Los Angeles, the “City of Angels,” is one of the most iconic cities in the world. It’s diverse and eclectic nature attracts people from all walks of life, and it has become a true mecca of conscious and creative individuals. And it’s not hard to understand why. The close proximity to nature- you can go hiking through the Hollywood Hills, surfing on the Pacific Ocean, and running along the water all in the same day- and the temperate climate make it easy to stay active. And while New York City is all about go-getting, Los Angeles knows how to balance work with play. The west coast vibe is much more laid-back, and the city is also far more spread out.
Each neighborhood in Los Angeles has its own unique demographic, and almost feels like its own mini-city. Silver Lake and Echo Park are popular with the younger crowd, while Venice Beach and Santa Monica are known to be more upscale and touristy. You’ve got Downtown LA which is filled with skyscrapers, shopping centers, and incredible architecture. The Arts District has been slowly gentrifying and is now sprinkled with third wave coffee shops, artsy boutiques, and upscale restaurants.
The Los Angeles subway system has undergone some major additions in the past decade, making it far more accessible to get around without a car. And trust me, you don’t want to deal with LA’s notorious traffic. Electric scooters are also helping to ease congestion, and are much cheaper than Ubers.
Below you’ll find a curated list of ethical coffee shops, sustainable boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants, vegan eateries, wellness centers, and much more. I hope you get the chance to visit some of these businesses, and to see first-hand what LA is all about.
Coffee & Tea
Culver City | 3515 Helms Ave.
Bar Nine was founded by two friends with backgrounds in retail, events, and the arts, and is shouldered by a passion for the coffee industry and a mission to uplift the local community. Their industrial-chic space is a great place to stop for carefully-sourced coffee, house-made pastries, and local, seasonal dishes.
Echo Park | 1294 W Sunset Blvd.
Eightfold Coffee is a “locally inspired and inspiring gathering place with good coffee and good people.”
One of the most renowned direct-trade coffee companies in the United States, Intelligentsia has its roots in Chicago but has since expanded to five cities throughout the country. Four different neighborhoods in Los Angeles are blessed with the company’s presence- Silver Lake, Echo Park, Venice, and Pasadena. Intelligentsia is committed to environmental stewardship and fair trade, paying above Fair Trade prices for their partners. Come here you’re looking for a truly excellent cup of coffee from a company that knows its beans.
Echo Park | 1755 Glendale Blvd
Shreebs Coffee’s new home in the hip Echo Park neighborhood is the company’s first true brick & mortar location. The company has humble roots, starting in founder Casey Goch’s backyard, then later setting up shop in a shipping container in LA’s Arts District. Shreebs is truly committed to sustainable practices, organic farming, and creating a sense of community. Their new location has an extended menu, a cozy courtyard, and plenty of parking.
This coffee company has several locations throughout Los Angeles. Check out their website to learn more about their Farmlevel Initiative- Verve’s commitment to ethics, environmental stewardship, and combatting climate change within the coffee industry. Their location in DTLA has a beautiful live plant wall and serves juice flights in collaboration with the local juice company Juice Served Here.
Venice | 507 Rose Ave
Melrose Place | 8463-3 Melrose Place
Silver Lake | 2839 Sunset Blvd
Moon Juice is a juice bar that might be most well-known for its superfood and adaptogenic “dusts” (Brain Dust and Beauty Dust are two popular options). The company has a cult following and even a cookbook, which focuses on whole foods, herbs, and adaptogens.
Los Feliz | 4645 Melbourne Ave
The Punchbowl is a 100% organic, raw, vegan juice bar and apothecary located in the neighborhood of Los Feliz, which sits at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains. The owners are veterans of the juicing world, and I love that they serve their juices in glass containers.
Where to Eat
Silver Lake | 1620 Silver Lake Blvd.
Botanica Restaurant and Market is a place where you can indulge in healthy, sustainable food in a light and airy setting. Though they do not label themselves “vegan,” or “vegetarian,” or “gluten free,” they are steered by the values of creativity, sustainability, and hospitality. Entrees emphasize vegetables, fruits, and grains, and there’s always room for a guilt-free indulgence (buckwheat brownie, anyone?). They also have an extensive list of natural wines and healthy(ish) cocktails.
DTLA | 600 S. Spring St.
This Downtown LA joint serves plant-based pub food and craft beer. If their goal is to turn people onto vegan food, I think the “tachos” (nacho tater tots) just might do it. And if you’re feeling like something a little healthier, they’ve got a mean buddha bowl.
Arts District | 300 S Sante Fe Ave.
Larchmont | 639 N Larchmont Blvd.
Venice | 512 Rose Ave.
“What are you grateful for?” is a question that is imprinted onto each serving dish at this plant-based restaurant. Cafe Gratitude embodies mindfulness in every way- from supporting local farmers and regenerative agriculture, to designing meals out of high quality, nutritious ingredients in tasty and playful ways, to sparking meaningful conversations around the dinner table. I love the questions presented by the wait staff, questions like “what are you releasing today?” which turns a meal at Cafe Gratitude into a spiritual experience.
