Los Feliz, Los Angeles

For everything I dislike about Los Angeles, Los Feliz makes up for nearly all of it. It is an eclectic village in L.A. nestled below the Griffith Observatory and comes replete with its own Farmer’s Market, amazing bars, bohemian cafes, popping restaurants and hiking trails right out your back door. Better yet, this delightful area can all be explored on foot. It is considered the ‘other’ Beverly Hills and many A-listers choose to live here away from the madness of West Los Angeles. This is where I lived during my time in L.A. and I feel a great nostalgia for it even now. Los Feliz is far enough away from the tourist traps of Hollywood while providing a chic setting to truly enjoy all the jazz that Los Angeles has to provide.

Where to stay

The Villa Sophia
Hotel Covell
Los Feliz Lodge

Where to eat

Alcove (my personal favorite)
Home Restaurant
Figaro Bistrot
Palermo Ristorante Italiano
Rockwell Table & Stage

Where to imbibe

Bar Covell
1739 Public House
Good Luck Bar
Big Bar
Ye Rustic Inn
Harvard & Stone

West Hollywood, Los Angeles

Just beyond Hollywood, you find the glitz and glamour of the city’s most prestigious areas, such as West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. This is the part of the city that best embodies the stylish images that arise when you think of Los Angeles. It has oodles of high-end restaurants and boutiques and the place where you will most likely catch a glimpse of an A-list celebrity. West Hollywood is much more culturally diverse than its neighbor, Beverly Hills, and the prices are a bit easier to swallow. Here you will find the Sunset Strip, high-end art galleries, and some of L.A.’s hippest and unique boutique hotels.

Where to stay

Chateau Marmont
Petit Ermitage
Palihouse West Hollywood
Farmer’s Daughter
The Charlie West Hotel

Where to eat

Connie and Ted’s
The Church Key
The Hudson
Irv’s Burgers

Where to imbibe

Surly Goat
Tower Bar
On The Rox
The Roger Room
Pearl’s Rooftop
Loreley Biergarten

Hollywood, Los Angeles

Hollywood’s reputation as the mecca of glitz and glam is frankly deceitful and unfortunately it is no longer the place it once was. ‘Gritty’ and ‘edgy’ work for cities like Berlin and Prague, but Hollywood is downright filthy (until you get closer to the hills and Los Feliz). With that said, it still has some cool old haunts and a touch of class dotted here and there in between the tourist gift shops, and I have tried my hardest to point you in their direction.

Where to Stay

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Highland Gardens Hotel
The Hollywood Ardmore

Where to Eat

Musso & Frank Grill
Gwen (definitely not for vegetarians)
The Hungry Cat
La Poubelle Bistro and Bar

Were to Imbibe

The Spare Room
Good Times at Davey Wayne’s (Hollywood speakeasy)
La Descarga (Havana-inspired speakeasy replete with burlesque)
Hemingway’s Lounge
No Vacancy

Downtown, Los Angeles

Unlike most downtowns, LA.’s downtown is totally separate from the rest of the city and essentially bound by three freeways and a ‘river’. For decades downtown was considered a wasteland, but recently it is changing for the better and attracting a new generation of artists, developers, chefs and loft-dwellers. Perhaps if you are coming in town on business this is where you will end up, and while it is still working out its kinks, it is not a bad place to stay.

Where to Stay

The Standard Downtown LA
Millennium Biltmore
Hotel Figueroa
Los Angeles Athletic Club
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
Hilton Checkers Los Angeles

