When to Consider Switching Your Startup to a Commercial Kitchen

commercial-kitchens-for-rentIncreasing your reach in the food industry when you own a startup is not an easy task. Even if you have the funds to start a commercial kitchen, future success will depend on a number of factors, including the layout, specific types of appliances you invest in (and the amount you spend on them at any given time), as well as the extra workforce you are willing to hire.


When you want to change to a commercial kitchen, it is important to keep in mind the fact that purchases and investments will at first override any profits, and lay the groundwork wisely when it comes to investing in large appliances.


Solidifying Your Venture


A start-up is usually a new business that is in a constant state of change. You check to see what works, modify your approach, look for feedback, then change something else. This cycle, however, has to stop at a certain point, once you find the perfect “ingredients” for turning your start-up into a highly successful commercial kitchen.


The time when you have already established some of the most major elements that you will want to introduce into your business is the precise time when you should start thinking about switching to a commercial kitchen. Here are a few of the most significant of these elements that you should keep track of:


  • The number and types of cooking stations you want to use;
  • The specific quality and safety standards that you have established for your employees and chefs in the workplace;
  • The amount and varieties of food storage units, as well as the cooking and refrigeration appliances that you want to use;
  • Health code requirements – a mandatory requirement;
  • Your kitchen’s layout;
  • The general considerations linked to methods of food provision and delivery;
  • The layout of your commercial kitchen.


Solidifying the decisions you ultimately make about all these issues should be the main thing to keep track of. Once you have complete clarity about them, you can start thinking about establishing your new kitchen and managing all your expenses.


Keeping Up with the Costs


Keeping up with your expenses is of secondary importance, due to the fact that it’s a long term venture overall. However, preparing a clear and concise plan prior to investing in so much as a tablecloth is essential before moving on from a startup to a commercial kitchen.


Although you might think that your large cooking appliances will cost the most, the fact is that there are three other expenses that might actually cause you some trouble: ventilation, refrigeration space and flooring.


Along with all the food-related maintenance tasks and requirements, these three considerations have to be managed as intelligently as possible when keeping track of all your costs.


As you can see, there are plenty of things to consider when moving your startup to a commercial kitchen. All these details, however, can be managed with ease, as long as you take each problem one step at a time, and employ careful planning and research in order to target a specific outcome.


If you are starting your food business in Orange County, you should definitely consider using East End Incubator Commercial Kitchens. They provide everything you need to launch your culinary venture, so that you can focus on making great food.

Embark on a Great Adventure with China Tours

stunning china toursThinking about spicing up your vacation this year with some of the most stunning China tours on the map? You don’t have to go too far, since all the most amazing tours you can find are conveniently available at Charming Asia Tours – the best travel company on the Asian continent.


With their help, you can explore the beauty and wonder of China like never before, taking a close look at some of the oldest constructions and most culturally meaningful places in this remarkable country.


Discover Some of the Main Attractions in China


Good China tours are hard to come by, and experts would tell you that it’s not really a good idea to explore China on your own, without the help of a tour guide and a well-designed itinerary.


Charming Asia Tours offers all this and much more, while giving you the chance to explore and view some of China’s most impressive and imposing locations:


  • You can visit the 2,000 year old Great Wall of China, built by the first emperor of the Chi’n Dynasty, and having undergone many changes throughout the years. It still remains one of the most imposing constructions in the history of the world, being more than 4,000 miles long.
  • The Summer Palace is another majestic construction, featuring no less than 14,000 paintings, as well as a recreational park featuring numerous lakes, temples, gardens, halls and many other beautiful attractions.
  • If you’re more interested in China’s rapid industrial expansion and the country’s impressive cities, you can visit these cities as part of your Asia Tour package, and have a first-hand experience in discovering the modern living conditions and impressive technological constructions that they boast.
  • Tiananmen Square is another location you shouldn’t miss. This square marks the center of China’s capital of Beijing, and is the most imposing and largest public square in the entire world. The area is associated with China’s rich military history, and is near to some of the most important areas in Beijing, including the Yu Garden, the Wenchang Palace and the Three Gorge Dam.


Whether you’re more interested in China’s rich culture, long history or impressive infrastructural and industrial development, there are plenty of things to see in this great country. The China tours offered by Charming Asia Tours can provide you with a small, but meaningful glimpse of all that beauty, while ensuring that safety and punctuality are always fully respected.


Beautiful Tours You Can Truly Enjoy


The China tours offered by Charming Asia Tours have been captivating visitors for a long time, and if you are thinking of visiting China for the first time, there’s really no better way to do it.


Both throughout the advanced cities of China and in the vast, beautiful countryside, you can find anything from ancient sites, majestic and stunning constructions that tell a tale of a world gone by, to the modern face of China, featuring its many advancements and remarkable blend of a modern and traditional approach to life.


Book your China tours as soon as possible, and don’t miss out on the remarkable views and exciting exploration trips that Charming Asia Tours has in store for you this year.

Finance Your Home With a Los Angeles Mortgage Lender

shannon-los-angeles-mortgage-lenderFinancing a new home can be a stressful affair, even with the help of a reliable Los Angeles mortgage lender. Despite the fact that the California real estate market can be quite dynamic, good mortgage options are always available, and with the help of a lending company that can help you get approved for your loan as quickly as possible, you’ll have nothing to worry about.


Looking for the Best Financing Options


So you’ve found a home you want to buy, and you’re in search of a good Los Angeles mortgage lender to help you with the money you need to purchase your dream home. To make this happen, you have to take a few important guidelines into account first:


  • Make sure your credit score and income are as high as possible before trying to find a lender. The approval process will be much smoother, and you can get a chance at finding a mortgage that doesn’t require a large down payment or hefty monthly payments.
  • Get used to looking through online mortgage rates in the area to find out which lender might provide the best offers for financing your new LA home.
  • Talk to a few different lenders to see which of them has the best available offers and services. After you comb the market, and figure out what the main trends are, it will be much easier to make a fully informed decision.
  • Consider affordable financing options, such as an FHA loan. Insured by the Federal Housing Administration, these loans offer exceptional rates and terms, while enabling you to get approved for your loan through a simple online process.


Although a Los Angeles mortgage lender is not always easy to find, following the tips above and doing your own research to find out which lending companies have the best reputation for treating their clients fairly will help you get the most out of any potential offer you may be able to locate.


Also, most of the best lenders in California will provide you with a fast approval process, and your loan will go through as quickly as possible, allowing you to make sure that no one else will get to the front of the line and make an offer on the home you want to buy.


A Reliable Lender to Depend on


One Los Angeles mortgage lender you can truly depend on is LA Mortgage lender – one of the most efficient, helpful and versatile lending companies you will find.


LA Mortgage lender offers a variety of excellent options for taking out mortgages even if your credit score isn’t entirely perfect. VA, FHA and excellent refinancing programs are also available, and the company will provide you with support from financing experts with decades of experience, so that you will never fail to make the best choice regarding your purchase.


You simply can’t go wrong with LA Mortgage lender. The company will be able to provide you with support, information, services and products that no other Los Angeles mortgage lender will be able to compete with.

Downtown LA – America’s Next Great City

Downtown LAWhile the Downtown Los Angeles skyline is easily recognizable as it is often the backdrop of most Los Angeles based movies, not many tourists take the time to explore Downtown as one might think. Yet, with trending restaurants and bars opening on a regular basis a lot of locals and transplants have gravitated towards Downtown. An entire day alone might not be enough to relish in the architectural beauty and cultural history, but it is possible.

You can start your urban hike at the historic Chinatown where you will find Chinese shops and restaurants. Explore the popular Central Plaza (947 N. Broadway) where you will find enchanting quaint walkways and tiny shops. A popular filming location, here you will find the “Gate of Filial Piety”, a statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder of the Republic of China, a wishing well dating to 1939, and a five-tiered pagoda.

The Union Station (800 N Alameda St.) is a large and historic train station with numerous bus and train terminals. Even if you’re not catching a train, the early-California architecture and Spanish-styled gardens are worth dropping in for a few minutes. Across the street from the front of the building you’ll find the birthplace of Los Angeles, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (125 Paseo De La Plaza). Also known as Olvera Street, this iconic attraction houses the oldest structure in Los Angeles – the Avila Adobe. Before you arrive at the Avila Adobe, you’ll have to walk through a vibrant street that is reminiscent of an old Mexican street market. From puppets to mariachi outfits, here you’ll find lots of fine Mexican handmade crafts. You’ll also find a traditional Mexican-style plaza where mariachis often play and landmark buildings that date back as early as 1818. For amazing tacos and refreshing drinks drop in at Cielito Lindo.

