The BFH Healthy Travel Guide to Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles: the outdoor playground that’s always sunny, where yoga is a religion, and where your gluten-intolerance is a given. LA is definitely one of the leading cities of health innovation in world. Every new health trend is in full blossom there; from infrared saunas, sound healing, vitamin injections, cryotherapy, light therapy, and not to mention the health food scene… it’s truly a healthy humans dream land. Like all things, there is definitely also the yin to the yang, and amidst the health is also the extreme degeneracy and illusion of health masquerading under very unhealthy behaviours… but all in all LA is a great place to delve into health. Sunshine, ocean, hills, and Erewhon… what else do you really need?!
The LA health scene is so advanced and new ways to sweat, relax, and transform are popping up faster than I could possibly type- but this list is definitely a good introduction to the magic of the city.
The BFH Healthy Travel Guide to Los Angeles, California
CAFÉS + RESTAURANTS
The healthy-food scene in LA is bar none. I honestly don’t think I’ve been anywhere in the world that has as many restaurants and cafés boasting local, organic menus. Here are some goodies to start you off:
Honey Hi (1620 Sunset Blvd)- // IG - Honey Hi is my favorite café in LA. They just nailed it, honestly. If I created a café- this would be it. I was actually so blown away by them I literally sent an e-mail to the owner telling her that she literally manifested the exact café I would open. Organic, real food. Everything from grass-fed lamb sandwich (or salad), big beautiful bowls, turmeric poached eggs, avocado everywhere, cookies, and bulletproof matchas (say whaaaaaaat!). You can’t go wrong here.
Café Gratitude - // IG - Café gratitude is an iconic LA healthy foodie spot. Their plant-based menu is like no other veggie restaurant out there.. they do plants the right way. Totally gourmet, and you can feel the intention and passion to nourish that trickles down through the business all the way into your food. Their drink menu is also out of this galaxy, from wild lavender lemonade, ayurvedic lattes spiked with ashwaganda, pine pollen, and cordyceps…. and even biodynamic wine! They have locations all over the city, from Beverly Hills, Newport, Venice, and more.
Tocaya Organica - //IG - is absolutely incredible (organic!) Mexican. Two locations: Venice and Sunset Plaza, this is a must-go for 2-for-1 Taco Tuesdays. I’ve tried all their tacos- and they are all incredible. I suggest a tasting platter of all their taco options, and you can even get them in lettuce cups (…but don’t). Their salads and burritos are also incredible, honestly- if you love Mexican: eat here.
Local (2943 Sunset Blvd): organic, locally sourced American comfort food in a rustic setting.
Belcampo Burger (Meat Co.) - is your go-to for all things meat and animal products both as a grocer and a restaurant. They are primairly a butcher but they make kick-ass food. You can actually call in and pre-order if you’re in a rush. Best butcher in town that also cooks for you? Yes please. They have all the burgers: beef, pulled pork, lamb, chicken- all in regular bun or lettuce bun. They also have steak bowls and real hot dogs/ sausages. And don’t forget the sweet potato (or regular) fries- everything is organic, pasture raised, legitAF.
(All 4 above from Gjusta)
Life Food Organic- with two locations (Hollywood and Santa Monica), this organic and raw café is a great place to grab a healthy bite. They emphasize their menu on incorporating superfoods, and also offer juice cleanses.
Green Table Café (2657, 5998 Pico Blvd): is an Italian plant-based café.
Bottega Louie (700 S. Grand Ave.): is an organic Italian restaurant, market, and bakery that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brush. They have a great menu including all the classics, eggs, avocado, salmon, gourmet sandwiches, pizza, salads, and more. Try the portobello fries!
Elf Cafe (2135 Sunset Blvd,) - organic, locally sourced, Mediterranean-style vegetarian dishes in a tiny but welcoming space.
