The Best Los Angeles Neighborhoods to Visit For Culture, Shopping, and Attractions

coolest neighborhoods in LA - los feliz
These days, Los Feliz is undoubtedly one of the coolest neighborhoods in LA.

When many people think of Los Angeles, they have a specific picture in their head relating to a particular neighborhood, whether it’s the celebrity culture of Hollywood or the hot beaches of Venice or Santa Monica.

But the cool thing about L.A. is that it’s a diverse place with lots of interesting places to see.

The best Los Angeles neighborhoods, for me at least, include places that have a lot of culture and hipster energy. These are some of my favorite LA areas.

Top Neighborhoods in Los Angeles

Silver Lake

Silver Lake is the hipster capital of the city, which means I will most likely live there if and when I eventually move to LA.

Some of the LA hipsters will say Echo Park fits the bill more, but Echo Park still hasn’t quite reached the same level of cool Silver Lake has obtained.

Silver Lake has everything you’d expect from such a neighborhood: Dive bars, vegan restaurants, art galleries and novelty stores with photo booths.

Downtown Los Angeles

downtown los angeles

No L.A. neighborhood has changed as quickly in recent years as the downtown core. Downtown L.A. (DTLA) has all the usual hipster spots – coffee shops, tattoo parlors, bike shops.

It also has some major attractions, like Arena (formerly the Staples Center) and the Grammy Museum, which ensure that it will see a steady stream of tourists and regular local visitors.

Downtown is also home to a number of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, including Anarchy Seafood and Philippe’s.

Beverly Hills

Kitson Beverly Hills

I shouldn’t like Beverly Hills, since I’m all about being budget-conscious and I don’t love pretentious atmospheres.

Yet, perhaps because I stayed near Beverly Hills twice when visiting LA, I actually enjoy the area.

I like the upscale shopping district and the fact that the richest celebs in town can be seen walking around. It’s fun to wander around this part of town and take in the sights.

Los Feliz

When I first put together a personal list of the best Los Angeles neighborhoods, Los Feliz wasn’t even on it.

But the ‘hood keeps getting cooler as the years go by, and now it’s one of my favorite neighborhoods to visit when I’m in LA.

The street art, bookstores, coffee shops, and trendy shops have made Los Feliz a go-to destination. And its location near the Griffith Observatory and Silver Lake put it right in the heart of L.A.’s coolest areas.

West Hollywood

Hamburger Marys West Hollywood - los angeles cool hipster best neighborhoods

WeHo is a vibrant neighborhood with lots of opportunities for sidewalk dining and people watching, two of my favorite activities, plus plenty of shopping and restaurants.

It’s one the largest gay communities in the nation and is always bursting with energy.

West Hollywood is also a fantastic place to stalk celebrities in L.A.! I’ve seen lots of famous people walking the streets and dining at restaurants in the area.

Hollywood Hills

best los angeles neighborhoods: Hollywood Hills
The Hollywood Hills is one of the best Los Angeles neighborhoods to visit if you’re into celebrity culture.

Pretty much every successful celeb has a million-dollar house up here. Stalking celebs is fun, but you can be more discreet about it by going to Runyon Canyon Park.

Besides keeping an eye out for Jason Bateman, Jessica Biel, Lauren Conrad, Jake Gyllenhaal and countless other big names, you can hike on the walking trails, including several that allow off-leash dogs.

It’s a fun workout and provides a nice view of the city (though not quite as nice as the Griffith Observatory.)

Santa Monica

santa monica route 66

Santa Monica is technically its own city, but culturally it’s a big part of LA. Any first-time tourist to the city will want to check out Santa Monica Pier and the nearby beach.

Also, Santa Monica appears again and again in some of the best songs about Los Angeles, like Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” and Everclear’s “Santa Monica (Watch the World Die).”


Koreatown favorite hipster LA neighborhoods

Ethnic hoods are always cool because you can (to some degree) experience the culture of a people without leaving the U.S.

Koreatown has a number of great restaurants and holds an annual festival and parade. Plus, there are lots of establishments offering private karaoke studios for as little as $5/hour during weekdays. Score!

Venice Beach

venice beach skaters

What is Venice Beach known for? Its eccentric characters, lively boardwalk, skateboard culture, and cool overall vibe.

This is one of my favorite places to visit in LA during the day. Watching the oddballs interact with the tourists on the beach is magical.

Venice Beach isn’t as great at night, because the nightlife is minimal. I learned that the hard way. But for an afternoon visit, it’s still one of my faves.

Other Cool Los Angeles Neighborhoods

As mentioned, Echo Park is great. I’ve also had a good time in Culver City and Sherman Oaks. And some of the nearby cities are fun — Malibu, Pasadena, Long Beach, and even Burbank, home of the tv studios.

If this best Los Angeles neighborhoods article just doesn’t do it for you, check out the LA Times map with info about all 100+ neighborhoods in the entire city!

Which are the best Los Angeles neighborhoods in your opinion? What’s your favorite part of the city to visit?

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