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Insider's Los Angeles

22. Stroll the canals, where Jim Morrison lives in the 1960s
"Most people stop to wonder why it's called Venice," says urban hiker Jade Singer. "In 1904, a dreamer named Abbot Kinney began digging canals here—homage to Venice, Italy. Walking along the four miles of canals is like being in a storybook of bridges, homes, gardens, and waterways. It's best around sunset, when the house lights are coming on."

23. Thrill to a twinkling view
"The Santa Monica Mountains have to be experienced, and the best way is on a moonlight hike that allows you to see the sprawling lights of the city," says playwright Chris Bomba. "Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park can't be topped, especially when there's a concert at the Greek Theatre and the music wafts up the hills." There is also a nice loop that includes the Griffith Observatory, which played a role in Rebel Without a Cause. "The staircases that cut through the Hollywood Hills and Silver Lake are a delight on a warm summer evening."

24. Set your sights on some African fare
"One of the best examples of a vest-pocket ethnic neighborhood is Little Ethiopia, at Fairfax between Pico and Olympic," says former resident Liz Hackett. "There is a string of Ethiopian craft stores and restaurants, all very good. Nyala [1076 Fairfax Ave.; +1 323 936 5918] has an excellent buffet. Try a bunch of stew entrees—along with some spongy injera bread to soak it all up with."

25. Groove on the Grove
"It's a mall, but it's more like Disneyland with a Banana Republic. The Grove [189 The Grove Dr.; 888 315 8883 (U.S. and Canada)] is all outside because it can be, this is southern California—we never have too much rain…well, usually, anyway," says college student Chandi Whitlow. "They even make it 'snow' here twice a night, late November through early January. Plus there's a trolley that goes from the Gap all the way to the farmers market."

26. Karaoke in Koreatown
"The Brass Monkey Caffé [3440 Wilshire Blvd.; +1 213 381 7047] is a club that looks like a pub, with a state-of-the-art karaoke machine," says Sinatra fan and habitué Ray Miller. "The crowd depends on the night, but there is no velvet rope: It's usually a mix of Koreans, Anglos, and other ethnicities. You sign up and wait your turn to sing. Some singers are really good. L.A. is built for karaoke—there are so many performers. We all get to live out our dreams of fame here. Wednesday nights are good, as are weekends."

27. Crop an attitude at a neighborhood farmers market
"I like to go to the Sunday-morning market in Hollywood, on Ivar Street, and the Wednesday market in Santa Monica," says Govind Armstrong, owner and chef of Table 8, the popular California seasonal fare restaurant [7661 Melrose Ave.; +1 323 782 8258]. "The Hollywood market is really entertaining—there's usually live music and prepared food from local restaurants. Both markets are terrific for checking out L.A.'s energy—as well as all that beautiful fresh California produce. A lot of L.A. chefs meet here. This is where we get our brains going."

28. Become a member of L.A.'s café society
"Urth Caffé [8565 Melrose Ave.; +1 310 659 0628] is an excellent spot for people-watching, inside and outside. They serve some of the very best coffee in the city," says photographer Erich Koyama. "The lattes are outstanding—made with all organic ingredients, which helps make the coffee taste less acidic. The espresso is so creamy you want to slurp it with a spoon. They also serve breakfast and lunch. I seriously recommend the strawberries and cream cake—white cake, cream, and strawberries. It's airy and delicious."

29. Cruise the Pacific Coast Highway to a Malibu gem
"No one seems to know anything about the Adamson House [23200 Pacific Coast Highway; +1 310 456 8432]," says physical therapist Randi Woodrow. "And everyone should. It's in a state park up the coast highway, right next to Surfrider Beach. The house is an early-20th-century explosion of gorgeous tile work and Spanish Colonial Revival. After you've had a look, have a picnic on the beach and watch the surfers. It's a multifaceted destination, and the drive along the ocean's half the fun."

30. Taste a star sandwich
"The last time I went downtown to Philippe's [1001 N. Alameda St.; +1 213 628 3781], I was transported to the times I'd go there with my family and friends for a classic French Dip sandwich [meat-filled French roll dipped in gravy]," says Caroline Styne, wine director and co-owner of Lucques (8474 Melrose Ave.; +1323 655 6277) and A.O.C. wine bar (8022 W. Third St.; +1 323 653 6359). "Walking into that restaurant is like taking a step back in time. Philippe's has maintained its original character, image, and ambience. It reminds me of what downtown, and Los Angeles itself, was like in the golden years when old-time restaurants like the Brown Derby and Chasen's were in their heyday. Philippe's has never tried to change with the times or adjust its purpose to suit current dining trends. It is what it is, and it is what it was."


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