A Neat Guide To California
Our brand-new offering is about to land for our friends on the other side of the pond, so what better time to share our love for the USA! The Neat team has been lucky enough to spend a fair bit of time in the West Coast’s beautiful sunshine this Summer, so it's safe to say we've tried and tested a lot of the most popular spots. For anyone else flying over to hang out in one of our favourite places in the world, here’s our Neat guide to truly living the California dream:
Where to: Eat
Despite America’s reputation as the junk food capital of the world, eating well in California is not a hard task. Sure, there’s no shortage of burgers, bagels and doughnuts to devour with pleasure, but you’ll also find a vast array of wholesome, tasty meals to eat all over town. Some of our favourites? We were a little sceptical about whether The Butcher’s Daughter would live up to its reputation, but the healthy vegetarian eatery, founded in New York, did not disappoint. The Surfers Breakfast (a breakfast burrito with black beans, scrambled eggs, veggie chorizo, avocado and rice) was one of the tastiest brunches we’ve ever eaten, and not a thing came out the kitchen that didn’t look drool-worthy!
Café Gratitude is another great spot for nutritious, plant-based eats, with a laid-back vibe, uber friendly staff and a whole range of inventive vegan dishes, none of which will leave you feeling lacking. Eating Mexican in LA is an absolute must, and Café Gratitude’s sister restaurant, Gracias Madre, is well-established as one of the best places to get super tasty veggie-friendly, Mexican dishes in the city.
For takeaway eats, Wholefoods or Erewhon Market are both total meccas thanks to their laden salad bars and huge displays full of kombucha! And if you’ve still got the room for dessert after all that feasting, head to Pressed Juicery or Pinkberry to cool down with a froyo.
Where to: Caffeinate
Hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop is what all good holidays are about, right? You won’t be short of options in this highly-caffeinated region, but that doesn’t mean they all get our seal of approval. In LA, we’d recommend Blue Bottle on Abbot Kinney, and Great White in Venice. Take the queues as a sign of their quality, as both have an incredible attention to detail and the instant ability to make your coffee just the way you like it!
Kit Coffee Roasters in Newport Beach is another one of our favourite spots in California thanks to its beautiful brunches, top notch coffee and charming aesthetics. Settle in with a coffee flight to really experience the best of their offerings. And how could we miss the 2nd best espresso in America? A little off the beaten track, the guys at Common Roasters certainly don’t lack knowledge when it comes to coffee, and we wouldn’t say no to having their drip coffee… on a drip!
Where to: Sweat
When in LA, you’ve got to take on local’s favourite workout: spinning. SoulCycle is a cult-experience that all fitness fanatics should try, and never fails to inspire with their motivational, mid-ride pep-talks. We’re also a big fan of Grit Cycle, Costa Mesa, where you’ll be welcomed in by the nicest team of people. For those after high-intensity training on a whole new level, punching it out at Rumble’s super slick West Hollywood studio is absolutely the workout for you.
Working out in California isn't all about gyms though, as it is also a hiker’s paradise. If you’re staying near Newport Beach, check out Top of the World for stunning views that reach for miles, or for those in the city, join the tourists (and maybe a famous face or two!) at Runyan Canyon. Wherever you are, you'll find endless trails to hike across the region – just keep your eye out for rattlesnakes…
Where to: Explore
Similar to London, Los Angeles’s charm is in its inner-city diversity. Grab brunch and coffee on the ever-charming Abbot Kinney, drive through the mansions of Beverly Hills, explore the edgier style of Melrose Avenue, go full-tourist and hire a pedalo at Echo Park, or take it easy and soak up the sunshine at Venice Beach. Each area has its own quirks, so you’re sure to find one that suits your vibe.
But it’s away from the relentless mid-week traffic, down south of the city, that you’ll experience the true charm of Southern California. It’s unsurprising that we fell in love with the laid-back vibes and miles of sandy beaches in Newport Beach. Head down to relax near the pier and watch the surfers hard at work, or for those feeling a little more adventurous, bike along the boardwalk up to Huntington Beach before kicking back with a well-deserved drink!