Shojin Downtown (333 S. Alameda St., Suite 310) - is a vegan sushi restaurant that serves great organic macrobiotic bowls, and dynamite sushi rolls. The restaurant is located on the third floor of a Little Tokyo marketplace and is hidden by a black curtain, but ask around and you’ll find it eventually.
Forage (3823 Sunset Blvd)- Small, family-owned eatery serves seasonal, locally sourced Californian fare for dine-in or takeout.
Moon Juice (8463 Melrose Pl #3)- Plant-sourced alchemy including Moon Dust adaptogen blends, plant proteins, adaptogenic super herbs and mushrooms.
The Punchbowl (4645 Melbourne Ave.)- organic juice bar that also has raw salads, chocolates, and superfood-filled treats.
Fala Bar (7751 1/2 Melrose Ave)- stylish, rustic-chic vegan cafe offering a menu of various organic falafels, sandwiches & salads.
Bar & Garden (6142 Washington Blvd, Culver City) - natural wine bar, with 75-100 organic natural (mostly Euro) wines.
Domaine LA (6801 Melrose Ave, Hollywood)- 400 organic, biodynamic, and natural wines, mainly from Europe but also from the U.S., Australia, and Chile.
GROCERY SHOPPING + shops
Much like the restaurant scene, LA’s produce and health conscious products are leap years ahead of most other places in the world. I have seen products so cosmically advanced here that my brain essentially imploded. The LA weather also makes eating local, organic food super easy and even affordable if you shop smart. The farmer’s markets are definitely the best place to get the freshest produce. For packaged goodies and pre-made food Erewohn is my go-to, and for meats there is nowhere better than Belcampo.
Believe it or not this farmer’s market list isn’t exhaustive… there are so many markets. But this list will definitely get you started!
Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market (Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m @ 9300 block of Civic Center Drive between Third Street and Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills)
The Original Farmer’s Market (Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. @ 6333 W. 3rd St.)
Echo Park Farmers Market (Friday 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. @ 1146 Logan St.)
Virginia Park Farmers’ Market (Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. @ 2200 Virginia Ave. at Pico Boulevard and Cloverfield Boulevard, Santa Monica)
Mar Vista Farmers’ Market (Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. @ 3826 Grand View Blvd.)
Century City Farmers Market (Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. @10100 Santa Monica Blvd.)
Culver City’s Farmers’ Market (Tuesdays from 2 to 7 p.m. @ Main street between Venice Blvd. and Culver Blvd.)
Historic Downtown Farmers Market (Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. @ 5th St. between Broadway and Spring St.)
Erewhon Market - is a natural grocer with multiple locations, and honestly- I could write an entire article about the magic of this place. I could live in Erewhon, truly. I find it hard to do it justice with words because this is the mecca of all health food stores. If you’re like me, your first stop in any new city is the health food store- and no joke I arrived in LA in the evening and spent over two hours perusing the aisles of their Beverly Blvd. store. All organic hot food bars, salad bar, broth bar, and café, fresh pressed organic juices and elixirs, gorgeous local organic produce and products, and supplements… this place is not to miss. Whether you’re in the city or out by the beach- make your way to Erewhon for lunch and to stock up on all the incredible next level products on their shelves (Reishi infused nut cheeses, to CBD chocolates, all the collagen you could dream of, and of course: Coconut Cult yogurt).
Belcampo Meat Co. - is your go-to for all things meat and animal products. Ethically raised, and no bullshit here. Belcampo is the best of the best, you can trust them with your life- which is rare these days, especially in the meat industry. They have locations downtown, near Beverly Hills, and in Santa Monica- but you can also order online and have it shipped right to you.
Wholefoods Market- Honestly, next to Erewhon, Wholefoods looks like the underneath of a bleacher stand at a rodeo…. just straight garbage. That being said, the city does contain quite a few of them, and in a pinch you know you’ll be able to find some of your favourite health brand names. Just stay away from their non-organic food bar, and you’ll be sweet.
