Valley Happenings

When most of think of The Valley, we think strip malls and heat that hits 110 degrees. Time to change all that. Here are some great places to hit up in The Valley!

The Great Wall of Los Angeles
The Great Wall of Los Angeles is one of Los Angeles’ unknown cultural landmarks. Located in Valley Glenn, this mural spans a half mile, and it’s full of masterpieces. Started in 1974, the project was completed over five years and is a visual representation of the history of the people of California from prehistoric times to the ’50s. Tujunga Flood Control Channel, Coldwater Canyon; 310.822.9560

Handmade Galleries 
Need to find an amazing gift for someone or for yourself? This is the mecca of eclectic, handmade treasures. You’ll find one-of-a-kind pieces from over 100 artists and local artisans. They have been selling pottery, jewelry, clothing, and many other unique items for 18 years. 14556 Ventura Blvd., 818.382.3444

Unique Vintage
This Burbank shop has an endless supply of vintage, pre-loved wedding gowns, cocktail dresses, and sundresses. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff for help finding exactly what you’re looking for. 2013 W Magnolia Blvd., 818.848.1674

The Local Peasant
This low-key Sherman Oaks gastropub has vintage decor and, even better, affordably priced food and beer menu. Order up the crispy pork belly with watermelon and the pretzel with truffle-butter dipping sauce. 14059 Ventura Blvd., 818.501.0234

Swift
This Burbank vintage shop is full of one-of-a-kind reconstructed garments at budget-friendly prices. They have everything you need for a statement-making outfit. The owner is a former makeup and hair artist that is a sewing guru. She’ll help you figure out what to do with that vintage strapless dress you bought last year and never wear. 3216 Magnolia Blvd., 818.558.1289

Sweet Butter
Head through the wrought-iron gates at this Sherman Oaks eatery and then you’ll pass through the herb garden before getting to the marketplace. They have a menu of house-made pastries, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Plus, join in afternoon tea from 2-6 pm with reservations. What’s not to love about catching up with pals al fresco at afternoon tea? 18824 Ventura Blvd., 818.788.2832

Soto
This Studio City is a great boutique for reasonably priced items. They have wardrobe essentials here like basics tees and tanks, jewelry, shoes, denim, and beyond. 13814 Ventura Blvd., 818.817.9775

Playclothes
Playclothes specializes in clothing, jewelry, and accessories from the ’40s-’60s along with items for you home. Plus, they have a cowboy room that’s packed with Western shirts, boots, and more. 3100 W Magnolia Blvd., 518.557.8447

Olive & Thyme
This family-owned Burbank shop and restaurant is full of gourmet foods and it’s usually packed during lunchtime. You can grab some of the best cheese, charcuterie, wine, salts, condiments and, of course sadnwiches. Go in the morning and grab a breakfast panini and Intelligentsia coffee, or on Friday evenings for their Burger Night. 4013 Riverside Dr., 818.557.1560

The Japanese Garden
It’s difficult to escape the craziness that is Los Angeles. So, get yourself to this serene Japanese Garden in Van Nuys. You’d never expect to exist right off the 405 and be in a relaxing place like this. Walk around the garden, meditate  under the trees, or sip some green tea at the teahouse. 6100 Woodley Ave., 818.756.8166

Itzik Hagadol
The one Israeli restaurant I frequented, sadly closed, but this place is worth the wait. They are serving up fare that I had when I was in Tel Aviv and it’s good. Known for their inexpensive massive “salads” that contain 20 different Israeli-spiced veggies and meats, you and your wallet will walk out stuffed. 17201 Ventura Blvd., 818.784.4080

Lake Balboa
Spend a sunny afternoon at this 27-acre lake. Located in Encino, this oasis is a hidden secret of the Valley, and is perfect for BBQs or working out. It also has activities like fishing and boating. Lil tidbit, visit in March once the cherry blossoms around the park are in bloom. 6300 Balboa Blvd.

Laurel Tavern
This is one of my favorite pubs in The Valley. They have an incredible selection of beers on tap, including unique microbrews, and great wines. If you aren’t excited about that, the food is what people really rave about. Known for their burger, you can also order up peppered steak fries or the grilled ham and gruyere sandwich. 11938 Ventura Blvd., 818.506.0777

Eclectica Vintage Store
You will need a moment to take in this vintage storefront. This place is perfect for nostalgic costume jewelry, clothing, or home decor. There’s constantly new items coming in daily, so return often to score the good stuff. Cash only! 5663 Lankershim Blvd., 818.398.1144

Firefly
This romantic dining spot is super unique. It appears to be a hole in the wall and they you walk in and take it all in. They have a cozy, sexy library-themed lounge,a patio full of fireplaces, plush curtained cabanas, and candles all over. As for food, try the cast iron skillet mussels and prime angus ribeye, followed by the caramelized pear brulee for dessert. They also have a late-night menu, and the bar is open late. 11720 Ventura Blvd., 818.762.1833

Brats Brothers
You like bratwurst? Well, you found heaven. If you can’t afford to get to Germany, you can have a taste of Berlin right on Ventura. They have more than two dozen sausages to choose from and they are all fresh and grilled to order with absolutely no MSG. 13355 Ventura Blvd., 818.986.4020

Encore Nouveau
A self-described contemporary resale shop, this boutique is a well-edited collection of clothes and unique jewelry pieces from any era. The super-knowledgeable staff shops the Fashion District, huge sample sales, wardrobe stylists, and Hollywood studios to track down the best of the best. Let them do all the work. 3322 W Magnolia Blvd., 818.848.3788

Casa Vega
This Los Angeles staple has awesome, authentic ambiance and delicious food and cocktails. We love the Blood Orange Margarita and the Skinny Margarita. They also have amazing lunch and dinner specials. Chow down on the lobster enchiladas, tostada chiquita salad, queso fundido, and the carna asada green burrito. 13301 Ventura Blvd., 818.788.4868

Fryman Canyon
Go to the north side of Mulholland Drive, you’ll discover this beautiful canyon park that’s tucked away between Mulholland and Ventura. The 122 acres not only offers up amazing views, but it’s also has a fitness course and the Betty B. Dearling Mountain Trail. All of it is dog-friendly (on leashes), and the low-key trail (under 3 miles round-trip) has some of the best views of the entire San Fernando Valley. 8401 Mulholland Dr.

Black Market Liquor Bar
This stylish Studio City bar and restaurant is always busy. The chef behind the delicious menu is Top Chef alum Antonia Lofaso and the drinks they are known for were created by the cocktail connsieurs over at La Descarga and Harvard & Stone. The Most Popular drink award goes to the Red, Hot, and Bothered. Just try it! 11915 Ventura Blvd., 818.446.2533

Bob’s Big Boy
This is where the historic L.A.-based burger joint first began and I have been hitting this place up even before I moved here. Since 1936, the fast-food landmark has been serving up classic burgers and fries, making it the oldest remaining Bob’s in the city. It’s a simple, classic diner and they even have car service stops on the weekend to complete the ’50s vibe. Plus, it’s open 24 hours to satisfy your late-night cravings. 4211 W Riverside Dr., 818.843.9334

Asanebo
Sushi lovers have been hitting up this Studio City spot for the past 15 years. The cozy spot has super-fresh sushi. Get a spot the sushi bar and asking the chef for his recommendations. 11941 Ventura Blvd., 818.760.3348

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