Solo Traveler's Guide to Los Angeles

In a city of almost 4 million people--especially one notorious for being so spread out--L.A. can be a daunting place to visit alone. In spite of its reputation for being plastic, unapproachable and too cool to care, there are some spots in the city where even a singleton can feel right at home. Get the scoop on the best Los Angeles restaurants, bars, museums and more for solo travelers. (Photo: The Market by Tara de Lis)

Updated: August 12, 2011

Traveling Alone in L.A.: Restaurants, Bars, Attractions


Gjelina

1429 Abbott Kinney Rd, Venice, CA 90291

This is a New American dining destination at neighborhood restaurant prices. The downside is that reservations often book up three to six weeks in advance. It's not pretentious; it's just small. Pretty much the only way to get in last-minute is to show up and request a seat at the popular communal table--perfect for the solo diner in need of Bohemian, human interaction.


Santa Monica Place

395 Santa Monica Pl, Santa Monica, CA 90401

L.A.'s hottest new outdoor shopping mall has a secret weapon: The Market, a collection of affordable gourmet vendors housed in its own air-conditioned building on the third floor. Many offer product samples. Plus, there are open eating areas throughout, and a wine shop/bar that will order in pizza for customers. Better still, corkage for wine purchased onsite is free.


Natura Sports Health Club

3240 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Hotel spas can be nice, but for a taste of local culture, Natura offers both Asian-style deep tissue massage and intense body scrubs, as well as Westernized spa treatments such as mani/pedis. Note that facility serves both a men and women, but in separate areas and bathing attire is not permitted. Prices average out to about one dollar per minute, plus the admission fee, which is waived on select extended-session services.


MOCA Grand Avenue

250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Downtown L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art focuses on modern works by established and emerging artists. The $10 admission fee also includes access to sister property the Geffen Contemporary, which is a pleasant 20-minute walk away from Bunker Hill into Little Tokyo (DASH buses are available as an alternative for only 35 cents each way). Both venues are free Thursday evenings from 5pm to 8pm.


Kiyokawa Japanese Restaurant

265 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211

There are many great sushi restaurants in Los Angeles--and everyone claims their favorite is the best--but in terms of presentation, freshness of the fish, and bang for your buck this semi-secret spot hits all the marks. It was outed by a local food critic in 2009, but much of the hubbub has died down. Sit at the counter and trust chef Sato to prepare an exquisite omakase experience, which may include marinated uni, seafood hot pots, cooked black cod and black sesame ice cream.


The Queen Mary

1126 Queens Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90802

It's been more than 75 years since the RMS Queen Mary's maiden voyage, and much has happened in between--a storied stint supporting the Allied military during WWII, for instance. There's nothing quite like walking the decks of this grand old dame while enjoying one of several tour packages offered, like the self-guided "shipwalk" or the audio option. The people-watching happens to be phenomenal, too.


Black Market Liquor Bar

11915 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

There's three compelling reasons to sidle up to the bar at Black Market. First, there's the crew: a dream team of mixologists behind the bar and former ?Top Chef? contestant Antonia Lofaso in the kitchen. Second, there's simply nothing else like it anywhere else in the Valley (OK, Raphael right down the street). And lastly, Raphael can't compete with the CBS-adjacent location, nor the proximity to Laurel Canyon.