A Buckeye's Guide to Los Angeles

By Jason Priestas on March 28, 2013 at 9:15a
56 Comments
You'll want a car for this town.

You find yourself in Los Angeles for a few days of NCAA Tournament action, but you're not quite sure how to spend your time away from the hardcourt action. Fear not, brave Buckeye, for we consulted a panel of Southern California residents to provide the skinny on what to do and see while you're in LA.

It's been said that Los Angeles is 100 suburbs in search of a city and until recently, that's held true. The city has long been conscious of this image and recently took steps to correct it. In late 2005, construction began on L.A. Live, Tinseltown's version of the Arena District, if you will.

Now complete, the entertainment complex features over 5,000,000 square feet of bars, concert venues, restaurants, theaters, hotels and condominiums. ESPN's West Coast edition of SportsCenter is filmed here at a studio adjacent to an ESPN Zone. The fact that SportsCenter is filmed here is notable, the ESPN Zone part of the deal is not. Do not travel to Los Angeles to eat or hang out an ESPN Zone.

Angelenos complain about L.A. Live imposing a wall between itself and busy Figueroa Boulevard and that it took design concepts from the nearby Staples Center [1111 S Figueroa St)[W] to their natural, and ultimately arrogant, conclusion. That said, hotels and restaurants were needed and the development has turned downtown LA into a viable entertainment option.

Since you'll be spending a lot of time at the Staples Center, you'll surely come away with your own impression of the complex.

Downtown

A few blocks north of L.A. Live is the Bradbury Building (304 S Broadway and 3rd Street)[W], built in 1893. The building is notable for its Italian Renaissance Revival style of architecture, but you will remember it from the rooftop scene in Blade Runner.

Nearby is the Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S Grand Ave)[W], designed by Frank Gehry. If you've been to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago's Millennium Park, or the EMP Museum in Seattle, you've seen Gehry's work and know that it's amazing.

North on I-110 is Dodger Stadium (1000 Elysian Park Ave)[W]. For $15, you'll get an 80-90 minute tour of the park, which includes a walk through the press box that Vin Scully calls home 81 times a year.

Central LA

Taking 101 northwest from downtown will bring you near two amazing restaurants. Pho Legend Noodle & Grill (209 S Vermont Ave) serves up some of the best Vietnamese food you'll ever try and the Boiling Crab in Korea Town (3377 Wilshire Boulevard) will bring you a bib before dropping off a bag of messy, yet delicious shrimp.

Hollywood & the Hills

Get back on the 101 and head for the Hollywood Hills to take in the Griffith Observatory (2800 E Observatory Ave)[W] which is where the first T-800 Terminator arrived, naked, on May 12, 1984, to find and kill Sarah Connor. Griffith also features an amazing view of downtown LA.

Mmm... Chicken 'N WafflesRoscoe's Chicken 'N Waffles

You're not too far from the Hollywood Sign, if that's important for you to see. Head to Canyon Lake and Mulholland for the perfect view.

Making your way back down to Hollywood, there's the Capitol Records Building (1750 Vine St)[W] you saw on every episode of CHiPs. Within walking distance is Katsuya (6300 Hollywood Blvd) for the trendy Hollywood ambiance sushi. Be sure to hit up Amoeba Music (6400 Sunset Blvd), one of the largest independent music stores in the world.

Five blocks east of Amoeba is the world famous Roscoe's House of Chicken 'N Waffles (1514 N Gower St). Get the #13: one succulent breast and one waffle.

Further west in Hollywood is Gruaman's Chinese Theater (6925 Hollywood Blvd)[W], famous for a lot of things, but foremost for the debut of Star Wars in 1977. Unlock the "Creepy Landlord" achievement for finding the star of Don Knotts at the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame [W] or do what GOB would do and hit up the Academy of Magical Arts Magic Castle (7001 Franklin Ave).

A few blocks northwest of Hollywood is Runyon Canyon Park (2000 N Fuller Ave), where you're liable to hike with a celebrity or two without even realizing it.

