The heat has broken here, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still crave a little sunshine on occasion — especially if it comes with a trip to Venice Beach.

Sophie Needelman of submitted her perspective on a trip to Los Angeles, which sounds like a good idea to us. Read it below.

By Sophie Needelman,

Los Angeles is an easy city to love — and to hate. Who can resist seeing the Hollywood sign in person, even if it is through a thick wall of grey smog?! And the stars on Hollywood Boulevard? Come on, that’s priceless, even if it is horribly commercialized. But dealing with major diva attitude is a small price to pay for a fabulous time in this not-so-angelic city.

Walking around Venice Beach is truly one of the best ways to spend an afternoon in SoCal. It’s an extremely laid-back and open-minded place, with a colorfully diverse pool of storeowners and patrons alike. Abbott Kinney Boulevard is the highlight of this quirky beach town; stores cafes, and restaurants adorn this street for blocks. The merchandise and people-watching are so good that you won’t even mind the outrageous prices. The neighborhood epitomizes the hipster vibe, which in the context of Venice Beach works.
The Hammer Museum is a gallery and performance space on UCLA’s campus. It is in a great urban area, and has a gift shop, outdoor courtyard and café, and movie theater in addition to regular museum space; during the summer, the monthly Thursday night concert is a great way to spend start off a weekend. The Hammer hosts a slew of other events as well, such as Dance Camera West, a dance-on-film festival featuring movies by filmmakers and choreographers. The highlight of the festival was Mike Figgis’ Le Co(te)lette Film, which addressed feminism and female sexuality.

The café in the courtyard of the Hammer is normally open during the day has excellent but slightly expensive food. For a nighttime fix, hit up the famous dessert hotspot Diddy Reese (ice cream sandwiches do count as dinner).

A trip to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without getting on TV, even if it is just sitting in the audience during the filming of Real Time with Bill Maher. What fun!

As a Southern California girl, I feel obligated to frolic in the fields of Hollywood madness. I have a true love for the city, even if it’s laden with melodrama. And traffic. And expensive food. And cockroaches. And smelly streets. OK, I’m glad it’s not home, but there’s no place like L.A.