FAVORITES: IDEAS FOR THE PERFECT GIRLS’ DAY OUT (GDO)

It’s our girl Jenn’s birthday today but since she’s traveling across the world at the moment, we aren’t together to celebrate in our city together like we have for the last 8 years in a row. So we’re dedicating this My Best LA Day Favorites post to all the bffs out there looking for some ideas to craft a perfect GDO (Girls’ Day Out). Because birthday or not, it’s never hard to find a good reason to spend some solid QT with the gals you love most.

Whether you’re looking to slap on some rollerskates and hit the boardwalk or find some zen in a coppertub bubble bath, life’s always better when you’re together. So grab your bestie, a couple iced lattes and a beachbag full of fashion mags and let the gabbing and giggles begin!

BRUNCH

Photos @ Great White

GREAT WHITE – VENICE

Located right on Pacific Ave with an unobstructed view of the infamous “Venice” sign, Great White is a relatively new kid on the block, but has certainly made a slash (see what we did there?) on the brunch scene. With a seasonal fresh and local all-day menu and an open indoor-outdoor boho feel, this place hits the spot whether you just paddled in from a great surf sesh or you’re just looking to sit in the sunshine and do some people watching.

We got the vegan Harvest Bowl with charred brussels sprouts, turmeric roasted cauliflower, delicata squash, avocado, and quinoa and the avocado toast with a poached egg… but everything seriously looked delicious and plus, as they say, sandy toes are always welcome!

(1604 Pacific Ave, Venice)

 

LITTLE DOM’S – LOS FELIZ

Two words: Breakfast pizza. That’s all we’d have to tell you (and that’s really all you’d have to order!) to make a trip to Little Dom’s well worth while. It’s one of our favorite brunch spots in the city, mostly because putting an egg on a pizza and eating it before noon is pure genius in our eyes. The pizza – sunny side up egg, speck, mozzarella, tomato sauce – pairs perfectly with the sweet ricotta cheese and blueberry pancakes. We also ordered fried potatoes (the fried garlic on top makes it EXTRA delicious), and grilled bacon.

This is an old school Italian joint with a hip Los Feliz twist – mustard vinyl diner tables, black and white photos of 30s starlets. There’s also an attached deli, and they serve a Monday supper (3 courses for $15!) Mimosas are a must with brunch.

(2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles)

 

SPOKE BICYCLE CAFE – FROGTOWN

This cafe started as a small bike shop and coffee stand, with the idea of creating a gathering spot for local bicyclists to eat and hang.

They recently expanded and re-opened with all day breakfast, outdoor seating, and a menu of local beers and cider kombucha (cuz OF COURSE). We were joined by two of our friends (one who moved to Frogtown last year and was psyched about exploring with us!), and ordered a diverse cross-section of the menu to share: a California chopped salad, farro bowl, breakfast toast, and a grilled cheese sandwich. The toast was a favorite — rustic sourdough with ricotta, pan-seared tomatoes and a sunny-side up egg.

Enjoy a cold beverage outdoors, rent a bike to traverse the neighborhood, or chow down with fellow bicyclists and neighbors.

(3050 N Coolidge Ave, Los Angeles)

 

TOPANGA TABLE – TOPANGA CANYON

The Topanga Table brings real meaning to the term “local” — the eggs and produce come from a few miles away and the wood tables were built by a Topanga-based artisan. We enjoyed every single California stereotype at this stop, enjoying a winter brunch outdoors on the screened patio, and ordering a green smoothie bowl with quintessential avocado toast.

The prices are un-LA, the food is delicious, and the space is idyllic. What more could you ask for?

(1861 N Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Topanga)

GET OUTSIDE (AND ACTIVE!)

ROLLERSKATE AT THE BEACH – PLAYA DEL REY

Los Angeles certainly does not lack a plethora of beaches, but probably one of our very favorites is Playa (as the locals call it). Even though it’s sandwiched between Venice to the north and the South Bay beaches to the south, this pretty little piece of coastline never gets too crowded (like its more well-known neighbors). Plus, the sleepy beach town that accompanies the surf and sand has a handful of hole-in-the-wall locals favorites for when you get hungry or want to belly up to a bar for a happy hour cocktail.

