Finding things to do in LA is easy. There's so many tourist attractions, beaches, and places to see, an Excellent Adventure seems pretty easy to throw together in LA. But how do you really experience LA like a local? Local artist and journalist Sean Martin shows us how he chooses to spend a weekend in Los Angeles, California, and gives his tips on how to make the most of your time in this busy, sunny city.
Bather: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Sean: I am a visual artist and journalist based in Los Angeles. Born in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, cut my teeth for a decade in New York City, currently frying on the coast of Southern California.
B: Give us a little bit of background about your trip. Where did you go? Who did you go with? Why?
S: Well, my wife, Ashley Corbin-Teich, and I live in the city of Long Beach, which is on the southernmost edge of mainland Los Angeles County. Friends of ours offered us their house near Beverly Hills while they were away in New England, so we jumped at the opportunity. Call it a productive staycation!
B: Where did you stay?
S: We stayed in a neighborhood called Carthay Circle, which is a tiny blip in Mid-City Los Angeles. Carthay Circle is bordered by Beverly Hills to the west and the Miracle Mile to the north. An amazing part of town, but don’t try being a pedestrian there.
B: LA is a pretty big tourist destination. What's one thing you recommend checking out over the traditional tourist attractions?
S: Food and art! That’s two things. And you can do them both in Chinatown.
B: What did you do while you were in LA?
S: Well, we started out the trip by catching some fun waves with our friends Amado Stachenfeld and Adam Amengual, two amazing LA-based photographers. The Malibu area of Los Angles has some really fun right point breaks tucked away in rocky coves. When you’re sitting in the water looking back to land, the beaches and canyons look undeveloped and you can imagine what it was like to live there a hundred years ago.
After we got surfing out of our systems, Ashley and I made a pilgrimage to Little Ethiopia, one of our favorite neighborhoods to grab food in. Little Ethiopia is tiny, is stretches just one block of Fairfax Avenue, but it’s packed full with little restaurants, coffee shops and bodegas selling food and exotic beauty products. For about $15 you can fill yourself up on injera, lentils, and coffee then walk it off with a trip around the corner to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Finally, we ended the trip with a visit to Chinatown to drop in on our friends at Joseph Gross Gallery. The Toronto based artist Callen Schaub was in town for a live performance so our timing was perfect. If you’re not familiar with Callen’s work, it’s a mixture of painting and performance art. He mixes rainbow combinations of different paints and applies them to a canvas spinning on top of a mechanical wheel, all in front of a live audience. It’s a trip.
B: As someone who's based in Long Beach, do you ever get tired of LA?
S: I really don’t. I have the benefit of living down by the beach, so my day-to-day LA experience is rather quaint and mellow. But anytime I want, I can bomb up the freeway and be right in the thick of it.
B: What's some advice or travel tips you can give people visiting LA as a local?
S: Don’t be that person that comes here and doesn’t rent a car. If you want to take the subway, stick to New York.
Sean's Top 3 things to check out in LA:
1. Gjusta in Venice Beach: the Best bakery in LA.
2. Now Serving LA: If you’re into cookbooks and food magazines, you’ll probably spend all your money there.
3. Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Chris Burden’s sculpture Urban Light is a romantic spot after dark!
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