how to do a proper #nochella

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It was my original intention to travel to Los Angeles this past weekend to attend Coachella Music Festival. I have been before, two years ago, and had a blast. The music, the fashion, the weather, the vibes, all of these things enticed me to come back for more.

However, life tends to get in the way of the things we want most.

Due to some scheduling, work, and financial obstacles, my cousin (who I planned to go with) and I decided it might be better to opt out of the festival this year for our sanity. I had already booked my flight with reward miles so I decided to come out anyway and enjoy a long weekend in one of my favorite cities. I was also able to convince my boyfriend to tag along, so we were able to turn it into a nice little couples getaway.

One of the biggest benefits of coming to L.A. during weekend 1 Coachella was that there was no one there. Traffic was lightened and usually packed bars & clubs were sparse. Since we were there for an extra long weekend and didn’t face any inhibition from crowds, we were able to try a lot of new restaurants and activities.

Today I’m rounding up some of my favorite activities and places in the area for other #NoChella goers, or just those looking for a good time with good food & wine in L.A. Our entire trip hugged the SoCal coast, so I’ve divvied up some recommended activities by region.

Venice

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We stayed in Venice and ate on or near Abbott Kinney every day, so for convenience I’m just going to list our favorites here:

  • The Butcher’s Daughter (incredible breakfast)
  • Intelligenista Coffee
  • Gjelina
  • La Scopa (a very romantic spot for a date night)
  • Great White

I have a lot of favorite shops on Abbott Kinney, but I didn’t do much shopping this trip. However, I did discover a new favorite store, AUST, which features some of my favorite Australian brands and labels.

Our last night in LA we grabbed a drink at Hotel Erwin’s rooftop bar (The High Bar) and watched the glorious sunset above (photo above doesn’t do it justice).

Santa Monica

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While in Santa Monica, we had to eat at my favorite restaurant Cassia. Their Singaporean style food is so unique. We were with a large group of people, and dishes were served family style, so this time I was able to try almost everything on the menu.

Honorable mention goes to Bardonna on Montana where we dined twice (once for breakfast, once for lunch, both amazing).

Our first day in LA had us walk down Montana to the cliffs. It was beautiful weather and we were enjoying the walk too much to shop, but I did stop in Shabby Chic, since the interior satiates my aesthetic inspiration for months on end.

On our last morning before our flight home we managed a hike at Temescal Canyon in the Pacific Palisades. We hiked up through the canyon, then down the ridge of the mountain, which opened up to the expanse of the Pacific Ocean’s horizon on the walk down.

Santa Barbara

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We drove up the PCH for one night in Santa Barbara and it was beautiful.Β The boardwalk and wharf are a must in SB, and are a great segue from seafood (at Brophy Bros) to wine tasting.

There are all these wine bars that have cropped up in the Funk Zone region of town recently that offer great selections of locally made wines & beers. I wish I could list them here, but there were so many that I simply can’t remember all of them.

Looking at all of the Instagram photos and videos of people at Coachella does not elicit the same sense of FOMO as it would have done a few years ago or even last year, which is odd for me. I would absolutely love a chance to go back to Coachella, but I think I may be getting too old for music festivals.

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