Sunset Ave

Head to the Chateau Marmont (8221 Sunset Blvd)[W] if you want to embrace your inner Entourage bro – or if you just want to see Lindsay Lohan drunk. Take Sunset west a couple of miles to the Whiskey a Go Go (8901 W Sunset Blvd)[W] to pay homage to the live music joint that's seen it all, including a stint where the Doors were the house band. If you hold your nose just right, you can still smell glam metal.

If fossil deposits are your thing, you'll want to check out the Page Museum (5801 Wilshire Blvd)[W] at the La Brea Tar Pits. That tar produced a mammoth, after all.

If you jump on Santa Monica Boulevard, the Annenberg Space for Photography (2000 Avenue of the Stars) in Century City has a fantastic war and photography exhibit and Gulfstream (10250 Santa Monica Blvd) has amazing seafood, with the recommended ahi tuna burger.

The Getty Center is stunningThe Getty Center

The Getty

Before arriving in Santa Monica, be sure to hit up the Getty Center (1200 Getty Center Drive)[W] off the 405, just northwest of the city. I've only visited LA a few times, but the Getty is easily the coolest thing that I saw that didn't involve college football and the San Gabriel Mountains. Grab some lunch and soak it up – both the art and the amazing views.

Malibu

If you still haven't satisfied your inner Johnny Drama, hit Malibu for shopping, beaches and calf implants. The Malibu Inn (22969 Pacific Coast Hwy) is a good spot for food and drink.

Santa Monica

The Santa Monica Pier is an attraction worth seeing, but if you want to just grab a drink, head to Shutters on the Beach (1 Pico Blvd), a beautiful hotel with a great bar or The Huntley Hotel (1111 2nd St) for its unique upstairs bar.

If you're hungry, Father's Office (1018 Montana Ave) is a great gastropub, if busy, Unami Burger (500 Broadway St), where the "Manly" or truffle burger will change your life, or Lobster's (1602 Ocean Ave) for fantastic seafood. The Counter (2901 Ocean Park Blvd) is known for great burgers, shakes and beer.

LOOKIN' GOOD, MUSCLE BEACHGood enough for Arnold, good enough for you.

Venice Beach

You can't visit LA without seeing freaks, so head to the Venice Beach Boardwalk (1800 Ocean Front Walk) and Muscle Beach to see grown men lifting outside (while someone on a unicycle rides by with devil sticks).

For food, you can do worse than Gjelina (1427 Abbot Kinney Blvd), but you'll want to make reservations. If you can't get in, there are numerous spots on Abbot Kinney that are worth your time.

Manhattan Beach

If you find yourself in MB, El Tarasco (350 N Sepulveda Blvd) has amazing Mexican cuisine and M.B. Post has been recognized as one of LA's best restaurants.

The Mythical In-N-Out Burger

Eating at In-N-Out Burger is a rite of passage for Ohioans traveling west. There are locations all over the city, but sadly, none near L.A. Live and the Staples Center. If you do go, do not be afraid to order from the not-so-secret menu.


Thanks to Elika, Kristin, Brian and Mark for the suggestions. If you have any additions or corrections, please feel free to weigh in.

 


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56 Comments

Comments

BuckeyeSki's picture

You might wanna get CJ in the gym on your next play thru in San Andreas....dude's looking skinnier than John Diebler.....

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

BigMoosie's picture

I had my first In-N-Out Burger last August during a trip to SF. For the money, it's a great burger dump and it beats fast food burger joints any day of the week......but it's no Five Guys.

Ethos's picture

correct.  i Have yet to find a burger joint that matches 5 guys.

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

Ill_Buckeye's picture

eh to get a real burger fries and drink at 5 guys you might as well be at a sit-down price wise

bukyze's picture

Absolutely agree.  I was completely shocked at the prices the first time I went in there.  Good food, but won't go back.