If you continue down Alameda Street you will arrive at Little Tokyo where you can visit the Japanese American National Museum (100 North Central Ave.), which is the only museum in the United States that focuses on Japanese-American history. Across the street is the Japanese Village Plaza, where you’ll find lots of restaurants and shops selling Japanese goods. Your options for ramen and sushi are endless here and most are open fairly late, but some places stand out the most amongst the locals. Daikokuya (327 E 1st St.) has been around for a long time, but is still considered one of the best ramen joints. Shin-Sen-Gumi (132 S. Central Ave.) lets you customize your bowl from the toppings to the consistency of the noodles. If you’re in the mood for sushi, Sushi Gen (422 E 2nd St.) attracts a large crowd with its amazing sushi and even more amazing deals. While not sushi or ramen, being that Wurstküche (422 E 2nd St.) is such a local favorite it’s worth the mention. A German gastropub, Wurstküche is best known for its hot dog selection and Belgian fries. For dessert, try the Pie Hole (714 Traction Ave.) across the street. Once you’ve wandered the streets of Little Tokyo, you can head to central downtown for more historical and cultural sights. At night be sure to come back to Little Tokyo and check out Eighty-Two (707 E 4th Pl.), a local favorite spot that offers a full bar and more than 40 restored classic arcade games.

La Plaza by mcflygoes88mph – Source: Flickr

The Los Angeles City Hall (200 N Spring St.) is one of the most iconic buildings in Los Angeles. Very few know that the City Hall offers a free tour of the 3rd floor rotunda that you typically see on television shows. There is also complimentary entrance to the observation deck on the 27th floor. Remember to bring a government ID or you will not be granted entrance. Across the street is the Grand Park. While not on the same level as New York City’s Central Park, Angelenos are equally proud of it. Mainly because it regularly hosts free events with live music, food trucks and even a fireworks show on Independence Day. A short walk away is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (555 West Temple St.), a modern and beautiful Catholic church. Be sure to visit the lower level where you’ll find striking stain glasses. If you’re passing on the weekend you might even catch a wedding. Head back towards Hill Street so you can board Angel’s Flight!

Angels Flight (351 S Hill St.) is “the shortest railway in the world” that operated between 1901 and 1969. It was shut down for almost 30 years and restored to its original orange and black wooden cable cars, which for only 50 cents takes you from Hill Street to the California Plaza. Unfortunately, it is occasionally shut down, but you can still take the stairs. Before making your way up to the California Plaza, be sure to drop in at the Central Market (317 S Broadway St.) where you can replenish with fresh fruits, drinks and varied food options. True egg lovers should try grabbing a sandwich at Eggslut. You can take your goodies to go and enjoy it on the bench in Angel Knolls where you can take in the architectural beauty of the pre-war buildings. You’ll recognize this as Tom’s bench in the romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer. To arrive to the park, climb the 100+ steps on Hill St.

Angel’s Flight by John Liu – Source: Flickr

During the summer months, the California Plaza offers free outdoor concerts every weekend. On any regular day, the Watercourt is a nice place to enjoy an outdoor lunch as there are several options from sit down restaurants to gourmet trucks which are regularly lined up in front. If you continue your journey on Grand Ave., you’ll reach the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) (250 S. Grand Ave.) and the stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall which is part of the Los Angeles Music Center and home to the LA Philharmonic. If you get a chance, catch a show at this modern venue.

Walt Disney Concert Hall by Sheila Thomson – Source: Flickr

Downtown Los Angeles boasts some of the best restaurants, bars and clubs in Los Angeles. Compared to Hollywood, the nightlife here is less pretentious so you don’t see too many long lines or overpriced entrances. Bottega Louie is a bustling Italian restaurant with a lively crowd. If you rather not wait out the line, at least drop-in and try their macaroons. Bestia (2121 E 7th Pl.) is another Italian restaurant equally popular, but not as crowded. For something a little more casual, try the Asian fusion gastropub The Black Sheep (126 E 6th St.) or the amazing taco selection at Guisdados (541 S Spring St Ste 101). Guisados is open until 1:30am on Friday and Saturday so you might want to leave the bar early and try one of the best late night food options.

The Downtown LA Art Walk is hosted every second Thursday on the month. If you’re in LA around this time, you definitely don’t want to miss it. Held in the Art District, galleries are open for free from 6pm – 10pm. There are also lots of food trucks and street vendors. After the Art Walk you can explore the nightlife in the area. The Down and Out (501 S Spring St.) is a dive bar that is decorated with celebrity mug shots. Take your own mug shot at the entrance as a souvenir. Tucked inside an old storage room marked with a cocktail etching at Cole’s Restaurant, you’ll arrive at the speak-easy bar The Varnish (118 E 6th S.) which offers incredible cocktails. You can also head over to 4th Street and have a drink at Bar 107, another local dive bar. If you want to dance, the Crocker Club offers great music. Originally the Crocker Citizens National Bank Building, much of the building’s early 1920’s design is still intact. Overall, on any given day the Art District is a great area to barhop.

For drinks with a view, Perch (448 South Hill St.) is a trendy rooftop lounge with an amazing view. A local favorite, Perch can have a long line late into the evening. They’re also open for brunch so having a mimosas on the weekend is another option. The Standard Hotel (550 South Flower St.) also has a rooftop top lounge with a pool. Whether it be a summer day or just another evening in Los Angeles, guests are always welcome to go for a swim. Lastly, Elevate Lounge is an enclosed lounge with a live DJ. While enclosed, it still offers a breathtaking view of the city.

If you’re a whiskey lover, you’re going to want to have a few drinks at Seven Grand (515 W 7th St.). Located up the stairs at the entrance of Mas Malo this whiskey bar has the look and feel of a classic hunting lodge and offers more than 265 brands of whiskey and bourbon. With so many options there’s something for everyone. For a more relaxed setting, the Library Bar (630 W 6th St.) makes you feel as if you’re literally in a library, but a trendy one with tasty cocktails. Lastly, you can also visit LA Live where you’ll find both restaurants, bars and entertainment all in one complex.

Los Angeles – November 2011 by Nan Palmero – Source: Flickr

Explore the hip neighboring cities of Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz

Ditch the glitz and glamour of Beverly Hills and Hollywood and visit the artist hubs of Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz. Particularly when it comes to Echo Park and Silver Lake, you will find that the scene is more casual and urban.

Nestled between Silver Lake and Downtown LA, Echo Park has been a Los Angeles treasure for many years, but has recently become increasingly popular. The revitalization of the Echo Park Lake has brought back to life this nucleus for artists, writers and hipsters.

For two years Echo Park Lake was closed for a multi-million dollar facelift. Once a polluted and neglected lake, it now offers beautiful landscaping, picnic tables and grills. There is a lotus garden with water lilies and a boathouse that offers paddle-boat rentals. Pack a lunch or better yet pack burgers and hot dogs to grill, and lay out in this beautiful park with the Los Angeles skyline as your backdrop.

Be sure to check out the one and only Time Travel Mart (1714 W Sunset Blvd.), Echo Park’s local convenience store for time travelers. Yes you read that right. Here you can buy a donut from 1985 or a pint of robot milk. A local favorite eatery is Masa of Echo Park (1800 Sunset Blvd.) which offers the best Chicago deep dish pizza in Los Angeles.

Echo Park by Cynthinee – Source: Flickr

After visiting the Time Travel Market, you’re ready to enter the 19th century on Carroll Avenue (1345 Carroll Avenue) in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles – Angelino Heights. Also known as the Haunted House District of LA, this historic street lined with Victorian manors is a popular film location. Michael Jackson’s epic music video for Thriller (1345 Carroll Ave.) was filmed here as well as the television series Charmed (1329 Carroll Ave.).

Head back to Sunset Blvd. towards the famously known Sunset Junction. Here you’ll find unique and trendy shops which are nearly all on Sunset Blvd., making this a walkable neighborhood. Take a break and check out the many record stores. Cool off with a freshly-squeezed juice at Naturewell (3824 W Sunset Blvd.) or re-energize with a latte from Intelligentsia Coffee (3922 Sunset Blvd.). If you find yourself here on the weekend, catch an hour-long flamenco showcase with an authentic Spanish dinner included for only $35 at El Cid (4212 Sunset Blvd.). Dinner options are abundant in Silver Lake so feel free to explore other local eateries or head over to trendy Los Feliz.