Dragon Herbs (321 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica) - is the manifestation of Ron Teeguarden’s tonic herb wisdom. They have an elixir bar where you can try all the Dragon Herb potions, as well as a herbalist on deck for all your herbal queries. Ron’s book (The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs) changed my life, so being able to explore this shop was truly a dream come true for me.
Alexandria II Bookstore (170 S Lake Ave, Pasadena): metaphysical books on everything from Wicca to reflexology and crystal healing.
Santa Monica Beach - Is LA’s most classic stretch of sand, running about two miles North of Santa Monica Pier. The beach is wide and offers plenty of opportunity for some quiet sun time.
Venice Beach - Unlike parts of Santa Monica Beach, Venice is a much more bustling scene; between the winding boardwalk, outdoor gyms, cafés, volleyball courts, boardwalk vendors, palm readers, and musicians/ entertainers- Venice Beach is much more happening.
Surfrider Beach (Malibu)- a sandy beach and surfing spot between the Malibu Pier and the Malibu Lagoon. Parking lot is next to the lagoon just west on Pacific Coast Highway.
Leo Carrillo State Park Beach (Malibu)- 28 miles north of Santa Monica on Pacific Coast Highway you’ll find this Malibu gem full of tide pools and sea caves. There is also hiking, camping, an RV park, and campfire areas- great for a weekend getaway.
Manhattan Beach- is there for all your fancyAF typical LA beach experience wants and needs. The cars are shiny and so are the people.
Hermosa Beach- has a more relaxed vibe than other LA beaches, also surrounded with cafés and shops and the pier Plaza if you want to skip the sand.
HIKES / WALKS/ NATURE
Griffeths Observatory Hike- This area is a must-explore while you’re in LA. These trails (open from 6am-10pm daily), boast 4,210 acres with paths through the Hollywoods hills (past the iconic Hollywood sign), and winding around past the observatory (which btw is a superb place to watch the sunset, if you don’t mind the crowds). There are many different trails and peaks to visit (including a set of caves)- see the second link below for a great breakdown of the area.
Runyon Canyon Hike- Albeit over-done (everyone and their aunt has instagram’d the daylights out of this hike), Runyon is still pretty damn great. The loop is fairly challenging on the way up (if you run it via the steep side), and I suggest taking the long winding way back down. Make sure you bring your own water because there are no shops or fountains anywhere (…not that you would want to drink LA tap water anyways..)- there is no shade and it gets hot.
Santa Monica to Venice- you could definitely run this ocean-side trail, but I recommend getting a bicycle (or roller blades) and doing it with the wind in your hair. This boardwalk is perfect on wheels, and renting a cycle in Santa Monica and exploring both suburbs (and cycling in between the two) was truly one of the highlights of my trip.
The Arboretum is a 127-acre botanical garden that includes a waterfall, a lake, a pond, and of course plenty of trees, and flowers.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area- is a great place to explore over 500 miles (!!!!) of trails, including the stunning “The Backbone Trail” that extends for 67 miles, connecting the Santa Monica Mountains from east to west. Pack a picnic and soak in the West Coast beauty.
Will Rogers State Historic Park Hike- Murphy Ranch can be visited as a 4-mile out and back hike with 225 feet of elevation gain, or as a 5-mile loop with 950 feet of elevation gain that circles back to Will Rogers State Historic Park on the Backbone Trail.
Whale Watching- you can whale watch year round off the LA coast, but consider booking a boat tour and getting up close and personal with these prehistoric giants.
Los Feliz Height Steps - 160-steps beginning where Cromwell Ave. meets North Berendo St., all the way to the top where you’ll get amazing views of DTLA and Glendale before heading back down.
Sand Dune Park- located in in Manhattan Beach, this massive sand dune is the ultimate free sweat fest. Easier on the knees than the stairs, and yet infinite times more difficult overall… plus you can go for a post-workout swim!
Drake Stadium- UCLA Stadium has a 400-meter, nine-lane track (with a grassy field inside) and enough bleacher stairs to run your legs right off.
Culver City Stairs: part of the Baldwin Hills Scenic California State Park, these stairs are a great addition to your hike.
