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What to do for two evenings in LA?


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I'm going on a work-related trip to LA for a few days, and will have limited spare time but wanted to get a taste of at least some aspect of the diverse LA culture; I've really only passed through a few times. I'm staying in Pasadena but can probably get around a bit.

Anyhow, I'm thinking more on the "counter-culture" side of things: microbreweries, cafes, book shops, interesting music, art, etc. No Universal Studios, Disney, etc. People-watching is a big plus. Basically it is just two evenings.

My first thought was Venice Beach, but I think it is a bit far. What about East Hollywood and Silver Lake area? Any recommendations?

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7 minutes ago, Lou said:

If you're looking for places in LA and not the Pasadena area, i just checked out a cool vintage bookstore on LA Cienaga (which is Spanish for "The Cienaga"), just south of Pico called Sideshow Books ( down the street from a music venue called The Mint).

Might want to check with the googles.

*closes at 9 

 

Thanks - will google it. I was thinking of checking out the Last Bookstore, which is downtown I think.

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In itself Pasadena has plenty to offer but you have to dress appropriately because there is plenty of hostess screening. If you don't look the part of their established clientele they don't have a table available. 

I'll check with my son about the counter culture scene and where to find it, he's had plenty of experience in the Pasadena area and also Hollywood dives.

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36 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

I'm going on a work-related trip to LA for a few days, and will have limited spare time but wanted to get a taste of at least some aspect of the diverse LA culture; I've really only passed through a few times. I'm staying in Pasadena but can probably get around a bit.

Anyhow, I'm thinking more on the "counter-culture" side of things: microbreweries, cafes, book shops, interesting music, art, etc. No Universal Studios, Disney, etc. People-watching is a big plus. Basically it is just two evenings.

My first thought was Venice Beach, but I think it is a bit far. What about East Hollywood and Silver Lake area? Any recommendations?

Venice is kind of gross as far as the beach goes. There are other parts of Venice that are pretty nice some cool restaurants etc. I would recommend going up to Santa Monica at least for one of the nights lots of fun bars, restaurants, the pier is always fun, and a good scene all around. Down town is ok around Staples but another good spot would be Malibu a bunch of good spots with a view to eat. If you want walking around downtown LA is pretty fun if you like local breweries around Angel City brewery is a blast. 

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good italian place in eagle rock called casa bianca. their pizza is terrific. don't know about their entrees. the garlic bread is also very good. they are a cash only establishment and there's an atm inside the restaurant.

another hidden gem in eagle rock is senor fish. great mexican food. small place that's popular so might want to avoid busy times. darn good food.

there's all kinds of stuff up and down colorado blvd, which is home to the rose parade in pasadena.

the getty museum is always worth a visit. the museum is free but you need a reservation for parking. they have a website but i'm too lazy to look it up for you.

there's also the norton simon museum in pasadena on colorado blvd. Lots of interesting exhibits to see.

come to glendale only if you want to see lots and armenians and bicyclists who ignore every known traffic law on the books. the drivers here are morons, too.

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Keeping you in the Pasadena area here are some recommendations. Note that even though some have Los Angeles addresses they are actually Eagle Rock and Glendale which are no more than 8 miles from Pasadena. 

Traffic here sucks so any excursions to the beach is hell and you live on the best beaches so screw that. For this trip keep it close to Pasadena, no further than Hollywood and you'll be good.

Pastrami:

The Hat

491 N Lake Ave, Pasadena1

After that there are too damn many restaurants in Pasadena to count including steakhouses like Ruth's Chris, Fleming's, Alexander's or if you want to go vegetarian or vegan, well look them up yourself.  :D

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena
 
Whiskey Bar: 
The Blind Donkey
53 Union St, Pasadena
 
Dive Bar:
T. Boyles's Tavern
37 N Catalina Ave, Pasadena
 
Breweries:
Stone Company Store
220 S Raymond Ave #103, Pasadena
 
Eagle Rock Brewery Public House
1627 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles
 
Golden Road Brewing Los Angeles
5410 W San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles
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For early morning coffee and pastry you've got to hit

Jones Coffee Roasters

693 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena

This is truly great coffee and is a very relaxed atmosphere that says sit down and enjoy your morning brew. It might even cure the hangover from the Blind Donkey.

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If you're looking for an Irish Pub there is 

The Lucky Baldwins

17 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena

They definitely cater to the soccer crowd, last World Cup some dude went running out of the bar in full team gear screaming goooooooalllll!!!! Right smack into a truck driving down Raymond avenue. At first we thought he was dead, then he jumps up and raises a fist and yells, gooooooooalllllll!!!!! And limps back into the pub for more drinks and a lot of high fives.

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The McDonalds of Mexican street tacos is

King Taco

45 N Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena

Don't bother with nachos, they are sneeze cheese, just keep to the basics: Asada, Pastor, Carnitas with onions and cilantro, about a half dozen but take the red sauce on the side. Believe me, the red sauce is legit and you may want to take them to Stone Brewery just to have something to wash them down with. The green sauce is mild, for Californians.

These are not the best street tacos and there are plenty of arguments over who makes the best, many are the illusive food trucks that are missing plenty of paint and the words Carnitas written on the side but for a guy from the East coast it's a starting place. And it's relatively cheap.

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The Standard Hotel downtown has a great rooftop bar and a general cool vibe.  If you are in the Hollywood area then a trip to the Magic Castle is very LA though you need to know someone to get in, at least that's how it used to be.  Getty has nice grounds but the art is meh, better bet is to go to the LACMA or MOCA.  For beaches I think Venice is a bit touristy, depends on what you are looking for, but the Abbot Kinney area has a lot going on if you can stand the hipsters.  Highland Park is pretty close to Pasadena and has a lot going on.    

 

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