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles by Fuzzy Images – Source: Flickr

You can easily spend an entire day in Los Feliz eating, drinking, and playing. The Alcove Cafe & Bakery (1929 Hillhurst Ave.) is a local favorite offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Trattoria Farfalla (1978 Hillhurst Ave.) is a cozy neighborhood trattoria with authentic Italian food and a wide selection of wine. Drop in even if it’s just for their delicious tiramisu. Thought of as the best bookstore on the east side, Skylight Books (1818 N. Vermont Ave.) tempts you to spend an entire afternoon browsing its impeccable collection. End your excursion at the Griffith Observatory. Entrance is always free and besides being able to look through telescopes and explore exhibits, you will also experience one of the most beautiful views of Los Angeles. There are few views that parallel to the overlook of the sun setting on the Los Angeles skyline with the Hollywood Sign in plain sight from the Observatory balcony.

Pasadena: Look out for the beautiful Jacaranda trees in the spring

Pasadena is most famous for hosting the annual New Year’s Tournament of Roses Parade. Just 11 miles northeast of Los Angeles, this city is filled with beautiful homes on Jacaranda tree lined streets, top-notch restaurants, and boutique stores. It is also one of the most bike friendly neighborhoods in Los Angeles. If you’re looking for a tranquil area with nearby Metro rail access and one where you can walk to bars and restaurants, Pasadena is highly recommended.

Located on Colorado Boulevard, the historic Old Town (1 W Colorado Blvd) is home to an eclectic mix of more than 200 one-of-a-kind boutiques and well-known national retailers concentrated in an authentic downtown. Take a stroll through the small alleys and admire the beautiful red brick buildings and quaint cafes. Many stores stay open late so you can choose to start or end your day here. There are many restaurants to choose from with various price levels and for the most part you cannot go wrong with any. Sit outside in the sun at the Dog Haus Biergarten (93 E Green St.) patio and enjoy a delicious hot dog or burger on Hawaiian rolls. If you’re looking for something less casual try Il Fornaio (One Colorado, 24 W Union St.), a fantastic Italian restaurant nestled in the charming Colorado One. Or enjoy delicious Mediterranean dishes on the romantic second floor patio at Cafe Santorini (64 W Union St.). A few blocks from Old Town across the street from Central Park you can also find amazing pizza for a reasonable price at the Luggage Room Pizzeria (260 S Raymond Ave.). If you like avocado, and who does not, the Avocado Pizza is a must here. If you’re on a tight budget try the hidden happy hour oasis at Bar Level in the Whole Foods Market (465 S Arroyo Pkwy 2nd Fl.) where you can have a dinner entre with beer or wine for $9.99.

Pasadena City Hall by HumbleOpinion – Source: Flickr

Japanese Garden by Prayitno – Source: Flickr

For a relaxing afternoon visit the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino). With 120 acres of gardens, an enormous library and three permanent art galleries, it could take you an entire day to just scratch the surface of the entire venue. The first Thursday of the month offers free admission with advanced purchased tickets. You can also visit the Norton Simon Museum where you’ll find European paintings, sculptures, and tapestries; Asian sculptures, paintings, and woodblock prints. The relaxing garden displays many sculptures surrounding a large pond. Admission is free for all visitors the first Friday of every month from 5pm to 8pm.

Colorado Blvd. is lined with a few pubs and clubs. The nightlife attracts more of a local crowd as they are not comparable to the trendy venues on Hollywood Blvd. or Downtown Los Angeles. Barney’s Beanery (99 E Colorado Blvd.) is a great spot to hang out and have a few beers, play pool and even karaoke. For a different vibe visit the Speakeasy (25 N Raymond Ave.) where you’ll be transported to the 1920’s. Visit their website for more information on how to enter. In true prohibition-era form, there is a secret entrance and password required to enter. Bar Celona (46 E Colorado Blvd.) is a tapas restaurant and bar that offers music at night. Bar Celona gives off more of a lounge feel so if you’re looking for a more happening club, go next door to Club 54 (54 E Colorado Blvd.) or across the street to Live Mixx Lounge (115 E Colorado Blvd.). For free salsa lessons, visit IX Tapa Lounge (119 E. Colorado Blvd.) on Tuesdays at 8pm, you can put your lesson to work on the weekend when IX Tapa is transformed to a club.

Tip: If you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory, Pasadena might ring a bell as it is where the show takes place. Walk down Holly Street from Old Town and take a look at the recognizable city hall.

Boyle Heights: Some of the best Mexican restaurants and skyline views of LA

Predominantly a Mexican community, East Los Angeles offers a rich Chicano history and incredible authentic Mexican food. If you don’t have the time to read up on the history of East LA, look around at the vibrant murals that vividly portray the cultural and historical pride of this community.

For almost 80 years, mariachis have gathered at the Mariachi Plaza (Pleasant Ave.) to showcase their talents in the hopes of getting picked up for a gig. Not only is this the best place to hire a mariachi group or trio on the spot, but it is a great spot to simply hang out and take in the trumpets and vociferous singers.

You cannot leave Boyle Heights without trying some of the best Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles. Adjacent to the Mariachi Plaza, La Serenata (1842 E 1st St.) offers not only a great meal, but an occasional mariachi serenade at your table. They are best known for their seafood options. For amazing tacos, try Guisados (2100 E Cesar Chavez Ave) which boasts a large variety of tacos. If you cannot decide, try the taco sampler paired with a homemade horchata, a refreshing drink made from ground rice and cinnamon. Another seafood option is the shrimp tacos or shrimp cocktails at Mariscos Jalisco (3040 E Olympic Blvd.).

Guisados by T.Tseng – Source: Flickr

If you’ve driven to Boyle Heights, head towards the 6th street Bridge which connects Boyle Heights to Downtown. You will recognize this iconic bridge as it appears in various movies and commercials. You can also drive down 1st Street and 4th Street. Although they are not the bridges regularly featured, they provide equally beautiful views of the Downtown skyline. The surrounding areas are relatively safe, but it not recommended to wander these areas at night by foot.

Koreatown: Once again becoming the hippest town in Los Angeles

Today you can still see remnants of a town that used to be a hot spot for celebrities in the 1920’s and 30’s. In fact only the Coconut Grove building remains of what used to be the grand Ambassador Hotel and the location where Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated. While Koreatown (also known as K-town) has undergone a lot of transformations since then, it is once again coming back to life and becoming a favorite hangout spot for Angelenos. Don’t be surprised if you see a celebrity or two at a local dive or karaoke bar.

Hollywood Chillin’ by Edan Cohen – Source: Flickr

It is a little known fact that Los Angeles has the highest concentration of Korean immigrants in the entire world. Although K-town is now mostly populated by Latinos, the evidence of Korean migration to this area still remains with the many business and residents. You can learn more about the migration of Koreans to Los Angeles and the Korean-American experience by visiting the Korean American Museum (3727 West Sixth Street, Suite 400).

K-town serves as a microcosm of the diversity in Los Angeles. Consequently, within a small radius you can find a variation of ethnically diverse food options. Kang Hodong Baekjeong (3465 W 6th St.) is a local Korean BBQ restaurant, evident by its sometimes hour long wait. Soowon Galbi KBBQ Restaurant (856 S Vermont Ave. Ste. C) is also another local favorite and doesn’t get as full. If you’re looking for something lighter you can try Beer Belly (532 S Western Ave.), an American gastropub with a wide variety of beers and famously known for its grilled cheese. Belly & Snout (974 S Western Ave.) is a Filipino-American fusion restaurant known for its unique and delicious hot dog options. For Mexican food, try the award-winning Guelaguetza (3014 W Olympic Blvd.). Lastly, EscaLA is a Colombian-Korean-Angeleno fusion restaurant that is a must, even it’s just for a cocktail or two. Drop in early for a relaxed happy hour in the al fresco seats or drop in the evening for the live DJ.

Besides a foodies haven, K-town has a lot of one-of-a-kind bars and lounges. Speak-easy bars and clubs have slowly become a trend in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles and K-town is no exception. R Bar (3331 W 8th St.) is a divey speak-easy bar that even offers karaoke on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday nights. Be sure to call ahead or check their social media sites for the password to enter. In contrast, Lock & Key (239 S Vermont Ave.) is another speak-easy bar that is a little more upscale than its counterpart. You’ll find an unmarked door with lots of knobs and locks, but you’ll only be able to enter if you’re able to figure out which one is the right one. Brass Monkey is a great option for a karaoke fix with one of the most comprehensive song selections. If a part of you would rather just stay in and play video games or watch Netflix, but you know you should be out considering you’re in LA – why not meet yourself halfway? At the Game Cloud Hookah Lounge (251 N Vermont Ave.), you can feel like you’re in the comfort of your own living room with your very own table equipped with a TV, PS4, and hookah of course.

