Despite relocating to Los Angeles last year—a city famous for needing a car to get just about anywhere—my preferred mode of transit is still on foot. After five years of traipsing around NYC through all of the elements, the pedestrian in me isn’t ready for a life behind the wheel. Besides, who doesn’t love the sense of accomplishment that comes from racking up 15,000+ steps in the iPhone Health app at the end of the day?
So journey with me as I ditch my car and explore different neighborhoods across Los Angeles County in our new series: LA by Foot. I’ll stick closeby some of my favorite boutique hotels in the city to help inform your own visit or staycation and prove LA is best experienced on foot.
First up is a stop at the Palihotel Culver City, situated in one of LA County’s most storied ‘hoods. Film buffs and culture seekers will feel right at home in Culver City among the historic movie lots and burgeoning art and design scene. The foodie crowd will find plenty to keep them busy as well.
After checking in and dropping off any extra baggage that might slow you down, fuel up for an afternoon of exploring. For something quick, easy, and unpretentious, walk over to Loqui for tacos (approx. 12 minutes away). Be warned, the tacos are massive so one or two will probably do. It’s tucked inside the Platform shopping space—a scene you’ll definitely want to check out once you’ve sufficiently stuffed yourself with chips and salsa. The must-shop spots include Poketo for aesthetically-pleasing homewares and gifts and Aquelarre for contemporary womenswear.
If you’re not in the mood for Mexican, wander to Hayden, a gorgeous cafe and wine shop located at the far end of Platform. They host a number of cute events like the flight nights every Thursday where you’re invited to try three new wines for $15. Not bad!
Continuing down Washington Blvd., you’ll have plenty more opportunities to shop thanks to Helms Bakery District, a historic bakery turned design mecca. Even if you aren’t in the market for new furniture/can’t travel home with it, it’s fun to browse around the stores for instant inspiration. Arcana Books is another can’t-miss-spot in the shopping center for discovering rare art and design tomes.
Time for a drink? Cross the street and head over to Hi-Lo Liquor, a charming and curated snack, beer, wine, and spirit shop that also boasts an approachable, yet intimate bar space called The Counter (when I stopped by there were only five seats at the bar). If you’re a sucker for good package design and unique labels, you’ll love it here.
Heading back towards the hotel, you’ll pass Coolhaus, an Instagrammable ice cream sandwich shop for the sweet-tooth inclined (women-owned FTW), and Midland, an artfully curated fashion and home goods store.
Feeling hungry for dinner? There are options abound within walking distance of the hotel. I contemplated La Dijonaise, a bistro with classic French fare like crepes and steak frites, but decided on AR Cucina because I’m never not in the mood for cheesy Italian food. The pastas are made in-house—a quality I could taste from the first bite of the strozzapreti dish I ordered. The cocktails don’t disappoint either.
If you’re not ready to call it a night, step inside Blind Barber (about a 15-minute walk from the hotel block) for a hip speakeasy experience. And if you’re still hungry, their grilled cheese menu is pretty next-level.
Have a nightcap at Simonette, the chic hotel bar and bistro inside the Palihotel Culver City, and rest up for an epic morning of exploration before you say goodbye to this quaint side of LA.
A little insider advice: Once you get back to your room, slip into one of the luxe bathrobes, kick your feet up for a Nick @ Nite marathon, and enjoy the clutch mini bar snacks before catching some sweet Z’s.
The morning after is definitely a choose-your-own-adventure experience that begins after breakfast. Dine at the buzzed-about Destroyer restaurant for a light bite of oatmeal, bread and preserves, or a hen egg with crispy potatoes and mushroom—all so yum.
Then decide if you’re up for an active AM of hiking the short but scenic Baldwin Hills trail or taking a spin or yoga class at nearby SoulCycle or SoulPlay Yoga studios. If you happen to be around on a Tuesday, stroll through the local farmer’s market for some of the freshest fruit and veggies you’ll ever taste! Nearby you’ll see one of my favorite local treasures, The Ripped Bodice, a bookstore dedicated to romance novels. Upstairs, there’s an unreal selection of ‘80s romance novels that might strike you as cheesy, but at $3 a pop, it’s totally worth scooping one up as a coffee table conversation starter, if nothing more.
Throughout your stay, you’ve probably seen a number of famed film studios around the hood—most notably Sony Pictures. If you’re keen on going back to yesteryear and long to see an iconic backlot, book a tour Monday through Friday before your time is up in Culver City.
Did I miss any of your favorites? @ me so I can bookmark them for next time. Stay tuned next month for my next footpath tour!