City Guide: Los Angeles

Looking for some Baywatch vibes? Venice Beach got you covered

A personal review and City Guide of Julia Knolles travel to Los Angeles

I have to admit that calling Los Angeles your favorite city is neither creative nor particularly unique. Yet, there are few places in the world that I feel so comfortable and fewer send me home so relaxed and satisfied. This was the case when I was still in college and studied in LA for one summer and as well as after several vacations that always resulted in a special aftereffect. Nowhere else in the world will you be so inspired to develop new or pushed-to-the-side ideas. The atmosphere is so pleasant, the people are so sensible, the visual charms are so aesthetic and it has just the right history to create a pleasing balance between past and progress. The latter is especially noticeable in the art scene: galeries like Sprüth Magers have opened branches here, Hauser & Wirth followed suit in collaborations with MOCA’S former Chief Curator Paul Schimmel. And whoever thought that MOCA and LACMA might be enough hasn’t seen the inside of The Broad yet, a private museum that just opened last fall.  So here’s a little wishlist to enjoy yourself if you’re only in town for a quick stay.



Sprüth Magers

5900 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

The gallery with roots in Cologne and branches in Berlin and London will move into new premises right across from LACMA. Is it a coincidence that a part of the Berlin Wall (the largest piece of the Wall in the US) has been left standing outside the door, next to a number of food trucks, creating it’s own momentum? John Baldessari’s latest work is on display over two floors in the rooms of the monolith-like building. My first thought: Why only now? It works so perfectly.



5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

It’s easy to spend several hours here, because what’s on display ranges from the Ancient to the present day. It started with a visit to the rain room, followed by a side trip to James Turell’s installation, passing the main building to get to the Japanese pavilion that looked like a set from a James Bond film to the land art jewel, Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer from inside. Need I mention that even the museum shops were so well-stocked with books that we didn’t want to leave?



250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

As we have learned now, MOCA is spread over the entire city. Although my physical and mental powers left me at some point, I was amazed by the curation of the works: a whole series of Ed Ruscha’s “On the Road” photographs, a room full of Rothkos, a contribution from the German Pavilion at the last Venice Biennale in the shape of Hito Steyerl’s Factory of the Sun – almost too much, dear people. For those who can’t get enough, there’s an exhibition by photographer Catherine Opie at the annex at 700 Nimes Road. WORTH SEEING!


The Broad

221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

Eli and Edythe Broad are billionaires who love art. This combination can sometimes go wrong, but doesn’t have to – as you can tell from their example. While we were running late to get a 45 second slot for the Infinity Mirrored Room from Yayoi Kusama (a gentle smile flit across the face of the museum staff when we were bold enough to even ask), we read that Adele shot her new music video here and got a glimpse of all the people waiting in line when the door opened. But a trip to the second floor paid off: Warhols, Koons, Glenn Ligon, Robert Longo, Doug Aitken, Cy Twombly, Ellsworth Kelly, Jasper Johns – you name it. Most exciting, however, was the window to the archive built into the stairwell.  One had the impression that a whole lot more was hidden there.



LA Phil

151 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

Sunday downtown means a formal opportunity to seriously take in a daytime concert at the Walt Disney concert house. Built by Frank O. Gehry (#oghery), the exterior only lets one imagine how impressive it might look inside. After a few minutes of reflection, we decided to listen to the piano concerto at 2pm. One of the best spontaneous decisions of the entire trip.


Case Study House No. 8

203 Chautauqua Blvd., Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, USA

The fact that Charles and Ray Eames were an exceptional pair is obvious, at the very latest you’ll realize it with the documentary “The Architect and the Painter.” That said, to really stand in front of one of their legacies is truly amazing. We stood there on the grounds,  speechless, peering into the interior of the house, across the headland stocked with eucalyptus trees and couldn’t escape our own amazement. Our tour guide Jenny’s passion was so inspiring that we left the grounds and quite happily pedaled back to Venice on our Beach Bikes, with the intention that one day we also wanted to live like that.


