Los Angeles has much to offer the aesthetically inclined, whether it's listening to the Philharmonic amid the sweeping curves of the Walt Disney Concert Hall; ambling around Bergamot Station, a sprawling compound of modern art galleries in Santa Monica; or admiring the view from the marbled aerie of the Getty Center. While the city still struggles with the concept of a strolling district (notable exceptions include Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade), Old Town Pasadena to the north is a good place to leave the car parked for an afternoon. The city's eclectic haute cuisine rivals that of New York. And just as in New York, it's a mistake to neglect the classic hotel addresses here: Hotel Bel-Air, The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Peninsula and Beverly Wilshire continue to shine, and treat their return patrons like family.
A Revitalized Downtown
The revitalization of downtown Los Angeles continues apace, evidenced by the continued success of The Broad (221 South Grand Avenue, Tel.  232-6200) contemporary-art museum. The space is in a striking building, with a “veil and vault” design, that houses some 2,000 works from the private collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, including pieces by artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol. Have lunch at the adjacent restaurant Otium after your visit (222 South Hope Street, Tel.  935-8500).
Another one of my favorite places to view contemporary art is at Bergamot Station (2525 Michigan Avenue) a set of warehouses in Santa Monica that has served as a trolley stop and a celery-packing plant. Under new management since 2018, this unique complex houses galleries and a pleasant café.
Decades (8214 Melrose Avenue, Tel.  655-1960) sells gorgeous vintage and consignment clothing and accessories dating to the 1920s. On my last visit, I coveted a vintage Hermès leather travel bag almost enough to pay the $8,000 price.
Franklin Canyon Park is a 605-acre oasis of grasslands and forests with five miles of hiking trails. When the traffic and bling of the city start to become tiresome, a long walk here can be very restorative.