful music, and pick up some health necessities. I highly recommend you pick up one of their popular patties to go with whichever beverage or meal you decide to try.
Stop 3: Make your way to the California African American Museum. Their exhibits are ever changing. It’s my favorite place because it’s free.99 and you’re guaranteed to enjoy or learn history, feel something deep, and you may even get a celebrity sighting if that’s your jam. The other upside is that it’s steps away from the USC Rose garden which never disappoints.
Stop 4: By this time, the city should be vibrant and fully awake. Perfect time for a visit to Leimert Park Village. Walk the streets, admire the art, learn about blues, grab a few new books from Esowon, an independent bookstore. If you have a few hours to spare, get your hair done or receive a beauty treatment. There are several new businesses popping up and I highly recommend supporting them. If you’re like me, tea is life! Visit Hot & Cool Cafe (their cherry rose is my favorite). Also, one of the best chefs I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know, Chef Kyndra, just opened Swift Cafe. The food is modern, healthy and fresh. Check her out! If you’re lucky, right around 3pm, you will be able to join (or admire) the drum circle which I’ve been enjoying with my family since I was a young child. #fondmemories
Stop 5: It’s probably time to catch the sunset. Snag a bottle of vino (or water) and blanket and cop a squat at Echo Park. If it’s a nice day, I guarantee the energy of the park- puppies barking, music playing, yogis stretching- will be enough to keep you entertained but if you are feeling like you want to do more: ride the swan, get a massage, shop local and purchase elote from a street vendor. Don’t forget to tag #auricexperience once you snap the perfect sunset photo on IG, I wanna see the beauty!
Stop 6: Time for a hearty dinner eh? Let’s go to Little Ethiopia. My personal fave is Messob. I find the ambiance, service, and honey wine all to be absolutely stellar. But you can’t really go wrong with either restaurant along the street. Parking is a little wonky so pay attention to the signs. Little Ethiopia is one of the most inclusive and nutritious places to eat for anyone with dietary restrictions or committed to a plant-based diet. The veggies, intimate seating, sweet wine, all of it (*chef kiss*) . Quite the experience.
Stop 7: If you’re like me now, you’ve got the -itis and would very much so like to end the night there. If you’re like me 3 years ago, you’re gonna want to dance it all off at The Savoy with your people.
There you have it. My perfect day in LA. I hope you do some or all of it. Reach out if you gave this itinerary a try; let me how it felt.