Los Angeles is a big, sprawling area that can intimidate visitors, but there are plenty of places near the Los Angeles Convention center to capture a true L.A. experience. We asked some SIR members who live in the Los Angeles area to tell you more about their hometown:SIR 2018–19 President-elect M. Victoria Marx, MD, FSIR, professor of clinical radiology and residency program director, radiology, USC Medical Center; SIR Foundation Chair Stephen Kee, MD, FSIR, associate professor of radiology and chief of interventional radiology, USC Medical Center; Sue Hanks, MD, FSIR, associate professor of clinical radiology and chief of radiology, LAC and USC Medical Center; and Geogy Vatakencherry, MD, FSIR, Kaiser Permantente Los Angeles diagnostic radiology program director and chief of vascular and interventional specialists, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center.
What are some of your favorite places to visit/see/experience in L.A. and surrounding areas?
I like art and the outdoors. The best place to experience those things together in L.A. is at
the Getty Center. It has a wide range of beautiful art, wonderful architecture, great views and excellent coffee. Admission is free, but parking isn’t.
For art, I also recommend the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena—near a fun shopping district called Old Towne Pasadena—and the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City, next to Craft, Tom Colicchio’s signature restaurant. I also love Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, a great place to walk around (especially the cactus garden) with a wonderful gift shop.
Among the most interesting are Santa Monica and Venice Beach, where you’ll find beautiful, expansive beaches and a very hip scene in Venice. Both are fabulous for long walks, bike rentals and a variety of restaurants, and it’s an easy journey from downtown on the Expo rail line (only $1.75 fare each way). Visit Universal Studios Hollywood for fabulous rides like Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Minions and so many more!
Most people think of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, but there is much to see and do downtown. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a spectacular piece of architecture, and guided and self-guided tours are available. The convention center itself is located next to L.A. LIVE, which has the GRAMMY Museum for music lovers.
Nearby, The Broad museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, both contain internationally acclaimed art collections. Thrill seekers will enjoy the open-air observatory
OUE Skyspace in the U.S. Bank Tower, with a glass slide 1,000 feet above the city.
And there’s this little body of water called the Pacific Ocean on the western edge of town. A side trip to Santa Monica, Malibu or Venice for a walk on the beach is a great change of scenery. I recommend patience and a little peace, love and understanding: The traffic to get to these places can be a bit overwhelming, but it’s worth the effort.
I recommend Venice Beach and Third Street Promenade. Venice Beach is a historic landmark and has an eclectic group of vendors and street performers that will definitely keep you entertained. The Third Street Promenade, next to Santa Monica Beach, has stores, restaurants and street performers. I also like The Grove retail and entertainment complex and the Original Farmer’s Market.
What’s your favorite L.A. restaurant(s)?
Broken Spanish is a modernist Mexican restaurant within walking distance of the convention center. Other downtown restaurants I recommend are Perch LA, Otium, Drago Centro, Redbird and Little Sister. Restaurants farther away include The Factory Kitchen and Officine Brera (south east of downtown), Union (Pasadena), Parks BBQ (Korea town) and Lukshon (Culver City). Informal food is great at Guisados in Boyle Heights and at the Grand Central Market downtown. All these have great food and service–most are on L.A. food critic Jonathon Gold’s top 101 restaurants for 2017—and they are very “LA” when it comes to people watching!
A few of my favorites are Drago Centro—elevated Italian with an extensive wine list—Faith & Flower—great food and interesting cocktails—Bäco Mercat—unique dishes, great for
sharing—and Water Grill—amazing seafood. Nearly every ethnic cuisine is represented in the downtown area, so there’s much to offer for the adventurous.
L.A. cuisine is second to none, and I’m a big fan of the ethnic cuisine. Koreatown has many restaurants—and several all-you-can-eat places—including Parks BBQ and Bak Kung 2. Thai Town is not to far away, either, and also offers authentic, spicy Thai food (some of the restaurants I visit are Yai’s Thai and Jitlada. For steak, my favorite is Mastros Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. For a burger and fries, check out In-N-Out.
What would you recommend for a true “L.A. experience?”
Do not try to go too many places in one day. L.A. travel is not measured in distance on a map. It is measured by the traffic. Never underestimate how long it will take to get somewhere! If you have no idea how long it might take, ask someone who lives here. Uber and Lyft are always around.
Go to Universal Studios and Santa Monica, and then walk around the downtown markets. The Los Angeles Flower Market and Los Angeles Jewelry District are the largest markets of their kind in the United States.
Drive down the famous Sunset Strip. That will take you by some very famous clubs, bars and stores such as the Viper Room, Whiskey a Go Go and the Laugh Factory.