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3 Los Angeles Neighborhoods Worth Exploring

We all know Hollywood, Santa Monica and Downtown LA, but there are so many areas in Los Angeles worth exploring, and you probably haven’t heard of half of them unless you live there. Even then, the city is so vast, you could probably dine somewhere new every day for years and still not traverse the whole City of Angels.

Below are three parts of town we think deserve a shout out either for their walkability, diversity, food and beverage options or all of the above. Next time you head west, make sure you take a day—or at least a few hours—to tour these neighborhoods. They’ll 100 percent win you over.

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In LA’s San Fernando Valley, there’s a place called Encino. You may have never heard of it or if you have, there’s a chance you know it as the land of the strip mall. There’s actually quite a bit you can do here, though. From escape rooms and the Getty Center to Lake Balboa and even a Japanese Garden, there are many things to do that are family-friendly and chock-full of local culture.

There is also a little hidden gem here called Scratch Bar & Kitchen, which really makes Encino special and worth visiting. Located on the second story of an unassuming shopping center, Scratch boasts a 20+ course tasting menu with wine pairings and possibly the coolest and most down to earth chefs, bartenders and kitchen staff in all of LA.

Dinner starts at the bar and then moves to either bar seating or tables overlooking an open kitchen. It’s truly an experience worth writing home about and one you’ll want to experience again and again.

Next door to Scratch is Woodley Proper, the restaurant’s sister bar. If you’re looking for a very elevated experience and want to get out of town for a couple of days, head to Scratch’s newest concept in Montecito, the exciting (and pricey) fine-dining establishment, Silver Bough.

Highland Park

A neighborhood (like much of LA) that gets its culture, food, street art and more from its Latin roots is teeming with things to do as many shops and restaurants either pick up and move to Highland Park or open second outposts of their already existing and successful stores there.

There are plenty of coffee shops in the area (Civil Coffee, Cafe de Leche, Kindness & Mischief Coffee to name a few), artisanal stores that sell every perfume, oil, smudge stick and greeting card you could ever want or need and delicious restaurants and bars (can't-miss the Moroccan-spiced fried chicken at Cafe Birdie or house cocktails like the One Way Ticket at Good Housekeeping).

Park your car here and plan to explore the area on foot. The first ever Forever 21 (since 1984) is here, as is Highland Park Bowl, which was renovated a few years back and has kept some original fixtures, for a throwback day or night of bowling with pizza and beer you won’t soon forget.

If you want pastries, there’s Mr. Holmes Bakehouse—be sure to visit early before your favorites sell out—and Silverlake Wine when you need to pick up a bottle. Dog lovers can visit Rosie Bunny Bean for treats, toys and personalized dog tags and music lovers will rejoice at Gimme Gimme Records.

Possibilities are endless here, with food trucks parked in the area regularly and Block Party to satisfy all your beer and frozen drink cravings. On a nice day (who are we kidding, they’re all nice days in Cali!) head to the backyard, have a snack and some drinks and stick around a while. There is nothing like a Los Angeles sunset with a drink in hand and great company to share it all with.

Los Feliz

Sandwiched between Atwater Village, Silver Lake and East Hollywood, this neighborhood is also walkable and a great place for date night, girls’ night or taking a stroll with the whole family.

There is the classic Dresden bar/restaurant, where scenes from “Swingers” were filmed, a theater down the block, Skylight Books (an incredible bookstore that hosts book signings and speakers on the regular), thrift stores and, of course, great food.

Little Dom’s and Figaro Bistro are cult favorites, while All Time and Atrium bring something new and beautiful (not to mention delicious) to the table. While All Time’s menu is handwritten daily, this homey spot has the most carefully curated and locally-sourced dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Because it changes so often, All Time will list its menu on Instagram so head there to read everything in mouthwatering detail. If it’s a beautiful dinner or weekend brunch you’re looking for, the hidden-ish Atrium will hit the spot. With high ceilings and a hip-hop playlist, what’s not to like here? You must try the grilled cauliflower shawarma and the octopus al pastor tostada. Both will leave you wanting more.

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