If you’re a music lover, there’s no better place on earth than Los Angeles to experience the thrill of the music industry. From world renowned concert halls to underground venues, mega record stores to mom and pop vinyl shops, LA has got it all. On this four day Featured Trip, our Music Expert and former News Editor at SPIN magazine, Chris Martins, has curated the best places to dive head first into LA’s vast music scene. From the hybrid record shop/music venue Amoeba to the famous Hotel Café, this Featured Trip will take you to all of the best places to see a live show. Chris also shares his favorite record shops, famous LA hotspots, and of course his favorite LA bars and restaurants. This post features his explicit comments on each of the venues.
This mural decorating the Solutions! speaker-repair shop was immortalized on the cover of Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 album and serves as a memorial to the late local troubadour.
A fancy cafeteria that updates offerings based on the produce of their approved home-growers (normal people). Pair the farm-fresh delights with Nawlins iced coffee and an insane pastry.
Cozy community vibes and a very friendly, deeply knowledgable staff. Worth visiting just to peep the metal music micro-genre sorting system, but they’ve got other types too (and tapes!).
Ignore the fact that they call themselves an “urban taco fabricator”. It’s a branding issue, not an eating one. Fine-dine takes on tortilla-hugged classics. Get the churros.
If you have the chance, just go. There’s nothing quite like looking down on this mammoth historic bandshell surrounded by woods surrounded by city. Cheap seats are fine. Just go.
The Kokuho Rose brown rice bowl is a worthy distraction, but the burnt brioche toast (nearly two inches thick) with ricotta and SQIRL’s own preserves is everything. Best jam in L.A.
If you eat pork, you *must* get the tonkotsu ramen (and spicy is best). Customize your bowl with egg and extra veggies, but don’t forget to open with the crispy rice + spicy tuna sushi.
Formerly known as Spaceland, this hole is quintessential Silver Lake: cheap crappy beer, ancient pool table, occasional sloshed K. Sutherland sighting, and a million-and-one bands.
Hit happy hour to fuel up on $5 Bulleit-backed old fashioneds. The kind of place where the bartenders don suspenders, but you can wear whatever. Scrappy jazz combos often play, too.
Skip the veggie options, go straight to the braised meats, and you can’t go wrong. Pro hacks: add chorizo to the quesadilla, and horchata to the iced coffee. Superb handmade tortillas.
Located a couple of doors down from The Echo, this vinyl shop sports a “local music” section that’s jam-packed with cheap gems from future stars and would-be one-hit wonders.
Hearty, home-y vegetarian fare that’ll make you forget meat was ever a thing you cared about. The menu changes often but order the richest-sounding stuff and you’ll be thrilled.
A pleasantly dive-y bar, a couple of humble but solid music rooms, and the best booking company in town (The Fold). The free residency nights (Sunday, Monday) are always a good bet.
INTELLIGENTSIA & SUNSET JUNCTION
The iconic entryway to the music-obsessed Silver Lake ‘hood. Sit at Intelligentsia coffee long enough and you’ll see bass god Flea stopping in at his music conservatory next door.
Best brunch on the East Side. Their french toast has the power to convert savory-nazis to sweet-junkies, and their benedicts are perfect. Plus: cheesy grits with glorious lardon chunks.
John Lennon was tossed out for heckling the Smothers Brothers. Charles Bukowski met his wife after a reading here. The Eagles wrote a song about it called “Sad Cafe.” Legend.
Two spaces in one building: the top tiny and crowded; the bottom built like a grade-school cafetorium. But the lineups always offer the most excellent in modern indie everything.
Want to explore LA some more? Check out our Discover LA page to find more restaurants, bars, museums, shopping, and more!