Where to Eat

Sushi Gen
Hill Grill
The Briks

Where to Imbibe

Villain’s Tavern
Seven Grand
The Varnish
The Edison
Mumford Brewing

Attractions in Boulder

  • Lace up your shoes and go for a HIKE! My personal favorite is Mount Sanitas. It is considered ‘moderate’ difficulty and is only a 3.5 miles loop. It has a rather steep incline, so not for the beginner. Here are some other popular trails in the area:
    • First and second flatirons (2.6 miles round trip – easy)
    • Eldorado Falls (2.5 miles round trip – moderate)
    • Green Mountain (5.5 miles round trip – difficult)
  • Boulder’s pedestrian mall is called Pearl Street and it is the heart and soul of the city. Most of the restaurants, shops and bars are dotted along Pearl Street and it is absolutely the best place to people watch.
  • Artisans of Boulder’s sister city in Dunshanbe, Tajikistan handcrafted a Boulder’s Dushanbe Teahouse and sent it piece-by-piece to Boulder, where it was reassembled. It is an example of incredible architecture with majestic carvings and paintings throughout. Their chai is to die for!
  • Boulder Theater is Boulder’s art deco theater that houses all the big names that come through Colorado to play. Check out the schedule while you are there and try to get in a show!
  • If you’re a runner, consider signing up for Boulder’s Memorial Day 10K, the Bolder Boulder.
  • Boulder’s Farmers’ Market was voted as the No. 1 farmers’ market in the country by USA Today and it is the best was to experience Boulder like a local.
  • If you want to go all out and get real local, check out Tonic Oxygen Bar where you can sit and read, drink tea and inhale essential oil infused oxygen. Considering Boulder is over a mile high in altitude, a little extra oxygen could do you a world of good!

Attractions in Boston

  • If you are in to history, then you are in luck! Boston is one of the most historical cities in the United States and there are plenty of tours that will take you to see all the famous sites. Some to check out are: Boston Duck Tours, Free Tours by Foot (Boston Tours), Lessons on Liberty, Boston Segway Tours, Trailblazer Tours Boston and Freedom Trail Tours, just to name a few.
  • Harvard University is the U.S.’s oldest higher learning institution and well known for its teaching and research methods, which push the boundaries of human knowledge. Its campus is exquisite, and Cambridge, the town it is nestled in, is a delightful place to walk around and spend an afternoon.
  • Boston Common is Boston’s central park and is the oldest city park in the United States. It’s located in the heart of the city next to the Public Garden and well worth an afternoon stroll.
  • Cheers was a famous sitcom in the 1980’s (one of its main characters, Kirstie Alley, I lived with and worked for in 2006) and it used the exterior of the Bull & Finch in Beacon Hill as its namesake. After a stroll through Boston Common, you can walk over and have a hamburger and fries in this famous establishment.
  • The Paul Revere House is Boston’s oldest surviving house and was home to Paul Revere, the famous Bostonian that made a midnight ride to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were coming.
  • Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the city’s second oldest cemetery, founded in 1659, containing many notable Bostonians from the colonial era.
  • Faneuil Hall is a historic marketplace located on the waterfront, replete with shops, outdoor cafes and fine dining.
  • If you want to see a Broadway play or opera, look for tickets at the Shubert, Theatre, Wang Theatre, Charles Playhouse, Boston Theatre, Wilbur Theatre and Boston Opera House.
  • If you want to participate in one of America’s favorite pastimes, then head to Fenway Park to see the Boston Red Sox play baseball. If you can’t get tickets to an actual game, the next best thing is watching one from Bleacher Bar, which lies beneath the bleachers in center field, with a huge window that looks directly in the park.
  • Boston is an amazing place to shop! The best areas are Newbury Street (the place to see and be seen), Charles Street (great collection of boutiques, Downtown Crossing and Harvard Square.
  • The North End is Boston’s oldest residential community and known for its large Italian population. If you make it to the North End, Caffe Vittoria is worth checking out. It is known as Boston’s “original Italian café” and serves both as a museum for vintage coffee accoutrement, as well as a place to rest your feet, while indulging in delicacies and crafty coffee infusions.
  • Boston is home to Berklee College of Music, which brings in some of the world’s best musicians. You can get in on some of the musical action at places like the House of Blues, Great Scott, The Plough & Stars, t. the bear’s place, The Lizard Lounge, and The Paradise Rock Club.
  • You can also check out Secret Boston. It is a huge following of young people in Boston talking about art, music, lifestyle and parties.

Attractions in Denver

Yes, Denver has a zoo, an aquarium and a theme park, but I am of the opinion that once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. For this reason, I am going to suggest attractions that are specific to Denver and helps to get you off that well worn path.

