Explore Los Angeles like a local: Top 10 tips by an LA resident
Carola Förnäs has lived in California for six years and is currently based in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles. “I love LA,” says Carola, who previously lived in San Francisco. “People here are super friendly and always willing to help, whether you’re lost or just want to have a chat with someone.”
“LA has already gone back to normal after the pandemic. The traffic can be pretty horrible if you’re driving at the wrong time. It’s a good idea to avoid rush hours and leave enough time for getting from one place to another.”
We asked Carola what her favourite places and experiences are in LA right now and what travellers should see there right now. Read Carola’s tips below.
1. A spinning class at Santa Monica beach on Saturday or Sunday morning at sunrise
How about a good, sweaty workout at the beach at sunrise? In Santa Monica, your view will be as epic as your workout. It rarely rains in LA, so the chances are you’ll be lucky with weather.
2. Immersive Van Gogh Experience
The multisensory Van Gogh Experience arrived in LA in early 2021 and it’s been a massive hit with LA’ers and visitors alike. The display transforms the iconic paintings of Vincent van Gogh into moving, wall-filling projections. The exhibit uses music, colour, movement, and light to envelop visitors in the artist's work.
3. A concert at Hollywood Bowl or LA Philharmonics
Since its opening in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been the premier destination for live music in Southern California, hosting everyone from Billie Holiday to the Beatles. Classical music fans should check out the tickets for LA Philharmonics.
4. All the amazing hiking trails
Californians love to hike, and the hills around Los Angeles provide fantastic opportunities for this. “Some of my favourite hiking trails are located in Malibu and Hollywood Hills,” Carola says.
5. Laugh Factory
If you’re into stand up comedy, you need to add Laugh Factory on your LA bucket list. The first Laugh Factory was opened in 1979 at 8001 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The club put comedy stars including Eddie Murphy, Jay Leno, Dave Chappelle, Kathy Griffin and Jerry Seinfeld on stage early in their careers.
6. Goat yoga
Californians love their yoga - in all forms. The latest LA yoga craze is doing sun salutations with goats (yes, you read that right). “I haven’t yet tried goat yoga myself, but many people swear by it,” Carola laughs.
7. LA rooftops and all the other restaurants
One of Carola’s favourite areas for eating out is Silverlake, which has a lot of pop up restaurants and al fresco dining options. “Hyperion Public has live music at the weekends. I also like going out in West Hollywood, which has a lot of fine dining establishments, like Nobu, and fantastic brunches. My favourite brunch spot is The Eveleigh.”
8. Outdoor movies
“If you’d like to get an all-American outdoor movie experience, you should head off to Glendale or Manhattan Beach,” Carola says. While you’re watching a movie, you can grab a bite to eat from a food truck.
Many people like to shop when they visit California. “I like to go shopping on Santa Monica Promenade or Beverly Grove. And obviously, you can’t miss Rodeo Drive!” Carola points out.
10. Surfing classes
What is California without surfing? Whatever your current skill level is, you can get surfing lessons in several surf schools around the LA beaches. Sea water in California is cold, so you’re going to need to wear a wet suit.