6 of LA’s Coolest Neighborhoods for When You Need a Staycation Reset
From trendy, celeb-studded spots to peaceful hilltop escapes, these neighborhoods deliver with the best hotels, restaurants, bars, and fun.
It’s hard not to feel like a tourist when traipsing around LA these days—even familiar neighborhoods have received pandemic face lifts, with new restaurants and bars popping up alongside luxury hotel concepts. It’s the perfect excuse for a staycation, whether in your current stomping grounds or somewhere on the other side of the I-405.
Choose from trendy neighborhoods that are flush with fine dining options and celeb-inspired amenities, beachside stays where you can blend in with the locals and shop world-renowned farmers markets, or sightsee among Downtown’s soaring skyscrapers. Here are six of the coolest neighborhoods in LA right now, including where to stay and everything you need to do if you decide to leave your room:
Once home to MGM Studios and, in recent years, an abundance of tech and media companies, Culver City remains as picturesque as when Hollywood stars first strolled down its avenues and backlots. Reachable by the I-10 or the I-405, the neighborhood is somewhat partitioned from the rest of the city, which can make it a pain to get to, but also means that the area enjoys a calmness that eludes other media centers like Hollywood. It also means that you’ll find just about everything you need—from restaurants to hotels to bars and entertainment options—within the bounds of its bikeable five square miles.
Where to stay: Take in a slice of Culver City history at the Culver Hotel, a century-old National Landmark that was once owned by Charlie Chaplin—until he lost it in a poker game to John Wayne. After several decades of neglect, the hotel underwent renovations in 2007, including updated rooms with vintage touches like crystal chandeliers and Carrera marble vanities. An on-site garden restaurant, jazz supper club, and Prohibition-meets-Paris-style lounge are available for private events and expected to re-open to hotel guests soon.
For another overnight option try the Palihotel, which transformed a 1920s boarding house into a boutique hotel with 49 rooms, featuring a design style that marries industrial postwar Paris with modern LA. That French influence carries over to Simonette, an all-day, indoor-outdoor bistro that’s a great breakfast, weekend brunch, happy hour, or dinner destination. The restaurant is getting festive for Bastille Day on July 14, when they’ll offer a special all-day menu with a complimentary amuse bouche and baguette basket, plus French cinema and more.
There’s also the Shay Hotel at the new Ivy Station complex, a great option for those traveling without a car as it sits adjacent to Culver City’s Metro Expo Line which can take you to Downtown, Santa Monica, and beyond. On the ground floor, you’ll find Chicago transplant Etta, with wood-fired pies and picnics, pastas, and flame-kissed meats—the Whole-Grilled Lobster stuffed with Bubbling Shrimp and King Crab is an excellent option for groups. On the rooftop, the newly launched Canopy Club is an all-day pool restaurant and bar where spritzes flow freely and pair perfectly with dishes like Crispy Calamari and Local Vegetable Crudite.
Things to do: Catering to the influx of tech and media workers who now call Culver City home, the area has exploded with dining options in recent years. Go on a global food tour without leaving the Downtown stretch: Piccalill blends California and Southern Atlantic styles of cooking with Southeast Asian flavors; just steps away there’s Ms Chi Cafe from Top Chef runner-up Shirley Chung, where she shares her unique interpretation of Chinese-American dishes; and Janga by Derrick’s Jamaican Cuisine; as well as Citizen Public Market, a food hall that restored a 1920s art deco building that once housed a local newspaper, with The Jolly Oyster for briny bivalves, goodboybob for coffee and top-notch pastries, Bang Bang Noodles for delicious hand-pulled noodles, and a rooftop where they host regular comedy and trivia nights.
Culver City is also home to a few unique museums that are worth visiting, including the Wende Museum of the Cold War and Museum of Jurassic Technology. Learn about the neighborhood’s ties to Tinseltown with a Sony Pictures Studio Tour, get a workout in and take in the sights from the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, and tuck into the barbershop-themed speakeasy Blind Barber after the sun goes down.
Home to the Sunset Strip, scores of fine dining restaurants and luxury designer boutiques, plus many of LA’s favorite gay bars, West Hollywood packs a ton to do in just two compact square miles. Think of the neighborhood as Hollywood’s designer sibling, with plenty of crosswalks and narrow two-lane streets that make it one of the city’s most walkable neighborhoods and a prime destination for bar hopping.
Where to stay: Right in the center of the action, luxury boutique hotel The Pendry is one of the latest additions to the Strip, boasting amenities that make it tempting to never leave the property, including a live entertainment venue, screening room, bowling alley, state-of-the-art fitness center, and The Britely, the hotel’s exclusive, members-only social club. The Pendry also marks the highly anticipated return of chef Wolfgang Puck to the Sunset Strip as he helms the hotel’s food and beverage concepts. On the rooftop, Merois comes with stunning views of Sunset Blvd below and features some of Puck’s most beloved dishes, plus new seasonal offerings that pair perfectly with the magical, open-air setting. Slightly more relaxed in atmosphere, Ospero features a wood-burning pizza oven and quaint, al-fresco terrace where guests can enjoy a casual meal any time of the day. Cocktails and small bites curated by Puck are also available at the intimate Bar Pendry and rooftop pool.