  • Are you interested in seeing a movie in an outdoor venue? Yoga? Geology? A mind blowing concert? Then you have to go to world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheater. It’s a geologic phenomenon and the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. All the music greats from Jimi Hendricks to The Beatles have played there. I would suggest planning your trip from May – September, so you can get in on some of the Red Rocks action while you are in town! During the summer months, Red Rocks also hosts Yoga on the Rocks and Film on the Rocks, so if music isn’t your thing, then they certainly have something else that is.
  • Red Rocks is actually in Morrison, Colorado (15 minutes from Denver), which is an amazing little western town. I would argue Morrison is home to not only one, but two, hidden gems. The other being the Morrison Inn margarita. Might I suggest that after you’ve yogasized or run the stairs at Red Rocks you drive over to the Morrison Inn, sit on the rooftop and listen to some live music while sipping on a well deserved margarita.
  • There are four parks that I would highly recommend checking out while you are in town. The first is City Park and every Sunday evening from June to August, it hosts City Park Jazz, which is a free jazz concert. I was there almost every summer Sunday for eight years and I think I saw the concert once. Most Denverites go to meet up with their friends, picnic and play park games. It is the thing to do on a summer Sunday.
  • Also during the summer months, Washington Park, known as Wash Park to the locals. and Cheesman Park are loads of fun. If you can walk through without being decapitated by a Frisbee, you’ll find that there are a slew of park games taking place such as cornhole, volleyball, soccer, and kickball (yes, kickball is alive and well in Denver). These parks are also the ‘beaches’ of Denver, though there is no water to speak of. But it no mattah – you’ll find plenty of sunbathers soaking up the intense Denver rays.
  • Confluence Park is also a nice spot to chillax. It is actually where Denver started and where you can watch kayakers brave the rapids on custom designed chutes, while enjoying panoramic views of downtown.
  • Like dressing up and riding bikes? Then check out Denver’s Cruiser Ride, which is a themed evening bicycle ride every week between May and September. It has over 2,000 riders each week and is an awesome place to meet up with the locals!
  • The Denver Art Museum is known for its collection of American Indian art as well as its famous architect, Daniel Libeskind. It also has a collection of more than 70,000 diverse works from across the world, so if you are into architecture and art, then this should be a stop on your Denver tour.
  • Clyfford Still was one of the first generation Abstract Expressionists and most important painters of the 20th century. Denver’s Clyfford Still Museum, which opened in 2011, and is located in the cultural art district, is home to 95% of the artist’s lifetime output, including 3,125 works.   The architecture is among my favorite in the city and its hard not to notice while your contemplating Still’s art, that you are walking through a piece in and of itself.
  • Like cupcakes? Go right away to Mulberries Cake Shop. Heaven. On. Earth.
  • Next on the list, Union Station   Why in the world would anyone suggest you visit a train station? Well, because Denver’s Beaux-Arts central station is unique in just about every way. Denverites call it their living room. Its home to ten chef-owned restaurants and bars, boutique shops and the luxury Crawford Hotel. Its not your run-of-the-mill seedy train station. This one is popping with class!
  • After you leave Union Station, you can hop on Denver’s free shuttle bus and cruise up 16th Street Mall. This mile long pedestrian promenade is in the heart of downtown and host to some 42 outdoor cafes.
  • Do you remember “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” from the Titanic? The one played by Kathy Bates in James Cameron’s infamous movie? Well, you can visit her house here in Denver and learn all about her life and the era in which she lived.
  • Do you like money? I do too. While you are in Denver, you can visit the Denver Mint, where they produce billions of coins every year for the American public. The best part is that you don’t need any money for the tour. Its free!
  • For visitors coming from outside the U.S., Denver has an amazing American football (Denver Broncos), baseball (Colorado Rockies) and basketball (Denver Nuggets) team, so if you want to get your hands wet with American sports, I can highly recommend getting tickets to a game! If you choose to watch the Denver Broncos, you should consider making time to check out the tailgating scene, which I’ve described in point #16 of 20 Things to Know About Southerners .
  • Which brings me to the next important attraction: Denver’s microbreweries. There are way too many to list here, so I am going to give you what I think are the best five.  
    • Great Divide Brewing Co.
    • Ratio Beerworks
    • Bierstadt Lager
    • Renegade Brewing Company
    • TRVE Brewing Company
  • The Ogden Theater and Bluebird Theater are Denver establishments and arguably the city’s best music venues. They always have an incredible line up on the calendar, so if you are coming into town during Red Rocks Amphitheater’s off season, they won’t disappoint.
  • As a side note, if you are coming to Colorado to ski, might I suggest buying the Epic Local season pass as opposed to the day or week pass, because you can ski unlimited at eleven mountains for about $600. If you buy a 5 day pass at Breckenridge, for example, you will pay about $630. The Epic Local pass is good all season, so you can fly in a few times throughout the year and use it.  Its worth checking out online at http://www.snow.com/epic-pass/passes/epic-local-pass.aspx