Other Houses

Stahl House

1635 Woods Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90069, USA

We were a) too late with the reservation and b) couldn’t quite  understand the remarkable entrance fee of $70, but nevertheless, it should appear on this list: Anyone with the time and interest shouldn’t pass on this masterpiece. The building also referred to as the Sheats-Goldstein House, was designed by Pierre Koenig and is as of now held by LACMA. So perhaps, in the near future,  it will be more easily accessible to the public . (via LA Curbed)




1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, USA

This is always the address for your first point of contact in Venice. The food is delicious, the menu is incredibly extensive and everything is healthy – you barely notice it, but it goes without saying – in the best possible way. Thank god that there’s now a cookbook that conveys a touch of why this spot is so very special into the home.


Cafe Gratitude

639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004, USA

Shortly after landing I realized that the Venice branch was only a few minutes walk from the hotel – LUCKY ME! Lunch was sorted, my question of the day, asked by a waiter before the start of the meal, was, “When was the last time you were surprised?” As though I was remote-controlled I ordered the Macro Bowl and it was, quite seriously, no surprise.


Moon Juice

507 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291, USA

Who could believe the luck? The branch of Moon Juice is located directly opposite Gratitude. Unfortunately, the turmeric shot didn’t go down as easily as I thought it would and put my self-declared expert status in all things health food to the test. Regardless – the green juices are (despite the lack of fruit) a delicious dream.


Rose Cafe

220 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291, USA

You can also find a good breakfast on THE street in Venice. Recently re-opened, this cafe and restaurant has been in business since, believe it or not, 37 years. Culinary laissez faire done right, and recommendable on the weekends as well as during the week as a “flying office.”

Impressions from L.A.



Beach Bikes & UBER

For the first few days we were in Venice on the beach and got along just fine on foot or with beach bikes. For trips downtown and to Hollywood we booked UBER and if it’s not Oscar night, the fare at peak times is absolutely acceptable. In the end, it’s definitely the stress-free variation, especially if you don’t want to get traffic tickets for illegal parking and want to soak up impression of unexplored areas.



Rose Hotel

15 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291, USA

The Rose Hotel is two seconds from the beach. Small but beautiful, tastefully decorated but basic, you can spend a good few days here. Mornings in the lobby offer up fresh croissants, green tea and homemade rhubarb marmalade, as well as a solid selection of magazines and newspapers, all while admiring the photographs of the co-owner Glen Luchford (!)(read more about him here, here and here).


Ace Hotel

929 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA

Just quickly, we squeezed this stop in our schedule for “the view” and found we were surprised. The exterior façade and the interior were certainly worth visiting, as was only worthy of this hotel chain here in the city center. And, yes, the view over the city is worth it!


Chateau Marmont

8221 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA

To live here is a onetime experience, but it’s suitable as a pastime as well. If you’re not next to Chloë Sevigny laying in the sun by the pool, the restaurant in the inner courtyard is always worth a visit. A little cinema in real life, so to speak.



Although we were in LA for almost everything else, we still had to quickly visit Melrose Place. The Row (8440 Melrose Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90069, Vereinigte Staaten) can be found here, where, unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take pictures but you could easily imagine impromptu inhabitation of the place. Isabel Marant (8454 Melrose Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90069, Vereinigte Staaten) didn’t surrender herself and other labels speak to their well-heeled clientele in an especially loving way. Around the corner is the more or less all time ever favorite shop, Opening Ceremony (451 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048, Vereinigte Staaten), a playground for any adult interested in fashion. While we attempted to do as much as possible by foot in the City of Cars, two streets totally made us take notice: The “3rd” surprised with its concept stores and little restaurants, as well as, of course, Abbot Kinney (nothing new, but it shouldn’t be missing here).



Runyon Canyon Park

2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA

After we more or less checked off every museum and/or cultural stop on our checklist, the very last hours before our trip to the airport should entail a special farewell. The hike at Runyon Canyon is want completes every stay here for me, I like the effect it has on you when you’re next to other (generally in good shape) locals that always do the same circuit. Up to the peak, breathe in deeply once, enjoy the view and courageously trudge back down.




Obviously, there are two things missing from this list: We didn’t manage to make it to Hollywood and Beverly Hills per se. My travel companion had to visit the Griffith Observatory (2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA) and the The Getty (J. Paul Getty Trust, 1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA) alone. For a short and sweet three and a half days, this was a full calendar that couldn’t have made us happier.

You can also find our favorite food spots from California here.

Translation: Alicia Reuter & Jessica Aimufua

Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.