GUIDE TO AN EPIC GIRLS WEEKEND IN LA

GUIDE TO AN EPIC GIRLS WEEKEND IN LA

 

“Get in losers, we’re going to LA.”

 

And good thing because LA is a fu*cking FANTASTIC place for some serious – and seriously epic – girl time! You want a vibe, LA has em all. Beachy – check. Glam – check. Foodie – check. Adventure – check. Wellness – check. Anti-wellness – check.  And whether you’re in town for a bachelorette or just some quality time together, the thing that really matters here is how to make it all seamlessly work with your BFFS in a city as big and intimidating as LA. Thankfully you have come to the right place to at least make a start, so let’s get to planning the unforgettable and worry-free girls getaway!

 

 

 

WHERE TO STAY

 

Girl’s gotta get her beauty rest, amirght? The thing with deciding where to stay in LA is ultimately up to where you think you’ll be hanging around the most. Are you more into the lowkey beachside stuff, the glammed-up West Hollywood activities, or the more “hip” and “up and coming” stuff that goes down more on the eastside? There’s a bit of strategy you’ll have to consider but these are certainly the standout spots:

 

 

[WEST]

 

HOTEL ERWIN (right in the heart of Venice beach with the best open-air rooftop on the westside)

 

SHORE HOTEL (great location right across from the Santa Monica Pier in the Downtown SM area, and they have a pool)

 

PROPER HOTEL SANTA MONICA (brand new, chic and design-centric, pool included, DTLA Proper Hotel coming soon)

 

PALIHOUSE SANTA MONICA (boutique, young and approachable chic)

 

 

[WEHO + WEHO ADJACENT]

 

THE STANDARD (an LA legend, there is another Standard in DTLA as well that might be worth checking out)

 

PALIHOUSE WEST HOLLYWOOD (this location has “apartments” you can book with kitchens etc)

 

MAMA SHELTER (where the “young and fun party” is at in Hollywood)

 

DREAM HOLLYWOOD (very “Hollywood”, very cool, rooftop pool)

 

 

[EAST + DTLA]

 

ACE HOTEL (everyone’s favorite DTLA hangout, rooftop pool, late-night hangout)

 

THE FREEHAND (new, eclectic, hip, rooftop pool/bar included)

 

HOTEL FIGUEROA (historic, recently renovated, gorgeous pool, very “Downtown”)

 

THE HOXTON (the newest boutique hotel to open Downtown, great restaurants, cozy rooftop pool)

 

 

*Another thing to note, hotels in LA are pricier pretty much all year round. I’ve picked these because more or less they’re “middle of the road” pricing and all fall under the “fun” category. But still, be sure to price compare, and unless you have free nights on hotels.com or some crazy discount along those lines, I’d always suggest booking directly through the hotel themselves (hotels ALWAYS favor reservations made through them, ie better rooms, upgrades, etc). And if the hotel thing isn’t your ideal route, AIRBNB! But BE. CAREFUL. Suss out the neighborhood, I’d hate to have you stuck out in the boonies 1-2 hours away from your activities. If you’re more than 45 minutes from West Hollywood you’re too far from everything.

 

 

 

WHAT TO DO WHEN THE SUN IS UP

 

I had big plans to make several types of guides within this guide depending on the type of trip you might be on, but if there’s anything I know about us girls it’s that we say we want to do one thing then we do another. You might think, “Nah, we’re low key” and then with goddess-like strength find yourselves shutting the dance floor down at a club (guilty). Cherry-pick your activities here depending on your mood/vibe, just trust that no matter what these are the perfect things to do with your girls.

 

 

 

 

DAYTIME ACTIVITIES

 

 

[WEST]

 

CASUAL BEACH DAY IN MARINA DEL REY – my personal favorite part of town to sit on the sand and zone out in the sun. Alternatively, if you’re game for a drive, head up Highway 1 to El Matador State Beach or Paradise Cove in Malibu. BONUS – book with Bliss Beach to help you arrange a GORGEOUS lounge setup complete with chairs, umbrellas, and practically all of your fabulous beach necessities (seriously just look at the photos of what they can do!)

 

MANHATTAN BEACH PIER & DOWNTOWN AREA – the best one-stop-shop in LA for a walkable afternoon filled with relaxing on the beach, shopping, dining, walking/biking. [Find my “quick guide” to Manhattan Beach HERE]

 

VENICE BEACH BOARDWALK – you’ve seen it on TV. It’s weird, it’s fun, it’s Venice.

 

SHOPPING ON 3RD ST PROMENADE – if we’re here to do some shopping, this is the place to do it. Plus it is 3 blocks from the pier/beach – bonus.

