A Torontonian’s travel guide to exploring Los Angeles

From the bustling city streets of Hollywood to the shores of Venice Beach, Los Angeles is a city filled with culture, entertainment, and diversity. Like Toronto, Los Angeles is equipped with beautiful skyline views, incredible restaurants, and cultural neighbourhoods. 

With the border between the United States and Canada open – and the return to travel becoming more readily accessible – with the help of our friends at Discover LA, we visited the City of Angels to bring you a Torontonian’s guide to the city. 

Being from Toronto and visiting LA, it’s always intriguing to see the parallels between the two places. 

Keep reading to discover which Los Angeles neighbourhood you should visit depending on your favourite neighbourhoods in Toronto. 

If you love the Leslieville and the Beaches, you’ll love Venice and Santa Monica.

Santa Monica ocean front [Photo Courtesy: Brian Hamilton]
Known for its bohemian vibe, Venice Beach stretches along the ocean and boasts an eclectic atmosphere. Like the Beaches here in Toronto, there’s a vibrant energy that floats through the boardwalk. On the beach, you’ll find volleyball nets perfect for playing a pickup game, yoga sessions at sunrise and a bike path that stretches from Marina del Rey through Venice and past Santa Monica. 

There’s a certain liveliness that emanates through the area as people populate the bars, restaurants, boardwalk and biking path at all hours of the day. 

Biking the Venice Boardwalk [Photo Courtesy: Brian Hamilton]
If you enjoy biking the Toronto waterfront, cycling along the Venice Boardwalk on the biking path is a must. Plan to spend the day making stops along the way where you’ll take in the beautiful scenery and enjoy some beach eats, all while getting some exercise in the sunshine. The Rainbow Lifeguard Tower, Venice Sign, Skate Park and Santa Monica Pier are all features along the trail. Most hotels – like Venice V – offer complimentary bikes with your stay, while e-bikes are available for rent through Bikes and Hikes LA.

Abbot Kinney in Santa Monica offers a great spot for trendy eats, great shopping and cute cafes. If you’re a Mexican food lover, De Buena Planta is a beachy vegan-friendly restaurant with a menu that uses the freshest seasonal ingredients. 

Whether looking for a tasty meal, an energetic activity or simply to enjoy some waterfront views, Venice Beach and Santa Monica provides the perfect paradise and a home away from home.

If you love Queen Street West and the Kensington Market area, Silver Lake and Downtown Los Angeles are the neighbourhoods you need to hit. 

Pool at Silver Lake Pool & Inn [Photo Courtesy: Kaitlin Narciso]
Silver Lake embraces an indie lifestyle with funky blocks of street art, artisanal coffee shops, music venues and trendy bars and boutiques. 

Instead of Toronto’s graffiti alley, you’ll get the famed Micheltorena Stairs. These stairs are one of the most Instagrammed stairways in the world. 

Right in the heart of Silver Lake, Silver Lake Pool & Inn makes for the perfect stay. The hotel, though intimate in scale, offers worlds of luxury with lush greenery and wood accents throughout the property. 

Donut and Coffee from Bloom & Plume Coffee [Photo Courtesy: Brian Hamilton]
Bloom & Plume Coffee is a must if you’re in the neighbourhood. This community-oriented cafe is an experience in and of itself. The colourful environment is designed to uplift the senses while uniting the neighbourhood. The Black-owned business has become the heart of the community and offers hearty toasts, waffles, coffee and other beautifully crafted drinks. 

As a Torontonian, having a love affair with tacos is status quo – so doing a self guided taco crawl in DTLA is on the trip’s menu. Guisados, Tacos 1986 and Sonoratown Tacos are three spots to add to your crawl. If you’re not taco’d-out by the end, cap off your crawl by having dinner at Cha Cha Cha in the Arts District. This Mexican eatery is the perfect place to enjoy a tequila cocktail while overlooking the gorgeous downtown skyline – if you’re from Toronto and don’t love a good city skyline, you’re lying. 

If you love King Street, Hollywood is for you. 

Hollywood teems with entertainment and excitement. From the glitz and glamour of the Dolby Theatre to the Hollywood Sign that overlooks Los Angeles from the Hollywood Hills, Hollywood is filled with iconic landmarks that tell the tale of Tinseltown. 

Hollywood Sign on the Hollywood Hills hike with Bikes and Hikes LA [Photo Courtesy: Brian Hamilton]
As the home of the film and entertainment industry, the neighbourhood boasts quite the reputation. From being star-studded and glamorous to cool and iconic, the Hollywood experience is made whole when dressed to the nines and enjoying a delicious dinner at one of the many renowned restaurants like L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michelle, Musso & Frank or Off Vine. 

If you’re looking for your King Street stay in Hollywood, Thompson Hollywood is for you. The new luxurious hotel is located near the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine. With an elegant feel, the contemporary details are paired with hints of Old Hollywood glamour. The rooftop also has a restaurant and bar with beautiful views of the city and Hollywood Sign. 

For more ideas on what to do in Los Angeles, visit Discover LA

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