Venice | 1700 Lincoln Blvd.
Matthew Kenney’s famous plant-based pizza restaurant has made its way to the west coast at its new, beautiful Venice location. Enjoy wood-fired pizzas with inventive toppings and nut-based cheeses, traditional Italian dishes like cacio e pepe and eggplant parmesan (in plant-based form, of course), and an extensive list of natural wines.
Echo Park | 2135 Sunset Blvd.
Elf Cafe serves artful vegan creations in a dark and dimly lit setting. Perfect for quiet conversation and meals you would probably never be able to recreate back home.
Venice | 1429 Abbott Kinney Blvd.
One of the hottest spots in the Venice neighborhood for both locals and visitors, Gjelina is a place where all kinds of eaters can enjoy a beautiful, carefully sourced meal. They’re especially notorious for their pizzas (which you can also order by the slice at ‘Gjelina Take Away’ right next door). Open every day from 8 AM til midnight, this is a place where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks.
Venice | 320 Sunset Ave.
Gjusta started off as a commissary kitchen for Gjelina and GTA (Gjelina Take Away), and it has since become a gathering spot of its own right. Here you can choose from a variety of breads, pastries, and other baked goods, as well as soups, sandwiches, and salads. They source nearly all of their produce, meat, and seafood from Southern Californian farms, ranchers, and fisherman.
West Hollywood | 8905 Melrose Ave.
A 100% plant-based take on Mexican food, with a menu that pays homage to traditional dishes like tamales, pozole, enchiladas, tacos al pastor, street corn, and so much more. When it’s owned by the Cafe Gratitude restaurant group, you know it’s going to be good.
Echo Park | 1620 W Sunset Blvd.
Honey Hi is committed to providing thoughtfully sourced and nutritious meals. They work closely with local farmers who practice regenerative agriculture and soil restoration, and their menu is free from refined sugars, food additives, and other ingredients which don’t promote well-being.
Venice | 1009 Abbott Kinney Blvd.
An elevated dining experience for plant-based eaters, in an atmosphere that is far from “crunchy.” Indulge in artisanal nut-based cheeses, organic wine, and plant-based takes on culturally-influenced dishes, like ramen, lasagna, and dumplings. When the weather calls for it (which is most of the time in SoCal), you can dine out on their beautiful outdoor patio with garden seating.
Echo Park | 1700 W Sunset Blvd
Culver City | 4130 Sepulveda Blvd
Pasadena | 41 Hugus Alley
Now with several locations sprinkled throughout Los Angeles, Sage Bistro offers an extensive and culturally varied menu using locally sourced, organic ingredients. In addition to an extensive list of local craft beers, sustainable wines, and cocktails, Sage Bistro now brews its own fermented beverages including beers, sours, and kombucha.
Venice | 1337 Abbott Kinney Blvd.
Alternative Apparel is known for its well-made basics, made from natural and sustainable textiles including organic cotton and recycled polyester, as well as its fair and ethical labor and manufacturing practices.
Santa Monica | 1327 Montana Ave.
As one of the pioneers of eco-friendly fashion, Amour Vert has done an admirable job of setting new standards for the fashion industry. They use innovative and sustainable fabrics including Tencel, Modal, linen, organic cotton, and recycled polyester, and everything is made in the USA using non-toxic dyes and a zero-waste philosophy.
Venice | 1930 Lincoln Blvd.
70’s flower child is the aesthetic that has elevated Christy Dawn into a brand that is borderline worshipped by the conscious community. The company got its start by working with dead-stock fabric, an approach that’s far from perfect but was the best a small fashion startup could do. Christy Dawn has since implemented its own initiatives that are directed at producing fashion in a way that honors Mother Earth. The Farm-to-Closet Initiative is a foray into regenerative cotton farming; they are currently working with traditional farmers and craftsmen and four acres of land in Southern India to grow organic cotton to be used for textiles.
West Hollywood | 8327 W 3rd St.
Credo Beauty has evolved into the Sephora of clean beauty, and they have even implemented their own loyalty rewards program. You will find a variety of non-toxic makeup, hygiene, and beauty products from well-known brands like RMS, Herbivore Botanicals, and Tata Harper.
Venice | 1140 Abbott Kinney Blvd
This women-owned fashion brand is built on the philosophy of a lean closet (aka fewer, but better pieces meant to last a lifetime). They work with artisans across the world using the highest quality materials and craftsmen techniques that have been passed down through generations. Fashion should be less about acquiring as many pieces as possible, and more about honoring the few, carefully selected pieces that you already own.
Century City | Westfield Century City, 10250
Santa Monica | 1231 Montana Ave.
West Hollywood | 8380 Beverly Blvd.
With 3 locations throughout the Los Angeles area, the Detox Market stocks green beauty brands meant to detoxify your life. Product categories include makeup, skincare, hair and body products, wellness supplements, and more.