 

VISIT THE GETTY OR GETTY VILLA – feel like getting a little culture? You won’t find a place like The Getty Center or Getty Villa anywhere else in the world. The Getty Center has views like you wouldn’t believe, and the Villa is one of the most picturesque – Malibu front – places in LA. Oh and most importantly they both house incredible art!

 

 

[WEHO + WEHO ADJACENT]

 

QUICK PAMPER SESSIONS AT THE NOW MASSAGE & FACE HAUS – both The Now (massages) and Face Haus (facials) have very “LA” approaches to wellness. You can book easily, it’s easy to do together, it’s very casual, yet cool as hell. (Plus, both offer multiple locations all over the city!)

 

“HIKE” RUNYON CANYON – did you even visit LA if you didn’t “do Runyon”? It’s a 2-3 mile walk around a hill where you will see all of LA’s finest. That includes people and views. And dogs. [Read my recent “How To Have A Perfect Day in West Hollywood” article HERE]

 

CHECK OUT RODEO DRIVE – “girls just wanna have f-” money. It can be fun to be fancy (pretend or not), and walking Rodeo is a great activity for the girls. There’s plenty of “typical” shopping to do around this area too though, it’s easy to make an afternoon of a Beverly Hills visit.

 

VISIT THE GROVE – the place to do more realistic shopping! It’s LA’s premier outdoor mall. There’s even a trolly for cryin’ out loud.

 

AFTERNOON TEAI. Love. Afternoon. Tea. If you too are keen on tiny sandwiches, towers of treats, fancy cutlery, and exotic teas, “tea time” is a total must. My favorites around town include The Penninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, The SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, and The Langham Hotel in Pasadena. Also worth noting that if you end up at The Getty Villa or the Huntington Library, both have wonderful tea services as well.

 

VISIT A CAT CAFE – and speaking of tea… if you girls happen to like tea/coffee AND cats there’s a place in LA where all of this comes together. Crumbs & Whiskers is our amazing local “cat cafe” and a perfect place to have a little fun “girl time” – complete with cozy seating, feathers, and furry friends.

 

 

[EAST + DTLA]

 

HIKE GRIFFITH PARK (OR JUST VISIT THE OBSERVATORY AND TAKE CUTE PICS) – for something active in that California sunshine the place to walk/hike in LA is Griffith Park. Don’t pass up walking around the Observatory either, the views are simply unparalleled.

 

PERUSE THE SHOPS AND SUCH AROUND SUNSET JUNCTION – Silverlake is by far the “coolest” neighborhood in LA, and a great central location to check out the local scene is Sunset Junction. There are boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars galore.

 

VISIT THE BROAD MUSEUM – if you gals are into modern art and architecture, visit the Broad in DTLA. Not to mention, admission is free! (Book ahead online)

 

ECHO PARK LAKE SWAN BOAT RIDES – I recently spent a Sunday in Echo Park with a few of my best friends and the swan boat pedal rides around the lake were by far the highlight. I might have actually peaked this year with that level of entertainment. [find my “quick guide” to Echo Park HERE]

 

 

DAYTIME DINING & DRINKING

 

 

[WEST]

 

THE WATERFRONT VENICE – very young, very hip “Venice” scene, constantly packed, great outdoor patio.

 

HIGH ROOFTOP LOUNGE AT HOTEL ERWIN – the best beachside rooftop in LA period, “nice” but still casual, slightly sceney, book a table.

 

MALIBU WINES SAFARI – this is a full-blown 1/2 day activity as it’s located deep in Malibu (obviously). But it is the PERFECT place for a group of girls, hello – wine? Animals? Stanley the giraffe?

 

MALIBU FARM – quintessential Malibu eatery, located on the Malibu pier, great for breakfast/lunch/drinks/dinner – all of it.

 

ÉLEPHANTE – Santa Monica’s sexiest “rooftop”, unbelievable design and decor, great food and cocktails, chic, low key but constantly busy so make a reservation.

 

 

[WEHO + WEHO ADJACENT]

 

GRACIAS MADRE – home to one of LA’s best patios, great location on Melrose ave, vegan Mexican, epic cocktails, epic Happy Hour.

 

CECCONIS – nearly guaranteed celeb sighting, a very “see and be seen” crowd, great Italian / Californian food, good for breakfast/lunch/drinks/dinner

 

L’ANTICA PIZZERIA DA MICHELE – hidden gem, gorgeous patio, just a picturesque place in LA for a perfect “girls lunch” (or brunch) filled with all of the major food groups: pizza, pasta, and wine.

