Los Angeles may not be the first place that springs to mind when one thinks of honeymoon romance, but the City of Angels has it all, especially for those on the active side. Intimate star-strewn restaurants, powdery beaches, mountain trails, incredible food, and art. It's also home to some of the best year-round weather known to man, so it might be time to consider heading to sunny SoCal for your mini honeymoon. Before visiting Los Angeles, however, decide what part of the city most interests you, since it's massive and traffic, you may have heard, can be as stressful as those months of wedding planning.
Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons Los Angeles
Afternoon: Are the two of you beach people? Check into Shutters, just across the sand from Santa Monica's best waves. Want a hip Westside crowd? Go for the Hotel Erwin in Venice. For a luxurious experience, there's the plush Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, or the iconic pink Beverly Hills Hotel. Or if you're more into a cool city scene, opt for The Line in Koreatown or The Ace Downtown. Once you've chosen your stomping grounds, have a wander around your temporary 'hood. (Or hit the beach or pool.) Each area is full of spots just waiting to be explored, especially Venice's creative, design-heavy Abbot Kinney Boulevard and the arty streets of downtown.
Evening: The best sunset views are had from High Rooftop Lounge at the Erwin, but it's possible to glimpse the colorful sky from any high place. Commissary, at The Line, is one of the most Instagrammed restaurants around, and for good reason. Its design, greenhouse environment, creative dishes and fresh cocktails by chef Roy Choi (of the Kogi BBQ truck, which is also still driving around) are awe-inspiring, making it a memorable dinner destination. Otherwise, amp up the romance at the beloved Little Door in Brentwood, with an intimate meal of duck confit with honey and ginger or grilled sea bass with Mediterranean-French flair, and a great bottle of red wine.
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Morning: Hike off your dinner with a beautiful walk through massive red rocks in Topanga Canyon, and visit the dreamy waterfall-side Inn of the Seventh Ray for healthy, creative omelettes and quiche. (An alternate hiking destination for Eastsiders: Griffith Observatory, which is close to the iconic Hollywood Sign and also affords awesome views.)
Photo: Courtesy of Nobu Restaurants
Afternoon: To see LA's most picturesque beaches, a bit of a road trip is in order. Head up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu—Surfrider if you want to watch wetsuit-clad figures hit the waves, or El Matador for swimsuit shoot-worthy drama. Swing by the landmark biker stop Neptune's Net for a bite of fried anything with a beer. After sunning your buns, head to Nobu, where groups and couples gather for live acoustic music and bottles of wine in the canyons.
Evening: Check the schedule at The Greek and the Hollywood Bowl, LA's two iconic amphitheaters. There's nothing like a balmy night of live music under the stars. Otherwise, try West Hollywood's latest hot spot, Norah. Reservations can be tough, but eclectic, Southern-tinged dishes such as uni butter poached shrimp, cauliflower popcorn, and octopus with pork belly are worth the effort. In Beverly Hills, Avec Nous is a new French restaurant at the Viceroy L'Ermitage with retro glamour, a Champagne cart, and decadent bites like foie gras and escargot. For a taste of nightlife, there's Nighthawk, a new venue in Hollywood serving up boozy cereal milk cocktails, among other innovative concoctions.
Photo: Courtesy of the Peninsula Hotels
Morning: You're in LA, so indulge in a hangover-killing brunch. The recently reopened Belvedere at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills does the ritual justice; for a less posh meal, try a Venice favorite like Tasting Kitchen (don't skip the Bloody Marys) or Gjusta, which will likely require some patience during the wait, to order a feast of smoked fish, pastries, egg sandwiches, rotisserie meats, and slices of pizza. After brunch, take a walk on the beach, soak up the sea breeze and shop Abbot Kinney.
Photo: Courtesy of the Broad Museum
Afternoon: People accuse LA of having no culture, but in fact it's become quite the art hub. Those who appreciate it will love a visit to the Broad Museum (check out the Infinity Room) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, conveniently located across the street from each other downtown. Between visits, try lunch at Otium, a winning new restaurant by a former French Laundry chef de cuisine. Make a reservation so you can taste his foie gras with funnel cake and spinach bucatini, alongside a fruity rye whisky Fix punch.