A hipster guide to California
Forget about Williamsburg’s bearded locals and loft apartments and Oregon’s craft beer-swigging capital, Portland; California holds its own with an emerging treasure trove of hipster goodness. More than just mansions, surf culture, and over-bronzed Hollywood starlets stumbling out of the latest nightclub, Cali also has some pretty sweet locales tucked up her sleeve for the skinny jean-wearing crew. Before you hashtag your next Instagram photo, here are some of my top hipster picks of the Golden State from my recent trip.
Runyon Canyon, Hollywood
Yes, it may be Hollywood’s most popular workout trail and a mecca for A-, B-, C- and D-list celeb spotting, but a hipster still has to stay in shape and what better way than alongside awesome views? Fitness junkies and enthusiasts alike are rewarded with panoramas of the Hollywood sign, Downtown LA and Beverly Hills on reaching the summit. You can even Zen-out with daily yoga classes. Namaste.
Venice, Los Angeles
It may be an obvious choice for this list, but Venice stays true to its reputation as a quirky hangout where beatnik artists flog their wares along Ocean Front Walk, and eccentric characters spend their days wandering the beachfront. Feel free to stare – people watching is expected. Check out the skate park at Muscle Beach, and maybe even have your fortune told here, but venture inland to Abbot Kinney and see where the locals dine and play. Trendsetters gravitate to this bohemian district crammed with art galleries, one-of-a-kind boutiques, and plenty of the latest food-fad pop-up restaurants and bars. For even more of an authentic experience, get lost amid Venice’s canals, home to some of California’s most eclectic architecture.
Whole Foods Market, California
Yep, I’ll admit it, one of my favourite things when I travel to a new destination is to check out the grocery stores; and in the States, Whole Foods is the Holy Grail of supermarkets. Often referred to as the ‘whole pay packet’, it’s a pricey place, but hipsters will rejoice in its strictly natural, minimally processed and organic offerings from craft beers to beauty products, immaculate fresh produce, flower displays, and an unbeatable salad bar.
Ride across the Golden Gate Bridge (on a fixie bike, of course) to super-adorbs Sausalito, a wealthy little town that funny guy Robin Williams calls home. Design fiends will love the Cape Cod-style architecture, mega-mansions and the main stretch full of art galleries, jewellery stores and sidewalk cafes and bars. Continue along the water and you’ll find yourself within a charming, Instagram-worthy houseboat community, complete with hand-painted mailboxes.
Mission District, San Francisco
There is a lot of exploring to be done in San Francisco’s oldest neighbourhood that’s an excellent example of the city’s cultural diversity. Slightly gentrified yet still retaining its urban edge with a heavy dose of Latino characteristics, the much-loved Mission District is a hive of bike stores, vintage boutiques, and an endless number of organic cafes and hip establishments. Dolores Park, a destination in its own right, is situated at the western edge of the neighbourhood and is a popular spot to chill out, picnic and enjoy the city views. The Mission District doesn’t really ‘wake up’ until after 11am either - perfect for sleeping off any seedy hangovers and heading straight to brunch!
Kozy Kar, San Francisco
Themed bars are like, so mainstream right now, but Kozy Kar is one exception as it takes the concept and turns it on its head. Retro enthusiasts of the ‘70s and ‘80s will feel right at home in this dingy little joint. Stiff drinks are poured alongside Playboy centrefolds plastered all over the walls and floor, with a video loop of old-school cartoons, television ads and subliminal snippets of umm...how to put this delicately... Ron Jeremy-era ’adult films’ thrown into the mix. Special mention also goes to the van, complete with a waterbed and faux fur rug, parked next to a jacuzzi tub booth in the back of the bar. What more could you ask for?
More like this
Croatia's best kept secret (hint - there's no beach)
Most of us have swooned over photos of Hvar’s pristine bays; have dreamt of days shucking oysters and partying under the stars in Dubrovnik; and have made an enquiry or two into the partying sun storm that is Yacht Week.
Killer views in US national parks
We all know that the USA can get a bit carried away boasting all things ‘bigger’ and ‘better’, but when it comes to the epic natural scenery, they’ve really nailed it. Enormous parts of the nation are protected under national park status, preserving their unique features.