Californians though, as fun loving and odd as they can be, are a very health conscious and eco-friendly bunch. Whether that be conserving their precious and limited supply of fresh water (rain in Cali is a huge cause for celebration), buying organic (health food stores are giving grocery store chains a run for their dollar), or spending their days outside hiking, surfing, and just generally soaking in the spectacular year-round weather, Californians appreciate what they have and do their best to preserve it.
So if the Golden State finds its way onto your upcoming travel itinerary here are a few of our must see’s for those who want a sliver of that true Californian lifestyle for a (literally) hot minute.
Sleeping: Venice Beach's Eco Cottages
If you’re looking for a completely different experience other than a hotel however, head south to Venice Beach’s Eco Cottages. Made up of just three petite beach bungalows called Papa Hemingway, Aunt Zoe’s Place, and Le Bébé Cottage, it’s a great way to truly live like a local. These cozy huts were built in 1922 but were recently restored by popular eco designer, Kelly LaPlante making them the solar-powered urban retreats they now are. Environmentally friendly amenities such as a hot tub made from recycled plastic milk jugs to non-toxic building materials and paints to purified drinking (and shower) water to fabulous flea market finds for the furniture. The abodes go fast though, so don’t wait around to book. Your money will go to a good cause, as three percent of all proceeds go to charity.
Once you’re settled in, the time is nigh to explore. LA is not the type to slack off. LA likes to look good. Because the sun is usually shining bright, the sweaty gym is often bested for an outdoor excursion dripping in sunscreen.
Sights: Griffith Park
What once was an ostrich farm owned and operated by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith in 1882 has become one of LA’s most popular attractions. Often referred to as the Central Park of LA, you can get lost for days in the 4,310 acres and 53 miles of wilderness and trails in the hip, star-infested Los Feliz neighborhood. It’s home to the Greek Theatre, a 5,870 seat amphitheater that’s hosted everyone from Neil Diamond to Jack Johnson to Russell Brand in the movie, Get Him to the Greek. It also houses the Griffith Observatory, the most-visited public telescope in the world, which sits at the top of the canyon and offers unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean, downtown LA, and of course, outer space.
Do pull-ups from a tree branch, squats on a dirt embankment, and yoga in a mound of woodchips. Lift some hefty rocks, jump over a riverbank, or hike as close as you can get to that Hollywood sign you’ve seen in all the movies.
Food: The Trails Café
After your workout, stop by the park’s own little cabin restaurant situated in a clearing amongst the woods called The Trails Café which locals love so much, long lines out the door is a commonality. The food is delicious and largely from an organic vegetarian and vegan variety (think avocado sandwich sprinkled with soy bacon bits and Vegan Pie). It’s all made from scratch and is perfectly on par with the homey atmosphere that comes with being just off the beaten path. Only a few short minutes away from the hustle of the city and that famous god-awful LA traffic, but just far enough to send any lingering worries launching right off that telescope into oblivion.
Spa: The Raven
You can't be a proper Angelino without drinking the healthy vibes Kool-Aid. And The Raven nature well is throwing out some serious vacation yoga vibes. After, stagger over to the spa, pop a Xanax and settle in for their "rockstar" package. You're welcome. Of course this is all very taxing so you'll need to revive yourself with a fresh juice at the spa. The locals choice is a "face melter" shot washed down with a coconut kale smoothie, vegan gluten free of course.
So now that you’re settled in, worked out, and energized, relaxed, grab that thing and get moving! LA is full of great shopping from the high-end boutiques of Rodeo Drive to the hipster shops of Abbott Kinney to the vintage treasures of the Melrose Trading Post. They’re waiting for you. As patiently as California can.
Lindsay DeLong is a journalist from Los Angeles. She is an avid traveler often writing about her adventures whether that be at the World's Largest Redhead Festival in the Netherlands or atop a camel hump in Africa. You can read more of her works at iLikeLindsay.com.
Pictures by Vukadin Backonja