The LA Wellness Weekend Itinerary
LA has a reputation for being a health-centric city, with a high concentration of juice bars, acupuncturists, yoga studios, and more. As a result, navigating them can be overwhelming, especially for visitors. In an effort to assist with planning, we’ve pulled some of our favorite places as options—with each day spotlighting one neighborhood for maximum relaxation and minimum time in traffic: Friday night in West Hollywood, Saturday near the beach on the West Side, and Sunday exploring hipster hangouts farther east. Beverly Hills hotels are relatively central and offer easy access to most parts of the city.
8380 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood | 323.782.0421
This simple and well-organized shop is a veritable mecca for safe cosmetics and skincare. Founded to combat the fact that some of the most toxic elements in a woman’s life come straight from her beauty products, they sell lines such as RMS, Ila, Rahua, and Odacité. Pick up a few items for preening and pampering pre-dinner.
8284 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood | 323.782.9245
Only in LA would the bar inside a vegan restaurant be a major scene (it’s kind of the best place to sit for a full meal, too). While vegan food never seems to get the upscale touch, it’s not the case at Tal Ronnen’s dimly-lit, luxurious bistro. There’s no mention on the menu of the fact that every dish is plant-based: Hearts of palm masquerade as crab cakes and calamari, and almonds pretend they’re cheese. Without the clever naming conventions, the food would still stand on its own. In short: You won’t miss dairy or meat. There are also lots of workarounds for the gluten-intolerant as well.
7611 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood | 323.746.5525
By way of a serene neutral interior—complete with cactus plants and lots of driftwood—this massage spa aims to recreate a little piece of Tulum in the center of Los Angeles. They’re also open until 10pm, catering to a crowd that can’t always break away during the day for some spa time. The best part, however, is the pricing: $35 gets you a 25-minute massage ($85 for 85 minutes). While you can book an appointment through their site or app, they also allow walk-ins.
131 S. La Brea Ave., Hollywood | 323.936.9353
This long-standing Japanese on La Brea serves up simple, healthy, and delicious macrobiotic fare in a pleasant, no-frills dining room. It’s great for a feel-good weekday lunch or dinner.
Equinox West LA, 1835 S. Sepulveda Blvd. | 310.473.1447
Equinox’s recently rebranded Tier X training program—the most extensive they offer—is available at the club’s sprawling West LA location, which features a stunning pool (though we’re always way too tired to swim after one of these sessions). Since the data-based training sessions are perfectly tailored to each individual client, trainers can target problem areas based on your specific metabolism and body type, making for a shattering workout every time. Tier X is also available at Beverly Hills, but the gym offers other levels of personal training at every location (which at this point is practically every neighborhood in the city).
1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice | 310.981.3004
Butcher’s Daughter is kind of the perfect place for a hearty brunch after a big workout. And it’s not just the east coast transplants that have been lining up for a table in the beautifully turned out dining room (there’s also an indoor-outdoor terrace that’s pretty perfect for people watching) or a seat at one of two bars. Everyone can appreciate the veggie-friendly menu (just brunch, breakfast, and lunch, for now), which includes standbys like avocado toast and breakfast burritos. The teeny but well-stocked retail space out front and the cold-pressed juice cooler are welcome little add-ons.
Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu
El Porto, Sunset Beach, and Point Dume are probably the most talked about swells along the Los Angeles/Malibu coastline, but you don’t necessarily need to be a pro to surf them (for Point Dume, you do need to have a key, unless you paddle over from one of the adjacent beaches). Fortunately, LA is packed with surf instructors. You can find one just by walking out to the beach in front of Shutters, though friends swear by Chris “Crash” Carson (email@example.com), who will swim out with you and push you in, making it an all around fun and successful endeavor.
512 Rose Ave., Venice | 424.231.8000
Everything on the menu is an affirmation, so if you can stifle the giggles at names like “I Am Connected”—which is actually an amazing zucchini cilantro hummus—you’ll find that the vegan food here is delicious, even for those who normally refuse to go meat and dairy-free. There are picks for every sensibility, from coffee milkshakes (made with almond milk), to cashew cheese topped corn tacos to Indian curried lentils. There are three locations—Hancock Park, Venice, and the Arts District—and the Café Gratitude team also has a Mexican iteration in Hollywood called Gracias Madre.
By Appointment Only, Pacific Palisades | 310.459.7715
Surya Spa is no joke—in fact, it’s one of only a handful of Panchakarma spots in the states. That said, it takes a pretty intense level of commitment that’s a bit out of reach unless you have the vacation time and budget: It requires 3 to 4 hours a day, for 3, 5, or 7 days (we recommend the full week, though it’s tough, as you have to abide by the very ascetic menu that they prescribe). The house-made organic food and authentic Panchakarma treatments reach far beyond what you’ll find in a traditional wellness spa: I.e., if you think you might have parasites, you should come here. The results—better skin, considerable weight-loss—speak aggressively for themselves. Beyond being a wonderful detox resource, mothers, babies and mothers-to-be are in for a treat with Surya Spa’s special approach to pregnancy and babies’ first six weeks.
