Los Angeles is such a big, sprawling city with so many exciting neighborhoods, amazing restaurants, world-renowned museums, iconic spots and historic monuments and streets, it would take weeks (and definitely a car) to cover it all. So where does one even start? We had the opportunity to make the newly redesigned Fairmont Century Plaza—our home base for 48 hours and explore the west side of the city, taking in some of the most iconic L.A. locations as well as a handful of new places that are currently on everyone’s lists—and lips.

STAY

Fairmont Century Plaza

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Located in the heart of Century City, where Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles meet, the iconic Fairmont Century Plaza hotel has been around since 1966 and is the perfect jumping-off point for a couple of days in L.A. “If you were coming here with a short amount of time and you wanted to do all the things, like go to downtown museums, Hollywood and Beverly Hills—which is just right around the corner—or even Santa Monica, everything is, like, 20 minutes away,” says Daniel Harpaz, the hotel’s director of public relations. “It’s really that perfect centre.”

Plus, the hotel has an incredible history steeped in all things glamour and celebrity. From hosting the early Emmy and Grammy awards ceremonies in its ballroom—with famous guests like The Beatles and Lucille Ball—to a presidential dinner with Richard Nixon honouring the safe return of the Apollo 11 astronauts to performances by Sonny and Cher, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey, the hotel’s storied past lends an allure to its present as a top location for everything from the Critics Choice Awards to Oscar nominee luncheons.

This mid-century mainstay, originally designed by late American architect Minoru Yamasaki, recently underwent major renovations led by Yabu Pushelberg, with all the original touches being brought back but through a contemporary L.A. lens. It went from having 720 guest rooms to just 400, giving guests more space (and a balcony off every room), and its spacious lobby now plays on the Californian indoor/outdoor-living aesthetic, with water features, a green wall and floor-to-ceiling windows that retract into the ground. The hotel’s newly designed spa includes nine treatment rooms, aromatherapy steam rooms, a hammam and a Himalayan salt room, and a rooftop pool offers expansive views of the city. For a show-stopping French meal, make your way to the hotel’s new brasserie, Lumière, to enjoy everything from steak tartare and steak-frites to seared halibut with chanterelles, duck confit, cheese plates and creme brulée while marvelling at the one-of-kind French furniture and decorative pieces that fill this stunning bohemian-inspired room.

This weekend only—February 18 and 19—the Fairmont Century Plaza is presenting The Vertical Stage experience, an incredible vertical dance performance by immersive aerial artists. It’s part of Fairmont parent company Accor’s new Beyond LIMITS series, a curated collection of boundary-pushing events all over the world. Turning the famous facade into the first-ever 19-storey stage, artists will be dancing down the exterior of the hotel. In collaboration with BANDALOOP (a non-profit that reimagines dance), the spectacle is an homage to the Century Plaza’s history as well as its Century City location.

fairmontcenturyplaza.com

DO

LACMA

 

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Located on Wilshire Boulevard, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest museum in the western U.S. and has been open since 1961. Go to this sprawling art-lovers haven to discover its current exhibitions as well as striking permanent pieces, including Chris Burden’s Urban Light installation, comprising 202 restored cast-iron antique street lamps that light up the museum’s outdoor entrance, as well as Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, a 140-metre-long walkable concrete pathway over which sits a 340-ton granite megalith.

lacma.org

The Original Farmers Market

Take a short walk from LACMA to 3rd and Fairfax to experience a true taste of L.A. at The Original Farmers Market, which has been at the same location since the early 1930s. From specialty shops and grocers to food stalls and restaurants, there’s plenty to see and do here. And if you’re in the mood for a little shopping, head next door to The Grove shopping centre and browse the shops in this dynamic outdoor mall.

farmersmarketla.com & thegrovela.com

EAT & DRINK

Dan Tana’s

 

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In a yellow bungalow on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood sits an L.A. landmark. This iconic Italian red-sauce joint has been serving heaping plates of pasta, fish and meat dishes to locals, tourists and celebrities for almost 60 years. Try the Tana chopped salad à la Nicky Hilton, the veal cutlet Milanese à la George Clooney or opt for what the regulars like to eat—chicken Parm washed down with a vodka martini.

dantanasrestaurant.com

Horses

 

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Fresh Californian cuisine with a bustling bistro energy has made Horses one of the hottest seats in town. Chefs Will Aghajanian (formerly of Per Se) and Liz Johnson (of Silverlake’s haute deli Freedman’s) transformed the space that housed British pub Ye Coach & Horses for 73 years (and where Quentin Tarantino and Tim Roth wrote scenes for Pulp Fiction on cocktail napkins) and then The Pikey. As well as a healthy dose of Hollywood lore and plenty of buzz, Horses serves up some pretty darn delicious food—including an endive Caesar salad, Cornish hen with dandelion panzanella and a killer cheeseburger and fries—alongside creative cocktails and natural wines.

horsesla.com

Chateau Marmont

 

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Tucked away in an idyllic spot on Sunset Boulevard, this legendary hotel definitely lives up to its “safe haven” hype. Go for a pre- or post-dinner drink in its intimate inner courtyard (reservations via email are essential), and take in the old-Hollywood charm of its eclectic decor, the many little discreet nooks and crannies and the unmistakable historic energy of this former debaucherous haunt.

chateaumarmont.com

Gracias Madre

 

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Discover delicious traditional Mexican cuisine made with local, organic plant-based ingredients at this über-popular vegan restaurant on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. Sit outside among trees and white lights in a gorgeous courtyard while enjoying a spicy marg along with all your favourite Mexican dishes, from gorditas and enchiladas to tamales and tacos.

graciasmadre.com

SHOP

Melrose Place

 

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Sure, Melrose Place was a hit TV show in the ’90s, but the actual street is also one of the prettiest in L.A. and has some very chic boutiques, including Chloé, Isabel Marant, Rachel Comey, The Row, Zimmerman and Lacoste. Grab a drink at Alfred Coffee to sip as you stroll along this surprisingly relaxed West Hollywood retail strip.

The Real Real

 

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For vintage designer clothing galore, check out consignment-retail megabrand The Real Real’s L.A. flagship store, smack dab in the middle of Melrose Avenue’s shopping district. Search through two storeys of men’s and women’s clothing organized by brand as well as plenty of coveted accessories.

therealreal.com

Westfield Century City

A five-minute walk from Fairmont Century Plaza, Westfield Century City is one of L.A.’s top-rated shopping malls. With two floors filled with stores, cafés, restaurants and a movie theatre—and even an Eataly for all your Italian food-and-drink needs—you can easily pass an afternoon perusing some retail faves, including Marc Jacobs, COS, Anthropologie, Michael Kors, Tiffany & Co., Bloomingdales and more.

westfield.com/centurycity 

Catwalk

If you’re looking for that vintage one-of-a-kind find, head to Catwalk on Fairfax Avenue. It was founded in 2001 by stylist and costume designer Renee Johnston and music-video-producer Michelle Webb, bringing to life their vision of a retail clothing store with a curated collection of second-hand pieces. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself rubbing elbows with industry pros, L.A.’s best stylists and those in the know.

catwalkdesignervintage.com