A Walking Los Angeles Getaway
Spend a weekend exploring the hip new neighborhood of West Third Street. Best thing about it? No car required.
Courtesy of The Orlando Hotel
One of the most common complaints visitors have about Los Angeles is the relentless car-dependency. You have to drive everywhere, traffic can be beastly, and there are few good options for people who like to stroll, window shop, and simply wander around on foot.
But that’s all changed, thankfully, with the emergence of West Third Street as a cool, up-and-coming, and pedestrian-friendly destination. Tucked between West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the farmers market, West Third features some of LA’s finest restaurants and bars, one-of-a-kind shops, and designer boutiques—all within close range of some of the city’s top attractions, such as LACMA and the Beverly Center. In fact, you could easily have a fully satisfying and battery-recharging weekend getaway without ever leaving West Third Street.
WHERE TO STAY
The recently renovated Orlando, a stylish and welcoming boutique hotel, is the ideal place to start a West Third Street sojourn. Check in to one of the Orlando’s 95 well-appointed rooms and have a drink in the Churchill restaurant, or take a swim in the hotel’s outdoor saltwater pool. When you’re ready to begin exploring the ‘hood, the friendly staff will be happy to share tips on dining, shopping, and activities.
WHERE TO SHOP
West Third Street is a shopper’s mecca, with eclectic and artsy stores that are mostly owner-operated. From clothing and jewelry to home furnishings and artisanal crafts, the temptations on this street are dizzying—and ever growing.
For head-turning women’s clothing, stop by Lotta Stensson for the designer’s exotic, hippie-chic resort wear. Down the block is BedHead Pajamas, where the slumber party–ready collection comes in lots of fun, colorful prints. Across the street is Alexis Bittar, where you can find the designer’s collection of fashion-forward jewelry, worn by everyone from Lady Gaga to Michelle Obama; and Elaine Kim, whose store is known for upscale, minimalist women’s wear. Several blocks away, SoCal’s own Trina Turk has an eponymous boutique stocked with her signature feminine designs.
Stop by DL Rhein’s jewelbox of a store, filled to the rafters with carefully curated gifts, housewares, and wearable art. Nearby, Pyrrha sells handcrafted jewelry made from 19th century wax seals, Dan Deutsch Optical Outlook carries cutting-edge sunglasses, and Le Labo, in a handsome, apothecary-like setting, makes fully customized luxury fragrances. Globetrotters will not want to miss Traveler’s Bookcase, for hard-to-find guidebooks and travel literature.
WHERE TO EAT
Many people consider Joan McNamara—who opened Joan’s on Third, a gourmet market and café, in the late 90s—to be West Third’s godmotherly guiding spirit. By all accounts, she was the first to see the neighborhood’s potential as a true food-lover’s destination, and her homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, and baked goods have drawn legions of devoted customers ever since. Signature dishes such as Chinese chicken salad and poached salmon can be savored in the café, which serves as the neighborhood’s de facto clubhouse, or packed in picnic boxes to enjoy at the Hollywood Bowl.
The best place on West Third to enjoy a glass or flight of wine is AOC (named after the French wine designation Appellation d’Origine Controlee). The wine list is extensive and well priced, and the small-plates menu offers delicious pairings, such as hard-to-find cheeses and savory charcuterie plates.
For artfully presented and sublimely fresh sushi, Sushi Roku is hard to beat. The restaurant, which also has locations in Santa Monica, Pasadena, and Las Vegas, uses only premium ingredients such as Kobe beef and freshwater eel. The regular menu has an impressive array of sushi, sashimi, and hot entrees, but the chef’s specials are generally out of this world.
Don’t miss the Little Door for rustic Mediterranean cuisine in a romantic garden setting. The restaurant’s patio, with its tiled fountain and koi pond, teems with bougainvillea and lush plants, creating a dreamy and exotic ambience. Start with the Little Door Mezze Royale, an assortment of apps that includes tuna tartare, goat cheese, merguez sausage, and grilled scallops. For a main dish, the roasted monkfish wrapped in pancetta and duo of duck breast and leg confit are exquisitely prepared and deeply satisfying.
The farmers market, on Third and Fairfax, has been a go-to destination for Angelenos ever since it opened in 1934. It offers a remarkable selection of high-quality fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, and baked goods, as well as international foods and gourmet groceries. The historic market may also be one of LA’s premier people-watching spots ... and what’s a trip to the City of Angels without at least one celebrity sighting? It might just be the perfect way to wrap up a heavenly weekend on West Third.