Prime kalbi by T.Tseng – Source: Flickr

Tip: If you’re driving into or out of K-town, you’re going to want to brace yourself for a lot of traffic especially during rush hour. Although Silver Lake is just a few miles away, it could take you up to an hour to get there.
Angelenos’ Favorite Getaways

San Diego – Home to US military bases, the Padres and beautiful beaches

San Diego boasts a relaxed So-Cal lifestyle with a rich history. Transport yourself to the early 1800’s and start your day at the birthplace of California at the Old Town State Historic Park (4002 Wallace St.) where the first Europeans settled. Take a walk around San Diego’s original downtown and explore the adobes and quaint shops all within a six block square. After, you can head over to the cultural heart of San Diego – Balboa Park (1549 El Prado). Balboa Park offers a beautiful promenade with peaceful gardens. The Spanish colonial architecture alone is worth the visit. If you have time, visit one of the 17 museums or spend some time at the Botanical Building which houses more than 2,000 types of plants and flowers.

The Kiss, USS Midway and Sunset by peasap – Source: Flickr

Once you’ve gotten your dose of San Diego’s cultural and historical cores, you can head over to Sea Port Village (849 W Harbor Dr.); walk the pier and explore more than 50 charming shops and eateries. Here you will also find the USS Midway Museum and the 25-foot ‘Unconditional Surrender’ statue – based on a famous photograph of a sailor embracing a young woman taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in Times Square on V-J Day at the end of World War II.

If you still want to take in more of the beautiful ocean breeze, take a drive across the Coronado Bridge (1825 Strand Way) to the peninsula of Coronado where you will visit one of the nation’s loveliest beaches. With a laid back temperament, Coronado seems to slow down the already easy going San Diego pace. You can end your day here or have dinner at the Gaslamp Quarter (614 5th Ave.) where you’ll find blocks of shops, restaurants, and bars all within walking distance. If you’re spending the night and want to stay somewhere central, the Gaslamp Quarter is your best bet.

Santa Barbara – The American Riviera

Known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful cities in Southern California. With countless local wineries and beautiful Spanish architecture lining the west coast, Santa Barbara is worth the three hour drive. While you can easily make this a day trip, albeit a rather exhausting one, you might want to spend a night here especially if you’ve made several pit stops at the local wineries. Although it is a college town, you can find both a relaxed beach lifestyle and a lively nightlife.

No Questions by Damian Gadal – Source: Flickr

Start the day by taking the Santa Barbara Red Tile Walking tour. A free map and downloadable podcast is available online at the Visit Santa Barbara website (http://www.santabarbaraca.com/). This self-guided tour encompasses twelve blocks within Downtown Santa Barbara. The tour includes 17 stops and 22 historic adobes dating from the 1700’s through the 1800’s. After the tour you might want to visit the Old Mission Santa Barbara (2201 Laguna St.) Nestled between Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean the mission offers picturesque views.

If you’re a wine lover, the unassuming Urban Wine Trail in Downtown Santa Barbara is a must. All within walking distance, you can explore Downtown Santa Barbara and the beach while dropping in at the 17 tasting rooms along the trail. A free map of the trail and information on each winery is also available on the Visit Santa Barbara website.

End the evening watching the sunset at the harbor before having an evening dinner or hitting the bars on State Street in Downtown.

Joshua trees by Nicola – Source: Flickr

Palm Springs – For the Nature Lovers

The heat can be a bit overwhelming in the summer, but if you enjoy gambling and poolside relaxation or exploring dessert lands you will love Palm Springs. Palm Springs’ tranquil setting used to mainly attract retired Californians, but a flourishing downtown and great spa resorts have heated up this already hot city.

You can start off by getting a glimpse of the beautiful Coachella Valley on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (1 Tramway Rd.) Departing every 30 minutes from 10am on weekdays and 8am on weekends, the 10 minute ride will take you on a breathtaking journey on the world’s Largest Rotating Tramcar.

If the tram ride made you want to explore nature more, take a 45 minute drive to Joshua Tree National Park. Here you can go hiking, enjoy scenic vistas, and take a look at its alien-like rock formations. If you rather stay local, you can also explore the Agua Caliente Indian Canyons where you can go hiking and horseback riding. Protected by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, you will also get a glimpse at the native history of the Cahuilla people who once inhabited the land.

Besides its stunning canyons, Palm Springs is known for its spa resorts. The Well Spa at the Miramonte and Two Bunch Palms Spa Resort are two of the most raved about spas that offer a true pampering experience. The Spa Resort Casino isn’t as luxurious, but it gives you the opportunity to try your luck at the casino. You can also skip out on the spa and hit the tables and slots. For shopping and dining head over to El Paseo Shopping District where you will find over 300 shops and a variety of restaurants.

Tip: Every Thursday evening South Palm Canyon Drive hosts Village West, a street fair in Downtown Palm Springs. With free admission, this is a great way to enjoy some local food, live music and entertainment.
Itineraries To Make The Most Of Your Time

Now that you have an idea of what this city has to offer, you can choose what you want to prioritize and see during your visit. These are realistic itineraries that will help take in the most of Los Angeles given the amount of time you have. You can reference From Westside to the East Side: Must Visit Neighborhoods in Los Angeles, where details of what you can do within each neighborhood are provided.

One Day Visit

Because Los Angeles is so spread out and with traffic, it’s nearly impossible to see it all in one day. Your best bet is to group areas that are close to each other so that you don’t spend more time stuck on a freeway than actually taking in what this great city has to offer. This itinerary is with the assumption that you have a car.

A. Beach Day and Hollywood Nightlife

•Start your day at Abbot Kinney Blvd. and have an early breakfast.

•Head over to the Venice canals and walk along the side streets.

•Then walk the Venice Ocean Front Walk.

•Here you can choose to rent a bike and take a ride to Santa Monica or head back to your car.

•At Santa Monica, have a walk down the pier and take a ride on the iconic Ferris wheel.

•Head over to Third Street Promenade and have an early lunch or try to beat the traffic and head over to West Los Angeles. (Approximately 10 miles away, this will take you 3.0 minutes without traffic and up to and an hour and half with)

•Explore Beverly Hills.

•Drive down either the Sunset Strip or Santa Monica Blvd. towards Hollywood.

•End your day exploring the most iconic sights in Los Angeles on Hollywood Blvd.

B. Hip and Cultural Neighborhoods of LA and Downtown

•Start your day with breakfast in Los Feliz.

•Visit the Griffith Observatory and take a snap shot of the LA skyline on the balcony.

•Head over to Silver Lake and walk down Sunset Blvd. Drop in at one of the many coffee shops.

•Continue on Sunset Blvd. to arrive to Echo Park where you can have lunch at the Echo Park Lake.

•Head on to Downtown Los Angeles for an urban hike.

•Here you can choose to check out either Korea Town or Boyle Heights. Both are neighboring, but in opposite directions.

•For nightlife, Korea Town is a great option, but you can also head back to any of these neighborhoods as they each offer their unique vibes.

One Week Visit

1. Los Angeles and a Getaways

•Day One: Downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights

•Day Two: Korea Town, Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Los Feliz

•Day Three: Beach day at Venice and Santa Monica

•Day Four: Pasadena

•Day Five: Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Hollywood

•Day Six (and or Seven): Day trip to Palm Springs, Santa Barbara or San Diego

•Day Seven: Relax at Malibu Beach

2. Comprehensive Itinerary Using the Metro Rail

While Los Angeles’ metro doesn’t reach all neighborhoods, you can still see a lot. The itinerary below can be spread out over several days or you can choose to find the most convenient line and explore that area. Reference the included Los Angeles Metro map for connections and locations.

Red Line

•Start at the world-famous Universal Studios Hollywood and check out the venues at Universal CityWalk (Universal City Station).

•Head to the heart of Tinsel town and explore Hollywood Blvd. (Hollywood/Highland Station).

•Connect to the Purple line at the Wilshire/Vermont Station.

Purple Line

•Visit the Wiltern and have lunch in Korea Town (Wilshire/Western Station).

•Continue on to Pershing Square where you can get off and explore Downtown Los Angeles attractions such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the City Hall, Museum of Contemporary Arts and connect to the Gold Line (Pershing Square Station). You can also connect to the Blue Line instead where you’ll head towards LA Live and the Staples Center (7th St/Metro Station).

•Head towards the last spot of the purple line to visit the landmark Union Station and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (Union Station).

•Here you can board the Gold Line.

Gold Line

•On the Gold line you can head towards two different directions – north or south.