1522 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice | 424.238.8324
Before heading out for the rest of your day, grab a matcha at just-opened Shuari, just down the street from Butcher’s Daughter on Abbot Kinney. The matcha lattes are some of the best in town, and there’ also matcha, ginger, and black sesame ice cream if you’ve already been caffeinated for the day. Either is perfect for nursing during a stroll down to the beach.
1426 Montana Ave., Santa Monica | 310.899.1029
While you wouldn’t normally liken a nail salon to a really great-looking home, that’s the prevailing vibe at this perennially-bustling nail shop. They employ the city’s best nail artists when they’re not on shoots or catering to clients at home, which means it’s kind of the place to go if you want something specific and intricate. The Montana location isn’t quite walking distance from Abbot Kinney, but it’s just a quick drive away, and the ample opportunities for strolling and shopping on the street make it well worth it.
1518 Montana Ave., Santa Monica | 310.395.5937
We’re big fans of this genius lunch spot on Montana, which serves self-named KyeRito’s: In lieu of beans and tortillas, though, you’ll find things like wild seared salmon and macro-pressed veggies wrapped in nori, collard greens, or romaine leaves. And to keep the mini burrito from getting soggy, the interior ingredients are packaged in a slip-wrap that you pull out before eating. It’s a grab-and-go place, though they have a few tables and benches.
11731 Barrington Ct., Brentwood | 310.476.4636
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Country Mart, this gorgeously turned out boutique specializes in luxury athletic wear. Their brand assortment includes all our favorites, including Alala, Electric Rose, Ultracor, Alternative Apparel, and more. Many of their pieces can double as street clothes, so you could easily pick up something (comfortable) to wear to dinner among the sports bras and leggings.
225 26th St., Brentwood | 310.566.2400
While it’s not exclusively a health food destination (and they certainly have a serious wine list), Farmshop is an LA classic for just-picked vegetables and a market-driven, family style menu. Jeff Cerciello (former Thomas Keller culinary director) sources top-notch ingredients and knows what to do with them, keeping the food exciting and tasty without over-complicating. The Roast Jidori Chicken is a standout, along with any of the fresh seafood or excellent produce-based dishes. There’s an attached mini-grocery store with an excellent cheese selection, pastries, and prepared salads and sandwiches.
1003 Broadway, Santa Monica | 855.567.2346
Also known as the sweat lodge, this spot, which boasts a pretty major Hollywood following, is exactly that. Equipped with small, cozy rooms where you get into an infrared bed, the idea is that you sweat it out for 60 minutes at a time, while you watch TV, read, or listen to music. People tend to sign up for memberships and come several times a month (or week) and complement the sessions with lymphatic drainage, which is meant to boost the detox process.
1929 Westwood Blvd., West LA | 310.446.5241
Health-conscious necco serves super fresh small Japanese dishes, with an emphasis on tasty root vegetables like ginger, daiko, lotus root, and carrot. The dishes are prepared in satisfyingly innovative ways, and the restaurant’s clean, minimalist decor suits perfectly.
720 N. Virgil Ave., Silver Lake | 323.284.8147
What started out as a toast and jam pop-up now commands long weekend lines, and while there are certainly some indulgences on the menu here (starting with a mouthwatering ricotta toast), a quick scan of the outdoor tables reveals that most people are digging into their signature Kokuho Rose Brown Rice Bowl, complete with nut-free pesto, preserved Meyer lemon, feta, black radish, and a poached egg. Don’t leave without picking up a bottle of the jam that made them famous.
1600 Ivar Ave., Hollywood
See and taste the best of organic California produce here. They have coffee carts and tamales, in addition to great people watching.
3827 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake | 323.522.6260
In addition to being incredibly convenient for satiating juice cravings (there are locations sprouting up all over the city) this is the perfect juice gateway drug for cleanse newbies: Beyond their most popular drink, Green Milk, which is like having dessert for dinner, the Charcoal Lemonade is delicious, despite the suspiciousness of drinking montmorillonite clay and activated charcoal (in contrast, the jalapeño-laced beet juice is tough to swallow). You can also add in extras to ease the process: We go for the raw soup (a carrot-based gazpacho) and the coconut superfood bar (nice when you miss the sensation of chewing). Bonus points for the DO ME (FIRST, 02, 03, 04, 05, LAST) directions on the caps and the addition of lifestyle-y giftables at most outposts.
