Los Angeles has always been a bit of an oxymoron – in more ways than one. On one hand LA is a big city that promotes the quick pace of the hustle and bustle, but on the other hand it’s a city heavily focused on promoting slowing down and living that life of leisure. This juxtaposition actually happens to be one of my favorite things about LA. The fast life makes the slow life all the sweeter, and if there’s one thing I know about Angelenos… we hold “relaxation” in very high regard.
Besides the soothing sounds of the ocean shore, the feeling of the warm sun on your skin, or the sight of palm trees swaying in the breeze, there are tons of ways to relax in Los Angeles – as a matter a fact we’re a city obsessed with it. Whether it be a mediation class, a traditional spa, or a tranquil garden, here are a few of my favorite places around town to treat oneself and get a great mood refresher.
THE BEST PLACES IN LA TO RELAX
As one of LA’s highest rated day spas, Ole Henriksen is the epitome of quality relaxation. Their skincare products are beloved by many and I have personally always loved their facials. But what I especially love about the Ole Henriksen spa is actually their Hydrotherapy tubs and bathing rituals. They have state of the art relaxation tubs in tranquil and cozy rooms. The bathing rituals include what feels like basically a “rain bath” (kinda one of those things you need to experience to understand). So book a massage or facial, add the bath or bathing ritual, and thank me later.
Visit A Meditation Studio
Only in LA would there be not just one meditation center or studio, but several. I personally have heard nothing but wonderful things about all of the local mediation studios, the main ones being Unplug, Shamabhala, and the DEN. If you’re open to the idea of guided meditation… in a space built for optimal… meditation… this is definitely an activity worth giving a shot. You’ve definitely never heard of anyone having negative effects from meditating, that’s for sure!
Larchmont Scanturary Spa is hands down my personal favorite “mom and pop” style day spa in Los Angeles. I love coming here for traditional spa services, especially massages. But similar to Ole Henriksen, their copper tub bath soaking experience is an absolute must. The jets, the dim lights, the deep tub… there’s simply nothing more relaxing. It’s worth noting that Larchmont Sanctuary also offers really great membership opportunities. For example you could get their “anytime package” for $159 a month. That includes a 75 minute massage or facial, plus a 20 minute Coppertino bath experience or an aromatherapy foot ritual. Damn good deal if ya ask me!
If you find nature and beautifully manicured shrubbery particularly relaxing, The Huntington Library & Gardens is your perfect sanctuary. The sprawling property offers a variety of themed gardens and stunning art galleries/exhibits. I have always been especially fond of the simple fact that at any given moment, no matter how “busy” the place might get, you’ll always feel like you’re enjoying the grounds in peace. Zen achieved.
This is a beach you kind of have to work to get to, but when you eventually get there (230952012 stairs later) you see why you put in the work. El Matador can get busy but it wont get 1/2 as busy as most because it’s not the most accessible. Once you find your spot on the beach though, there’s something about this little cove that really makes you appreciate the soothing energy of the ocean.
There has been quite a lot of buzz about the benefits of sensory deprivation experiences, and Pause Float Studio is THE place to try it. The studio is gorgeous and very spa like, the rooms where the float tanks live are cozy and relaxing, and the float experience itself is truly one of a kind. “Flotation therapy allows your entire being to regenerate, recharge, relax and recover. From stress reduction, improved sleep, enhanced visualization, right and left brain synchronicity, relieving pain & anxiety, releasing endorphins, lowering inflammation, boosting energy, and increasing the body’s ability to heal, the benefits are abundant” – Pause. Basically there’s nothing a good float can’t fix, why not give it a go.
Speaking of floating, a nice pool float never hurt anyone either (that I know of). The Tropicana Pool and Cafe at the Hollywood Roosevelt though is everything you need all in one place – surrounded by quintessential Hollywood history and Spanish, colonial architecture. Perfect for celeb sightings, you can stay there from day to night, and actively relax in its intimate urban oasis.
If there were a “chic” place to relax in LA – like put your makeup on but totally roll through in your activewear relaxed – it’d be the rooftop at Mama Shelter. Should you come here on a weekend to relax? Maybe not, but during the week or early evening this is one of my favorite places in town to post up at on one of those big rainbow loungers and take in the views. And the cocktails. And the food. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy all of the best things LA has to offer.
I recently discovered the Hollywood Reservoir and it’s absolutely breath taking. Parking around it is free, and if you get there early, the 3.3 mile looped path is pretty empty. This is one of the main reasons I love LA. It’s that you can stumble upon hidden, beautiful pockets in places you’d least expect. You have to drive through the winding residential roads, but it’s truly the best view of the Hollywood sign – without having to trek up the mountain.
Long stretches of sandy beach meets a beautiful sunset view, outlined by water and the pier. Go during the week, again, to avoid crowds, however sitting along The Strand and watching the sun go down is one of my favorite ways to relax. Bring a bottle of wine and some cheese and bread and you’ve got yourself all the makings for a great little escape.
Wi Spa is a special place to many Angelenos. Simply put, it’s a little bit different – and a bit more inclusive – than all the rest. It’s a four story traditional Korean spa, and you can access the hot and cold soaking tubs, as well as the five different mineral sauna rooms for $25/a day. If you want to do more, you can obviously add on, but I think it’s really cool that they open up the facility for basically 24 hours, so you can get your relaxation on on YOUR time.
Are there any places you head around town to engage in a little R&R? Let me know in the comments!