We recommend rollerskating out on the boardwalk in the middle of the sand directly across from the Playa del Rey lagoon, past the volleyball courts and toward the lifeguard tower. And when you get tired and/or hungry for some great tapas or a fresh juice, check out our recommendations in the area on MyBestLADay – Playa del Rey!

 

TAKE A HIKE – PACIFIC PALISADES

Most people choose the popular Temescal Canyon Trail for hikes in the Palisades, but we always enjoy Los Leones Canyon (or Los Liones). It’s fairly lush, and the views of the ocean are beautiful. Lots of (free!) parking, plenty of shade, and several options for both short and long hikes. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes!

(566 Los Leones Drive, Pacific Palisades)

 

ADVENTURE INTO A SUNKEN CITY – SAN PEDRO

We can easily say that The Sunken City is one of the coolest places we’ve visited on our Los Angeles adventures. Depending on your source, there was either a landslide or earthquake that caused parts of this San Pedro cliff to slide down into the ocean. Over the years, the rocks, concrete, pipes and other remnants have been covered with colorful (and quite beautiful) graffiti art, which make for a dramatic setting against the crashing Pacific waves. A stunning visual of street art and nature coming together in one place.

The area is officially closed off to visitors, but we bypassed the “No Trespassing” signs by climbing a wall from Pt. Fermin Park, then shimmied under a fence and hiked down into the Sunken City. Wear proper shoes, as the whole area is rather steep.

*For more on what to taste, see and do while in San Pedro, check out our entire San Pedro day!

(500 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro)

 

RIDE SOME PADDLEBOATS – ECHO PARK

The revitalized Echo Park Lake re-opened in 2013, and she’s a real beauty. The two-year makeover left us with a new boathouse and state-of-the-art pedal boats ($10/hour per adult), walking trails, blooming lotuses, and the iconic (and now dolled-up!) Lady of the Lake statue back where she belongs. There’s no better way to spend a day in Echo Park than right here. Plus, did you hear you can now ride along the lake in a swan boat?!

(751 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles)

 

JOIN A DANCE PARTY – DOWNTOWN LA

Olvera Street is a must-see for everyone visiting the city of Angels. Created in 1930 to “preserve and present the customs and trades of early California”, this block-long walking street is as colorful and vibrant today as it was 80 years ago.

Walking down the cobblestone walkway, you’ll find vendor stalls selling everything from Mexican ponchos and handmade leather sandals to brightly colored Dia de los Muertos masks and art. Plus, you’d be hard pressed to find better authentic Mexican food anywhere else! But one of our favorite things to visit on the weekends is the Old Plaza on the south end of the calle. There is often music and dancing on Saturdays and Sundays and everyone is welcome to join in! Can’t recommend this experience more – ole!

RELAX AND RECHARGE

Photos @ Larchmont Sanctuary Spa

LARCHMONT SANCTUARY SPA – LARCHMONT VILLAGE

This gem is hidden in plain sight; just steps away from the hustle and bustle of adorable Larchmont Village. From the moment you step inside the renovated 100-year old home turned boutique neighborhood spa, you enter a heavenly escape and quickly forget you’re in the city at all.

It’s no wonder this place is a celebrity favorite. Every detail – from the wood-burning fireplace in the waiting room to the romantic lighting and cozy bathrobes – was well thought out to ensure that every visitor feels like the most important person in the world.

We visited this dreamy sanctuary on a weekday evening and were greeted by friendly staff and quickly whisked away to get donned in cushy bathrobes and slippers while our coppertub bubblebath (we can’t make this up!) was drawn in the room next door. After lots of bubbles (both the champagne and bath kind!), we each enjoyed our individual treatments – Jenn de-stressed in a signature Jade Stone Massage and Ashley zoned out and brightened up in a fantastic True Transformation Organic Facial. While we spent a few hours in this heaven on earth, we could have easily moved right in and stayed forever. An unbelievable find and a ‘treat yoself’ worthy splurge for your next spa day!

(331 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles)

 

MEDITATE AT THE SELF-REALZIATION FELLOWSHIP LAKE SHRINE – PACIFIC PALISADES

Stressed out? Been sitting in too much traffic? Overwhelmed by some of the superficialness you’ve experienced in LA? US TOO! But don’t you worry — The Fellowship Lake Shrine is the perfect place to unwind, check in with yourself, and feel a little closer to nature and your own spiritual side.

