Insider's Guide to LA, USA
Think of LA and you may think of Hollywood, Disneyland and Universal Studios. All worthwhile attractions to visit, dependant on your interests. But what else is there to do in this Californian city? We ask a local to tell us all her secrets:
A bit about our LA insider:
Name: Ani Haftvani
Occupation: Amazon Studios
Hobbies and interests: Hiking and spending time with my dogs, family and friends.
How long have you lived in LA? Ten years, though my extended family have always been here. I moved over to be closer to them after I finished studying at a university in England.
A bit about Los Angeles:
How do you best navigate your city?
Car and only car. LA is a huge city, and public transport makes getting anywhere on time or in comfort next to impossible.
What do you think LA does better than other cities?
Without a doubt, the TV and movie industry. It's the place to be for anything or anyone related to or interested in the industry.
Where is your favourite view of the city?
Downtown LA skyline and Griffith Observatory.
Where is your favourite respite from hectic city life?
Switzer Falls in Angeles Crest - it's about a 40 minute drive out of the city.
What is your favourite building in LA, and why?
Pasadena City Hall; it was built as part of the America-wide 'city beautiful' movement in the late 1800's and early 1900's that aimed to add grandeur to many US cities. The building reflects an American design take on Spanish Colonial architecture.
Where do you consider to be LA's most underrated location that more people should visit?
Lake Hollywood Park, a large grassy space that is dog friendly. You also get a great view of the famous 'HOLLYWOOD' sign from here.
What is your favourite place for a workout?
Outdoor hiking in Angeles National Forest. Located in the mountains, you're rewarded with some stunning views as you climb.
Any etiquette tips for visitors?
Smile and say hi. Angelenos are very talkative and genuinely interested to learn about you.
Where would you stay if you were visiting, and why?
Silver Lake – a residential area that has a hipster/artsy vibe with lots of great coffee shops, boutique stores and fun bars.
Tell us about the food scene:
Which dish is a must-try?
The Halloumi Cheese Wrap at Sianto’s Bakery, La Crescenta
Where is your favourite local spot to eat?
I love the kebab at Raffi's Place. LA has a strong American/Middle Eastern presence, and this is one of the favourite haunts with many of the community.
Which restaurant has the best atmosphere?
Manhattan Beach Post for its personal and organic feel.
Where serves the best value for money dining options?
Bobarrito Food Truck, serving delicious sushi, with a twist.
Where is the best place to splurge on a delicious meal?
Blue Fish, Montrose. Japanese food to-die-for.
Now, onto the nightlife:
Where might we find LA's best cocktail?
Melrose Umbrella Company. I can't tell you which one you might like best, but the bar staff will be willing to help!
Who has the city's best winelist?
Vinotéque on Melrose.
And the bar with the best atmosphere?
Golden Road Brewing Company - a great selection of beers in a fun and social environment, including music provided via a jukebox.
For culture vultures:
Where is your favourite local gallery?
Huntington Library - it's an education and research centre, as well as European and American art gallery with pieces dating from the 15th to 20th Century. It also houses a botanical garden.
Gallery, garden, music hall or anything else. Which cultural haven must visitors not miss?
I love spending time at Descanso Gardens. It's another botanical garden, with a railroad, gallery and outdoor cafe.
Can you sum up why you love living in this city?
So many reasons, but perhaps the best are the weather, the sense of excitement, the opportunities to build the American Dream, LA's status as a hub of the best content creators in the world, and of course, my friends, family, network and dogs.