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Los Angeles: A-Z list of foods, places, and nightlife

By Hetvi Doshi

I went to UCLA for my undergraduate, and it was one of the best time periods of my life. My best friends and I explored every nook and corner of the city and while they devoured meats and fishes, I hunted for hidden vegetarian gems.

Below are my recommendations for bars, foods, and places to see with reference to its location, since LA is spread out and has shitty public transportation. Plan accordingly!

P.S. There are bound to be things missing from this list, but these are the ones I vouch for :)

Things to do (by area)

Venice (close to Santa Monica)

  1. 1. Venice Canals - go in evening for one hour (it's a replica of Venice)

  2. First Friday of every month, there is a food truck festival on Abbott Kinney Blvd (one of my fav things to do)

Santa Monica

  1. Pier

  2. Beach (too crowded and touristy though)

  3. Third street promenade - amazing for shopping!

  4. Santa Monica is great for biking around too


  1. Famous Los Angeles Grafitti

  2. One of the most picturesque areas

  3. Also has great brunch spots - just walk around on a weekend


1. LACMA (known for La La Land and the pretty lamp posts outside)

2. The Broad

3. The Getty villa

I recommend The Broad the most - get tickets in advance


  1. Smorgasburg food festival (usually on the weekends)

  2. The Last Bookstore (iconic store if you are a book nerd like me)

  3. Elysian Park - Secret Swing (overlooks the entire city, is a walk to get to)

  4. Little Japan (great food, vibes, and old Nintendo cartridges)


  1. Hollywood walk of fame

  2. Ripley’s believe it or not

Get the triple pass if you also wanna do Madame Tussaud’s

Other things to do

  1. Griffith Observatory/Hike

  2. The Hollywood Sign Hike

  3. Brunch Drag Show at Rocco's WeHo

  4. Mullholland Drive - "city of lights, are you shining just for me"

  5. Universal Studios

  6. Six flags - if you love roller coasters

Best Beaches

  1. Malibu - beautiful beach and the drive to get here through the pacific coast highway is straight outta GTA

  2. Dockweiler beach - for a bonfire by the beach


All my recommendations are based on the vegetarian/vegan foods I've had there

Sawtelle area - amazing Asian food including:

  1. Killer noodle

  2. Millet crepe - amazing crepe

  3. Somi somi - ice cream in fish waffle

  4. Volcano boba tea house

  5. Tatsu Ramen (fire veg ramen)

Venice (close to Santa monica)

  1. Salt and Straw - amazing ice cream

  2. Guisados - spiciest tacos in the world

  3. Gracias madre - vegan/veg Mexican foo

Santa monica

  1. Find a bottomless brunch place - 1212 is a good staple one

Other amazing vegan food

  1. Crossroads

  2. Shojin - expensive out-of-this-world sushi

  3. Monty’s burger

The last two in this list are must-haves

Westwood area

  1. Bella pita - best falafel I’ve had outside of the Middle East

  2. Fat sal’s - juicy, filling sandwiches with a great veggie patty (get the Fat Buffalo or Nashville)

Markets and Festivals

  1. Grand Central Market, Downtown: the place to be for all kinds of foods

  2. Night + Market - LA Thai Street Food

  3. Smorgasburg food festival (mentioned above)

  4. First Fridays (mentioned above)

Fancy Restaurants

  1. Perch (Downtown) - French Rooftop Restaurant

  2. Catch LA - Seafood lover's

Other amazing vegan food

  1. Crossroads

  2. Shojin - expensive out-of-this-world sushi

  3. Monty’s burger

The last two in this list are must-haves

Chains with great veg food

  1. Veggie grill

  2. Native foods

  3. Cava (Mediterranean food in a bowl)

  4. Blaze Pizza


These have been divided by the type of bar they have and the crowds that frequent them

Bars with great dancing

  1. Mom’s

  2. The Victorian in Santa Monica - always massive line so go early

  3. Busby's (has an arcade)

  4. Shorebar


If you are women, it's easier to get in here (sorry boys). Try to find a promoter so you can get free drinks

  1. One Oak

  2. Argyle

  3. Hide

Rooftop bars

  1. Mama’s shelter

  2. EP and LP

  3. Perch - great rooftop restaurant downtown

The West Hollywood area (has awesome LGBTQ+ clubs):

  1. Flaming cowboys

  2. Rocco’s Hollywood

  3. The abbey

If you go to RAGE, check your belongings at all times. My passport and so many other people's belongings have been pickpocketed there.


  1. Rocco’s Westwood (I spent half my life there)

I hope you enjoy this list! Welcome to LA


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