The boutique Edition hotel has 190 guest rooms, 48 suites, and two penthouses to choose from, all of them equipped with modern amenities and with many featuring large floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor terraces complete with panoramic, palm-tree studded views. A stunning pool and bar await guests on the rooftop, with a Mexican-influenced dinner menu being served from 4–10 pm, and a beverage program that takes similar inspiration with tropical cocktails and plenty of agave spirits. Chef John Fraser spearheads the hotel’s entire food and beverage program, which also includes Ardor, an all-day restaurant that plays on Fraser’s California upbringing with a veggie-forward menu that’s sourced locally. After dark, on-site Sunset brings Weho’s most glamorous to its gleaming dance floors.
A newcomer to the Strip is Hotel Ziggy, which positions itself as the city’s newest music venue, with a saltwater pool where you can unwind amid DJ sets, while wolfing down pizzas and pints from the on-site B-Side restaurant. Rooms include glittering views of the pool, Sunset Strip, and Weho, but don’t sleep on the coveted Swim Up Guest Rooms, which double as private poolside cabanas.
If you want to fully lean into LA’s crunchy granola lifestyle, book a stay at 1 Hotel West Hollywood, where sustainability and luxury make an ideal pairing. The hotel’s conscious design features native greenery, reclaimed materials, and an all-organic garden that supplies ingredients for on-site dining options Juniper and 1 Kitchen (the latter of which features a cold-pressed juice base in its lineup of craft cocktails). Electric vehicle charging stations may be the norm for most hotel these days, but 1 Hotel West Hollywood goes above and beyond with an Audi partnership that offers hotel guests Electric vehicles as house cars. Acting as the crown of the hotel is Harriet’s Rooftop, a chic, late-night option that offers striking views as far as Santa Monica.
Things to do: If you decide to venture outside of your hotel for food, West Hollywood is flush with options, ranging from casual eats to Michelin-starred luxury dining. For the former, head to chef Kris Yenbamroong’s Night+Market for a menu of family-style Thai dishes and a stellar natural wine list. Formosa Cafe is a long-standing spot serving Chinese-American favorites, Norah’s is a great option for eclectic American fare, or try the newly arrived Lavo Ristorante for Southern Italian staples in an elevated environment. E.P. and L.P. is home to Melrose Rooftop Theatre, where you can indulge in a three-course dinner and a movie under the stars for just $65. For LGBTQ-friendly entertainment, try Hamburger Mary’s for a one-of-a-kind drag brunch experience, the Bayou for a Cajun-inspired dive bar with a late-night happy hour, and reality star Lisa Vanderpump’s garden lounge Pump for upscale brunch and cocktails.
With the San Gabriel Mountains serving as its tranquil background, Pasadena provides a slower pace and fewer crowds, plus an array of compelling restaurant options and plenty of green spaces for recharging. Not the most walkable area of town, get around on the Metro’s Gold Line or Pasadena Transit buses, which allow free transfers between routes within 2.5 hours of your first ride.
Where to stay: Originally opened as a winter resort in the early 1900s, The Langham Huntington continues to attract guests who turn seasons into verbs more than a century later. Now open year-round, the luxury hotel offers free historical property tours to hotel guests, providing an overview of the 23-acre property and showing off California’s first Olympic-sized swimming pool and courts where actress Jean Harlow once played badminton. There are more than 400 rooms to choose from, including a bounty of cottages and suites available for upgrade, and if you really want to take your pampering to the next level, book an appointment at the on-site Chuan Spa, which offers a sauna and herbal steam room, plus skincare and signature treatments inspired by Chinese Traditional Medicine. On the dining side, the poolside Hideaway is ideal for quick eats and grab-and-go options, while The Terrace offers a locally sourced Cal-fresh menu in an al fresco setting. Enter the Prohibition-inspired Tap Room for cocktails and artisanal wines served alongside elevated bar bites.
In Arcadia, there’s the new, mid-century modern Le Meridien Hotel, where you can revel in high tea service at the Meridien High Tea lounge or delight in Asian-fusion dishes at the on-site Melange. The hotel is near Santa Anita Park, where you can watch horse races or eat your way through food fests on the weekend.