•Heading north you can visit Chinatown (Chinatown Station) and Old Town Pasadena (Del Mar or Memorial Park Station).

•Heading south you can visit Little Tokyo (Little Tokyo/Art District Station) or Boyle Heights (Mariachi Plaza Station).

Blue Line & Green Line

•Visit the massive LA Live complex and the Staples Center.

Creating A Successful Business In LA

Business Success

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, in order to have a successful startup you need a business plan. Actually, don’t stop me. It’s true. Whether the plan is formal or new creative exploration of business objectives, like a mind map, you need a plan.

Los Angeles Intellectual Property Valuation and Management firm Nevium has the following advice for startups.

If you are an expert in the field relative to your concept, say so.

The salient points of the plan must be based on reality and not pipe dreams! It has to be commercially exciting enough to seduce investors into believing that you have a product, scheme or concept worthy of their investment and they are likely to make ‘megabucks’.

Business plans are drafted simply to provide all interested parties with an overview of future events and may include proposed new products you wish to develop or promote. In short, think of yourself as being like a ship’s captain who plans his journey and ‘navigates’ with precision in order to avoid the rocky journey ahead!


Business plans are subject to revision

You may have developed an extremely convincing business plan which you read ‘over and over’ with much pride. You may even convince yourself that everything you have drafted on your business plan will be easily achievable. You may even question your ‘sanity’ for proposing to give a high amount of equity for investment and overlook the fact that, without investment, you have nothing but dreams. You will look constantly at the bottom line which projects your substantial profits and heap ‘self-praise’ on your entrepreneurial brilliance.


But hold on a minute my friend, did you not prepare your own business plan or paid an accountant to prepare one on your behalf? Any information displayed on your business plan, no matter who actually prepared it, would have come from your lips or directions.

Be mindful that potential investors,may go wild over your concept, but may not particularly like your general attitude. It could transpire that by attending an important meeting in a dishevelled manner may have reduced your chances of becoming part of their team.

Do not display any sign of arrogance or petulance by rejecting all suggestions advanced by the investors to modify your concept. Remember, unless you are proposing to sell the ‘exclusive’ rights to your concept, you need their experienced team and their investment capital far more than they may need your concept!

That said, don’t be the one giving all the time; find a way of compromising!

Make a model or prototype of your concept

When attending a meeting, make sure you know your product backwards. If possible, bring with you a model or prototype. Interested parties love looking at or feeling the product they propose to invest in.

Have a prepared sales projection and cash flow forecast. But of equal importance, you must be able to identify what the investment is going to be used for. All this information will of course be represented in your business plan. But know it all the same to give investors the confidence that you are a guy or gal they can trust with their investment, so it pays dividends to be honest at all times.

The salient points of the plan must be based on reality and not pipe dreams! It has to be commercially exciting enough to seduce investors into believing that you have a product, scheme or concept worthy of their investment and they are likely to make ‘megabucks’ if they invest in your scheme. Repeated in case you missed the last message!

Remember success is as much a habit as an attitude and you are going to need both to make it in LA’s competitive market. Get organized. Get help from the right professionals and get started building your dream.

Local LA Knowledge – Enjoy The City!

Conquer This Wonderfully Overwhelming City With An LA Native

LA Native - The DudeMore than 10 million people call Los Angeles their home. With beautiful weather practically year round, eclectic neighborhoods, an exuberant and flourishing Downtown, and trendsetting restaurants and clubs opening almost every weekend – there’s no question why so many people have planted their roots for generations or have come from all over the world to the City of Angels. Needless to say, the ocean lined drive down Pacific Coast Highway alone is worth the visit. Rather grand and with so much to see and do, Los Angeles can be an overwhelming city even for a local. This comprehensive guide will not only highlight the must-see attractions that you’re already familiar with, but will also provide you with an Angeleno’s favorite local spots spread throughout this amazing city.

You will learn about the different shopping experiences within Los Angeles. From grand designer filled shopping malls to local flea markets, this guide provides options for every budget. Once you arrive to Los Angeles, you’ll notice the magnificent landscapes and picturesque sceneries. Explore the natural beauty that hugs this melting pop by taking popular hikes through mountains and hidden stairs – both with gorgeous views that will take your breath away both literally and figuratively.

With detailed and unique things to do in the most popular neighborhoods in Los Angeles, your trip will take you beyond the Hollywood Walk of Fame. From the famous beaches along the West Coast to the canyons of Pasadena, you will learn about different places throughout this great big city that you’ve probably never even heard of. You will also explore Los Angeles’ artistic and culturally enriched hubs. And since one of the best ways to learn about a culture is through its food, local favorite dining options are offered in each neighborhood. You’ll be able to try the best Korean BBQ in Korea Town, a taco sampler to die for in Boyle Heights, the best Chicago pizza in Echo Park, and much more.

Angel Knollls Bench by Diana Ballesteros

Still, there’s no visit to LA without a taste of Hollywood! In the guide you will also find famous shooting locations, such as the house from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and the bench overlooking Downtown Los Angeles in the romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer. Have a drink at the booth where Quentin Tarantino wrote much of Pulp Fiction or at one of the many bars on Sunset Blvd. – the bedrock of pop culture and history.

Although Los Angeles natives love their home town, there’s nothing like exploring the rest of the Golden State. In only a few hours you can arrive at beautiful getaways that will make your trip to Southern California worthwhile. Visit the birthplace of California in San Diego; go on a walking wine tour in Santa Barbara; or camp out in the Joshua Tree National park. With an overview of Angelenos’ favorite weekend vacation spots, you’ll be able to choose wisely. So take a journey with a proud Angeleno and see all the wonderful things Los Angeles has to offer.
Good To Know

Tipping: Appreciated, but not required…in most cases

If you’re from the United States or have previously visited you’re familiar with the tipping etiquette. However, other countries and even other states within the United States have a different take on tipping that could lead to a smug look from your server or even being chased out of the restaurant to pay up (in extreme cases).

In most circumstances tipping is appreciated, but not required. The main exception is in sit-down restaurants where a minimum of 15 percent is expected. Some restaurants include a gratuity fee in your bill, especially if you have a party of five or more; an additional tip is at your discretion. Of course, a tip is a sign of appreciation for good service and while tipping is a standard common curtesy, you should not have to cough up money if you were not satisfied. Besides your restaurant servers, it is also common to tip service people such as valets attendants and bartenders a couple of dollars.

Tip: If you don’t have enough time to do the math after a delicious meal served by your gracious server, double the sales tax amount on your bill to calculate your tip amount and round up. In California, the sales tax ranges from 7.25 to 8.75 percent depending on the city, so you will be leaving a tip of at least 15 percent.

Age is NOT just a number

The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 and the legal tobacco consumption age is 18. Expect to be asked for identification when purchasing any of these substances or entering a bar or club. ID cards or drivers licenses from other countries are often not accepted as a form of identification, so it is recommended to carry your passport.

Keep your eyes on the road and your booze in the trunk!

The last thing you need during your trip to LA is a ticket or a night in the drunk tank. Besides the obvious traffic laws, there are some situations you want to avoid.

Texting and driving has been banned in California since 2008, but continued accidents due to distracted drivers have led to police crackdown on technology use. Whether you’re scrolling down your Facebook newsfeed or simply changing the song on your playlist, if an officer catches you with your phone or any technology in your hand you’re looking at a ticket of approximately $160-$280. It is however legal to talk on your phone as long as you’re using a hands-free device such as a headset.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances is highly regulated in California. While the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08%, should an officer believe you’re impaired you can still spend a night in jail with a ‘wet and reckless’ charge even if you’re below the legal blood alcohol limit. Although this is not exactly a DUI (Driving under the Influence) you will still be arrested and charged.

Besides booze in your system, keep mind of the booze in your car. Should you have an Open container of alcohol, be sure to have it in your trunk as open alcohol containers in the car are prohibited. There are occasional police check points on major streets, especially on weekends and holidays.

Getting Around Los Angeles

Myth or Fact: You cannot get around LA without a car

If you’ve expressed your plan to visit Los Angeles, it is very likely that someone has told you that you will not be able to get around without a car. Unfortunately, there is some truth to that. Los Angeles County is the second largest metropolitan area in the United States and its neighborhoods are quite spread out. While you can snowboard and surf on the same day if you’re in Southern California, chances are you will need a car. However, recent upgrades in the public transportation system have made it easier for locals and tourists to get around. If you want to explore LA without the daunting experience of trying to figure out the freeways or having to make sense of the five different NO PARKING signs in one spot; your best bet is using the Los Angeles Metro Rail. Keep in mind that this will limit your trip a bit as it does not reach all neighborhoods.