This peaceful lake and temple sits just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, a sanctuary that is open to the public — with stunning views, a windmill-turned-chapel for all faiths, free meditation classes, and so much more.

There’s no cost to enter the grounds, and most people choose to quietly wander the gardens and take in all the beauty and serenity of the space. You can also visit the hilltop temple for services and meditation in the sanctuary.

(17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades)

 

STARGAZE AT THE GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY – GRIFFITH PARK

The Griffith Observatory is one of those rare gems that both tourists and locals alike love. The observatory sits atop Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, the largest urban park in the country. It opened in 1935 and is one of LA’s most iconic locations – and best of all, as part of Griffith’s will, has been and will always be free. The star-gazing parties and science exhibits are awesome, the views of Los Angeles are spectacular, and the hiking trails from the observatory are some of our favorite in Southern California. Nothing about this place ever gets old.

Insider’s tip: If you’re planning to come on a weekend in the summer, arrive early in the morning. The crowds (and parking!) can be a nightmare.

(2800 E Observatory Road, Los Angeles)

 

REWIND IN “THE NOW” – SANTA MONICA

We discovered The Now while walking along Main Street in Santa Monica. While this urban oasis is known primarily for their relaxing body treatments with “enhancements” like aromatherapy and crystal healing, we visited on a Sunday and they were booked solid so couldn’t take any walk-ins. HOWEVER, they were able to offer us a special treat for our aching feet. They call it a “foot float” and it is pure magic.

Imagine this: you’re seated in a room and tucked in with blankets and heated neck pillows while your feet float in a warm bath of sweet birch water and rose petals. Projected in front of you is a video of the most beautiful tropical beach scene and you sink deeply into a state of relaxation.

They say the foot float is meant to “re-invigorate tired feet, soften skin, and lift the spirit” and boy, did it. For $10 a pop, this is something we could get used to on the regular!

(2407 Main Street, Santa Monica)

VINTAGE SHOPPING

CANNONBALL & TILLY – LITTLE ETHIOPIA

This colorful, dazzling vintage shop has been a go-to for several years now. If you’re looking for something special, a piece that stands out and is certainly not shy – then Cannonball and Tilly is the place for you.

Owner Laura Kranitz travels all over the country (and the world!) to find uniquely lively clothing for the adventurous fashionista. She was once a buyer for one of the most well-known vintage shops in the city and has owned an accessories store for years, and girl knows her stuff. Nothing is over-priced, and you are SURE to be asked where you got that dress/pair of boots/necklace.

Insider’s Tip: Their spring sale takes place April 1st and 2nd, with $10 and $20 specials!

(1029 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles)

 

HIDDEN TREASURES – TOPANGA CANYON

Why, oh WHY, did we not find Hidden Treasures BEFORE Halloween this year?! This wildly eclectic vintage shop has every single thing you need for the most fantastic costume party you could ever imagine — fur hats, sparkly vests, military uniforms, glitter pants, Mexican throw blankets. It’s like rummaging through your grandmother’s attic, if your grandmother was Iris Apfel.

Give yourself some time in Hidden Treasures: it’s a playground of whimsical and far-out items, not to be rushed (lest you miss something!) We’re planning a themed costume party as soon as possible, JUST so we can come back and shop here.

(154 S Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Topanga)

 

MELROSE TRADING POST – FAIRFAX VILLAGE

Melrose Trading Post is one of the sole reasons we visit Fairfax District: an open-air market every Sunday at Fairfax High School, featuring antiques, furniture, vintage clothing, art, and just about anything else you can think of (80s dresses! Books made into clocks! Vintage record crates! Indian rugs!) It’s a treasure trove of goodies, and prices are incredibly reasonable. One of the best places to find one-of-a-kind gifts.

(7850 Melrose Ave – on the grounds of Fairfax High School)

 

THE LEFT BANK – FROGTOWN

This charming resale and vintage shop has been in the family since 1969, when the current owner’s grandfather opened it as a tool shop. They’ve been part of the Frogtown community for decades, and the budget-conscious boutique has everything from artwork to books to jewelry to vintage t-shirts. We were especially enamored with the $5 rack outside, and the plethora of adorable earrings. Warm and welcoming owners were a huge plus — they even gave us restaurant recommendations!

