What You Need to Know about LA

Posted on by Jennie

So I was contacted by Oz Moving & Storage to write up a Welcome Guide to Los Angeles. They’re a moving company dedicated to moving you across the country and also getting you acquainted with your new town, city, or area!

I think that’s really cool because of COURSE you are going to read some review about chef’s restaurants from around town or where hot spots are, but you really need to know: what Trader Joe’s is the best for parking? Where can I get a deli sandwich? Are there outdoor spaces to picnic? Where are the best beaches?

I am here to give you a quick peek into my LA experience, food focused by other things included, to help a) those new to LA, or b) those who want to know more about the city we’re in, or c) make my friends from out of town jealous enough to come play.

So let’s start here: I live in Hollywood, located in Los Angeles between the east side (think Silverlake, Echo Park, where lots of hipsters live) and West Hollywood (think young, a large gay community, and great restaurants.)

Here are 10 things to know

1. Where is the local farmer’s market?: Hollywood Farmer’s Market, which is on Sundays from 8 am to 1 pm, is a great farmer’s market for fresh produce, breakfast, music, and celebrity sightings. I usually head there Sundays around 11 am, and am always interested to find cheap, great produce, and spot a celeb or two (and maybe even pet a baby goat!)

2. Where is the best deli sandwich?: I have to tell you that I love two places. All About the Bread on Melrose is delicious and will remind you of the east coast subs, if that’s what you’re after. They transport well, so you can bring ’em to the beach, on a road trip, or just home. I also really enjoy Mendocino Farms (there is one in West Hollywood and a new one opening TODAY on 3rd and Fairfax) that has classics with a few twists.

3. Where can I picnic?: I really like Crystal Springs in Griffith Park. Although the picnic tables require a reservation, the grass is lovely (and finding grass in LA is delightful!) and there are trees to sit under. It is a nice break from the desert atmosphere. The parking is easy, and you can have a lot of people in this space, so its also a great outdoor space for parties!

4. Where is the best beach?: Driving a little farther will help you out with this: Redondo Beach (south of the Marina near Esplanade and Avenue B) is less crowded than Santa Monica or Manhattan, and is still beautiful. There is good swimming, too. There are less places to walk and eat from here, but see 2. for a place to get sandwiches to bring.

5. And, is there hiking?: Most people know you can hike in Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon, but can you hike anywhere else? Yes! I love hiking in Malibu Creek State Park, as it’s beautiful and quiet, and there are actual trees here! I’m also a big fan of hiking where there are sea views like Will Rogers State Park and harder hikes, like Escondido Falls.

6. Grocery stores: I like a variety of grocery stores in Los Angeles. I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s. There is one on Santa Monica in West Hollywood, but I also like the new one that opened that I mentioned above. Their produce isn’t always a hit, but the rest of their products are out of the park on quality and value. For produce, try Ralph’s (owned by Kroger) or Bristol Farms. I also use a CSA (Farm Fresh to You) to add to the produce I get from the farmer’s market.

7. What’s a good day trip?: The thing about LA is so much is a day’s trip away! San Diego and Santa Barbara are about two hours, Joshua Tree about two hours, driving up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) can take a few hours or a few days depending on how you want to do it! Weekend trips include Sequoia National Forest, Paso Robles for wine tasting, Vegas, or Palm Springs (which I still haven’t been too!)

8. Butchers, specialty foods, and the like: Head to the Farmer’s Market at Third and Fairfax: there are several butchers in their (I like Marconda’s) as well as fresh produce, and a little store called Monsieur Marcel that has lots of specialty sauces, olives, cheese, and the like.

9. Favorite restaurants: When you move, one of the things that takes a while is to find a favorite restaurant. Here are some of mine: for Italian, head to Palermo’s. They have a great selection and a homey feel.

For brunch, try Alcove or Home in Los Feliz – a neighborhood that’s cute chocked full of culture. At Alcove you’ll wait in line for your food, so if you want sit down go to Home – both have great breakfasts and delicious options for lunch, too.

For pizza, head to Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock, or if you want to stay local, Village Pizzeria. Village delivers, and there are a couple locations so find the one closest to you!

I’ve found that Pinches Tacos has great Mexican, and that Indian places abound – so find one that delivers close to home. Hugos has a gluten free menu, for those friends who might have gluten sensitives. Since I cook a lot at home, I don’t go out that much, but let me know if you have another type of food need and I can add to the list!

10. You can take the bus or the subway: I came to Los Angeles from Boston, so taking public transportation was a must. You can absolutely take the train here – I used to take it to Pasadena! The metro is easy, clean (as it’s newer than other metros you may have ridden on), and fast and sometimes driving in LA is just a pain! Take it downtown for the evening, or to the beach, even!


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