Equinox Fitness- these gyms are just awesome. I checked out three locations during my time in LA, the Downtown LA (very corporate vibes, not super into it), the West Hollywood (much cooler, great facility- and the steam room runs on filtered water), and the Santa Monica (rad location split up on multiple floors with the most epic outdoor training area overlooking the ocean). Equinox gyms are worth the investment if you value a gym. The classes are independent studio quality, and the change rooms include perks like organic tampons (so much yes). My one beef is the fact they use Kiehl’s products- which albeit fancy, are just as toxic as the no-name 3-in-1 bright pink junk they provide to you in a trucker bathroom rest-stop on the side of the freeway. (Learn more about greenwashing HERE). Members pay $200 to $300 initiation fees and $160 to $250 monthly rates (but don’t pay the initiation fee.. they have “$0 initiation fees” sales multiple times a year, and you can most definitely get it waved either way).
Wanderlust (1357 N. Highland Ave): Incredible multi-level yoga studio in the heart of Hollywood. They also have workshops, and a café. Intro month is $45, or get a $115/ month pass. A single drop-in is $45.
Black Dog Yoga (4454 Van Nuys Blvd #206, Sherman Oaks): relaxed, roomy facility providing classes in many types of yoga for beginner to advanced levels.
Set and Flow Yoga (1619 N La Brea Ave): spacious, membership-based fitness center with bootcamp, barre, Pilates & hot yoga classes.
Yoga at the Raven (2910 Rowena Ave): serene studio providing a wide range of yoga classes, meditation programs & teacher training.
YOGAqua (13977 Palawan Way, Marina Del Rey): outdoor yoga school with group classes & private sessions offered on stand-up paddleboards.
Lagree Fitness Studio- is the peak of pilates studios, using reformer machines for added resistance. Classes range from 25 minute HIIT to longer 50 minute classes on the mega-reformers. $15 for your first class, and pricing ranges wildly depending on packages (see them HERE).
Tracy Anderson Method- iconic Tracy Anderson’s different classes have been praised by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and despite only using very light weight- guarantee a serious sweat. Tracy Anderson gym membership is $900 per month plus a $1,500 initiation fee, or $45 per class.
Barry’s Bootcamp: interval training boot-camp style that has individual body part focus or go wild and sign up for the full body class. This is not for fitness beginners (in fact, no group classes truly are let along group classes involving weights). Make sure you know how to properly navigate your body with proper form before you start powering out reps like a crazy person). $24 per class.
Soul Cycle: hate it or love it, Soul Cycle will definitely transform you into a sweaty mess. $34 per class + $3 shoe rentals.
Human Garage LA- is a holistic bodywork mind/body repair & alignment centre, and these guys get it. From full body release + realignment to motion retraining, rehab + performance optimization… you will leave the Garage feeling like a new human. Learn more about their movement philosophies on one of the many podcasts they have done by clicking HERE.
Living Libations HQ in Venice Beach- I actually stumbled on the Living Libations headquarters by complete fluke while riding my bicycle around Venice. The shop just looks like the side of a building, but I recognized the Libations shapes and colours painted on the side of the glass as I was riding by and did a u-turn to take a closer look. Turns out they have their very first shop right there on Brooks avenue, a stones throw from the beach. The shop has all their products (total dream) and you can even sample the oils, creams, serums, masks, and chocolate. I tried one of their masks followed by their sandalwood best skin ever, and bought both. Until then I had never been able to sample the scents (living in Australia, the only store that sold the products had no samples), so I was conservative with my purchases. Being able to see the shop and get a feel for how incredible all their products are sent my love affair with the company to a whole new level. It was at the Venice store that I realized Living Libations can do no wrong and that no matter what you buy- you’re in good hands. (Check out my skincare 101 article HERE, and my interview with Living Libations founder Nadine Artemis HERE).
