LOS ANGELES CITY GUIDE WITH CELESTE THORSON
Tour Los Angeles with Celeste, actress and California native. She reveals her favorite places to eat, date, shop, be entertained, and get inspired like a local Angeleno.
WHAT ARE SOME MUST-SEE PLACES IN LOS ANGELES ?
I always say you have to get your toes in the sand and explore the pier and boardwalk if you're in Santa Monica or Venice. Amoeba Records, The Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Arclight Theater if you're in Hollywood. Swing by LACMA museum if you're in midtown, it's a pearl in the center of Los Angeles city with an iconic, glowing, streetlight art installation "Urban Light" by late artist Chris Burden.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN LOS ANGELES?
I grew up spending a lot of time in L.A. at my grandparents’ homes as a California girl. I’ve been an adult Angeleno on-and-off for over 10 years.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO HANG OUT DURING THE DAY?
I love the fresh air and endless summers on the beach in Santa Monica and Venice, or cruising up to Malibu. I enjoy chilling with my friends and a cool drink poolside at hotels like the Mondrian or Roosevelt Hotel. Beverly Hills or Hollywood always have entertaining people watching.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO GO OUT AT NIGHT?
At night, I’m all about live music so, the Sunset strip in West Hollywood is a classic. For a more low-key evening, the jazz bar at Vibrato in Bel Air has a great intimate atmosphere. For the club scene, West Hollywood, Hollywood and Koreatown have some great nightlife for dancing and late-night karaoke.
WHERE ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO GO ON DATES?
I love relaxing on the westside in Santa Monica. Getting a bird's-eye view of the sunset from the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier is always memorable and picturesque. Biking down the boardwalk from Santa Monica to Venice is another mellow way to enjoy the beach. Grabbing a lemonade or sweet treat and meandering around the 3rd Street Promenade or Main Street is a cool way to walk, talk, and window shop. If I’m in the mood to dance it’s always fun too go around the corner for salsa night or check out the clubs and live music venues in Hollywood. The Laugh Factory or the Comedy Store are fun spots in midtown. If I'm on the eastside I like to explore the downtown charm and delicious restaurants in Chinatown and Little Tokyo.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS?
For casual, good vibes at the beach the Jerk Chicken Enchiladas, Plantains, Dirty Rice, Aguas Frescas and Flan always hit the spot at my favorite L.A. Caribbean restaurant Cha Cha Chicken. I have an endless list of Mexican restaurants but, the tacos or anything fried at Don Antonio's, Paco’s Taco’s fresh tortillas handmade on the spot, and La Fiesta Brava’s unique green chile smothered burrito with bright perfectly cooked veggies like broccoli, zuchini, cauliflower, and carrots, are at the top of my list. If I’m feeling fancy the French restaurant Melisse in Santa Monica has a Soft Poached Egg, Lemon-Chive Crème Frâiche covered with black caviar that is pure decadence. The chef Josiah citrin also makes a heavenly Lobster bolognese over capellini topped with a Truffle Froth.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSEUMS, MUSIC, AND THEATER VENUES?
I love walking into surreal exhibits at modern art museums like LACMA, The Broad, The Hammer, and MOCA. The Getty Villa in Malibu or the Getty Museum on skirball are relaxing places to explore both the exhibitions and the gardens on the grounds. For live music, local icons like The Roxy, Whisky A Go-Go, The Viper Room, Troubadour, El Rey, The Fonda, Hotel Cafe, or The Mint rotate the best bands and musicians. There is something magical about open air amphitheaters like the Hollywood Bowl or the Greek Theater under the stars at night, it just feels right especially when there are fireworks. For Live Theater performances the Ahmanson and Pantages have great touring plays and musicals.
WHERE DO YOU GO SHOPPING?
Abbot Kinney and Main Street has beachy, hipster shopping in Venice, I love Planet Blue and Nightcap Clothing. Robertson has a nice strip for Ted Baker, Intermix, Alice + Olivia. Obviously Beverly Hills has a world-class shopping for top luxury brands. There are some funkier stores in Hollywood and on Melrose Blvd. with fun people watching too.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO WORKOUT?
I enjoy getting exercise outside in nature, on the sand, hiking Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon. I mostly do yoga at home with my yoga swing. I spend more time on my Xbox Kinect than at the gym. I love playing video games and get a great cardio work out at the same time.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN FILM AND TELEVISION?
When I first moved back to Los Angeles I was focused on political activism and later transitioned into performance art. I started with still photography then moved on to screenwriting for travel television and hosting which evolved into theatrical comedy and drama.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR LATEST PROJECTS?
I recently filmed the feature the Treasure Hunter: Legend of the White Witch so keep an eye out for that release info next year. I'm also filming a new media series called Rosa's Kitchen about love, food, and multicultural families. www.rosaskitchentv.com
WHERE DO YOU GO TO GET INSPIRED?
The beach has always been a source of comfort and inspiration, especially at magic hour. Meditating at the Lake Shrine is a great way to recharge and get inspired. When I'm writing, I love to let my imagination run wild while people watching in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, or Venice Beach.
WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
A little bit of Rhianna a little bit of Bassnectar
WHAT SHOWS ARE YOU WATCHING?
Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones, and Archer.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MOVIES?
This list goes on forever but, at the I could watch Scarface, True Romance, Donnie Darko, American Psycho, Frida, The Secretary, District 9, on repeat.
WHAT WEBSITES ARE IN YOUR BROWSER?
Care2.com, Vice.com, upworthy.com
WHERE'S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE YOU'VE BEEN?
Sorrento and the Almalfi coast are stunning from every angle. The waters of the Caribbean are so crisp, warm, and colorful. Hawaii has a lush, wild, beauty that always leave me wanting more. I'm in awe of Japan’s historic architecture every time I see it. There are too many to count.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO TRAVEL NEXT?
Spain is in my DNA so I have to get out there to explore the food, flamenco, and sights in Barcelona, Madrid, and Sevilla. New Zealand, Australia and Fij are at the top of my bucket list too.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
I love to play video games, do yoga, and dance with some wine tasting, grilling, and cooking up a storm for dinner parties on the side.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE ACTORS?
Daniel Day Lewis, Cate Blanchett, Eddie Redmayne
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE DIRECTORS OR PHOTOGRAPHERS?
Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, Alfred Hitchcock are inspiring director. I love everything about photographer Zhang Jingna’s work.
AS A SOCIAL ACTIVIST WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CHARITIES?
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Sierra Club, Foundation for Second Chances, Happy Period, to name a few.
WHERE DO YOU POST YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES?
THANKS CELESTE, FOR SHARING A CITY TOUR OF LOS ANGELES THRU YOUR EYES.
PHOTO CREDITS: 1 - DANA PATRICK, 2 - MATO ATOM, 3 - DANIEL ALANIS, 4 - JENNICA MAE, 5 - HAKAN AKIF CELEBI, 6 - DAVID C LEE , 7 - ALEXANDER KANG