Los Angeles may be home to Hollywood, but it also holds a healthy amount of conventions each year. It's one of the more sprawling cities that your boss could ship you to, but the upside is obvious: the weather's hardly ever bad, and you can access a mean chicken 'n waffles plate at any hour of the day. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of LA, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
Los Angeles can be a hugely daunting place, even for those who frequent it a few times per year. Ask someone on the edge of Long Beach what to do in Grenada Hills, and you may get some pretty blank stares. The Los Angeles Convention Center is actually one of the more ideally located conference venues. It's smack dab in the middle of downtown, right beside the famed Staples Center. That makes parking a nightmare, but it also makes side trips entirely more practical.
If you're in the mood for breakfast (regardless of what time it is), there's a spot you seriously shouldn't miss. It's within walking distance for those with good soles, and it's one of the only places in the world that serves up custom, homemade pop tarts. The Nickel Diner will require that you bring more than pocket change, but you'll be glad you did. For those who aren't much for pastries, the pulled pork and vast array of desserts are solid bets as well.
For a spot that will suit clients, the Palm Restaurant is just a stone's throw from the LACC. It's pure, bona fide Americana, with steaks and other assorted meats being the top choice. The service is also a specialty, and for those who'd rather attempt to navigate Los Angeles via public transit than eat meat, the salads are extraordinary.
As for activities? Those arriving in the city while the local sports teams are home and in season will be quite pleased. The city's championship hockey team, the Los Angeles Kings, hit the ice right across the street in the Staples Center (and they will again as soon as that pesky lockout is over). Similarly, the Lakers host their home basketball games in the same venue. Getting a ticket via the conventional means can be tough, but it seems there's no shortage of locals willing to sell nosebleed spots for a song (though getting tickets to see the Lakers' co-tenants, the Clippers, is much easier). If that's not your bag, the nearby Nokia Theater at LA Live offers up live music practically every night of the year.
For those looking to escape the city for a day, my own personal recommendation is a pre-dawn wake-up call in order to make the three hour trek to Joshua Tree National Park. You'll make a day of it, but seeing what is undoubtedly one of America's most beautiful (and curious) regions is probably worth it. For those looking to stay a bit closer to the core, an hour's drive will put you on Highway 2 through Angeles National Forest. From there, nature lovers can head to either Mount San Antonio or Devils Punchbowl Park in order to give their camera a workout.
Sure, Nokia Theatre can double as a bar if enjoying live music, but for those yearning for something more classy, there's Corkbar. It's walkable from the convention center, and offers a stupendous array of small plates, wines, and other fine spirits within a high-brow atmosphere. If you're closing a major deal, might as well end the trip on a high note.
This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?