 

TROPICANA POOL & CAFE AT HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT – dining poolside is mandatory on a trip to LA, and no place does it better than the Tropicana at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. Go for a dip too while you’re at it!

 

IVORY ON SUNSET – located at the famous Mondrian hotel, great for lunch or afternoon drinks al fresco, incredible views of LA, very true to their  “West Hollywood” roots.

 

 

[EAST + DTLA]

 

KISMET – I can’t think of a single girl in LA who isn’t obsessed with Kismet. If you find yourself East, and you’re a bit of a foodie with a penchant for great design, you know where to go.

 

NOMAD HOTEL ROOFTOP – so chic, so metropolitan, I wish I was there now sipping on a Spritz.

 

GRAND CENTRAL MARKET – foodie mecca and an absolute must. There’s just nowhere else quite like it, it’s fun to walk around, sample different vendors, and catch a glimpse of some incredible LA history.

 

ARTS DISTRICT BREWING AND/OR ANGEL CITY BREWING – these two are within walking distance of each other (and in the heart of the Arts District) so why not try both! They both have super lively atmospheres, warehouse chic designs, and don’t worry – if you’ve got girls who don’t like beer Arts District Brewing has other options, as well as food! And both have games! Fun is imminent.

 

BROKEN SHAKER – one of DTLA’s best rooftop bars and the only one that is open daily at 12pm. They’re known for their incredible – and incredibly fun – tiki cocktails and casual, colorful, and fun atmosphere.

 

 

 

WHAT TO DO WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN

 

 

This part is heavily geared towards “see and be seen”, upbeat and fun atmospheres, and at the very least a solid list of places that cater well to groups of girls. Be sure to read descriptions, click on websites, do your bonus homework to make sure it fits your vibe. But no matter your level of “party” I promise there is something for everyone here!

 

 

 

 

NIGHT TIME DINING

 

[WEST]

 

CLIFF DIVER – every girl’s Malibu dream space, complete with gorgeous design elements, great tacos, and great cocktails. It’s slightly more low key and casual in terms of evening dining options in Malibu but still fantastic in its own right.

 

NOBU MALIBU – I mean, if you’re goin’ big, you’re going to Nobu. Beware patio seating is never guaranteed but always worth trying! Regardless, this IS one of the best places in LA for sushi and celebrity sightings.

 

JAMES’ BEACH – super friendly local Venice joint with a lively bar scene, patio seating, and famous fish tacos.

 

GRAN BLANCO – one of the “newer kids on the block” located right under the famous “VENICE” sign. It’s young, hip, cozy, and full of models. I mean locals. (Pssst, if you’re in the area for breakfast, don’t sleep on their sister restaurant Great White across the street. That breakfast burrito will change your life.)

 

THE ROSE – one of Venice’s most beloved dining destinations. If you’re here for the food, the fun neighborhood, and the Venice vibes, visit The Rose.

 

 

[WEHO + WEHO ADJACENT]

 

AVRA – if you’re planning some of your day/evening in Beverly Hills, Avra is the spot for a fancy – but not stuffy – girls date. It’s more upscale, sure, but it’s “new” Beverly Hills, not traditional.

 

NIGHT + MARKET WEHO – this place is a constant party. Casual yet high energy, incredible Thai street food, and a local favorite. (There are a few other locations around town but the Weho location is the original!)

 

CATCH LA – similar to Cecconi’s this is another higher-brow, Melrose situated, “see and be seen” type of establishment. It is a stunning work of beauty to say the least, it’s great for groups and meant to impress.

 

DELILAH – you want to go somewhere you’d probably never go unless you were with a group of girls, go to Delilah. It’s an absolutely STUNNING 1920’s inspired space, it’s “so LA” it hurts, it’s worth getting glammed up for, and the food is fine. Don’t expect Wolfgang Puck but it’s nothing to hate on either! Warning: you either love or hate this place, but if this is your mood for an interesting night out with the girls, go for it.

 

THE NICE GUY – in the same family as Delilah (and several places I will mention on this list under the h.wood Group family), The Nice Guy is a smaller space mostly made for dining. It’s a major celeb hangout, and thankfully the food is pretty damn good!

 

EL COYOTE – an absolute LA institution! Super casual but super fun, and some of the most authentic Mexican food you can get in LA.

 

PUMP – there had to be at least one Lisa Vanderpump establishment on this list, so my vote is Pump. It’s gaudy, it’s goofy, it’s gay, it’s great.

 

PETIT TAQUERIA – probably my favorite h.wood group property as this one is one of their most casual spots dedicated to good food and good cocktails. Of all of their very chic and very sleek West Hollywood bars/restaurants, Petit Taqueria has the best food and beverage program.

