Joshua Tree National Park has been on my bucket list for years! So, I finally booked a last minute flight and Airbnb a few weeks ago to celebrate the bulk of my thesis research being done (after conducting a few interviews while on the road).
Between work and friends, I am in L.A. multiple times a year; it’s quickly becoming my second home. Still, the city has so much to offer, and there is always something new to check out while I’m there.
This time I explored Chinatown, Little Tokyo, The Broad, Koreatown, DTLA, Hollywood and, of course, the Laurel Canyon/Studio City area where I stayed.
Chinatown and Little Tokyo have great shopping; I’d 100 percent rather shop at off-beat, local stores than the big-name stores in town. That being said, I did check out Reformation’s first-of-its-kind vintage shop, which was ah-mazing.
Although Ref is a popular label (especially among the L.A. crowd), its vintage shop, which is exclusive to L.A.’s famed Melrose Avenue, offers specially curated pieces from tons of different brands. And because it’s Ref-curated, everything was gorgeous!
Koreatown, on the other hand, is one of my top places in L.A. for food–I am such a sucker for all the authentic Korean (and Thai!) restaurants in the area. Dim Sung Sa is about as authentic as it gets (not only the food, but the atmosphere, too)!
The Broad museum, which is near Little Tokyo, is hands-down the coolest modern art museum I’ve ever visited. In addition to big names like Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, The Broad has quite a few other spectacular pop art and cartoon-y pieces lining its walls. And all of it truly reflects L.A.’s unique vibes.
I also stopped by DTLA for the first time ever to visit Are You Am I’s showroom, or LOFT, as its called. The space is absolutely gorgeous, and I am so happy I was able to see the label’s designs IRL #apartmentgoals.
After that I took a short walk to a cafe called Verve for some L.A.-style juice while I caught up on emails and other work- and school-related business.
Then, I headed down the street to The Last Bookstore, a huge bookstore famous for its second-floor Labyrinth. Home to more than 100,000 books organized by color for a rainbow-like effect, or by genre on shelves arranged to create a maze-like feeing, the Labyrinth is complete with hidden book rooms and plenty of spaces to sit down and read (as well as a larger-than-life, photo-worthy tunnel of books).
A night out (or two!) in Hollywood is a necessity when visiting L.A. because there are so many cool spots within walking distance. After takeout from Sugarfish (an L.A. staple), we started at State Social House and ended up at The Argyle–quite possibly my new favorite spot in town.
On another night we hit up a new spot called Girl At The White Horse, which had great vibes and the *cutest* hot pink decor, after eating dinner at Dave’s Hot Chicken, the best comfort food in L.A.
I also enjoyed a night out in Studio City at a chill bar called Laurel Tavern, the perfect place to grab a couple drinks after a long day.
We spent Saturday and Sunday night in Joshua Tree before leaving mid-morning on Monday. Like I said, that place has been on my bucket list for years, and I am *so* happy to be able to cross it off. Although I managed to get some beautiful pictures, they don’t really do Joshua Tree justice; it is an insanely beautiful place in person with the coolest vibes to match.
During the daytime we hiked to 49 Palms Canyon Oasis, which is a stunning trail from start to finish. Then, we toured downtown in the afternoon and evening. The main road 29 Palms Highway (CA 62) is full of neat art, shops and restaurants.
We checked out a gift shop, as well as the Joshua Tree Saloon–where we had a killer Mexican meal, complete with jalapeño margs–before heading to the Sun Alley Shops and the World Famous Crochet Museum. I picked up a couple stickers to add to my collection, and some local prickly pear cactus jelly and Joshua Tree seeds to bring home to my parents.
Monday morning we brunched at Crossroads Cafe, where I had the best burger and fries of. my. life. Not exaggerating. This little place has a ton of options, and everything on the menu looked delish; it’s definitely a must-do brunch spot if you are in the Joshua Tree area.
I was so sad to leave JT but I know for a fact I’ll be returning some day; our Airbnb was clean, spacious and, best of all, private–I’d return again in a heartbeat. It had a killer outdoor shower, and it was perched on top its own hill, making it the ideal spot to checkout the views day or night.