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A hipster guide to California

Published May 12th, 2014

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.

 

Skip the tour of the stars' homes, do your celeb spotting at Runyon Canyon.

 

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 Beach is prime people-watching territory.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excuse me, do you have any kale?

 

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.

 

Custom mailboxes in Sausalito

 

Sausalito

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.

 

Make it your mission to visit the Mission District (#sorrynotsorry).

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this bar's a rockin'...

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Howard

I thrive on discovering hidden gems and local haunts wherever I travel, from hole-in-the-wall cafes and dive bars, to antique stores and eclectic markets. I feel just as content in a cosy cabin in the wilderness as I do lost in the crowd of a buzzing city.