 

EVELEIGH – very “pretty”, great for groups, known for their cocktails, and a great spot to start the night or have some dinner.

 

 

[HOLLYWOOD]

 

CHATEAU MARMONT – iconic LA right here! If you’re hoping to surround yourself with true old Hollywood glam. in what looks like something straight out of a movie scene, visit the Chateau Marmont.

 

BEAUTY & ESSEX – an unbelievably grand and sexy setting. Very “nouveau Hollywood”, a bit sceney, but great food and cocktails in a setting fit for queens.

 

MAMA SHELTER – home to the most fantastic rooftop bar/restaurant in Hollywood, complete with equally fantastic food and drinks. (This one gets wildly busy so plan accordingly, or go early.)

 

HIGHLIGHT ROOM – located on the rooftop of the trendy Dream Hotel, Highlight Room is a bar and grill that is buzzing from day tonight and made for prime people-watching.

 

TAO – clubby, stylish, Pan Asian cuisine – you know what Tao is.

 

KATSUYA – upscale, trendy, famous LA sushi spot.

 

CLEO – moody, trendy, Mediterranean tapas.

 

 

[EAST + DTLA]

 

PERCH – an absolutely stunning rooftop/bar situated in Downtown LA with breathtaking city views. Great for just drinks but if you want to secure a spot outside on the patio stay for dinner.

 

MRS FISH – a space you have to see to believe. They’re run by the same team behind Perch and even located in the same building – just underground. It’s an EPIC place Downtown for a girls night – especially if you’re cool with great sushi, gorgeous cocktails, and being surrounded by impressively large fish tanks.

 

EVERSON ROYCE BAR – my personal sanctuary. Made for large groups, it’s casual yet very cool (they’re the full embodiment of the Arts District culture), they offer a huge outdoor patio, award-winning cocktails, and the best burger in LA – IMO.

 

BESTIA – one of LA’s pride and joys in terms of dining. Everyone loves Bestia. Make sure to try to get a reservation as far in advance as you can for this one! This one is definitely for my more foodie centric girls.

 

BOTTEGA LOUIE – another pride and joy of LA, especially DTLA as it has been a fixture there for years. Bottega Louie offers an absolutely stunning space with high ceilings, big windows, and a buzzing atmosphere. Don’t forget to take some of their famous macaroons with you!

 

SALAZAR – if you’re looking for something in LA that is unique but not terribly trendy or obvious, Salazar is an absolute blast. It’s completely open-air dining, it kind of reminds me of something you’d find in Austin, and they are well versed in the art of design, cocktails, and tacos.

 

 

 

NIGHT TIME DRINKING

 

[WEST]

 

CANARY – brand-spankin’-new, and finally Santa Monica has a fun/hip/chic spot to drink and dance!

 

TOWER12 – located in Hermosa Beach which means while it’s inevitably more laid back, the drinking is not. Tower12 gets more wild as the night goes on but it’s my favorite spot in that area by far.

 

THE BUNGALOW – beachy, loungey, definitely for a crowd looking to meet people but it’s a genuinely amazing space that caters to groups. If you’re rolling deep I’d suggest trying to make a reservation or go early!

 

ONYX ROOFTOP – If you’re bar hopping in Santa Monica, put Onyx (located at the Shangri-la hotel) on your list. You can easily walk from The Huntley, The Bungalow, or anywhere along 3rd street.

 

THE PENTHOUSE AT THE HUNTLEY – the Penthouse at the Huntley Hotel has different personalities depending on what day and what time you go. Early evening is buzzing with after-work type folks snacking and sipping, later on in the evening, you’ve got a packed bar with folks dressed up dancing to a DJ. Take your pick!

 

 

[WEHO + WEHO ADJACENT]

 

EP & LP – West Hollywood’s crown rooftop gem. Ep & Lp is consistently packed, mostly with people I don’t prefer but if I were with a group of my girls it’d be an inevitable destination. It’s a prime location with prime views and pretty good cocktails. You’ll love it.

 

SKYBAR – another great destination at the beloved Mondrian Hotel is their signature poolside bar, Skybar. If you’re gussied up and want something a little more elevated, start here.

 

HARRIET’S ROOFTOP – located at the brand new 1 Hotel in Weho, Harriet’s Rooftop is a great spot to be at sunset. It’s trendy and sceney, but there’s always a time and place!

 

POUR VOUS – we haven’t even discussed any Houston Hospitality properties! Well, allow me to introduce you to LA’s best speakeasy creators. Pour Vous is their more French-inspired club/lounge complete with a dress code and burlesque shows.