Things to do: Fun fact for the history and architecture nerds: all 22 blocks of Pasadena’s Old Town have been designated under the National Register of Historic Places, meaning you’ll be treated to Art Deco buildings and adorable brick-lined alleys as you peruse the pedestrian-friendly streets. An additional bonus? Old Town happens to be a hub for fine dining, with longtime favorites like Venezuelan coffee and chocolate shop Amara’s Cafe, Bone Kettle for crave-worthy bone broths and Southeast Asian eats, and sibling restaurants Union and U Street Pizza for Italian fare with locally sourced ingredients. Neon Retro Arcade is equipped with over 50 vintage arcade and pinball games that you can play as much as you’d like for just $10 an hour or $25 for a full day that includes re-entry. Over 125 years old, two-story Vroman’s Bookstore is the oldest bookstore in Southern California, which we think is reason enough to stop by and support the shop with a purchase. You can easily lose an afternoon strolling the 120 acres of gardens at The Huntington, but don’t forget to stop by the art galleries and visiting exhibitions while you’re there. If you happen to visit on the second Sunday of the month, Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Flea Market is a gold mine for vintage wares and antique furniture.
If Weho is Hollywood’s designer sibling, does that make Hollywood the generic option? Maybe, but sometimes as-seen-on-tv is exactly what we’re craving, complete with our favorite Marvel and DC superheroes vying for photos at the corner of Hollywood and Highland. But outside of the kitsch, Hollywood is proving to have real star power, with the newly debuted Vinyl District launching several exciting new restaurant concepts in recent months.
Where to stay: Century-old Hollywood Roosevelt might seem like the expected move for a Hollywood staycation, but it’s one that’s easy to easy to justify when it not only drops you right in the center of the Hollywood action, but comes with food and beverage options like Italian steakhouse The Barish from famed chef Nancy Silverton, perfectly charred burgers from 25 Degrees, and craft cocktails and bowling lanes at The Spare Room. Plus there’s that famous David Hockney-painted pool that’s open exclusively to hotel guests and members of the Tropicana Swim Society.
But if you’re looking to be a trendsetter (and in Hollywood, who isn’t?), there are several new options to choose from: Thompson Hollywood offers Mes Amis, an elegant French brasserie from chef Lincoln Carlson of former Bon Temps fame, tommie Hollywood offers the always-a-good-time Desert 5 Spot for country-tinged line stepping and live shows, and Mama Shelter is an always-reliable place to hang your hat, with a vegan- and omnivore-friendly ground-floor restaurant and colorful rooftop with 360-degree views of the city. Nearby, the Godfrey Hotel Hollywood features one of the largest rooftops in the area and is walking distance to all of the neighborhood hotspots.
Prefer to stay away from the action? The Cara Hotel is tucked at the base of Griffith Park in Los Feliz, not far from the seminal Hollywood sign. Awash in muted tones, with bright rooms that feature private balconies and stunning views, plus a dipping pool and an on-site restaurant featuring a rotating selection of sustainably sourced, seasonal dishes, Cara offers a way to reset while still enjoying the best our city has to offer.
Things to do: Taking a slow stroll down the main Walk of Fame drag to ogle at the various street performers and find your favorite entertainer’s star is basically a Hollywood rite of passage. However, if you’re craving a more in-depth understanding of the movie-making business, it’s worth scheduling a Paramount Studio Tour or Warner Bros Studio Tour—the latter is in Burbank, which you can reach via the usual rideshare options, or opt for DRVN if you want to class up your stay with chauffeur service.
Crate diving at Amoeba Music’s new location is a must, and The Record Parlour is right around the corner with additional vinyls, posters, and records to peruse. Food options are aplenty: you can go the tourist route and nosh on diner food at Mel’s Drive In, grab authentic Neapolitan pizza L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, order your favorite Thai dishes at Luv2Eat Thai Bistro (don’t be fooled by the non-descript strip mall location), or go glam with a ride through Hollywood’s winding hills that will lead you to the historic Yamashiro restaurant with Cal-Asian eats alongside an incomparable, bird’s eye view of the city below. For after-dark fun, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is always well, a good time, as are most of Houston Hospitality’s Hollywood bars, which also include No Vacancy, Black Rabbit Rose, and Madame Siam—each with its own fun and immersive theme. The best part? All of the bars are within easy stumbling distance of each other. And Cinespia has returned to Hollywood Forever Cemetery for summer movie screenings.
Think of this famous LA enclave as a quintessential SoCal coastal town on steroids. It’s home to a blissfully big beach, amusement-filled pier, increasingly excellent restaurant scene, live music venues, one of the best farmers markets in all the land, and Larry David. It’s also a nightmare for drivers, but if you take the Expo Line, you can easily go car-free all weekend long.
