Alissa, the Gelato Baby herself, have been doing a lot of back and forth for these 10 do's and don'ts of Los Angeles.
Today, things just fell into place.
Here are Alissa 10 Do's and Don'ts for Los Angeles.
1) DON'T rent a car. From the airport, take the FlyAway, a rapid bus service that takes passengers directly from LAX to Downtown, Westwood, or Van Nuys for $7.00 or less. It's the best deal in the city—especially since you could easily pay $60 for a cab. From there, it's easy to get on public transit to get where you need to go.
2) DO walk or take public transit everywhere you go. Los Angeles has a fantastic, if unsung, public transportation system that's clean, colorful, and reliable. The buses go just about everywhere you'll want to. The trains can deliver you to don't-miss destinations like Hollywood, Downtown, Pasadena, East L.A., Watts Towers, and Long Beach—and you won't have to look for parking.
3) Do use Metro to plan your trip.
4) DON'T go to the "Original Farmers Market" on 3rd and Fairfax expecting to find local produce or "The Grove" looking for orange-picking activities. Although a few of its stores and eateries are charming, there isn't much substance to be found at these two manufactured retail environments (although they are fun for people-watching, if you're into that kind of stuff).
5) DO go to one of the "real" farmers markets that pop up every day somewhere in the city. These are the best way to experience local culture and explore new neighborhoods. The biggest and most famous are the Wednesday mornings in Santa Monica or Sunday mornings in Hollywood. Here you'll be picking produce alongside celebrity chefs and nibbling prepared foods like pupusas and tamales alongside actual celebrities. On Thursday night there's a market at a Japanese estate atop a mountain in Hollywood L.A. City Farm No kidding. Thanks to Farmer Net, you can find all Hollywood farmers markets.
6) DON'T go looking for L.A.'s art scene at The Getty Museum. Sure, the views are impressive, and the building's monumental, but the environment (and the art) is more sterile than a hospital. This is not where L.A. art is made.
7) DO spend an entire day downtown experiencing L.A.'s real creative community. Head to the MOCA street art and graffiti show Art in the Streets (up through August). Head east to SCI-Arc , one of the world's most famous architecture schools, to see an installation in their gallery. Wander through the maze of artist spaces, hip stores, and galleries around Little Tokyo and Gallery Row.
8) At night, go to the Downtown Art Walk on the second Thursday of each month to see thousands of people and artists take to the streets.
9) DON'T go to Pinkberry. Please. I beg of you.
10) DO get your local ice cream fix at one of my favorite establishments. Scoops serves outrageous flavors like bacon cheddar jalapeno. Bulgarini has a greek yogurt flavor that will knock you off your feet. Pazzo whips up the best farmers market concoctions like Meyer lemon sorbetto. Coolhaus roams the streets with ice cream sandwiches made with dirty mint ice cream and sea salt chocolate cookies.
Alissa Walker is a freelance writer who can most often be found in Los Angeles. She writes about design, architecture, cities, transportation, Los Angeles, and walking for many publications, including GOOD and Fast Company, and is the associate producer for the public radio show DnA: Design and Architecture. In 2010, Alissa was named as a USC/Annenberg Getty Arts Journalism Fellow for her writing about design and urbanism. She lives in a royal blue house in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, where she throws ice cream socials, tends to a drought-tolerant garden, writes infrequently on her blog, Gelatobaby, and relishes life in L.A. without a car.
(*All photos courtesy of Gelato Baby on Flickr, all rights reserved, used by permission)