 

FLAMING SADDLES – kind of a sh*tshow (in a good way), Wild West-themed, cash only gay bar. This is a great bar to start at, then you can wander around to all the other fun gay bars on Santa Monica Blvd.

 

PEPPERMINT CLUB – sexy, buzzy nightlife space (h.wood group) with DJs, live performances, and bottle service.

 

HARLOWE – a “Golden Age of LA” inspired cocktail bar that borders on “packed club” as the night goes on. It’s fun, you just have to be in the mood, and they at least offer great cocktails.

 

SOCIETY ROOM – super cute, super pink & green speakeasy located inside of the restaurant Conservatory.

 

 

[HOLLYWOOD]

 

THE SPARE ROOM – located inside the famed Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, very appropriately vintage-inspired design, known for its incredible cocktail program as well as their two vintage bowling lanes and board games! (Book bowling as far in advance as possible if that is of interest to you girls!)

 

NEXT DOOR LOUNGE – 1920’s themed speakeasy lounge that is great for groups and known for their old school cocktails and bar bites.

 

GOOD TIMES AT DAVEY WAYNE’S – Houston Hospitality, one of their more laid back speakeasies in Hollywood, 70’s inspired, string light lit cozy patio, DJs and dancing, and as advertised – a “Good Time”.

 

NO VACANCY – Houston Hospitality, an epic speakeasy entrance to a huge hidden space, sceney as all get out but something to experience once.

 

LA DESCARGA – Houston Hospitality, Cuban themed speakeasy with a cigar patio and burlesque style salsa acts.

 

TRAMP STAMP GRANNY’S – retro style piano bar with a super energetic atmosphere, great drinks, and dancing.

 

 

[EAST + DTLA]

 

THE EDISON – a renovated powerplant that is now a “prohibition” inspired club that serves old school cocktails and offers live music and burlesque shows.

 

V DTLA – there won’t be any dancing at V DTLA but this is hands down one of the prettiest places in LA to imbibe. They also offer food but I’d say this is more of a cocktail in a gorgeous building type of situation,

 

HARVARD & STONE – Houston Hospitality, Thai Town situated, factory themed speakeasy, great cocktails, burlesque shows, a damn good time and a great place to dance in a more low key setting.

 

UPSTAIRS AT THE ACE – one of the more casual, cool, and laid back rooftop bars in DTLA, The Ace Hotel has always been a beloved local haunt. You can even make a reservation if you’ve got a group of 10+!

 

PILOT – DTLA’s newest rooftop locale, Pilot, located on the rooftop at the Hoxton Hotel, is part seafood-centric restaurant, part wonderful rooftop lounge. Both offer absolutely dreamy scenery and fantastic fare.

 

BLIND BARBER – two locations: Culver City and Highland Park. Both are speakeasies located behind working barber shops, and both are great bars to casually drink and dance the night away.

 

 

 

 

OTHER NIGHTTIME ACTIVITIES

 

DANCING: POPPY / NIGHTINGALE / BOOTSY BELLOWS / THE LASH / CICADA CLUB / ALL HOUSTON HOSPITALITY VENUES AS MENTIONED

KARAOKE: BREAK ROOM 86 / PHARAOH KARAOKE LOUNGE

POLE DANCING, NOT STRIPPING: JUMBO’S CLOWN ROOM

DRAG SHOW: HAMBURGER MARY’S / THE ABBEY / PRECINCT DTLA

RIDES: SANTA MONICA PIER / UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

*CHIC* BOWLING: HIGHLAND PARK BOWL / THE SPARE ROOM

THROWBACK ROLLERSKATING: MOONLIGHT ROLLERWAY

ADULT GAMING: TWO BIT CIRCUS

MAGIC SHOW: BLACK RABBIT ROSE / THE MAGIC CASTLE (note: the Magic Castle is invite-only or member-based, so find a member!)

COMEDY SHOW: THE LAUGH FACTORY / THE COMEDY STORE

 

 

 

ALSO FOR YOU TO CONSIDER:

 

My “First Timer’s Guide to Los Angeles” (this could be another huge resource, especially if you or one of your friends hasn’t visited LA yet!)

My “101 Love & Loathing Approved Restaurants in Los Angeles” (broken down by neighborhood, updated regularly)

My “101 Love & Loathing Approved Bars in Los Angeles” (also broken down by neighborhood and updated regularly)

My “Best New Restaurants In LA” list (for my fellow foodie girls who want to know what’s hot and happening around town)

My “Best Rooftops and Patios In LA” guide (we’re really good at dining al fresco here.)

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