PARK(ing) by collectmoments – Source: Flickr

Here is a breakdown of the Los Angeles Metro Rail System.

Redline Subway: Serves North Hollywood, Hollywood, Thai Town, Chinatown and Downtown Los Angeles. End-stations are North Hollywood and Union Station.

Gold Line – Light Rail: Serves Pasadena, Little Tokyo, Chinatown and East Los Angeles. End stations are Sierra Madre Villa and Atlantic.

Purple Line – Subway: Serves downtown Los Angeles and Koreatown. End stations are Union Station and Wilshire/Western.

Blue Line – Light Rail: Serves downtown, Watts, and Long Beach. End stations are 7th Street Metro Center and Long Beach Transit Mall.

Green Line – Light Rail: Serves Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the South Bay and Norwalk. End stations are Norwalk and Redondo.

Expo Line – Light Rail: Serves downtown Los Angeles, Exposition Park, USC and Culver City. End stations are Culver City and 7th.

LYFT by Alfredo Mendez – Source: Flickr

Let’s Uber it! Ridesharing in Los Angeles

Sometimes you want to get around faster, but you don’t want to deal with driving. For the most part, unless you’re in an area populated with hotels, clubs or bars; you will not be able to just flag a cab on the street. If you’re able to and you find yourself far from your destination, it is likely that you will spend a pretty penny. If you find yourself stranded or simply want a faster way to your destination, you might want to try ridesharing apps – the most popular and trusted being Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.

Ridesharing apps are the latest craze that have given Angelenos the opportunity to make extra money on the side and have offered an alternative way for residents and tourist to get around. A background check is conducted on all drivers. In order to use this service you must download the app. Once you have downloaded the app and entered your payment information, it will show you the nearest drivers in your area. You will be asked for your destination and a driver will accept and offer you the ride. Varied options are available with each app. Once you have arrived at your destination, your fare will be charged to the provided credit card. At no point will you have to use cash unless you’d like to give the driver a tip.

Tip: Do a quick search for promotional codes on your preferred search engine or on the apps’ social media sites as they usually offer an introductory discount or credit.

Plan Ahead and Save

Los Angeles is becoming an increasingly expensive city to live in, let alone have a social life. Savvy Angelenos have turned to popular online lifestyle coupon sites such as Groupon.com and Travelzoo.com to find great discounts and even try new things. Groupon offers hundreds of discounts on getaways, local restaurants and bars, beauty and exercise regimens and much more. Travelzoo caters more to tourists; mainly offering discounts on restaurants, hotels, and travel excursions. If you’re on a slim budget, or you simply want to make the most of your travel experience be sure to check out these sites when planning your trip. Keep in mind that there are restrictions and blackout dates so be sure to read the fine print!

Tip: Before booking any restaurant dining coupons, consult Yelp.com or the Yelp’s app. Yelp offers reviews and usually detailed comments and suggestions. This is a great site when you’re on the hunt for nearby dining options and even attractions once you’re in Los Angeles.
Worth The Excess Baggage Fee

The Grove LA by Prayitno – Source: Flickr

Shop til’ you drop in LA’s best indoor and outdoor malls

If you want to do some serious shopping, Los Angeles has a lot to offer with both its indoor and outdoor shopping centers.

With old-fashioned trolley rides and magnificent dancing fountains, The Grove (189 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles) is perhaps one of the best shopping experiences. Offering great shopping and dining selection, you can easily spend an entire day here. E! News shoots live segments at The Grove so you can expect to see camera crews. You might even have the opportunity to receive special gifts and interact with the show’s hosts and guests. Adjacent to The Grove at Third and Fairfax, you can also visit the Original Farmers Market which features more than 100 restaurants, grocers, and tourist shops.

The great thing about open air shopping centers is that you can enjoy the beautiful California weather, shop and have a great meal all in one place. The Century City Shopping Center (10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City) has a fabulous dining and shopping selection. You will find brands ranging from H&M to Louis Vuitton. If it seems familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it on Crazy, Stupid, Love with Ryan Gosling and Steve Carol.

Located in West Los Angeles, the Beverly Center (8500 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles) is an indoor mall with some of the ritziest shops around. Here you will find over 160 brand name stores including Dior and Diesel. It is located in West Los Angeles between Beverly Hills and Hollywood. This mall attracts a lot of tourist, and does a great job at appeasing its customers. Foreign language directories and translators are available in Spanish, Japanese and Chinese through Guest Services. Special tourism promotions are available including hotel shuttle service, fashion consultations, spa packages and dining discounts.

The Glendale Galleria (100 W Broadway, Glendale) is also a large indoor mall with more than 260 stores and restaurants on three levels. While not as ritzy as the Beverly Center, the Glendale Galleria offers a great selection of name brand clothes including Coach and BEBE. Just down the street you can also explore the Americana at Brand – an outdoor shopping center with more luxurious brands, great dining and a movie theatre.

Bargain hunting in LA

If you’re in the mood to bargain hunt or to take home some unique items, you might want to check out Los Angeles’ outlets, flea markets and the infamous Alley.

The Citadel Outlets (100 Citadel Dr., Los Angeles) is the closest outlet to Los Angeles. Here you can find 115 brand name stores including Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, and Kate Spade-just to name a few. The outlet features a large food court and a Starbucks, just in case you need to take a break from shopping.

If your schedule allows you to take a bit of a drive, you might want to check out the Camarillo Outlets (740 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo). An hour north of Los Angeles, you will find great deals on brands like 7 For All Mankind, Ann Taylor, AG Adriano Goldschmied, BCBG Max Azria, J.Crew and Banana Republic. The outlet does get rather busy on the weekends, so don’t hesitate to grab that bargain when you first see it.

A couple of hours outside of Los Angeles near Palm Springs, the Desert Hills Premium Outlets (48400 Seminole Dr., Ste., 601, Cabazon) features 130 shops including designer shops such as Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Versace and Prada. This is one of LA’s most popular outlets for both visitors and locals alike.

Although you might not want to make an impulse buy on a mid-century sofa, flea markets are great for just browsing and taking in the California sun. The Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market (1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena) is one of the best on the west coast. With more than 2,500 vendors you can pretty much find everything from clothing to collectibles and crafts. Rain or shine, the Rose Bowl flea market is held the second Sunday of every month.

In Pasadena, you can also check out the Pasadena City College (1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena) flea market. Held the first Sunday of every month, this market is a lot smaller than the Rose Bowl flea market as it hosts only 450 vendors. If you’re in the market for vintage records you’re going to want to stop by this market as it is known for its great selection.

The Melrose Trading Post (7850 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles) is held at Fairfax high school every Sunday and is known for its occasional celebrity sightings and great selection of artsy and eclectic goods. It is a great way to spend a Sunday people watching, shopping, and enjoying great food and live music. Proceeds from the market also benefit its students.

Rose Bowl Flea Market by tofu prod – Source: Flickr

Referred to as the alley by most, the Santee Alley is a unique shopping experience for the adventurous bargain hunters. With music playing in every direction and people trying to call you to their shops, you will find more than 150 stores with thousands of items. Think of it as a bazar in the middle of Downtown LA. The quality of items vary, so keep that in mind and make sure to get a good look at what you’re buying. The Santee Alley is nestled in the fashion district. You might want to explore the surrounding area; where you will find great deals and the setting is a lot calmer.

Add A Little Sweat To Your Itinerary

In Los Angeles you will find a gym in almost every neighborhood, but the gym isn’t for everyone and with beautiful weather like California’s why be stuck indoors on a treadmill when you can go for a hike or explore the stairs throughout Los Angeles.

Hike to beautiful views

Southern California is known for its picturesque landscapes. This gives for incredible hikes that will not only get your heart rate up, but will reward you with magnificent views. There are plenty of hikes for all levels.

Hollywood: Hiking around Bronson Canyon / Griffith Park by Eli Duke – Source: Flickr

Runyon Canyon (2000 N Fuller Ave., Los Angeles) is one of the most popular hikes in Los Angeles. Its popularity is evident by the large crowds and limited parking on weekends. There are three entrances that will take you to Runyon Canyon which are on Fuller Ave. (southern), N. Vista St. (western), and Muholland Drive (northern). For someone that is not from Los Angeles, it can get rather confusing and frustrating. Your best bet is to try to arrive early or on a weekday and enter via Fuller Ave. where you should easily find parking.

