Christmas holidays in LA. Our favorite spots.

For the first time in six years we chose to spend Christmas away from home and, as we live abroad, this was a pretty engaging choice…meaning leaving 2 Italian mamas without part of their beloved kids (made sure my sis went home for the holidays before booking our flights).

We really needed to relax and unwind and after some thoughts we chose to go to Los Angeles. Christmas without family and snow sounded weird, but also new and exciting.

We spent only 10 days, impossible to discover the whole city in so little time, but we prepared our trip quite well before leaving, and had a pretty good idea of the spots we wanted to visit (we used the guides  Lonely Planet, 36 Hours by NYT,  Monocle and Wallpaper*)
The day after arrival we rented a car (after a 10 hours flight we just did not have the energy to think about that), and we started our beautiful trip. Here below are some good address I’d recommend!

Restaurants in LA are pretty expensive, considering you need to add tip to the price, which we are not used to calculate in Europe. Nevertheless portions are really generous, for food and wine, and a one-course meal satisfies your hunger.


Daikokuya _ Beverlywood (ramen 12$)
The “best ramen in town”, their 12 hours simmered pork broth is spectacular, and the place is perfectly Japan-like decorated.

Cecconi’s _ Beverly Hills (main courses 26 – 42 $)
The ambiance is super romantic, you can both have dinner at the table or at the counter. And we ate a 5-stars Bolognese pasta.

Sugarfish _ La Brea  (starting 19$)
This sushi restaurant proposes a ‘Surprise-Menu’. I’m not sure of what exactly we ate, but I know it was definitely delicious, and fish tasted really fresh.

Cassel’s hamburger _ Korea Town
We liked this place so much we came twice in 10 days. The burgers are amazing and all the staff is really kind and smiley.
Must-have: cheddar cheeseburger with fries and beer.


Norms_West Hollywood (pancakes 3.5 – 5$)
Ok, I LOVED this place. A real diner, as the ones we Europeans see in movies. The real diner with the waitress that really calls you Darling or Honey and makes you wanna hug her. We had hotcakes, with lots and lots of Maple Sirup. This was December 24th and couldn’t be any happier.

HomeState Tacos _ Thai Town (tacos 3.5$)
Here, we had wonderful tacos with iced tea and nachos (if you’re famished you can order two, portions are pretty small). Sitting outside, kissed by the winter sun… super.

Café Stella _ Silver Lake (Cocktails 14$)
A good spot for pre-dinner drinks, with a warm ambiance and good cocktails. The menu was pretty French-style, reason for which we didn’t have dinner there (as Italians who live in France, we try to avoid French stuff when traveling, but never say no to a good pasta dish).

Maru coffee _ Los Feliz
A good spot for a coffee and homemade cake pause.

Lamill Coffee _ Silver Lake (sandwich + side 15$)
We had super, super  sandwiches.

Grand Central Market_Downtown (all prices)
This place is WOW and HUGE. Here, you can literally find all types of cuisines, all day long. We opted for a Curry Wurst, Berlin style!

Brophy Bros_Santa Barbara (main courses 19 – 26 $)
Pasta was delicious, wine was refreshing and we got a spot on the sea, smelling the salt and hearing the seagulls sing. Beautiful.


American Rag Cie _ La Brea
Super spot to look for unusual things (here you can find every clothing you wish for), but prices are super high….

Mohawk General Store _ Silver Lake
There’re the woman and man stores. If the first one is a bit ‘pretentious’,  the second one has a really good selection and sales assistants are wonderful. We particularly appreciated their parfums collection.

Melrose Avenue _ West Hollywood
You can walk up and down this avenue for hours and discover all the vintage stores.

Hammer and Spear _ Downtown
They have a super eccentric and high quality furniture collection.

Arcana _ Palms
You could spend a whole day in this Art and Architecture bookstore.


We got really lucky with hotels; we had just booked the first three nights in Korea Town, and then booked day by day. Nevertheless, I think that during peak seasons it could be better to plan ahead.

Hotel Normandie _ Korea Town ( 8/10)
We directly booked on their website and they offered us a bottle of sparkling wine. Rooms are clean and cozy and the staff is really kind. One down-note the breakfast room, a bit aseptic.

Palihotel  _ West Hollywood  ( 8/10)
We just spent one night here but were really happy. The staff is really accommodating and rooms are clean and cozy.

Beverly Terrrace _ Beverly Hills (7.5/10)
Rooms are clean, the staff is really friendly and breakfast in the nearby cafe rather good. The hotel is well situated to visit the neighbourhood, but it is really near to a big and loud road. We also had dinner in the nearby cafe, which I recommend.  

La Quinta Inn _ Santa Barbara (6.5/10)
Rooms are clean and the hotel is rather well situated. But we had a problem with a really noisy and loud fridge, all night.

Great spots

We loved LA in general and we really enjoyed trying to discover a bit of every neighbourhood (once again, we would have needed way more time to see everything…)
Here are some of the things that we liked the most.
We really enjoyed some of the precious pearls left by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, such as the  Hollyhock House (Thai Town), the Ennis House (Los Feliz) and the John Sowden House(Los Feliz).

Griffith Observatory. From this spot you have a full view on all the city.

Beverly Hills e Bel Air. Being in the Prince of Bel Air for one day is real fun. You can see wonderful gardens and breathtaking houses.

Downtown. To visit in Downtown the Broad Museum by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry, the Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, by Rafael Moneo. Once your feet hurt you can get a drink on the Ace Hotel terrace, and get a good view on the neighbourhood.

Venice. We visited Venice really quickly on a very calm day, we hence did not really like the town… But we surely enjoyed the good walk on the Venice Canals.

Santa Barbara. We stayed in Santa Barbara 3 days, and we loved it. We loved the town, the Christmas mood, the sea and the romance that you can breath everywhere.

If anybody should have any questions, or advice, do not hesitate to leave a comment below. 🙂
Baci e abbracci


AUTHOR : Caterina Grosso
PHOTOS: life-naked
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