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THIS IS MY CITY | Alia Penner's Los Angeles

Los Angeles and California have become some of our favourite places to visit over the past few years. We love the same kinds of things that artist Alia Penner loves about it: the sunshine, the silliness, the history, the glamour. We knew we had to ask Alia - a multi-talented, multi-skilled artist who works across collage, photography, illustration and design, all with her signature flair for colour, whimsy and playfulness - to share her favourite things about the city of angels. This is Los Angeles, by Alia.

one. Best thing about Los Angeles? Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows.

 The permanent rainbow at the Sony Pictures lot | Alia Penner

two. Worst thing about Los Angeles? How much money you have to spend to keep your car running. 

 My Mercedes | Alia Penner

three. Favourite secret spot? I grew up in Topanga Canyon, so I have a lot of secret spots there. Some have to stay secret :)

Topanga Canyon | Alia Penner

four. Favourite everyone-knows-it-but-it's-still-good spot? Home. I love to stay home, thats what's so great about LA, you can have space. If you are just visiting: make friends with someone who has one, preferably with a pool. 

Artwork by Alia Penner in her home in Mount Washington

five. What was your newest discovery in Los Angeles? I just started taking walks at the Hollywood Reservoir. It's so beautiful & it makes you feel so far away even though you're right under the Hollywood sign.
 Hollywood Reservoir | Alia Penner

six. Where is the best place for.... morning coffee/pick-me-up? meal with friends? romantic rendez-vous? late night drink? even later-night boogie?

morning coffee/pick-me-up - Proof Bakery in Atwater or Kitchen Mouse in Highland Park.
meal with friends - Stella on Sunset Blvd. or The ACE Hotel Downtown LA
romantic rendez-vous- Dan Tana's on Santa Monica Blvd. or The Ivy on Robertson Blvd. if it's aromantic brunch.
late night drink- Jumbo's Clown Room or Tiki-Ti on Sunset Blvd.
even later-night boogie- Punky Reggae at La Cita 

ACE HOTEL rooftop, designed by Commune, awnings designed by Alia Penner | Alia Penner

The Ivy | Alia Penner

seven. Where are Los Angeles' style spots? Where is the best shopping? I love Shareen's, it's my favorite dress shop in LA. It's only girls allowed and its in a giant warehouse in Downtown LA. They have dresses from every decade and you lay them all on a beautiful bed and play dress up. I also love Golyester for more high end, insanely rare, special vintage pieces. For books I go to Alias Bookstore in Atwater Village. 


Petra Collins and India Salvor Menuez in Shareen Vintage styled by Alia Penner | Alia Penner

eight. What is something you can get/read/experience/eat that you can only do in Los Angeles? Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. My boyfriend started the screenings 13 years ago, now I help him program and make the experience magical. It's truly a LA right of passage. The grounds of the cemetery are beautiful and you can pack a picnic and watch the sun go down before the movie. We show films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Almost Famous & Blue Velvet to a crowd of 4000 people. 

Cinespia | Alia Penner

nine. You can tell a lot about a city from their airport. Describe Los Angeles'. I don't travel internationally very often, If I go to NYC I like to fly out of the Bob Hope Airport. Its so much easier. They showed it in an episode of Mad Men this season and it did seem quite classic. There aren't any fancy restaurants but you can always grab In & Out before you leave California.

ten. How would your describe Los Angeles to someone who has never been there before? I believe in the Hollywood dream. Don't be put off by all the tourists on Hollywood Blvd, stroll down the Walk of Fame. See a movie at the El Capitan Theatre. Place your hands in Marilyn Monroe's prints in front on the Chinese Theatre & then go get a martini at Musso & Frank. It's always sunny outside and there is always a good movie to see. 

 Alia Penner

Read more of our city guides here.

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