Los Angeles is a nice place. It’s a bright city that resonates happiness—probably because of all the Vitamin D it soaks up from the near-constant sunshine. It’s a city that’s literally and figuratively warm.
At least I think so, anyway.
Others, apparently, have a different idea. Our wonderful city was just voted the fifth unfriendliest city in the world by Travel + Leisure readers. “The SoCal denizens struck readers as hip, gorgeous, and kinda snooty—and you might also encounter some tourists’ elbows while trying to take a selfie on the crowded Walk of Fame,” says the mag. Ouch.
How can we make amends and clear the air? There is no sweeping city initiative to make people nicer, so to improve our image I’m compiling a list of the friendliest places in Los Angeles. Travel + Leisure readers, this one’s for you:
Third Street Promenade
Be it the result of tourist-accommodating retail employees or the active and engaging street performers, the Promenade is never without a welcoming spirit.
The original free L.A. art museum, the Westwood institution is staffed by welcoming UCLA students and locals who are passionate about sharing art history. The museum’s layout around an open courtyard and exciting programming helps, too.
Yes, the Larchmont coffee spot’s bar-style service can be intimidating—but it’s also what makes the joint so friendly. The staff will welcome you and get you taken care of, so you don’t have to angle for a cup of Joe.
Magic Box / Maker City LA
Housed inside The REEF, the Magic Box event space and Maker City LA communal space have become a go-to place for finding local groups that gather for a cause. Thanks to programming like Artisanal LA and BeautyCon, you’ll always find something interesting to do there and passionate locals to meet.
The downtown Tex-Mex restaurant is as friendly as it is frills free. The staff is smiley, and chef Josef Centeno’s reimagining of his mother and grandmother’s food goes down like pure comfort.
The Arts District store has been a draw to this area of downtown thanks to its cheery product selection, engaging events, and the goodwill of its owners, Angie Myung and Ted Vadakan. Poketo is the definition of L.A. nice.
The Pasadena Museum of California Art
PMCA has treated Los Angeles to works by California greats for decades—and it is exactly that local pride that makes it such a nice place to visit. From its shows to its staff to its location, the museum is constantly seeking to get people excited and in-the-know about why our part of the world is so great.
NELA Art Gallery Night
The monthly art event lights up the hipster corridor of York Ave, and Figueroa St., opening stores and restaurants and bars to everyone. Of all the art walks in town, Highland Park’s feels the homiest.
Domaine LA is a quaint wine space dedicated to getting you the wine you want with a wink and a smile. The store is centered on sending you off with the makings of a good night. How friendly is that?
The Line Outside UCB on Franklin
Perhaps it’s the buzz of Hollywood dreams or the one-upping ways of comedians, but the line to get into a UCB show is the party-before-the-party. It’s almost impossible not to meet someone new before the program begins