[photos by Jessica Reid—mostly taken from my car (when stopped!)]
LA. The weather can't be beat, and it's gorgeous by the beach, but I have had a hard time appreciating the rest of the city until now. As an east-coaster who loves to walk, the driving culture in LA has always made it a bit difficult for me to love the place, but this time was different. Instead of seeing the dingy strip-malls and lack of people on the streets, I came to appreciate the vast blue skies, the vintage signs and the bits of Old Hollywood that remain.
I even found some great neighbourhoods to explore on foot. Here's what I recommend checking out if you go.
2. Larchmount Village: This sweet little neighbourhood features a great kids' boutiques, the not-to-be-missed Salt and Straw ice cream from Portland and local institution Chevalier's Books, which has been on the strip since 1940.
3. Atwater Village: I love me some fabric, so I had to check out Sew L.A. I was not disapointed by their selection of textiles and patterns. And Proof Bakery across the street had tasty sandwiches and pastries.
4. Rosebowl Flea: If you happen to be in Los Angeles on the second Sunday of the month, and you like looking for treasures, you can't miss this massive market!
5. Little Tokyo: You must check out Kinokuniya for an amazing selection of art, craft and design books in Japanese and English and more beautiful stationery items than one can possibly handle. There are also tons of great places to grab a bite, as well as a Japanese grocery store and Anzen Hardware — an old school emporium where top restaurants come to buy kitchen supplies. A nearby shop that's also worth a visit is the design-driven housewares shop Poketo.
6. Santa Monica: Closer to the beachyou'll find this amazing, twice-weekly farmers' market. Or head down to Venice Beach, stroll along the shore and then take a walk down Abbot Kinney Boulevard to explore the shops and restaurants and check out the nearby canals.