Where to stay: Fronting Ocean Avenue, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows has surprisingly sprawling and lush grounds, anchored by the famous fig tree at the stately entrance along with luxe rooms, an intimate pool, and airy onsite restaurant Fig, which boasts a noteworthy happy hour Monday–Friday from 5–6pm where everything on the menu is half off. A couple of miles down the coast is the recently restored Venice V Hotel, Venice’s only beachfront lifestyle hotel that, in its previous iteration as The Waldorf, once hosted the likes of Charlie Chaplin. With picturesque ocean views from every room and themed suites that range from The Artist to The Athlete to The Sun Lover, The Venice V caters to LA’s creative nomads, providing the perfect setting for a personal artist retreat.
Things to do: You may have noticed there’s a very large beach here, and you can easily fill a whole weekend with boogie boarding, surf lessons, stand-up paddleboarding, or just beach bumming it. For fun on dry land, you can rent rollerblades or bikes and cruise the paved path that parallels the beach. You’ll need a car or Uber to get any hikes in, but they're worth it; try the always-jamming Los Leones Trail in nearby Pacific Palisades, or the bite-size 2.6-mile Temescal Canyon Loop that gains a good 900 feet. On Saturday mornings, follow the crowds to Santa Monica’s monstrous Downtown Farmers Market, where you’ll see wandering white-coated chefs picking up seasonal produce; it butts up against the 3rd Street Promenade, which you can stroll afterwards for a retail fix.
Whatever you do, make sure you stop by Santa Monica Pier for fair food, bumper cars, arcade games, and take a loop around the ferris wheel for a stellar sunset view. If you’re still hungry after your farmers market haul, Santa Monica is full of options. Head to Cassia's historic art deco space for a seafood-driven dinner of Southeast Asia-meets-California dishes, then skip dessert and slip out for a sip and a cheese plate at the adjacent wine bar Esters. A bit further from the beach you can hit up newcomer Dono from chef Brendan Collins (of nearby Fia Restaurant and Fia Steak) for a Spanish tapas feast—stop by between 4–6 pm Tuesday through Friday to enjoy discounts on dishes like Piri Piri Chicken Wings, Fried Cod, and Steamed Mussels, plus well drinks, house wines, and refreshing Sangria Rosado.
Downtown LA has experienced a renaissance in recent years, shifting from a once-gritty, affordable artist haven to an entertainment and dining hub that’s quickly become crowded with luxe live-work loft apartments, polished cocktail lounges, and towering skyscrapers that are adding new peaks and valleys to the iconic skyline.
Where to stay: The historic Hotel Figueroa is a quick walk from LA Live, the newly named Crypto.com Arena, and other Downtown attractions, but with the convenient Cafe Fig lobby bar, on-site art gallery, coffin-shaped pool and two-story pool bar La Casita, plus Sparrow, a partially open-air restaurant with a modern Coastal Italian menu, you might be tempted spend your entire staycation on the premises. Just down the block in the Fashion District, the Downtown LA Proper Hotel updated a landmark building with modernist design details and a rooftop pool deck, where you’ll find Cara Cara, an all-day lounge offering Portuguese fare alongside craft cocktails and plenty of fire pits to stave off those chilly LA nights. On the ground floor, there’s vibrant Caldo Verde, a fine dining restaurant that celebrates Portuguese cuisine and comes courtesy of James Beard Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne behind A.O.C Wine Bar. Housed in the former Los Angeles Railway building which originally opened in 1922, Hoxton Hotel is in the center of the Broadway action, but feels surprisingly lowkey on the interior, with a rooftop pool, plus Cabra, a Peruvian-inspired lounge that reflects one of Downtown’s most anticipated openings from Girl & the Goat restaurateur and chef Stephanie Izard.
Things to do: Stop into the LA outpost of the global gallery of Hauser & Wirth with rotating exhibitions, an attractive outdoor courtyard and garden, and the city’s first Artbook store. Also located in this space is Manuela and their new outdoor concept, aptly called The Garden, with both serving seasonally driven Southern plates and elevated cocktails. There’s also the 28,000-square-foot Art Share LA, featuring the work of several dozen artists, in addition to Arts District Co-Op, full of independent retailers, stalls, and pop-up shops. Get your game on at Two Bit Circus, a “micro-amusement park” with tons of classic and virtual arcade cabinets (as well as some VR-infused escape rooms). Wait until Sunday to make your way to Row DTLA, a massive 32-acre, pedestrian-friendly complex that hosts the open-air food fest Smorgasburg on Sundays, featuring vendors hawking everything from Caribbean to Burmese bowls. Guerrilla Tacos has a standout menu with taco fillings ranging from carnitas to crab, all of which you should try. Don't skip over the still-buzzy, modern Middle Eastern spot, Bavel, where you'll get the duck 'nduja-topped hummus and kebab of meaty oyster mushrooms. Everson Royce Bar is the place to go for a menu of thought-out Boilermakers (you can’t go wrong with the Radler and Mezcal), along with barrel-aged cocktails on the giant, tree-dotted back patio. For even more ideas, check out our Downtown LA dining guide.