My LA to Z: Marisa Silver

We first interviewed Marisa Silver in 2010. Now, with the release of her new novel, we decided an update was in order. Discover four new spots that top this author’s list of to-dos.


1   bookstore  

Olympic Spa

It’s a women-only spa in Koreatown. You strip down naked and sit in different pools that are hot, hotter, and hottest, and you can get your skin scrubbed by a spa esthetician until your skin is baby soft. What I love about it is, it’s a room filled with naked women who have different body types, and they are completely comfortable. It’s the opposite of what everyone thinks when they think of Los Angeles. Go with a friend and sit for hours—it’s an oasis, a vacation in the middle of the city.

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2   bookstore  

Shareen Vintage

I love Shareen Vintage–it’s a girl’s playland. It’s a huge open space, and you can go through racks of these beautifully preserved vintage clothes. You can try on as many as you want, and they’re inexpensive so you don’t feel like you’re emptying out your bank account. It’s just pure fun; it takes you back to being a little girl playing dress up in your mother’s closet.

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3   bookstore  

Alias Books

Alias sells used books, and [the store] is beautifully curated. It’s relatively small, but everything on the shelves is well chosen; it’s not like everyone dumped their garage full of old books there. The collection is really excellent and unusual. Recently, I got a book of short stories from Bulgaria. I saw it and I thought, I’ve never read any short stories from Bulgaria. I bought it, and they were great.

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4   bookstore  

The Boone Children’s Gallery at the LACMA

My children are grown, but I have friends who have very small children, and one of the things we like to do together is go to the children’s room at the LACMA. They have these long, gorgeous tables, and they set out paints and paper and brushes, and you can paint for hours. It’s a lovely, light-filled, Zen area of the museum. It’s so relaxing, and just a beautiful way to spend time with children on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

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5   bookstore  

Portrait of a Bookstore

I’m a real fan of going to a bookstore where the person who buys the books has already done half the work for you. This place has a really small, well-edited collection, so it’s a great place to go when you don’t know what you’re looking for but want a good book.  

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I tend to like more out-of-the-way, ethnic dining. It’s a fun way to eat. And the soup is so delicious, I dream about it. 

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7   childrens  

The Children’s Literature Department

There’s something about this room [at the Los Angeles Public Library] that just makes you want to read. Maybe it’s the smell of the books or the fact that when you take your children there, they want to read. It’s just an incredible room.

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Brewery Artwalk

This place is a loft complex and twice a year they host an artwalk and it’s such a huge complex that it’s like a box of chocolates. Every room is a separate art. You go to one room and it’s Japanese-inspired screens. You go to the next and it’s big abstract expressionist stuff. Some of it’s great and some of it’s horrible but it really reminds you of how much variety there is in human artistic expression. It inspires me as a writer.

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Frying Fish

I love it here because my kids love it here. They particularly love the conveyer belt with sushi that comes around. 


10   wayfarers  

Wayfarer’s Chapel

I don’t practice a religion but if I did, I would do it here. It’s this glass chapel and you look through the glass and all you see is greenery. It’s tiny, beautiful and just such a sacred place.

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11   farmersmarket  

Hollywood Farmers’ Market

It’s so easy in L.A. to feel like you’re not part of the big community. But at this farmers’ market, I feel like I am. You see the street life that you don’t always get to see in L.A. and that feels good. The big, vast city of L.A. is made a little bit smaller.

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12   disney  

Walt Disney Concert Hall

I’ve been coming here for so many years that I feel intimate with the musicians; I know what they wear, I know when one’s pregnant. I feel like I know so much about them.

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13   mtlee   

Mount Lee Hiking Trail

I hike this trail once a week and going over the same turf week after week, year after year, I see incredible changes in the smallest way in the geography of Los Angeles. I even saw a fire once.

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Read about Marisa’s newest novel, Mary Coin, here

Images courtesy (in order): (1), (2), (3), (4) (5) Flickr/Ian Wilson, (6) Flickr/_e.t, (7), (8), (9), (10) Flickr/Eccentric Scholar, (11) Flickr/empracht, (12) Flickr/Florian, (13)

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