your definitive guide to los angeles

(as told through the unsolicited opinions of strangers)
by Tavis Gray

            I’ve lived in Los Angeles for about six months now, which it turns out is exactly enough time for every person who has ever even thought of stepping a pale toe in LA’s tar-stained waters to come out of the refurbished-woodwork and tell me about all the places I’m totally missing out on.

So here it is: a guide of what to eat, what to do, and what to see in LA—based only on things said by people who won’t get off my back about how I have to go to Venice, like, the beeeeeeach!  


In-N-Out The only burger restaurant in a town full of kale. Get a double-double! Get fries! Get ‘em “Animal Style!” It won’t say you can do that on the menu, but that’s part of the fun of this “hole-in-the-wall” joint—a lack of clear instructions.

Tacos (From Anywhere!) LA Is A “Taco Town.”  They’re just fallin’ from the sky! Go ahead: pick one up off the ground.

Whole Foods – This one may seem obvious, but bare with me and listen to your lil’ artichoke hearts. Whole Foods is cool. Whole Foods is adventure. I mean, who doesn’t love that eclectic salad bar? The eye bag-less clientele? The vague sense you’re being hunted? Whole FOODS! Pick up some kombucha while you’re there. And seaweed crackers. And octopus dung—it’s great for the skin!

That Place On The Westside With The Weird Lights, You Know Where, It Has Juice – This could be any building within 10 square miles. Even your plumber sells juice.

My Kitchen, I’m A Celebrity, Really! – Their kitchen will be gross.


Hike – People in LA, especially celebs, love to hike. It’s pretty much all they do. Make sure to head to Runyon Canyon if you want to track a Kardashian. But watch out for snakes, even though their inclusion would turn this hike into a great brunch story.

Drive – Sometimes it’s fun to just go for a drive. The mind-numbing effect of standstill traffic will quell your mind out of career-induced anxiety. Ohmmmmmm.

Hike!!!! – Please see above.


The Beach – Angelinos can’t get enough of that surf & sun. Anyone who lives in LA knows that the best place to go is Santa Monica. There’s a pier! With a Ferris wheel! And a rollercoaster! And every other human being with a sunburn and a bad haircut this side o’ the Mississippi!  Alternatively –head North or South of that hazardous pier for a good, sandy time.

The Hollywood Sign – What’s a trip to LA without seeing this testament to the grandeur of Tinsel Town? Sure, you can see it from practically anywhere in the city, but don’t you want an up-close look? Sure, you aren’t allowed to get anywhere really close since that kid tried to climb it and died, but it’s worth a shot, right? Go ahead and traverse the narrow, winding streets of the Hollywood Hills. Risk parked car collision! But do it in the name of the perfect selfie: head smashed between the W and the D, eyes forming those famous Os. Your friends at home will hate you.  

The Walk of Fame ­– There’s nothing more glamorous than laying your head down for a pic with your favorite star’s star. Just make sure you have a buddy watch your back while you do it. A legion of middle-aged, spandex-clad Spidermen patrols the area and they want a picture with you too. They desperately want a picture with you. They will do anything for that pic. You’ve been warned!

My House, I’m A Celebrity, Really, Come See My House – Up to you, but as with the kitchen, I’d say no.