Being back in Los Angeles is truly inspiring. But beyond the beach and the fantastic weather, there are so many interesting places and experiences to be had, so here is a short list of some of my favourites so far. As always though, let me know if you have any suggestions to add to the list!
1. Make a new work playlist at Amoeba Records. Located in the heart of Hollywood, Amoeba is a true California Icon. As the world’s largest independent music store (it takes up pretty much an entire city block) even the pickiest of entrepreneurs will be able to find some new music to keep them going. They also host live performances by some of the world’s most acclaimed musicians. So whether you are looking for something specific, or something you haven’t heard yet, head over and start riffling around, and soon you will have a new perfectly curated work playlist. Who says everything has to be digital anyways? http://www.amoeba.com/
2. Forgo Mimosas to hang out at MiMoDa. MiMoDa (or Mimosa as I tend to call it) and their coffee shop, Paper or Plastik, is a well lit example of every free-lancer’s dream event space. With a layout of sturdy wood tables of various sizes and their innovative computer free weekends (so you actually have to talk to people), plus a great event space that is rumoured to have served as a recent location for a photo shoot with Beyoncé, there is very little not to love.
In many ways it reminds me of the hipster coffee shops in Brooklyn, but with it's own LA vibe that is hard to find in the world of commercial coffee chains. The coffee is way better than Starbucks and the buzz of conversation and ruffle of notebooks as intimate meetings progress on their computer free days is highly soothing. So whether you are looking for a place to work, an interesting show to see, or a venue for your creative project/Beyonce reenactment, be sure to hit up MiMoDa (just make sure to check before you pull out your laptop!) http://www.mimodastudio.com/
3. Get zen with your inner entrepreneur at Expert Dojo. This co-working and entrepreneurial consultancy space is a rare find for LA. Access to the Santa Monica co-working space is absolutely free, all you have to do is register online. They also offer three paid levels of membership/support to help local entrepreneurs get their idea off the ground. I stopped by on a Friday morning and the place was surprisingly empty, giving us plenty of room to spread out during our meeting. The quiet environment and simple yet classy interior made it a great spot for a business meeting. As a bonus, they have a large shaded private balcony, and it’s easy walking distance to the beach for when you need to overcome your writer’s block. My suggestion? Grab a coffee at one of the many cafés downstairs before heading upstairs to work, but make sure you give yourself plenty of time to trade in the boardroom for your surfboard at the end of the day. http://expertdojo.com/
4. Snowball your way into a bigger and better network. Although the Snowball Party is still a bit of an underground movement, it is quickly making its way towards the top of the must-do LA events lists. Set up to mimic a March Madness bracket, participants start their night out by meeting up with one stranger, then joining another group of two and so on and so on with the group doubling in size as they progress through a series of specially curated activities organised by the ever elusive Snow Patrol. The night provides participants with the opportunity to have sincere conversations and exchanges with their fellow participants as they discover new places and experiences that can leave even the most assured Angelino feeling like they may not know as much about their city as they thought. But those just visiting the city will enjoy themselves just as much, just be sure to charge your phone and have a good map app enabled.
While tickets may seem a bit pricey for many young entrepreneurs, the combination of an unrepeatable adventure on the town and the chance to sincerely connect with dozens of others more than makes up for it, plus the night ends in a big dance party for the participants, so you’ll have a chance to not only build your network in a fun and social environment, but you can let off some steam as well. http://www.thesnowballparty.com/
5. Keep Grounded at Griffith Observatory. Entrepreneurs have to have a certain sort of confidence to be able to survive in uncertain waters. But it’s important that you don’t let that confidence become arrogance. So what better way to keep grounded than by exploring the vastness of the visible universe at Griffith Observatory? If you go during the day you can explore the exhibits and planetarium. If you head over a bit later in the evening though you can use one of the public telescopes or, if your timing is right, join in on the monthly “star party.”
If you are anything like me, stargazing is both highly humbling and wonderfully awe-inspiring, and Griffith Observatory is high enough up that the light pollution from the city below is greatly reduced. This makes for great views of both the city, and the star system. Plus, as a bonus, admission to most everything is free (with the exception of the planetarium and a few choice lectures), so you don’t even have to break the bank to keep yourself grounded. Just remember: even the smallest star can be the centre of it’s own galaxy. http://www.griffithobservatory.org/