OK, first things first. Getting to LA. Flights over can be a right wallet drainer. I have spent anywhere between £400 and £700 getting across the pond. I find booking to fly on a Wednesday or a Sunday get you the cheapest tickets, and word on the street is if you buy your ticket on a Tuesday, this helps with prices. This could be a rumour but worth a try.
I have flown with Virgin, BA, Air New Zealand, Delta and United over to America and by far the nicest flight for me was with Air New Zealand
. I found the service to be freaking awesome, the planes to be new and the flight entertainment to keep me entertained for the whole eleven hours. I have had friends fly budget with Norwegian Air and you can, if you decide not to take much luggage, or take your own food, get a good deal with just the simple flight and no add ons. But depending on when you fly, airlines like Virgin could add up to the same and Virgin is my second best flight.
Once you have landed, I recommend Air bnb. It's safe and easy and generally I have had all good experiences with bookings on air bnb. The only thing, if you are staying for a long period of time, it can be pricey. When your in LA you get talking to people that have rooms. A good priced room can cost $600 to $800 dollars a month if you find a room through a friend or on Craigs list (I wouldn't recommend Craigs list without being able to meet the person renting in person before hand). On Air bnb for a decent room you could pay anywhere between $1000 and $1600 a month. Here is a gorgeous place I highly recommend in Silverlake
EAST LA (SILVERLAKE/LOS FELIZ/ECHO PARK/ATWATER VILLAGE
Everyone likes to say it's where all the hipsters reside. I saw a few beards, but not one tash in sight. I don't think the people of the US have been to Shoreditch so Silverlake may seem 'trendy' Yes I said trendy. These areas are right next to each other and are full of cute houses in the hills, by a lake, near the freeway and have an abundance of bars, cafes, boutiques, restaurants within walking distance.
One of my fav free things to do in LA. You cannot go a week without at least one hike. There are a few hikes that I recommend. Some more popular than the other, but all with spectacular views. Runyon Canyon
is the most popular in terms of busyness. Its the one you will see in pics when you think of LA. Pops up in magazines when people have celeb spotted. Although not once have I spotted a celeb up there. That's a lie, I saw Kathy Griffin up there once. She smiled. Runyon starts at the bottom on North fuller avenue. Parking can be a nightmare, but somewhere within a ten minute walk away you will find a spot, eventually. Or there is another entrance if you start higher up the hike just off of Muhollond Drive. There is a car park here, so depending on what time of day, you can get a good spot. You can park up here on the roads (at your own risk) as if you do not spot where the signs are you could come back to an empty spot where your car has been towed.
There is Fryman Canyon
. This is if you are staying north of the valley. Its an easier hike but pretty gorgeous all of the same. One of my favs is Griffith Park, the entrance opposite The Greek Theatre. All the trails up to the observatory are pretty awesome. Myself and a friend hiked for hours and ours without realising the time.
are amazing hikes. A little further out from West Hollywood, but well worth the hours drive. Pretty and quiet as not too many people head to these in peak times.
Whats not to like about a city that allows you to be at the beach within thirty minutes. I mean, I'm sold on the sun and beaches alone. The ones closest to Hollywood/west hollywood are Venice beach and Santa Monica beach. Venice is like Camden on sea. Full of weird and wonderful things. The man selling shit advice for a dollar, or the woman painting pictures of sun flowers with her feet. The guy selling you CD's of his latest studio demo for ten bucks or the shop front selling you weed (legally) don't you know. Well only if you're having night terrors, will they write you a prescription for a draw.
Santa Monica is just up the road. Both here and Venice are busy and full of tourists (like myself) Up further north you have Malibu beach and also Point Dume. Here is where I watched the most amazing sunset I have ever seen, high on top of a cliff point. As if I ever needed an excuse to self reflect, a sunset on a cliff top was definitely one of them.
Just south is Hermosa beach. Similar to the Santa Monica. But less busy. The little town it is in is cute. More rustic. It looks like a film set that a 90's coming of age film might be shot in.
Further south is Laguna. And right next door is my favourite beach of them all. Table rock. It is more of a cove. I did nearly die there when a mahoosive wave whipped off my bikini top and topsy turvied me upside down like a washing machine, bringing me up for air for two seconds and back under. When I finally came up, with my friends boyfriend dragging me out of the sea, boobs out, hair like a drowned rat over my face, I decided I was better off getting a tan on the shore.
Whilst being in LA felt like a holiday, I was really there to act. Sort of. I thought I'd do some classes. Feel like I was being productive. Learn a few things. I was able to audit (sit in and watch classes) and take some of the classes
was a class I had imagined an acting class in LA would be like. He himself was stern, but friendly, in my memory, he has a tash (I don't think he really does) He talks like the guy from actors studio, which immediately made me feel excited. I got to see at least six couples go up and perform, and every single one of these students could have been in the next season of American Horror Story.
I was lucky enough to go to Max Decker as well as Anthony Meindl
. Max Decker is wonderful value for money, but he only goes on recommendations and takes you on once he has interviewed you. The classes are improv and often feel like a stint on SNL. That isn't a negative. There is some amazing talent in the class. Funny and otherwise. It challanged me beyond belief, and I felt out of my depth every single week. Which can only be a good thing, to poo yourself before each class... its a learning curve.
Anthony Meindl was everything I needed from class. A scripted/cold reading class where you get therapy and more. The ethos of acting/being is similar to the things I believe in and it was more about learning to be comfortable in your own skin than 'acting' as such. Worth every single penny. He has classes in London too :)
Other recommendation are Beverly Hills Playhouse and Ivana Chubbuck.
