A visit to Los Angeles doesn’t have to be all about the Hollywood glamour, movie star home tours, and tourist swamped landmarks as we found out on our recent trip to Cali-Fornia. Turf Games hit the City of Angels in September for a City Series competition and to find out what the LA fitness scene has to offer. If you’re planning a trip to LA and are done with the glitzy attractions then read on for our guide on how to work out, eat out and chill out SoCal style.
A unique ‘gym’ offering a wide range of workouts from high intensity circuits to strength and conditioning, HIIT classes, gymnastics, kick boxing, Jiu Jitsu and Yoga. Boasting over 100 classes a week, there is something for everyone here and they welcome visitors so feel free to drop in, have a chat and get your sweat on. It is also a CrossFit affiliate so you can get all up under the barbell as much as you like. (www.brick.fit)
A gritty, concrete ex-caryard forecourt on Lincoln Blvd is home to one of LA’s coolest workout spots. Deuce has none of the luxuries of a boutique gym but the trainers are exceptional and the vibe is cool – it also has all the toys from yokes, to farmers handles and atlas stones. So if you’re looking for a functional fitness style sweat session where you can train outside and work on your tan at the same time, with a focus on hard work then this is your place. (www.deucegym.com)
AMP hosted the first Under Armour Turf Games Los Angeles City Series competition, this is a small neighbourhood gym with a big heart. It’s community is genuine, committed and friendly so feel free to drop in to a class. The workouts are tough and competitive but open and geared to all abilities. Plus Alex the owner is from Manchester so if you’re from the UK prepare to feel at home here. This place is a must visit if you are looking for a decent sweat while in LA. (www.ampassociation.com)
Believe the hype, this place needs to be seen to be believed… that’s if you can get through the front entrance and on to the gym floor. Classes are few and far between as most are here for one to one training sessions. A-list celebrities are known to train here and you’ll catch lots of clients being videoed by their trainers while they workout for the ‘gram. The trainers are excellent though and if you can afford to train here then go for it. We were lucky enough to get a session in with one of their top trainers – Reign. Once you have finished you can shoot some hoops on their indoor half court. (www.thedogpound.com)
An Australian inspired boutique gym offering hiit style workouts with a dash of Aussie humour. We tested the Bondi Burn class at the Santa Monica studio which incorporated upper body strength moves with cardiovascular exercises. (www.trainingmate.com)
We quickly discovered that breakfast or brunch were our favourite meals of the day. There is an abundance of modern, chicly designed cafes offering classic breakfast burritos and much more. There is nothing cheap about these spots but if you value your brunch as much as we do, you won’t be disappointed.
The fact we frequented this neighbourhood, casual café in Venice Beach 5 times during our 9 day trip speaks for itself. The menu is coastal-californian with a fresh, local all-day menu and great coffee. The Breakfast Burrito here was a winner, closely followed by the Scramble Bowl. And if you want some entertainment while you are there, given it’s location opposite the ‘Venice Beach’ sign, you can stare at the tourists trying to take the perfect selfie in every pose imaginable. (www.greatwhitevenice.com)
Deus ex Machina
This café come shop come bike and surf hot spot is the flagship outlet for the brand designed by former Mambo creator Dare Jennings. Expect to find a host of hip Angelinos, tech entrepreneurs, movie execs and the odd motorbike obsessed celebrity. Coffee is good, breakfast options simple but delicious, and there’s plenty of people watching. (www.deuscustoms.com)
Wholefoods and Planet Organic have got nothing on Venice’s luxury supermarket. Be prepared to drop some cash but this food is devine – from breakfast burritos to lunch salads, freshly squeezed juice in glass bottles and delicious coffee. This is a great place to grab and go. (www.erewhornmarket.com)
Set on the corner of Washington Boulevard, this is a great spot for watching LA’s magical sunsets. Day or night, the Whaler consistently has a lively vibe and serves delicious food from their famous fish tacos to burgers and killer margaritas. (www.venicewhaler.com)
Is it a juice bar? Bakery? Deli, pizzeria, sandwich shop, café or smokehouse? You can understand the confusion upon entering Gjusta for the first time. Its slightly over whelming but persevere and you’ll discover a haven of food options that will have you coming back again and again. From brisket rolls, smoked and cured fish, pizza, salads and much more, you can take away or eat in the pretty courtyard. (www.gjusta.com)
Impossibly chic Italian on Abbott Kinney boulevard. The food is good, the décor is cool, and the atmosphere is buzzing. This is where the beautiful people hang in LA and it’s a must to soak up the LA vibe at weekends. (www.gjelina.com)
If you have time to cruise down the coast to Malibu it’s well worth a visit. The beaches are beautiful and there is a laid-back vibe despite the celebrity homes and busy route 101 with its streams of noisy traffic. Malibu Farm has a restaurant and cafe on the pier which are perfect for a lazy brunch or dinner offering ‘farm to table’ food from southern California while watching the surfers do their thing in the waves – cue the Beach Boys soundtrack. (www.malibu-farm.com)
Other places that you should try are Barney’s Beanery on 3rd Street Promenade, Bluestone Lane Coffee, Rose Café, and if you are into your vegan eateries then Butcher’s Daughter on Abbott Kinney is a must.
We stayed at the Rose Hotel on Rose Avenue in Venice Beach. Designed by Abbot Kinney in 1908, the Rose has had numerous Hollywood royalty within its walls over the years. It’s pretty, quaint façade and rustic chic design are juxtaposed against the noisy, vibrant back drop of the Venice boardwalk. Accommodation ranges from suites to simple rooms with shared bathrooms to suit a variety of budgets. Fresh (free) croissants from the Sugar Bloom Bakery and Stumptown coffee provided each morning add to the charm and we made use of the hotel’s bikes for regular beach front cycles. (www.therosehotelvenice.com)
We also rented a unique apartment in Marina del Rey; decorated in Tiki style and one street from the beach it provided the perfect location to explore Venice, Santa Monica and much more.
Want to be involved next time?
That's a wrap for our stay in California. Stay tuned to our Instagram or website to find out about our next City Series and where that will take us - these trips are open to anyone who wants to get a team together and come along - you too could be part of all the fun.