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

I think it's a chain but not sure how big, but I like going to a place called Meatheads.  They're is one here in Champaign.  It is better than Five Guys (especially their fries) and for the same or less money.
http://www.meatheadsburgers.com/
(appears to only be an Illinois thing)

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

gwalther's picture

Whataburger > In N Out

Class of 2008

+1 HS
Elika's picture

This comparison kills me every time, because, you're right... it is no Five Guys. They're two totally different tiers of restaurant. Until I see a drive-thru at any Five Guys, and can get the same amount of food for the same money, then I still think the only reason anyone even started comparing the two in the first place is because you used to only be able to get each in certain regions of the country. Which doesn't even apply to Five Guys any more. Within its category, nothing beats In N Out. 

(Yes, I think about food too much.)

How firm thy friendship... OH-I-O!

KBonay's picture

Thank you and I concur.  I love my In n Out.  But can't wrap myself around the Five Guys. Something to do with the meat-to-bun ratio.  It's just not on the same level.  And you can't even compare the fries.  Me, I like mine Light Well.  Gives 'em a little crunch.
 
And hell, might as wash it down with some Sprinkles:  http://www.sprinkles.com/
 
 

Robbitect's picture

Well said and totally agree with you -- In-and-Out and the Applepan are a better comparison, yet In-and-Out still wins everytime.  I'll give Five Guys the win in the fries category, but overall In-and-Out will always be the champ in my book.

BammBammRiley's picture

The first and only time I had an In N Out Burger, we had just gotten off the plane for my friend's bachelor party in Las Vegas and we went straight to In N Out. My friends knew what they were doing. I can't imagine anything else ever hitting the spot after a flight like that burgur in Midsummer Vegas sun. Drooling at the thought

BammBamm is my dog, Riley is my 4 yr old daughter, and THE Ohio state Buckeyes complete the three most sacred loves I cherish

NC_Buckeye's picture

We've got two home-grown burger drive-up franchises down here in Raleigh that locals rave about: Char-Grill and Cook-Out. They're okay burgers. As good as Five Guys plus you don't have to take out a loan for lunch.
I suspect that In N Out burgers are comparable to these.
But I'll tell you one thing that's missing in Raleigh food-wise and that's pizza. I try to explain to locals here that back home every little berg has a singular family-owned Italian restaurant that has the best gd pizza. And each pie is slightly different and make me want to marry the owner's daughters they're so delicious.
Anyways, sorry about the tangent there. Yes, Five Guys is over-rated.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I can't believe no one has mentioned FAT BURGER or TOMMY'S yet.  

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

DefendYoungstown's picture

Tommy's is a winner too, be sure to have Tums readily available.. 

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

gwalther's picture

Elika/Non-Texans: Whataburger needs to enter this conversation.
In the regional drive-thru restaurant category, Whataburger  > In N' Out.
So, I guess this means Whataburger is synonymous with nothing?
 

Class of 2008

PierogyJim's picture

Whataburger is totally the best fast food burger, the only problem is that their fries really aren't that good. I'd rather go to 5 Guys just to get the fries, then head over to Whataburger for the meatz

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

If you want to feel bloated and sweaty for a few hours, then yes 5 guys is the way to go. But if you want to be able to function afterwards, In-N-Out is the way to go. 
 
Double Double, Animal Style with Animal Style fries. I don't go often, so when I do I go big. 

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

DefendYoungstown's picture

If you're really trying to go BIG get the 4x4 Animal Style.

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I don't want the meat sweats, haha. 

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

DefendYoungstown's picture

Korean BBQ will also bring the "meat sweats". I didn't know about the meat sweats until I moved to Cali. When I tell my fam about them they think it's the funniest thing.

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

Poison nuts's picture

Animal Style Fries!!! Yes please.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

hetuck's picture

I like Graffitti Burger in Columbus not only for better burgers, but the Buckeye murals. Wider options than Five Guys. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

osubuckeye4life's picture

Agreed Graffiti Burger > Five Guys burger.

Oyster's picture

The Thurman Cafe. 

May you R.I.P. Otsego, but know this. Gaylord Rocks!

osubuckeye4life's picture

Can't beat the king! 