Griffith Park (Western Canyon Rd., Los Angeles) is located in the Los Feliz neighborhood, on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood. Like Runyon Canyon, Griffith Park has many hiking trails with the most popular trails leading up to the Griffith Observatory. From the top of the Griffith Observatory, you’re met with a breathtaking view of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign, and if you’re there on a clear day you may even get a glimpse of the ocean.

The almost three-mile Angel’s Point hike in Elysian Park (1880 Academy Dr., Los Angeles) is relatively easy and less touristy. The trail starts at the corner of Angel’s Point Road and Stadium Way. Unfortunately, there is no parking on the side of the road. Your best bet is to park on or nearby Elysian Park Drive. The hike is a loop with a mix of rugged dirt path and paved road. It will lead you to a bluff that gives you incredible views of the Los Angeles skyline, the Dodger Stadium, and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Another popular local hike is Inspiration Point (Lake Ave. & E Loma Alta Dr. Altadena) in Altadena. The ten mile hike is rather intense and during the summer, Altadena can get really hot so go prepared. The entrance is along the driveway of the Cobb Estate. Here you’ll begin the San Merril Trail that is roughly 2.5 miles up to Echo Mountain. You can choose to end your hike here or continue onto Inspiration Point. From Echo Mountain you can either take the Sam Merril trail on the left or the Castle Canyon on the right. The Castle Canyon has more shade, but is a lot steeper and the route is narrower. At the end you will arrive at an overlook that is in itself inspiring, but you can take a look at the many telescopes that point at various locations, including Catalina Island.

Ditch the Stairmaster and discover the hidden stairs throughout LA

Within Echo Park, you will find more than 24 stairs. If you’re ever in Los Angeles for a long period of time, you can add exploring these stairs to your bucket list. Otherwise, you can start with walking the Baxter Street stairs. The 231 step stairs has a high vantage point, and will provide you with views of the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign, and Downtown Los Angeles. Starting point: 2101 Park Dr., Echo Park.

The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, also referred to as the Culver City stairs, leads to the top of a hill where you can see the Hollywood sign, Downtown LA and the Pacific Ocean. The 282 steps are rather steep so you’ll definitely get a good leg workout. Start at the left side of the park entrance at 6300 Hetzler Rd., Culver City.

If the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook didn’t quench your thirst for an ocean view, you might want to try the Pacific Palisades-Castellanmare stairs. The 3.2 mile path of 518 step offers magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and is easily one of the most scenic stairs you’ll experience. You can start at 17575 Pacific Coast Hwy on the lower end or 17606 Posetano Dr. on the upper end.

In-N-Out Burger – The Pride And Joy Of Many Southern Californians

Anthony Bourdain recently named In-N-Out Burger his ‘favorite restaurant in Los Angeles’. It is no surprise that he would say that about this burger joint, even with the countless fine restaurants in LA, as it is one of the pride and joys of southern Californians. Rightly so, it deserves its own section.

In-N-Out employees are not only paid better than the average fast food chains employee, but they also go through extensive training. The company has also chosen to remain private and consequently has only expanded within California and neighboring states. The result is exceptionally friendly staff and a juicy high quality burger.

In N Out by Alfredo Mendez – Source: Flickr

At first glance the menu looks rather limiting – burger, cheese burger, double-double, fries, milk shakes and beverages (literally…that is all that is listed). However, there is a ‘secret menu’ that has slowly become not-so-secret. It includes grilled cheese, a protein style cheese burger, and much more. Even though it is not listed as an option, you can order it any time. Visit www.in-n-out.com/ for more details.

Tip: There are several In-N-Out restaurants spread throughout the LA vicinity. If you’re flying via LAX, there is an In-N-Out a few minutes from the airport on Sepulveda Blvd. Nothing will say ‘welcome to LA’ like the smell of fresh meat and cheese grilling and the 1950’s So-Cal décor. Don’t leave without a free souvenir – upon request you can receive your very own In-N-Out hat. If you want to dish out some cash, most restaurants sell t-shirts.

From Westside to the East Side: Must Visit Neighborhoods In Los Angeles Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu – The iconic beaches of Southern California

You can spread out your visit to these iconic beaches throughout several days or you can try to visit them all in one. They are all relatively close to each other, but if you want to get around faster you will probably want to rent a car. If there is great weather, why not spend a little extra and rent a convertible. This will only add to the already breathtaking drive on Pacific Coast Highway.

Venice Canals by Emily Stanchfield – Source: Flickr

When you think of the Venice canals (Eastern Ct & Carroll Ct & Carroll Canal Ct.) you don’t necessarily think of California, but there is a reason this beach city is named Venice. Once named Venice-of-America, there are only a few blocks remaining of what used to be 16 miles of man-made waterways. Take a walk down the canal side streets lined with striking multi-million dollar homes before entering the more recognizable Venice Ocean Front Walk (1800 Ocean Front Walk). Here you will be transported from a calm residential area to an eclectic scene that even features a freak show; but it wouldn’t be a Venice experience without it. The boardwalk stretches along the three mile length of Venice Beach. Here you will find cafes, funky shops, and vendor booths. Arnold Schwarzenegger used to bulk up at the Muscle Beach outdoor gym and you can still walk by and see body-builders pumping iron. Don’t leave the boardwalk without trying the Wee Chippy (1301 Ocean Front Walk) a local favorite that is known for its fish and chips; or having ceviche at the Peruvian restaurant El Huarique (1301 Ocean Front Walk, Ste. 10).

A few blocks from Venice Beach, you can explore Abbot Kinney Blvd. (1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd.), a street that hosts a pulsating collection of boutiques, salons, galleries, restaurants and bars. Hal’s Bar & Grill (1349 Abbot Kinney Blvd.) is a local favorite and offers an amazing brunch.

Once you feel you’ve gotten your dose of the funky Venice Beach, head over to Santa Monica Beach (200 Santa Monica Pier) – another one of the most popular beaches in the LA area. Walk the famous Santa Monica Pier and ride the well-known Ferris wheel. There are lots of carnival rides and games to choose from. To do more retail damage and for a larger dining selection, visit the Third Street Promenade. Once consisting of unique boutiques and shops, the Promenade now features chain stores and franchises. Yet, the street performers and festive atmosphere still keeps it from losing its charm.

Santa Monica Pier by Dennis Lam Sweden – Source: Flickr

Both Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach are great for surfing, swimming and boogie boarding or even for just laying out in the sun and splashing around in the Pacific Ocean. However, Malibu tends to be cleaner and less crowded.

Once you drive up Pacific Coast Highway or ride your bike to Malibu you will arrive to what most people envision when they think of Southern California, but without the traffic. Should you have time on your hands before you soak up the sun, make a pit stop at the Getty Villa (17985 Pacific Coast Hwy.). Based on the remains of the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, the Getty Villa houses one of America’s finest collections of ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan art. While more than four hours is recommended for the visit, any time spent in its lush gardens is rewarding especially since admission is free.

Malibu (30050 Pacific Coast Hwy.) has over a dozen named beaches. The most popular, mainly due to is easy accessibility, is Zuma Beach. It is however less scenic than its counterparts. Carillo State Park and Malibu Lagoon State Beach are two of Malibu’s most beautiful beaches that are still managed by the state. While there are other beaches, like Matador and La Piedra, which are more scenic and offer sea cliffs, tide pools, and 30-foot rock formations they are not easily accessible and require a steep climb down to the beach. The upside of this that they are less crowded and you can feel like you’re on your own private beach.

Tip: If you’re looking for beaches with a more local vibe, visit Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. They all offer great restaurants and shops along the pier. If you’re looking for a beach area with bars, visit Hermosa Beach where you can party with locals and visitors alike day and night.

West Los Angeles – The hub of all of Los Angeles’ characters

Beverly Hills and Hollywood can often times feel like a tourist trap. However, its iconic attractions make this a must for every Los Angeles itinerary. With West Hollywood and Hollywood’s exuberant atmosphere, you might want to choose to end your evening here.

Before you head to the more habitual sights, start your day at the Museum of Tolerance (9786 W Pico Blvd.) The only museum of its kind in the world, the museum contextualizes the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination in our world today. After an enlightening experience, you can change the pace by heading to the Beverly Center or Rodeo Drive.

With luxurious designers and even more luxurious cars parked in front, Rodeo Drive (9478 Dayton Way) embodies the glitz and glam of the big screen. You can spend an afternoon window shopping and enjoying a coffee. After, you can watch the Electric Fountain at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. as it comes alive with its varying light and water patterns. Head west on N. Santa Monica Blvd. and arrive at the Beverly Gardens Park where you take a snap shot of the famous Beverly Hills sign. There are countless boutiques and eateries on S. Santa Monica Blvd. so you might want to take a walk down there as well. Beverly Hills houses many beautiful multi-million dollar homes. If you’re a real estate enthusiast, why not drive around the beautiful palm tree lined streets.