3400 N. Beachwood Dr., Hollywood | 323.469.5450
Sure, you can drive to the base of the Hollywood sign, but why not horseback ride around it instead? Located in Griffith Park, Sunset Ranch leads one- or two-hour trail rides, offering unparalleled vistas of Hollywood (and the sign). Kids, in particular, love this adventure.
2800 E. Observatory Rd., Los Feliz | 213.473.0800
Griffith Park is one of those spots where you think you’ll spend an hour, and end up staying for the day. Complete with an observatory, a planetarium (there’s a live show every 60-90 minutes), loads of displays, and even more hiking (it sits on more than 3,000 acres, and offers 53 miles of trails), this draws a crowd from across the city. The views from the observatory make it an ideal location for a picnic.
2237 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park | 213.413.8300
This kooky shop is filled with the types of gems, crystals, candles, incense, and other knick-knacks that make perfect metaphysical souvenirs to bring back from LA. If you have time, opt for one of their amazing readings or a treatment with one of the healers they have on staff, offering modalities like reiki, crystal healing, and shamanic energy medicine.
3143 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village | 323.486.7073
Scott Zwiezen, who was the chef at vegetarian LA restaurant Elf, opened Dune in early 2015, and it quickly became known for its excellent falafel. Dune is a casual joint—you order at the counter and then, if you can, grab a counter seat or a patio table outside. They serve hummus plates, salads, sourdough toasts, as well as a pickled beets sandwich, and a lamb one for carnivores. But again, the falafel sandwich is the real star of the show here.
751 N. Echo Park Ave., Echo Park | 213.481.8577
Echo Park isn’t as celebrated as LA’s larger parks, like Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon, but with excellent views of downtown’s skyline and a well-tended walking trail, it’s a local favorite (you’ll recognize it from the park’s tall fountains, which are visible as you leave downtown on the 101). For a kid-friendly afternoon adventure, rent a four-person pedal boat for the afternoon.
608 Mateo St., Arts District | 213.223.6226
This new addition to downtown LA is an all-in-one wellness center that looks more like a hipster boutique than a serious alternative medicine studio. Here, they offer yoga classes, a juice bar, a raw and organic cafe, massage, and detox therapies. They offer hydrotherapy colonics and far infrared sauna sessions, too. We suggest a massage to wind down before dinner down the street.
580 Mateo St., Arts District | 323.825.5381
Zinc is the kind of place that’s perfect for a low-key dinner that still feels like a special outing. It’s a short walk from The Springs, and most people don’t register that the entire menu is vegetarian until well after the meal. The twinkle lights over the outdoor patio make it a surprisingly romantic date spot, too.
2870 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake | 323.741.8148
At the end of 2015, Moby opened an organic vegan restaurant in Silver Lake that features Mediterranean inspired and California-esque cuisine. They serve lunch and dinner daily; wine, beer, smoothies, and kombucha; and do a weekend brunch. To make it even better, a few months after Little Pine’s opening, Moby announced that all of the restaurant’s profits will be going to animal welfare organizations.
7515 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood | 323.378.5691
Lifehouse makes custom tonics that are specialized to your specific ailment (fatigue, pain, congestion, etc.); they even have one for pregnancy. They make excellent meal replacement smoothies that are perfect for breakfast, but it’s also nice to stop by on a Sunday afternoon and stock up for the week ahead.
225 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills | 310.860.7800
Plush Spanish colonial décor blends well with high-tech features (electronically controlled lights and drapes, huge LCD televisions, and iPod docking stations) to make this a slick but overwhelmingly comfortable stay. The elegant spa is widely considered one of the best in the city, and you’re walking distance to anything and everything in Beverly Hills.
9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills | 310.276.2251
We’re always happy to check into the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is one of the LA classics. For a wellness-focused weekend, make sure to allow for ample time at the old-school pool, sheltered under one of the iconic green-and-white-striped cabanas.
9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills | 310.551.2888
From the branded Mini Coopers to the impeccably attentive service, the Peninsula’s Beverly Hills outpost is every bit as grand and luxurious as you’d expect. You’ll find marble bathrooms, soft, cozy beds, and patios in each room. Only a few blocks from Rodeo Drive and easy walking distance from Century City, it’s within striking distance of all the major agencies and many of the big studios, making it an easy pick for a business hotel. If you’re in town for leisure, plan to spend some time dining poolside on the rooftop (which, since this is LA, is open year-round).
701 Stone Canyon Rd., Beverly Hills | 310.472.1211
With a guest list that ranged from Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly, to Prince Charles and Richard Nixon (randomly, he wrote his memoirs here), it’s not that surprising that after a comprehensive remodel in 2011, people were upset that Hotel Bel-Air wasn’t exactly the same. But we still love it: We just don’t go there expecting to see the original. The lobby, in particular, is so chic.