Known as the entertainment capital of the world, L.A. is a paradise of palm trees and good weather. However, there’s more to this vast city than Hollywood film sets, face-lifts and beach bodies. Its real strengths lie with its laid-back vibes, contemporary art, funky urban quarters, impressive canyons and, oh, the food!

For the star gazers

Forget the hefty trek up to the Hollywood sign that even hiking-obsessed locals tend to avoid. For some of the best views of L.A., pay a visit to the Griffith Observatory. At 1,134 feet above sea-level and perched on the winding slopes of Mount Hollywood, it offers a breath-taking view of the city. You’ll be able to see all of the Los Angeles Basin, including downtown L.A. to the southeast and Hollywood to the south (including that famous sign!). Pick a clear day to see all the way to the ocean, or swing by at night to take in the stars and city lights. Admission to the building and grounds is free, check visiting hours here: www.griffithobservatory.org

For the sun seekers

No trip to L.A. would be complete without a jaunt to Venice Beach. The sandy three-mile beach isn’t the only attraction; it’s a heady scene and a true human zoo of strutting bodybuilders and street performers that just needs to be experienced, even if just for an hour or so.

For those wanting to avoid the sidewalk circus and seek out a more laid-back beach vibe, head to Santa Monica Beach. Rent a bike near the pier and cruise up to Malibu or down to the famous Muscle Beach. There’s a lovely wide path along the boardwalk to suit even the most uncoordinated riders.

For the gluttons

In-N-Out Burger, put simply, is what junk food dreams are made of. Only available in a handful of US states, it’s a must-visit when in the West Coast area. If you want to go a little crazy, the secret menu is what it’s all about. #Innsiders try out the Double-Double and always order Animal Style, especially on your fries. Here’s the secret menu in full, but only if you promise to keep it on the down low: http://www.in-n-out.com/menu/not-so-secret-menu.aspx

 

Tuesdays in L.A. are important for one reason: tacos! Taco Tuesdays mean you can feast like a king on only a few dollars. Pretty much all of the taco spots will be participating every week, selling tacos for as little as 89 cents each. If you’ve then got a taste for that Mexican flavour, try out the best breakfast burrito in town, at Tacos Villa Corona in Atwater Village. It may not look like much from the outside and is cash-only, but there’s a reason this family-run eatery has been in business for over 20 years. The chorizo papas breakfast burrito comes especially recommended.

For the bargain hunters

There’s great shopping all over L.A. but for something that you just don’t get everywhere else, head to the Melrose Trading Post flea market for a great way to spend a sunny Sunday. Held in the Fairfax High School parking lot, this outdoor market makes for an ideal afternoon of shopping with live music, tasty street food and people watching. A mini-version of the popular Rose Bowl flea market, it’s much more manageable and generally less expensive, with goods ranging from vintage to artsy and eclectic. http://melrosetradingpost.org

The thrift scene in L.A. is second to none and Melrose Avenue is the place to find the best steals. Jet Rag is especially massive with endless racks of vintage clothing organised into era. Although its prices range from high to low, every Sunday from 9am Jet Rag holds a $1 sale outside the front of the store. Head there early to beat the pros. Jet Rag, 825 N. La Brea Avenue (just off Melrose Avenue).

For a different breed of thrift store, Wasteland is the place to hunt quality on-trend pieces at majorly discounted prices. Wasteland, 7429 Melrose Avenue (at N. Vista Street).

A place to stay

Our Park Inn by Radisson Covina hotel sits in a great location east of downtown L.A., at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains and right at the heart of beautiful Southern California. Park Inn by Radisson Covina

 

Have you taken a trip to L.A. before? Let us know your #innsider tips to help others when planning a visit!