West Hollywood, also known as WeHo, is the 1.9-square-mile neighborhood between Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Famous for its Sunset Strip, this is the place to be if you want to experience a little of everything. We-Ho is also famously known for having the largest gay community.

The Whiskey a Go Go by jondoeforty1 – Source: Flickr

The main go-to places in WeHo are on two different main streets – Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. Along WeHo’s Santa Monica Boulevard, which used to be part of Route 66, you’ll find lots of nightclubs and restaurants. The Troubadour nightclub (9081 Santa Monica Blvd.) housed such famous artists as Jackson Browne and James Taylor at the beginning of their career. The Troubadour still remains a local favorite and a launching pad for artists. Further east you’ll find The Abbey (692 N. Robertson Blvd.) at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Robertson Blvd. Dubbed the ‘best gay bar in the world’, The Abbey isn’t just an electrifying bar, it also servers amazing food. If you continue down Robertson Blvd. away from Santa Monica Blvd. you can fine Sur Restaurant (606 N. Robertson Blvd.) from the reality TV show Vanderpump Rules. You can continue down Robertson Blvd. and find even more shopping options or you can continue on your We-Ho journey and explore all the interesting shops and boutiques. You can end your We-Ho excursion at the first Barney’s Beanery (8447 Santa Monica Blvd.) where it has been said that Janis Joplin had her last drink in the dining room, and Quentin Tarantino wrote much of Pulp Fiction in his favorite booth. If you’re in town during Halloween and New Year’s, We-Ho is even livelier with the NYE festivities and the Halloween Costume Carnival. They also host one the largest Gay Pride festival and parade in Los Angeles.

The Wolf by Neil Kremer – Source: Flickr

If you’ve chosen to take Sunset Blvd. instead of Santa Monica Blvd., you’re entering a street full of action and pop-culture history. Sitting up the hill is the beautiful Chateau Marmont (8221 Sunset Blvd.) which attracts lots of celebrities for overnight stays or to just catch a lunch. A 1929 landmark, the hotel is mostly for guests spending the night and is closed off, but visitors are welcome to dine in the lobby-adjacent restaurant or nearby Bar Marmont. Before you arrive at the Chateau Marmont you will pass a sea of famous bars and clubs. Rainbow Bar & Grill (9015 Sunset Blvd.), Whisky a Go Go (8901 Sunset Blvd.) the House of Blues (8430 Sunset Blvd.), and the Viper Room (8852 Sunset Blvd.) all hold their own when it comes to rock n’ roll history. Passing the Chateau Marmont, you can also find the bedrock of comedic stardom in Hollywood at the Laugh Factor (8001 Sunset Blvd.).

You can end your journey in Hollywood. Here, the attractions can be a bit overwhelming, but even if you just walk the star lined Hollywood Walk of Fame you can really get the feeling for this iconic part of town. Stop by the Grauman’s Chinese Theater (6925 Hollywood Blvd.), the Hollywood Museum (1660 Highland Ave.), and take a picture with your favorite celebrity (or at least a wax replica of them) at Madame Tussauds (6933 Hollywood Blvd.). After a while Hollywood Blvd. can feel a little ‘hollyweird’, so you might want to take a break from it and explore other famous nearby attractions before heading back for the nightlife.

Urban Light 2 by daryl_mitchell – Source: Flickr

Neighboring the Paramount Pictures Studios (5555 Melrose Avenue) is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (6000 Santa Monica Blvd.). One of the oldest cemeteries in Los Angeles, several old-Hollywood celebrities are buried here. Today, it hosts concerts, events, and outdoor movie screenings during the summer. If you get a chance to catch a concert at the Hollywood Bowl (2301 Highland Ave.), this is a must. During the summer this venue offers an eclectic variety of concerts under the stars. You can even bring in your own food and wine bottles. At Universal Studios Hollywood (100 Universal City Plaza), you can enjoy three essential LA experiences in one: the studio tour, the theme park, and the outdoor mega-marketplace known as CityWalk.

If you’ve spread out your time in West Los Angeles and time allows it, be sure to check out the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (5905 Wilshire Blvd.) which stretches along the “Miracle Mile” area of Wilshire. This is a local favorite for its “Urban Light” installation of 202 street lamps. The family of mock mammoths at La Brea Tar Pits (5801 Wilshire Blvd.), is also fun to see.

Hollywood is known for its exclusive nightclubs and eclectic bars. Sound Nightclub (1642 Las Palmas Ave.), Drai’s Hollywood (6250 Hollywood Blvd.), Create Nightclub (6021 Hollywood Blvd.), and Boulevard3 (6523 Sunset Blvd.) are just some of the many options. A bit further away from Hollywood Blvd., but worth the mention, La Descarga (1159 N Western Ave.) is a speak-easy Cuban club with live music.

Top Free Ways To See LA

Griffith_Park_ObservatoryWe’ll start here at Universal Studios. In fact, a lot of people know about Universal Studios tours. They’re great for tourists and locals. But do you know that just outside the gate there’s a fantastic stroll through stores, and restaurants and theaters. To get there for free, take LA’s new Red Line subway system and catch the free shuttle up to universal health. Otherwise it’s ten bucks to park and free to get in. Once there you’ll enjoy a dazzling open air street setting, featuring an array of historic L.A. neon signs and architectural eye candy.

If you want to spend a little, there’s live music loud comedy and plenty of restaurants. And mostly it’s what Hollywood’s all about, but on the safe, sanitized and well you know, artificial version.

Next up the LA county art museum A stroll in a museum? Absolutely, on Friday nights from April to November you can’t beat the free concerts in Los Angeles’ central park. This is the eighteenth year they’ve been bringing stellar Jazz to the museum free.

Griffith Park

Want to get away from the bustle of urban LA and find a great place to see the constellation? Check out Griffith Park. This is the country’s largest municipal park for over forty one hundred acres not only is it a gorgeous setting for hiking picnicking and horseback riding, it’s home to the Hollywood sign as well as a ton of attractions: the Greek Theater, The Gene Autry Museum, The L.A. Zoo, The Travel Time Museum and many others. But its best attraction, the Griffith Park Observatory. It’s an L.A. icon you’ve seen a ton of movies and it just underwent a ninety three million dollar renovation, partially funded in fact by Star Trek legend Leonard Nimoy. It’s a great visit.

Mulholland Drive

Take your convertible or your bike up through this mountain drive fifty five miles of scenic hair pin curves. You’re going to get a theft firsthand view of just how big the city really is. Santa Monica Beverly Hills, Hollywood downtown to the San Fernando Valley.

La Brea Tar Pits

The La Brea Tar Pits are one of the best collections of ice age fossils in the world, smack in the middle of Los Angeles. Over a million bottles were recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits, dating back thirty thousand years. Creatures like woolly mammoths and saber tooth tigers found themselves trapped in the sticky asphalt gooey asphalt that still bubbles up.

Melrose Avenue

Now we’re not talking about Melrose Place that with a cheesy T.V. soap opera back when for that matter. Melrose Avenue is a collection of stylish shops and restaurants that stretches from Beverly Hills Westward. Vintage clothes, unique trinkets, designer furniture, stylish fashion, and dining hot spots. A whole lifestyle on one street.

We’re going to cheat a little and give our number four spot to the remaining great window shopping scrolls of the city La Brea, Beverly Blvd, Third Street, Robertson Boulevard, Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade and of course Rodeo Drive.

Hollywood Blvd

Now up until a few years ago Hollywood Boulevard was not so nice and really not to safe. Today, it’s all cleaned up and worth a stroll. We all know about the famous stars along the boulevard in the kitschy Chinese Theater with Star footprints in cement. Do yourself a favor, go see a movie in the main theater of the Chinese theater it is truly grand.

Venice Beach

It is classic Los Angeles – bikini babes on blades, rock wannabes strumming on a guitar, ex hippies selling incense and a few wacky street performers along the way. You’ve got yourself one great stroll.

Getty Museum

The number one free stroll in LA… Your trip to LA will not be complete without a stroll around the incomparable Getty Museum. The mountain top views and the heart are not to be believed. This museum is all about the location. Seven hundred fifty acres on a breathtaking lookout point in the Santa Monica Mountains. The collection itself used to be owned by an oil baron J. Paul Getty, an impressive array of European paintings and arts. But the real star here is the facility itself, nine stirring buildings with lovely gardens and remarkable views with a fabulous admission price too, free.