Kiwis love Los Angeles for the fun theme parks for kids. Us big kids dig it too! Experience the amazing art, culture and kai too. Here are some of my recommendations:
CALIFORNIA SCIENCE CENTRE
The King Tut Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition is on until January 2019, featuring 150 real artefacts and jewellery. This celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb. The interactive museum is also a hub to learn about space, the body and eco-systems.
BEYOND THE STREETS EXHIBITION
LA has more art galleries and museums than any city in the US. Street art is buzzing. The Beyond the Street exhibition (May 6-July 6) showcases the evolution of graffiti and street art by more than 100 artists including Lady Pink, Barry McGeE, Dennis Hopper and Takashi Murakami.
LA ART TOURS
LA Art Tours specialises in small guided walking tours that go off the beaten track. They take guests outside the galleries and mainstream museums, and into artists' creative warehouses and mural alleys. The tour guides are all professional artists and authentically know the people and art! I enjoyed a tour with a graffiti artist who told cool anecdotes while he showed off amazing works by his friends. You experience the real soul of LA through this tour.
STAHL HOUSE TOUR
This house and historical cultural landmark is perched above LA, with breath-taking 180-degree views. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects listed this home as one of the top 150 structures on their America's Favourite Architecture list. A Stahl family member takes the informative tour.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA)
See famous works (like Picasso) to modern art here ... LACMA is a must-visit for any art-lover. A nearby café, Ray's and Stark Bar is worth a visit too. I had a cauliflower entree that resembled art, succulent salmon and a dreamy panna cotta dessert.
This historic district is hip. There's produce, music, edgy fashion, an outdoor movie theatre (that shows pop culture films), art and gourmet street food ...
Rappahannock Oyster Co sells the freshest oysters. Their char-grill-avocados and healthy fairy bread with salmon roe are memorable. Artist Zadik Zadikian has a studio here where he creates gold art. Climb his golden stairs to his studio where there are several gold artworks including a gold leaf wall that moves in the wind. "It's like butterflies on the wall. Over time, it will tarnish and change and evolve. I don't do this, nature does," he says.
Dine in a cathedral-turned-event-venue that is seriously award-winning for good reason. This stylish place in downtown LA features modern American cuisine of the highest quality, plus an extensive cocktail menu.
WEST HOLLYWOOD FOOD, FASHION AND YOGA
You know you are in LA when you can order a Kardashian on your coffee! Carrera Café, to be exact. On a Sunday, I stumbled across some cute markets in Melrose Ave. Designer labels are here too. There's also yoga studio, Y7. I tried a candle-lit hip hop, hot Vinyasa class here which was incredible. www.carreracafe.com
Top service, food, cocktails, pool and an amazing place to stay in downtown LA. It's all here.
Breva Restaurant is a Basque inspired brasserie with a Mediterranean influence. Chef Casey Lane uses California's finest fresh and seasonal ingredients. Signatures include Whole Grilled Branzino, along with an array of vegetable focused dishes with distinctive flavours ie broccoli with a bone-broth breadcrumb!
Ask for the Figueroa house cocktail (gingerbeer, lemon, vodka, honey, mango puree and a garnish of fresh fig from the hotel's garden). Acclaimed bartender Dushan Zaric created the cocktails list which you can sip in the main bar or a private bar hidden in the hotel.
For the ultimate discretion, there's a 300-square-foot Casablanca Suite you enter through a sliding wooden bookcase!
ALL DAY CAFÉ & WINE SHOP
Hayden showcases food with European roots, a California sensibility and a Japanese pantry. Get the turmeric tonic to start and 'bub and grandma's bread and butter'. Order the seafood — it's sublime. This place is led by a James Beard semifinalist, Ari Kolender.
* Rachel Grunwell was hosted by Discover Los Angeles. For more ideas on visiting LA check see discoverlosangeles.com Rachel is a lifestyle writer. Follow her via: Facebook: www.facebook.com/InspiredHealthNZ