(2479 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles)

 

TOP KNOT – EAGLE ROCK

We are IN LOVE. This totally rad vintage shop carries some of the most colorful and vibrant pieces on the block, with a range of dresses and rompers from the 60s, 70s and 80s. The shop is really easy to navigate, and items are laid out in a thoughtful design. We enjoyed chatting with adorable owner Natalie, who shared her recommendations in the neighborhood and assured us that we could text her anytime if we wanted to come back for a dress that caught our eye (we did!) If you can’t make it all the way out to Eagle Rock, she sells on Etsy too!

(1583 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles)

 

 

COCKTAILS (OR CRAFT BEER!) AL FRESCO

GOLDEN ROAD – GLENDALE

It was the perfect Southern Californian sunny day when we showed up mid-afternoon for some craft-beer-tasting and outdoor game-playing. This funky brew house opened in 2011, and is located in an industrial part of town, right next to the train tracks (note: you are supposed to raise a glass every time a train chugs by).

The place was jumping on a Saturday, with a great mix of 20 and 30-somethings, along with a host of young families in the shaded outdoor area. The food is solid, if not spectacular, and they serve an array of vegan and vegetarian options. We tried the Point the Way IPA, the Get Up Offa That Brown ale, and the Golden Road Hefeweizen, among others. The bartenders knew their stuff, and the game of Corn Hole really made for a spectacular afternoon.

(5410 W San Fernando Road, Glendale)

 

GRACIAS MADRE – WEST HOLLYWOOD

Gracias Madre’s margaritas have recently been voted some of the best by LA Weekly readers, and this “plant-based Mexican restaurant” has a beautiful outdoor area (that only gets a slight edge over the gorgeous interior: brick walls with colorful paintings of the Virgin Mary, bowls of citrus sitting atop a stunning black & white tiled bar).

Everything about this restaurant screams California, from the decor to the host with a glob-sized crystal pendant around his neck. We kept finding ourselves exclaiming, “I want my house to look like this!” We had the purista margarita (their house drink, add $1 to make it spicy – yum!) We dined on Flautas de Camote (filled with sweet potatoes and topped with guacamole and cashew nacho cheese) and Madre’s Chopped Salad (summer squash, chickpeas, avocado). Deeeeelicious!

(8905 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood)

 

HIGH ROOFTOP LOUNGE – VENICE

There is not a better spot to enjoy a sunset cocktail than at High Rooftop Lounge (atop Hotel Erwin). The views of the beach and surrounding Venice are magnificent, offering something to see on all sides. We ordered a watermelon margarita and a glass of sparkling Rosé and sat back in our cushioned seats to watch the sun sink from the sky and listen to the rapid-fire clicking of dozens of cameras (everyone on that rooftop wanted to capture the perfect sunset, it seems). The absolute best way to end our first best LA day.

(1697 Pacific Avenue, Venice)

 

PERCH – DTLA

Cocktail hour! And it’s Los Angeles, so you know we’re heading straight to the nearest rooftop bar. And Perch LA is sure not to disappoint; their patio puts you smack-dab in the middle of the LA skyline, with stunning views from all sides. Their fresh “Parisian-inspired cocktails” are all part of the ambiance and The Lolita (vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, cucumber and champagne) is always a hit.

(448 S Hill Street, Los Angeles)

 

SALAZAR – FROGTOWN

A colorful and vibrant outdoor restaurant, Salazar is THE place to be in Frogtown at the moment. Known for its tacos and grilled Mexican meats as much as it is for the patio scene, the Southwestern vibes are strong on all fronts.

It was Sunday, it’s summer — so we ordered a michelada, a fresh pineapple jugo, a prickly pear margarita, and a Bloody Maria (a Bloody Mary but with TEQUILA).

The cocktails were divine and the tacos were just as good as everyone had raved, with spongey tortillas and smokey carne asada. With a beautiful and breezy patio, and 360 days of sunshine in LA, this is the place to spend long weekend afternoons.

(2490 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles)

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