The Row DTLA | 767 South Alameda St. #192
Galerie is an ethical concept shop based in DTLA, showcasing sustainable fashion, beauty, and lifestyle goods from emerging designers and makers. On their website you can shop by your values, whether that’s “vegan,” “local,” “artisan-made,” or “recycled.” The company was born from a yearning to promote better transparency within the fashion industry.
Venice | 1801 Lincoln Blvd.
This lifestyle boutique offers a rotating, eclectic assortment of home goods, books, new and vintage clothing, and artwork from local California artisans.
Culver City | 8634 Washington Blvd.
Silver Lake | 1404 Micheltorena St.
A curation of women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing, jewelry, home goods, decor, and an apothecary all under one roof. Their slogan “Well Chosen Goods” succinctly describes their product offering of ethically and sustainably made goods. It’s a beautiful place to stop and look for a unique gift, or a new piece to add to your ethical wardrobe.
Santa Monica | 2937 Main St.
Culver City | PLATFORM at Culver City
West Hollywood | 8000 Melrose Ave.
Reformation is one of the pioneers of sustainable fashion, and their aesthetic is more sexy and trendy than most sustainable brands. Think form-fitting silhouettes, animal prints, and sparkles. Sometimes girls just wanna have fun with their wardrobe, and Reformation proves that sustainable fashion can be fun and flirty too.
DTLA | 453 S Spring St.
Of all the independent bookstores I’ve been to in my short life (and I’ve been to quite a few), The Last Bookstore is easily one of my favorites. Spanning two stories and complete with that used book smell that all true bibliophiles love, The Last Bookstore offers new, used, and vintage books for reasonable prices. Much of the store appears to be in utter disarray, but that’s what I love most about it. It is the perfect treasure hunt for both famous and lesser-known titles. They also have an impressive selection of used vinyls.
Culver City West | 12801 Venice Blvd.
This locally owned fashion brand stocks fashion apparel from its own line, as well as other handcrafted items from local makers . Their line of apparel is made in Los Angeles using dead-stock fabrics. Sustainability is woven into each step of the process- from sourcing low impact textiles, to manufacturing without the use of water, to packaging and shipping with 100% recycled materials. Everything is ethically produced in small batches. A big ol’ “Screw You!” to the fast fashion mindset.
Playa Del Rey | 427 Culver Rd.
This beautiful little oasis in Playa Del Rey is a meditation center offering workshops related to tea drinking, meditation, and mindfulness. In Asian cultures, tea drinking is considered a spiritual modality, and Ay Am is helping bring that practice over to the western world. They have a retail space on site selling artisan goods, crystals, apothecary goods, and other spiritual gift items.
Studio City | 11128 Ventura Blvd.
A women-owned, women-run wellness center with a menu of offerings that includes everything wellness and beauty related- skincare, brow shaping, micro-blading, waxing, body contouring, reiki, naturopathy, sauna sessions, and more. They have the tools, the expertise, and the staff to make you feel beautiful from the inside- out. Their studio is a serene and tucked away space in Studio City, a quaint respite from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
The Now is where locals and visitors go for an affordable, yet effective massage, to melt away their daily stresses. Massages start at just $45 for a 25 minute session, and they offer a variety of “enhancements” like gua sha, crystal healing, and scalp renewal. Their a la cart style of services ensures that each session you’re getting exactly what you need (and nothing you don’t).
Fitness & Recreation
One of the best things about Los Angeles is its temperate climate, which makes it enjoyable to be outdoors almost all year round. Located in the up-and-coming Culver city neighborhood, the Baldwin Steps are a popular way for locals to, quite literally, “get in their steps.” What better way to stay in shape than running up and down a steep set of stairs!
Griffith Park Trails
This is the trail system that leads up to the famous Hollywood sign, and you could spend hours exploring the different trails. My favorite route starts at the base of the Griffith Observatory, then winds through the canyon up to the Hollywood Sign. Plan on spending at least 4 hours for this round trip, and bring plenty of water and snacks! The trails are well marked so you always know which direction you’re headed.
The sustainable yoga franchise, Modo Yoga, has three locations throughout Los Angeles city center, and offers a mix of different styles of yoga. Classes are taught in a heated room by experienced instructors, and they offer several community (aka free!) classes throughout the week.
This heavily-trafficked hike takes you through a 2.7 mile loop up the Hollywood Hills, with beautiful views of Los Angeles.
Arts & Culture
A contemporary art museum in DTLA offering free general admission and rotating exhibitions of influential contemporary artists. The museum was founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad and has, through the Broad Art Foundation, loaned out over 8,500 pieces of artwork to over 500 museums and galleries around the world, in an attempt to increase public access to contemporary art.
The Getty is another free museum in Los Angeles, featuring modern architecture, both permanent and rotating art exhibitions, and beautiful Italian-inspired gardens. Make an afternoon of it by enjoying a locally-sourced meal from their museum cafe.
Grand Central Market
Taste your way through Grand Central Market which features a culturally diverse variety of local food vendors. My top pick from Grand Central Market is the vegan ramen from Ramen Hood (it even has a vegan “egg!”).