Ill_Buckeye's picture

as a native angeleno just wanted to drop a few other nuggets
-if you want a Really good steak dinner in an under the radar spot Taylors in K-town is so much bang for your buck
-also adjacent downtown for those looking to shop in a non-rodeo dr. budget: theres the american apparell factory about 3 miles from staples (on alameda) they have a flea market that everything is about 80% off retail prices. not to mention the nearby fashion district and jewely district where you can find similar discounts
- if your staying in hollywood or mid-city/fairfax area the farmers market/grove is a great spot for food/celeb spotting/shopping
-if your going to venice traffic is about 100 times worse on sundays and parking rates will reflect that
TRAFFIC PATTERNS: heres a big secret, everything flows from east to west in the mornings and opposite in afternoons, if you can plan your travel around that you will spend significantly less time in traffic. the 405 always sucks. 
Also for the younger crowd looking to party there are a few underground warehouse parties this weekend, get at me on twitter if your looking for that life..

BammBammRiley's picture

Damn my bad dude, was trying to upvote you and fat-thumbed the downvote... I thought your insighful additional tips are great... much appreciated. I'm saving this whole thread for when I make it out thst way

BammBamm is my dog, Riley is my 4 yr old daughter, and THE Ohio state Buckeyes complete the three most sacred loves I cherish

labuck's picture

Ill agree with all of this and add Dan Tana's to the list for food in West Hollywood.  Great Italian.  May see some celebs in here as well.  Have to have a reservation however.

Jason Priestas's picture

Also for the younger crowd looking to party there are a few underground warehouse parties this weekend, get at me on twitter if your looking for that life..

Are you the Cobra Snake?

Ill_Buckeye's picture

LOLOLOLOL no not at all, Just very in touch with this city, and what it has to offer. I like to give people a chance at the unbeaten path if their willing to choose it..

KBonay's picture

If you have the time, take a drive to Orange County.  Stop by Huntington Beach and check out the surfing at the pier.  Take PCH down into Newport Beach and stop in Mutt Lynches for a schooner (you won't be sorry): http://www.muttlynchs.com/
You can continue down PCH to Laguna Beach for some amazing views.  Along the way, you can hit my favorite restaurant in OC, Javier's: http://www.javiers-cantina.com/
If you are @ LA Live, check out the Yardhouse.  They just opened one in Cincinnati.  Great food and lots of beer choices: http://www.yardhouse.com/default.aspx
The Counter Burger, mentioned in the article, is where I would spend my money for a burger.  Don't forget the fried egg on top.  It's a must.
Eat a fish taco.
Enjoy the SUN!
 

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

The Yardhouse at LA Live is where I'll be before the game. IT's my go to for Kings games, etc. 
 
re: SUN, is it still supposed to rain on Sunday? Prepare to lose your mind, Ohioans. People lose their sh*t when it rains. Stay off the major roads if at all possible. 

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

KBonay's picture

LOL.  True that.
I am hitting Lucky Strike for a beer (That is where the OC Alum group is calling home) then heading to Yardhouse.  I'll be the Buckeye with an Arizona wife.  Say hi.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I'm so torn on whether or not to go to Lucky Strike. OSULA will probably be there, and for me, that's a major detractor. I can't watch football games with them because it's a bunch of old people yelling things like "run faster!" or "tackle him!" that I find really annoying.  I used to go to a bar called On the Rocks in Redondo for most football games, but their presence has made me find other places. (Malloy's in Hermosa, mostly. Hello beer towers)
 
I still may show up. I'll be there with 3 other people. Tall white guy in a "we're nuts" hat. I'm sure I'll be the only one. 

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I live in Manhattan Beach, here are my tips:
 
MB Post: good food but over priced. I had a bacon manhattan there once. It was underwelming, and I LOVE bacon and bourbon.There are other places in downtown Manhattan Beach I would recommend like Simmzy's(great beer selection, esp IPAs), Manhattan Beach Brew Co, rf Wahoo's Fish Tacos if you're looking for cheaper local fare.  Also, if you're in the mood for Italian, check out Mama D's(right next to Wahoo's)
Also, Hermosa Beach is less than a mile south for anyone that's interested. There's an UMAMI BURGER there. If they have the Korean Galbi burger I highly recommend it.
 
