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Welcome to Weekend Wanderer, a blog celebrating the well-lived weekend.

36 Hours in LA

36 Hours in LA

A few weeks ago, I spent a couple of days in Los Angeles en route to San Francisco for a work trip. My friend Sarah had work in LA and was heading out a few days early, so on a whim, I decided to take a little detour and join her for a weekend in Venice.

People always talk about how Los Angeles is so spread out with traffic so hellacious that moving around the city can seem stressful and intimidating. We stayed in Venice, and didn't venture any farther east than West Hollywood, which allowed us to really explore the area and feel like we'd seen, done, and eaten a lot of great stuff even in a short amount of time (and at a totally relaxed pace). 

Here are several great spots Sarah and I hit during our weekend on the west side, plus a few places I'm dying to check out on my next trip to LA.

Stay.

The Rose Hotel Venice – The Rose is part hotel, part B&B with a relaxed, welcoming vibe and a chic, beachy design. With rooms ranging from 2 bedroom suites to well-appointed queen guestrooms with access to shared showers and bathrooms, there are options for travelers seeking a budget-friendly option and for those looking for a casual-yet-luxe spot by the beach. The staff is super friendly, there are bikes and surfboards for guests to take out, and French press coffee and croissants with jam from Gjusta in the morning. I can’t wait to go back.

Eat.

Gjusta – I had an incredible lunch at Gjelina, Gjusta’s sister restaurant on Abbot Kinney, last time I was in LA, so unsurprisingly, Gjusta was our first stop upon arriving in Venice. There’s a coffee bar, bakery, prepared-food counter, and freshly packaged food for take-away, and you order everything deli-style. It’s kind of chaotic on a Saturday morning but once you have your salads and flatbreads and have secured a spot on the back patio, there’s to better place to be.

The Rose Café – Rose Café is a Venice institution that recently underwent a major renovation and menu overhaul. The result is a beautiful indoor-outdoor space and an eclectic menu of truly tasty dishes. Sit in the bar area to order from the Hearth menu, which is mostly small plates for sharing, or in the dining room for a totally different menu and dining experience.

Dudley Market – A light, airy spot one block from the beach that serves fresh, delicious food along with a selection of local and artisanal goods. The fried oyster sandwich is to die for.

Salt & Straw – This ice cream shop has an ever-changing menu of delicious and inventive flavors. You’ll want to try them all--I basically did--but eventually settled on a scoop of Honey Lavender and Almond Brittle. It was perhaps the best ice cream I’ve ever had. No joke.

Juice Served Here – With locations all over the city, Juice Served Here is a great spot for healthy snacks and tasty juices and smoothies. And, if you’re unable to settle on one juice, you can order a flight and taste them all.

Moon Juice – Moon Juice is unlike any other juice spot in LA; it’s legitimately a lifestyle. With juices, milks, tonics, and its own line of pantry items like crushed pearl and ashwaghanda, that promise everything from easing depression to boosting libido to giving your skin a radiant glow, you could walk in for a green juice and walk out with jars of plant medicine that claim to hold the secret to eternal youth and happiness.

Shop.

The Row – Every piece here is a major splurge, but if you’re in the area (or in the market for an impeccably-cut cashmere tunic or crisp cotton shift dress) this shop a must-see. The collection, plus a handpicked selection of vintage treasures and classic Manolos, is displayed in a beautiful modern bungalow-like space, complete with a lap pool that is a minimalist dream.

Bazar – With a selection of apothecary items, vintage clothing and textiles, and home goods Bazar has a well-edited mix of gifts and goods from all over the world.

The Apartment by the Line – Like its NYC counterpart, this shop displays its impeccably-curated selection of furniture, home décor, and women’s clothing at a sprawling second-floor apartment on Melrose Place. If you like the New York shop, stopping here is a very good idea.

Isabel Marant – This standalone shop, nestled behind a cactus garden on Melrose, beautifully showcases both the Isabel Marant and Etoile lines. The space is architecturally stunning and the clothes, with their French-girl-meets-boho-globetrotter flair, are hard to resist.

General Store – Hands-down my favorite store in LA (maybe anywhere) the Venice shop is the second of General Store’s two California locations. Hannah Henderson and Serena Mitnik-Miller have curated the perfect mix of clothing, accessories, home goods, and beauty products that are chosen with an emphasis on craft and quality over of-the-moment trendiness. Expect to find hand-thrown pottery, hand-dyed fibers, and hand-picked vintage Levis, along with natural beauty products, jewelry from independent designers, and gorgeous coffee table books that pay homage to midcentury architects and American artisans.

Violet Grey – Stop here to stock up on products from a range of luxury beauty brands like Rodin, Sisley-Paris, and Chanel.

Do.

Love Yoga – Love is the studio where I practice in Montauk and they recently set up outpost #2 on Lincoln Blvd in Venice. Classes are the perfect mix of physically challenging vinyasa and mentally stimulating, emotionally cleansing spiritual practice. Kyle Miller, one of my all-time favorite teachers, cofounded the Venice studio and is an absolute goddess whose class is a must.

Venice Beach (duh!) – Whether you’re a surfer or a sunbather, you can’t stay in Venice without hitting the beach.

Next time...

  • The Now massage
  • Plant Food + Wine
  • Lifehouse Tonics & Elixirs
  • Brentwood Country Mart
  • Lily Ashwell
  • Rose Bowl Flea Market
 Cactus garden at Isabel Marant's shop on Melrose.

Cactus garden at Isabel Marant's shop on Melrose.

 Tucked-away entrance to Violet Grey in West Hollywood.

Tucked-away entrance to Violet Grey in West Hollywood.

 The rustic, whitewashed entrance to Gjusta.

The rustic, whitewashed entrance to Gjusta.

In the Kitchen - Turmeric Latté

In the Kitchen - Turmeric Latté

In the City - The Apartment by The Line

In the City - The Apartment by The Line