People slate casting director workshops, but I highly recommend them. Big casting directors take these and it's worth getting seen in these workshops, especially if you don't have a manager or an agent. All the companies state that they are for educational purposes. And they are. You learn some sides, you read to a casting director, you film your scene, and in some cases they send you the tape for you to view and analyse and critique.
Other than the aforementioned there are gaziollions of things to do in LA, and I am not even mentioning half of them. If you are lucky enough to get time, try and go to The Getty
museum and The Getty Villas. Venice canals are a must, there resides my future house and neighbours... Visit Downtown. The arts district, the market there, its all wonderful and full of amazing cafe's and restaurants including the rooftop bar at The Perch. Their steak and truffle fries make my fanny tingle. Echo park paddle boats are a fun morning out and the french maple bites in the lake cafe are worth every belly cramp if bread doesn't agree with you. The Observatory at the top of Griffith park is a gorgeous place to visit, especially at sunset and the planetarium is open until 10pm. If you have a car (which you must) drive to Joshua tree in the dessert, or up the PCH to San Fran. Head to Malibu or Santa Barbara for the afternoon. Whatever you do spend fours hours driving to Sequoia national park. I have never in my life seen nature or trees quite like it. Get some positive vibes and a dose of wankyness (I love both) at Cafe Gratitude, get creeped out at the museum of Jurassic Technology
(it has nothing to do with dinosaurs. Buy some gifts in the little boutiques like Yolk
, See some comedy at UCB
, have coffee in Lamil in Silverlake and a macaroon ice cream in Milk right opposite. Eat kale until you turn green, drink fresh beet juices until your poo turns purple. Spend hours and hours in Wholefoods or Trader Joes, Go watch a drive in movie, take a million pictures of palm trees. Reflect, tan, enjoy and be grateful of every second, because despite what you have heard. It's a special city with a lot of freaking amazing adventures... and food, to be had.
A list of places to eat, drink and be merry
... serve the best Pancakes East of Hollywood.
... Cute little restaurant with an abundance of vegan options and fresh juices. The owner is the nicest man.
... An amazing Vegan place with the most delicious cashew cheese quesidillas.
... Scrummy whiskey sours and a tasty kale salad. (Who said Kale?)
.. a dark dive bar, a little bit like something you would find in London. Open until 2am.
... Cute outdoor seatin (a little manic to get seated of an evening, and its order at the bar) but they do the most amazing cakes East of Hollywood. The slices are the size of a third of a normal cake and are homemade and make me dribble as we speak.
... Perfect outdoor seating and scrummy brunch menu, actually, the menu is massive and there is so much to chose from.
... Cute place for coffee and cake and internet.
... Best coffee in Silverlake, nearly. Open until 11pm, so late night internet use and coffee (if you can drink coffee late) here is a must.
... Best pisco sours and yummy food. French restaurant with outdoor seating and a cute bar area for a night of just cocktails.
... Best one in LA. Vietnamese, tasty, good priced food.
... A little like Alcove. The biggest and tasiest cakes. The menu is large and the atmosphere is so so nice. Candles and great service.
Pine and Crane
... The yummiest passionfruit shandys sell this place for me. But also the food is to die for. And it's cheap. Always a que it's that good, but you are seated in no time and you order at the bar. The pancake is a MUST.
... A bit sceeny, but a really nce patio setting, dim lights and candles and a really nice side dish menu.
... In the Mondrian. Sundays are full of too cool for school young people with v necks and boat shoes (Judgey I know) but also an observation. But the bar is ideal in the week for a late afternoon prosecco. Views are scrummy. The also serve the best fries.
... Cute diner set in a stand alone camper van? Has a photo booth, what more do I say. But their truffle fries are so amazing that you have to go here at least once.
... Amazing deals on margharittas so strong that one sends you over the edge. And a plate full of nachos big enough for four people. Cheap and fun.
. Another sceeny place, but has a gorgeous outdoor patio area and really nice wine.
Joans on third
... My fav place for brunch by far. You may spot bloggers and the like, but the cheese grill toastie is something dreams are made of. Also yummy cakes and iced coffees.
... The sceeniest of the sceensters. You can only go in with a member, and you may spot the Kardashians (pros and cons) depends what floats your boat as to which side you sit on, but I like this place. It's relaxed and if you want late night snacks and a night cap this place is perfect. Not too pricey... and there is a photo booth. Score!
... The best blueberry pancakes west of Hollywood. The maple syrup comes in a little tin shaped as a house. Perfect.
... pricey, but the yummiest food. Tapas style, meaty dishes. Do not attempt if you are veggie.
... The most flavours of cheesecake I have ever seen on a menu, hence the name, and the most calories I have ever seen in a slice, hence the ten pound weight gain. It's worth it!
What is better than sunning yourself by a pool? Sunning yourself by a pool
Mondrian-West Hollywood, Swanky, young crowd. You can just walk in and grab a drink. Sunbeds are reserved for the guests, but if you go on a week day the pool isn't crowded and you can grab a bed easy.
The Standard-Downtown, modern, boutique rooftop and newly refurbished.
Sunset Marquis-West Hollywood old school glamour. Go grab some lunch and then have a chill by the pool
The Roosevelt-There's a minimum spend of $45 dollars, but for a full day of some food and a drink it's worth it.
Andaz-Nice rooftop opposite The Mondrian. You can get away with just heading up to the pool bar for a drink.
The Ace-Downtown, teeny pool, where all the cool kids hang... but don't actually get in the pool.
In and Out... the most famous burger place... an alternative Maccy D's. Not worth it. The fries are pants.
Unami... So so yummy. The Manly is my fave.
Fat burger... My absolute first choice of all the burger joints in LA.