54 Ways to Make the Most of Summer in L.A.
You might think that, as an Angeleno, you have the right to be jaded about summer. The weather's so nice all year, what difference does summer really make? To that we say: Summer is as much a season as it is a state of mind, and it sounds like you need an attitude adjustment.
Summer is a time to clear your calendar and unplug your devices, to let go of a little responsibility and reacquaint yourself with spontaneity. So back away from the computer and slather on the sunscreen — here are 54 amazing things to do in L.A. this summer.
Golden Road Brewing's delightful, kid-friendly patio
PLUNK DOWN ON A RESTAURANT PATIO
1. Bask in the sunshine with the whole fam at Golden Road Brewing.
Parenting is hard work, so you moms and dads are entitled to the occasional cold one. Fortunately, the brewmasters at Golden Road in Atwater Village have created an environment in which drinkers and kindergarteners can happily co-exist.
2. Enjoy a lunchtime splurge at Nobu Malibu.
Every view is an ocean view — to the north, south and west — and every hour is the right hour for a visit. At lunch, the light blue sky rests on the brilliant blue sea.
3. Gaze upon industrial L.A. at the Elysian.
The Elysian has gone through a number of incarnations, but the glory of that patio has never changed. Given that the restaurant is located in a mostly industrial area next to the L.A. River, the charming enclosed outdoor area feels a bit like a hidden jewel.
4. Make like you're in Paris at Manuela.
Manuela's glowy, tucked-away feel evokes New Orleans or Paris or another city that is much better at street life and hidden nooks, and the wondrous place where those two things meet.
5. Sip on margaritas at Salazar.
Built on the grounds of a former auto body repair shop, the sprawling 100-plus-seat outdoor dining area is replete with trees, succulent landscaping and enough umbrellas to keep the sun-averse shaded.
6. Keep it simple at Everson Royce Bar.
It's not often that someone begs me to refrain from writing about a place because, as one friend put it, "I don't want everyone knowing about our bar." But more than one person has said something along those lines about ERB Bar, even as it barely steps out of its infancy. Friendship be damned; ERB deserves the hordes.
7. Bring your furry child along to Playa Provisions.
This beachy little complex in Playa del Rey has four eateries in one building, with two dog-friendly patios.
The "boozy snow cone" at Block Party.
GET DAY DRUNK
8. Get a great Insta at Block Party.
Boozy snow cones, margarita slushies and micheladas topped with paletas are among the hits here.
9. Crack open a cold one at Angel City Brewery.
Even the most introverted beer drinkers have been lured to the premises on the strength of Angel City's beer list. Ease into your day drinking with the subtly tart honey grapefruit Angel City lager, but don’t miss the limited series Salted Caramel Gose.
10. Turn your brunch into a party at Big Bar at Alcove Cafe.
At Big Bar, the watering hole adjacent to Alcove Cafe and Bakery, the al fresco setup couldn't be better for getting your booze on.
11. Travel to Germany for the day at Red Lion Tavern.
While the weird mumble-crooning downstairs rules the evening, the beer garden rules the day.
12. Dive in at First Cabin Bar.
First Cabin Bar in Arcadia is the perfect dive bar.
Courtesy the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
JUMP IN A POOL
13. Join the party at Night Swim at Tropicana Bar.
Located at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, it offers pool toys and a pleasant atmosphere, featuring scattered ottomans among fire pits and palm trees.
14. Sneak a swim at the Langham Huntington.
Pasadena's Langham Huntington boasts the old-school grandeur of a Ritz-Carlton (and it was one, once), and is tucked into an upscale residential neighborhood — putting it out of view and out of the way.
15. Avoid getting kicked out at a (still-swanky) public pool like Annenberg Community Beach House.
If you don’t have a rich friend with a beachfront estate and sparkling pool, the Annenberg Community Beach House is the next best thing.
16. Get a rooftop view of the city at Andaz West Hollywood.
Though it's usually accessible only to hotel guests, the hotel holds a series of events that are open to the public — especially in the summer — including the Sunset Sessions DJ series and the once-monthly “yoga with a view” fitness classes.
17. Act like a celebrity at SLS Hotel.
The pool deck takes indulgence to a whole new level — chef José Andrés, who runs the on-site restaurant, the Bazaar, serves up bites — and during spring and summer Altitude Pool hosts live DJs on weekend afternoons.
18. Be the master of cool at the Standard DTLA.
There’s a lot to love about this hotel, but the rooftop deck, which features a pool, bar and beer garden, tops the list.
19. Show your out-of-town friends what it really means to live in L.A. at the Mondrian Hotel.
The pool itself features underwater music, while the deck offers panoramic views of the city, daybeds, a lush outdoor living room and the adjacent Skybar.
WORK ON YOUR TAN
20. Solve the perfect equation of sunshine + wine at Topanga State Beach.
What makes this beach so inviting is that it's located across the PCH from Rosenthal Winery.
21. Play in the tide pools at Abalone Cove Beach.
Along the five-mile stretch of rocky bluffs, you will find Abalone Cove, which is perfect for spotting an array of sea creatures.
22. Let your puppy go wild at Huntington Dog Beach.
There are no size restrictions and dogs are free to run without a leash — a rarity in this state even for places considered dog-friendly.
23. Escape the Santa Monica tourism trap and head to Manhattan Beach.
Not as horrifically over-commercialized as the Santa Monica Pier or as no-frills as the one in Venice, this pier is particularly good for people-watching thanks to the surplus of comely local surfers.
Salt & Straw's fermentation series
Photo: Jean Trinh
GORGE ON ICE CREAM
24. Cool off at one of L.A.'s 10 best ice cream shops.
With summer around the corner — and likely a very hot one at that — you'd better map out your ice cream game plan as early as possible.
25. Try some Mexican kosher ice cream.
Some of the most unusual ice cream flavors in L.A. can be found at a small, strip-mall shop located behind a Reseda 7-Eleven.
26. Taste some funky flavors at Ihwamun Ice Cream Shop.
Michael Kim, owner of Ihwamun Ice Cream, makes and rotates about three dozen flavors through his shop in the Little Tokyo Galleria.
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