El Tarasco, there's another on Rosecrans(think it's the original), a bit smaller than the one on Sepulveda/Hwy 1/PCH. Pro tip: YOU CAN BRING YOUR OWN BEER. (+1,000,000) 
Down the block maybe 100 feet, hang a left and you can go to O.B.'s which is a small bar with plenty of TVs, decent beer selection and good bar food. Avoid Sharkeez as it gets pretty Bro-tastic... even though they do have 2 for 1 happy hour. Sometimes I go there if I'm feeling Brave.  Across the street is Pancho's which some ppl think is overrated, but they have good margarita's etc. 
 
If you find yourself in Hollywood for some reason, go to Dylan's. They have $3 drafts of basically anything you want there. Hey, that's super cheap for LA. 
Avoid tourist traps at all costs. Not worth your time. 

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Buckeyejason's picture

I used to love taking my Ninja crotch rocket down to Manhattan Beach! Cool town..great recommendations by the way.

BUCKEYES BABY!

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I don't see myself living anywhere else. I mean, I can and do walk to most of these places from my house. Life ain't too bad. 

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Buckeyejason's picture

Ahhh boy do I miss SoCal. Only 12 or so more years and ill be in my Dream spot San Diego..hopefully!

BUCKEYES BABY!

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

San Diego has some great OSU bars, like Moondoggies. Right next to a scUM bar though... great for schadenfreude.  Gas Lamp is always fun too. For me MB is great. I have a 5 min commute to work in El Segundo(short commute worth it's weight in gold here) and can walk to the bars/beach too. Life. It does not suck. 

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Buckeyejason's picture

Ill take that life over NY misery anyday of the week!!

BUCKEYES BABY!

BuckeyeSki's picture

New York is a Saint! YOU HEAR ME!?! A SAINT!

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Buckeyejason's picture

If by Saint you mean overpopulated, too expensive, too stressful, too many a-holes, and shitty weather..then it's THE SAINT! lol

BUCKEYES BABY!

OurHonorDefend09's picture

I'll be in San Diego next week for a conference. Hopefully, the Bucks will be in the Final Four so I can watch the game there next Saturday.

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

Buckeyejason's picture

Wish I could join you.

BUCKEYES BABY!

BammBammRiley's picture

My dream spot too!!!! Wouldn't trade Riley for ANYTHING in the world, but hypothetically if I wasnt currently a proud and happy-to- be- dad, I'd be in San Diego, not Cleveland. Stayed at The Del my one time there which was a treat, president Bush was staying there too for a couple days, so after he arrived secret service was valleting the rental, I tipped to be jack-ass and got a pretty interesting look shot st me.

I know...."cool story bro" lol just sharing

BammBamm is my dog, Riley is my 4 yr old daughter, and THE Ohio state Buckeyes complete the three most sacred loves I cherish

Buckeyejason's picture

I hear ya bro. 

BUCKEYES BABY!

DetroitBuckeye's picture

I have never been west of Chicago but mad props for the gta reference, I feel like I am a kid again.

 
Buckeyejason's picture

Don't go East or South of downtown L.A. You have been warned!

BUCKEYES BABY!

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

not on foot anyway.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

BuckeyeSki's picture

Inglewood always up to no good

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

East of the 405... no thanks!

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

bukyze's picture

Even Hollywood tryin' to get a piece baby.

Buckeyejason's picture

Growing up in Southern Cal I ate Inn-N-Out well over a thousand times. It's good..but totally overrated. Matter of fact Wendy's W burger that was out a few months ago tasted very similar to a double double. Too bad Wendy's discontinued it...

BUCKEYES BABY!

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

OH AAAANNNND a tip on ordering burgers at places like Father's Office, Umami, etc(not fast food):
 
ORDERING ANYTHING COOKED MORE THAN MEDIUM IS A CRIME. 

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST