Culture Connoisseur: My Los Angeles To-Do List

LA, as seen from the Getty Center.
LA, as seen from the Getty Center.

I have a long, long list of things I want to do in Los Angeles that I’m constantly adding to: restaurants I want to eat at, events I’m interested in and neighborhoods I want to visit. I’m so lucky to have access to a place with such a vibrant culture and storied history, and I’m determined to make the most of it. Here are the top items on my LA to-do list.

1. Grab a donut at Mr Holmes Bakehouse.

This Highland Park outpost of a San Francisco-based bakery just opened up a few weeks ago, and every Snapchat and Instagram story I’ve seen features a line out the door and trays upon trays of cruffins and donuts. Since the Metro Gold Line now extends out my direction, it would be fun to make a day trip out of stopping in Highland Park and jumping back on to go to The Last Bookstore in downtown. Also, their “I got baked in Los Angeles” sign is genius.

2. Have brunch at Commissary.

I follow a lot of LA-based creatives on Instagram, and they always seem to be at Commissary — a restaurant inside the Line Hotel that looks like a greenhouse. I first found out about Commissary when I was working for a food media company in Santa Monica last year, and mentions of the food would pop up a lot. They have a baller Sunday brunch that might be in order for the next celebration — prime rib, bottomless mimosas and made-to-order entrees.

3. Get a drink at Block Party.

Here’s another spot that I found out about through social media — Block Party. This is another Highland Park establishment, and I really want to take my friends here for a LA night out. Next time we go to Jon and Vinnys, I say we skip the beer and head to Block Party instead. I can’t wait to try the Highland punch snow cone and the Michelada with a watermelon paleta.

4. Experience Clifton’s Cafeteria.

I’m planning to cram a lot into my short holiday break in December, and Clifton’s Cafeteria is on that itinerary. This historic cafeteria reopened last year after five years of renovations, and at its height in the 20th century was serving 15,000 diners every day. The idea of going to a five-story cafeteria to have lunch in the 1950s is mind-boggling when you think about the hold fast food has on our eating culture in 2016, and I want to be able to say that I’ve experienced lunch at Clifton’s.

5. Visit the Watts Towers.

As someone who has visited most of the big art museums in LA, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never visited the Watts Towers. An Italian construction worker named Simon Rodia built them in his spare time over 33 years, and in every photo I’ve seen of the towers they look magnificent. The project has an incredible history, and one that’s a testament to the importance of preserving public art. The towers remind me of another labor of love that’s just in my backyard.

6. Watch a movie at Hollywood Forever.

Cinespia puts on outdoor movie screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and every time I think about going the plan always falls through because of double-booking. There are a couple of things that make Cinespia special: they make a big event out of the screening with photo booths, DJs and special appearances by people involved in the movie. I was hoping to catch a Halloween flick to make the experience extra spooky, but unfortunately didn’t get to it this year. I want to assemble a big group of friends, a few picnic baskets and make a weekend night out of it.

7. See a LA Philharmonic performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall


I’ve never seen a concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA, but I’m a big Gustavo Dudamel fan. This winter, I’m definitely getting tickets to a December LA Philharmonic performance so my grandmother and I can see them in a different venue than we’re used to. The building is just so gorgeous, and it would be fun to get a little dressed up for an afternoon at the concert hall.

8. Stroll through the Venice Canals.

I worked on the West Side for six months, and unfortunately never really got to appreciate my proximity to the cool things to do there. One of the places I still really want to visit is the Venice Canals. These canals also have a really awesome history, and it would be fun to go and see the Christmas Parade.

Do you have anywhere in LA you really want to visit? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

2 responses to “Culture Connoisseur: My Los Angeles To-Do List”

  1. It all sounds like so much fun. The trip to Venice should be very interesting and picturesque..

  2. […] looking forward to it a lot, and not just because I get to cross off one of my L.A. to-do list and not just because I get to go with my grandma. Once I started college, I got more and more […]

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