Caitlin deals the down-low on L.A.
Hi I'm Caitlin Mackenzie Smith. I was born in Oregon, raised in Washington and spent my fabulous young adult years in the vibrant city of Los Angeles. I had the pleasure of living all over the city and uncovering as many rocks as I could.
I am a forever foreign femme because of my choice to move abroad when I was 29. I moved to Abu Dhabi for a teaching job. I met and fell in love with my now husband Nate from India. He was raised in Abu Dhabi but still holds on to his Indian roots. We were married in Zanzibar two years ago and we have recently celebrated our son who was born in July named Ezra Arion.
1. WHY MY CITY ROCKS:
There are many reasons why my city rocks! You can get a torta at 3am pretty much all over the city. You also don't have to break the bank for events/food. There are free Thursday art walks down town, cheap eats from taco trucks and other food trucks, live music all over the city and beautiful or vibrant beaches from Venice to Long Beach.
2. THE VIBE:
The city is huge! Therefore there is a different vibe in different parts of the city. There is East LA that is either very family oriented or super hipster depending on how Far East you go!
Downtown the vibe is artists, artists lofts, warehouse parties and live free music. In the day you have the businessmen and women, business lunches, and happy hour.
Los feliz, Silver lake and Echopark the vibe is also very artsy. This is my favorite area to live. There are amazing bars, live music, farmers markets, and fun boutique stores.
Hollywood is touristy, but if you want to see the walk of fame, an off broadway show, or go to a club this is your place.
West Hollywood has an amazing gay scene. From the drag trivia at Hamburger Mary's to the half naked men who dance on the bar at The Abbey. If you want a strong drink, The Abbey is the place to go. West Hollywood is the most lively of vibes in my opinion. It's a must for Halloween as well.
Then there is the west side. The west side has a very relaxed and chilled out vibe full of beach goers and tons of people that have a lot of money yet no one seems to work.
Venice beach is my happy place. It's great for people watching, getting your fortune told and finding unique pieces of art sold right on the sidewalk. Venice beach is very lively and fairly dirty. If you want a more relaxed version of that...Santa Monica is the way to go. Plus the pier is a tourist destination for sure.
If you want to make the trek, check out Rodondo beach. You can buy fresh crab right on the pier. It's probably one of the most peaceful places outside the city and a great place to learn how to surf or surf with less people around.
So, as you can see, the vibe changes all over the city.
3. DON'T MISS:
LACMA the art museum and the museum of ice cream. Venice beach and Baja cantina after you are over the beach (go for happy hour), Thursday night art walk downtown, Farmers market at the grove. The satellite for local good music.
4. DEFINITELY EAT:
From a taco truck, my favorite is in Los feliz, across from The Griffin on Los Feliz blvd. Palm grove Ethiopian restaurant in little Ethiopia, farmers market at the grove or grand central market for more of Lunch busy a la cart scene.
For nice sit down restaurants I would suggest Bäco Mercat, Church and State, Animal and Gorbals for interesting dishes. Sometimes you can catch a klezmar band at Gorbals.
The museum of death, you can check out serial killer artwork and murders that have happened in Los Angeles. This might not be for everyone but I found it fascinating.
6. WORTH A TRY:
Wurstkuche, downtown. It's a german sausage bar. You order a sausage at the front. There are some interesting ones like rattlesnake or rabbit, also vegan sausage. Then you order a beer from a plethora of choices. There is something for everyone here. There are no servers and you sit down in a cafeteria type setting. It's a fun place for after work.
7. KILLER COFFEE:
This one is tricky and everyone will probably have a different coffee go to, but my favorite was alway Lamill and Verve coffee roasters. They have several different was of brewing their coffee and both have unbelievable cold brew. Lamill's breakfasts are on point as well.
8. DOPE DRINKS:
Good times at Davey Wayne's and Harvard and stone. They make killer old fashioned's but honestly you can get a good drink in many bars in LA. The vibe is spectacular at these bars. Good times at facet Wayne's has a very homey feel to it, possibly because it used to be someone's house in the 70s. They have an indoor bar and an outdoor bar that's in an airstream. Plus you enter the bar though an old refrigerator. Harvard and stone has female dancers that have an old style burlesque feel to it. They dance on tables, ladders and pipes from the ceiling. It has an old style factory feel as well. Also if you are a whisky drinker I would suggest 7 grand. The whole place smells like whiskey. It's amazing.
9. LOOK LOCAL:
If you want local the best place to eat is literally called Local. Everything is made from local growers and farmers in LA county. Also check out and support the local boutiques in Silverlake. Also there is a great local music scene. You can check out local artist as well as big names at The Satellite, the viper room, and the Santa Monica pier.
10. BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW:
You can watch the LA Phil Harmonic practice in the Hollywood Bowl for free on weekends in the morning. We like to take breakfast and coffee and go listen to the beautiful music.
You can go to a movie outside in the Hollywood forever cemetery. You can bring a picnic, drinks and sit on the lawn.
BEST WKND ITINERARY:
I always enjoyed perusing the second hand items on fairfax in the morning followed by brunch with friends. Then, Harvard and stone or another fun bar or music venue at night. I also enjoy a beach day in the morning and afternoon followed by Mexican food and drinks at Cabo Cantina. The lovely thing about this city is there is always something to do with plenty of people to do it with.
Caitlin Smith | Contributor
What are your fave spots in LA? Be sure to tag us and let us know #foreverforeignfemme
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