Unplug Meditation: with studios in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, these hot spots offer drop-in classes ranging from a wide variety of meditation practices as well as sound baths, chakra healings, hypnosis, and more.
The Den Meditation: has studios in Miracle Mile and Studio City hoods, and offer different sessions all day long including guided meditations, Reiki healings, sound baths, Qigong, and more.
House Of Intuition: is a holistic shop with multiple locations that sells eveyrthing from dream catchers and tarot cards to crystals and candles. They also offers services including Reiki, sound healings, clairvoyant and tarot card sessions.
The Green Man (5712 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood): over 30 skilled practitioners who specialize in custom spellcrafting, psychic readings and spiritual advice.
Mystic’s Altar (1746 Westwood Blvd): life-long practitioners in the psychic and mystic arts. They offer seminars, workshops, readings, aura cleansing and reading, crystal healing.
The Akaha Center For Integrative Medicine (520 Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica): integrative approach to physical and mental health issues, with a staff of medical doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, nutritionists, acupuncturists, and physical therapists.
LOOM (5259 Pico Blvd): Modern education for reproductive empowerment, pregnancy, and parenting. This is an incredible space for women who are looking for resources, education, and community before, during, and after pregnancy.
WMN Space (10764 Washington Blvd. 2nd Floor, Culver City): is essentially a women’s circle turned into a perment space. Services range from sexological bodywork, Ayurveda consultations, Reiki facials, as well as doulla services, and have incredible workshops like how to deal with post-partum trauma.
Be Hive of Healing (5017 Lewis Rd, Agoura Hills,): incredible centre led by Doctor Habib Sadeghi. Services range from anthroposophical medicine, healing magnetic field therapy, integrative medical facials, conscious completion therapy (conscious uncoupling), and so much more.
Surya Spa (15539 Vía De Las Olas, Pacific Palisades): incredible Ayurvedic clinic in Pacific Palisades. Services include personalized 1-to-21-day Panchakarma detoxes.
Lotus Center (5910 Monterey Rd): is your go-to for Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Beverly Hot Springs Spa & Skin Care Clinic (308 N Oxford Ave): access to their eucalyptus steam sauna or mineral-rich hot springs (YES, HOT SPRINGS IN DOWNTOWN LA) are $30 on weekdays and $40 on weekends, and from there you can upgrade to one of many epic services.
Ra Organic Spa (119 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank)- Epic treatments like body wraps in honey, ivy, paprika, and nettle, manuka honey baths, acupuncture, or one of many massages.
Purity Organic Spa (3487 Cahuenga Blvd. West Bungalow B, Universal City): facials, body treatment, nutritional counselling, and more.
Côte (11714 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood) - organic nail bar, using their own brand of non-toxic polishes and hand scrubs that use sugar and organic argan oil.
The Arcona Studio (425 Broadway, Santa Monica)- organic body care including their popular 50-minute Organic Enzyme Peel that uses its own brand of non-toxic, non-caustic, and non comedogenic products.
Bulletproof Labs (3110 Main St Suite 110, Santa Monica)- “biohacking facility” that offers cryo, light therapy, virtual float tank, atmospheric cell trainer, cold HIIT, heart rate variability testing, 3D body scan, and much more.
Float Lab Westwood (1025 Westwood Blvd suite b) +1 310-208-0000
Float Lab - Venice (801 Ocean Front Walk #5) +1 310-396-3336
Pause Float Studio (13353 Washington Blvd) +1 310-439-1972
Just Float (76 N Hudson Ave #120, Pasadena) +1 818-639-3572
HotBox Infrared Sauna Studio (835 S Hill St) +1 213-628-3221
SaunaBar (11677 San Vicente Blvd #208) +1 310-652-5522
Sweatheory (1503 N Cahuenga Blvd) +1 310-956-2307
Cryohealthcare (351 N La Cienega Blvd) +1 310-360-0780
LA Cryo Spa (1204 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena) +1 626-829-2796
Cryo Clinic LA (450 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills) +1 424-230-3634