When in Los Angeles, one can easily embark on an ‘eat-pray-love’ journey without ever leaving the city. With distinct neighborhoods offering everything from hiking and yoga retreats to fine dining and a vibrant night life, you can frame a vacation in any style you like. LA is an ideal destination for solo travelers because of the variety of hostels, Air BnB’s and hotels conveniently available where all the action is.
I chose to start my visit to the City of Angels with a few days of rest and relaxation. Straight from the airport, I hopped on a bus to a little slice of heaven called Hermosa Beach, one of the three Beach Cities in LA. The sound of crashing ocean waves is audible from the base of the Pier Plaza, home to bars and restaurants that stay lively throughout the week.
Located on the South Bay region between Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach, Hermosa is home to the Comedy & Magic Club, where you can see Jay Leno and other comics regularly. Fans of La La Land or jazz music will know the iconic Lighthouse Cafe, which in the last six years has become the top citadel of jazz on the south coast.
The small town is lined with a healthy mix of independent restaurants, bars, cafés and grocery stores like Trader Joes, making it easy to find healthy food easily and inexpensively. I almost went back to Amigos Tacos twice for their Seared Mahi Burrito Bowl that was packed with brown rice, black beans, mahi, cilantro and spring onion.
Without the massive crowds found in LA hot spots like Venice Beach and Santa Monica, Hermosa feels like a proper relaxed beach town–especially during the shoulder seasons, which in my case was early March. The temperatures stayed in the 60-75°F range, which made for ideal running conditions. One can venture out to Manhattan Beach via the Strand, or take the Hermosa Valley Greenbelt to the border of the town of Redondo Beach.
Though my stay in Hermosa Beach was short, I was lucky to have caught the Farmer’s Market that takes place every Wednesday from 1pm – 6pm at the Pier Plaza.
Here you’ll find local grocers and vendors selling everything from vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free (or as the locals call it, “LA-proof”) soups, to divine organic cold-brew coffee. I easily spent over two hours meandering around and chatting with the vendors. It was a health-nut’s dream.
One of my favorite stalls was an organic, vegan, handmade skin care line called Nature’s Nebula. I bought a bottle of anti-aging serum made from a blend of essential oils, and an organic luffa–straight from the plant–with seeds still intact. The owner, Lana, was so knowledgeable and passionate, I will be posting an interview with her here very soon.
After a day of beach-dwelling and exploring, you can walk up a few blocks to SoHo Yoga or Beach Cities Yoga to wind down and stretch out after gazing at the sunset on the pier. I will save the hundreds of sunset pictures for my personal albums. The sky becomes full of all shades of purple, yellow, orange and blue, and draws out a crowd even in the brisk evening temperatures.
The hardest part about the trip to Hermosa Beach was saying goodbye. As I moved on to face new adventures in Venice, Koreatown and beyond, I praised Hermosa Beach to anyone who would listen, and it stands out as my favorite place to be in LA.