Known for its palm trees, star-studded population and prominent wellbeing culture, Los Angeles is a must-see city for anyone seeking plant-based food and vintage shopping. In the latest instalment of our With Love From… series, writer and model Charlie Newman takes us through some of the ways you can stay sustainable in the City of Angels.
Adjusting to living and working in new cities is part and parcel of being a model. It’s an incredibly fortunate position to be in, especially at such a young age and one I do not take for granted, but that doesn’t mean it’s free of challenges. I found Los Angeles the hardest city to adapt to purely because you cannot simply walk out of your front door and explore your neighbourhood or meet your locals.
LA is a city dependant on driving due to it’s lack of public transport, thereby making it harder to find your community. It’s all too easy to get swept up in the intoxicating fantasy of the place, (it is after all called the ‘City of Angels’ for a reason, where stars are born and dreams are made reality) but hidden underneath the Hollywood sign lies the true beauty of the place, it’s emerald green rolling hills crowning the sapphire sea.
In just the 6 weeks I was there this year, three bushfires were hungrily ablaze, ravaging this beautiful landscape, only highlighting further the threat of climate change to us all. Whilst Trump may be turning a blind eye to climate change, California certainly is not. Los Angeles reigns supreme as one of the greenest cities in the world and is a leading example to us all. Check out this guide to differentiate your green washing from your green juicing and find your home away from home.
Images: The LACMA, The Griffith Observatory
WHAT TO DO
Having traditionally been a city centred upon the film industry, the arts world has finally caught up with it’s astonishing plethora of galleries and museums. Highlights include the MOCA, the LACMA, The Broad and the Getty Centre. I particularly enjoyed strolling the Arts District and visiting Hauser and Wirth, Various Small Fires gallery, the Kohn gallery and the Jeffrey Deitch gallery.
Despite the fact that LA is a city anchored on driving, you can still revel in its nature too. With endless hiking options (my favourite is the hike to the Griffith Park observatory where you can marvel over the dizzying scale of the glittering city) and 22 miles of beaches, you really are spoilt for choice. My favourite is El Matador beach, a tourist free zone with a beautiful rocky backdrop. It’s worth noting that the LA hike is the British dog walk but hotter, walking boots and a rain coat are not obligatory. Whilst the endless fitness fads drift in and out of the city quicker than the waves do, there’s always the hills and the sea to keep you fit and happy.
Image: Yayoi Kusana’s ‘Infinity Mirror’ Room at the Broad
FOOD AND DRINK
You don’t have to compromise taste with vegetarianism or veganism in LA. Everywhere you turn there’s always something on the menu that’s not only good for you but good for the planet too.
Gracias Madre – Grab a seat outside under the twinkling lights and enjoy this vibrant, sceney Mexican restaurant. This Mexican serves creative dishes that won’t leave you feeling heavy but free spirited and ready to tackle the nearby bars, but be sure to sip on their famous spicy Margaritas before you go.
Crossroads Kitchen – All your Italian classics minus the meat and all the better for it. When I visited Crossroads my fellow diner’s were non the wiser and extremely shocked to discover that their ‘egg white’ based cocktails, beautiful bolognese and velvety cream sundaes were polished off animal product free. It’s a great spot for a date what with it’s flickering candlelight and intimate leather booths. Go Lady and the Tramp style with the Carbonara-it’s a winner.
The Butcher’s Daughter – A bit of East coast on the West coast, the ever popular Butcher’s Daughter from New York has spiced up the average vegetarian menu with an inventive twist in LA. For once it’s a brunch menu you couldn’t cook yourself.
Veggie Grill – Whether you need some stodge after a big night out or a long day surfing, Veggie Grill has got all your fast food cravings under one roof. Everything standard vegan food isn’t; cheap, fast and delicious.
Farmers markets – Due to the climate, LA is one of the rare places where you can buy locally sourced produce that doesn’t only come from soil, so get down to your local Farmers markets and enjoy the fruits they have to offer.
Images: Gracias Madre, The Butcher’s Daughter
Hunting for vintage is one of my favourite pastimes, especially in a new destination.Travelling home with a trinket is so much more than a souvenir, but a sparkling memory all wrapped up, it’s precious cargo. I was astonished by how reasonable the vintage shopping was in LA, here you can look like a movie star for a fraction of the price. Grab your bargains…
Reformation Vintage – The millennial brand we all know and love has an second-hand option mere metres away from it’s Melrose Avenue store. At 8253 Melrose Avenue you can buy into the Reformation aesthetic without the worry of seeing it on someone else. They have hand selected vintage pieces that will compliment your existing (preferably Reformation) wardrobe, proving that to have the ‘hot new look’ you don’t need to buy anything new!
Buffalo Exchange – We Brits often struggle with the summer wardrobe and who can blame us what with our three day window of blistering heat a year. Somewhere beneath the moth eaten jumpers and mismatching thick socks you’ll discover the confused staple British summer wardrobe consisting of: a pair of gladiator sandals more tangled than a cat’s cradle and vivid maxi dress suitable for well, not much at all. If this is the case, not to worry you can swap it at Buffalo Exchange, other peoples cast off’s can be your casting role.
Image: Rosebowl Stadium
Rosebowl – Rosebowl is the behemoth of second hand markets, held every second Sunday of every month in Pasadena’s athletic stadium and for a reason- you need to be somewhat of an athlete to cover it all. Come full of energy and early in the morning to avoid midday heat, this is after all not an afternoon stroll but a marathon and in my opinion equally as rewarding.
Melrose Trading Post –My favourite market in LA and possibly ever is held in a school playground every Sunday. It is just the right size and holds a treasure trove of collectibles from African woven baskets, handmade jewellery, local art, mid century furniture and high end designer clothes with low end prices. Don’t be afraid to haggle here and get chatting to the stall owners; the majority also sell online, so you can keep up the sunny LA life all the way from England.
The Bearded Beagle – A memorable name and an even more memorable destination packed with unforgettable and refreshingly affordable prices. Take your pick from one of the three stores scattered across the city, whether that’s to update your wardrobe, home or music taste (curated by Fellowship records.)
Read more from our With Love From… travel guide series.
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