Escape from Hollywood to the other Los Angeles
Think Los Angeles and you may well picture Hollywood Boulevard, the Walk of Fame, and celebrity-spotting.
But there is a lot more to the City of Angels than the tourist traps.
In fact, I would say skip those sights. If you really have to take a selfie with Leonardo DiCaprio's sidewalk star, make that a half-day trip then escape Hollywood to explore the rest of LA.
Outside of the often filmed areas, you can escape the crowds and their selfie sticks.
Earlier this year, I took a comfortable EVA Air flight to Los Angeles to find the lesser-known parts of LA.
What: A trendy neghbourhood, Silver Lake is often labeled as "hipster".
But don't worry, you don't have to have ironic haircuts or wear expensive clothes designed to look like thrift finds that used to belong to someone's grandmother.
The best thing about Los Angeles is its relaxed, chill vibe - especially when it comes to fashion.
You really don't have to care about what you are wearing — anything goes — and this extends to cool Silver Lake too.
Silver Lake is just 30 minutes from the Los Angeles International Airport by car.
It's also about 20 mins from Hollywood Boulevard should you want to make a stop there.
Los Angeles is well-known for its car culture. It's not a walking-friendly city and this can turn off many Singaporeans who are used to walking or indeed having an efficient public transport system. LA's public transport can be intimidating for a first timer. But you would be guaranteed some stories to tell the folks on your return.
Fortunately, Silver Lake is quite contained and very easy to walk around and find different places of interest.
Whether it's a cool shop selling quirky toys, good food or a drink to help you wind down at the end of the day, Silver Lake is very easy to hang out at.
As mentioned, LA is all about driving so its public transport system isn't much to write home about. As for taxis? A shock to the system for many Singaporeans is that you can't flag them down. They are not that comfortable either.
So a ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft can be help you get around.
Select the Uber Pool or Lyft Line options so you can save by carpooling with others. It's also an interesting way of getting to know people. We met an LA-based aspiring actor (but then everyone seems to be in LA) who claimed he had been to Kylie Jenner's home the day before.
A trip to the Walk of Fame would cost you about US$10 with these apps.
There aren't many hotels in Silver Lake so Airbnb proved convenient.
An Airbnb room or studio can cost between $150 to $300 a night - depending on just how much you want to splurge.
We stayed at a gorgeous garage-turned-studio that cost S$233 a night.
The owner was also responsible for the Chandelier Tree (a large tree with bedecked with chandeliers), which has become a Silver Lake attraction in its own right.
During our stay, we often caught people coming over just to take photos with the tree.
If cafe-hopping is your thing, Siler Lake is a the cool cafe motherlode.
Here are some to check out:
The name will give anyone major hipster vibes but it's somewhat of an institution in Silver Lake. And yes, the coffee is really good.
If you're looking for that Instagram photo, the cafe has a cool patio with colourful mosaic tiles. The patio is also a perfect spot to do your people watching (aka my favourite holiday activity).
Bright, airy and minimalist with space to do some reading or have a chat with friends, Dinosaur Coffee is hits the right spots.
It has plenty of seats for you to park yourself at. There's no free wifi but you can just use the wifi from the neighbouring McDonald's.
For something a little more cosy — and a little less pretentious— try Cafecity Organico.
In fact, the best part about this cafe is the spacious outdoor seating (faux grass included) with really cool decor and wood work.
It's spacious so you're sure to find seats. Great place to relax after a hike.
Forget shopping in Hollywood. It's a similar kind of jostle that you can find in Singapore.
Who wants to mess with the crowds when trying to look for the best deal on that pair of shoes.
Go to the Glendale neighbourhood for your more-chilled-out-shopping instead.
They are BIG.
Big but with so much on offer you might never leave. Don't say I didn't warn you.
You will have everything you need including Victoria's Secret, Forever 21, H&M, Aldo, and tech stores like Apple.
And if you're famished after literally shopping till you drop, there are many eateries around.
But there is one place you need to eat at — even if it's just to say that you have tried it — In-N-Out Burger.
In our opinion, the hype is worth it. So are the bragging rights. Back home it seems people want to know more about that than any other aspect.
Out side of the home of dreamy burgers, there are other must-visit locations in LA.
If you're a nature lover, the trails at Griffith Observatory — just 20 minutes from Silver Lake — are a very pleasant way to spend your early mornings.
There are numerous trails for various abilities and they all give you a great view of that famous Hollywood sign.
The observatory itself looks iconic outside (its been featured in many films ) and is well worth a visit inside to learn more about the universe beyond us.
Do try to make time time to attend a show at the gorgeous planetarium. Tickets range from $3 to $7.
LA is known for its beautiful sunsets and one of the best places to witness a sunset (as well as Instagram it, obviously) would be at the vibrant Venice Beach.
Go earlier in the day and there will be lots of activities.
The renowned Boardwalk is a great spot to people watch. To say it contains people from different walks of life is an understatement. Combining both locals and tourists, all manner of life is there.
EVA Air Advance Book & Travel until Dec 31 to Taipei and North America from $500 and $1,200 all-in.