I'm from LA and visit several times a year. I send this list to everyone who asks for LA recs. Here's Lainna's guide to LA, with bars, restaurants, museums, music venues, theaters, etc.
  1. Red Lion (Echo Park) -- amazing German bar w/ great food/beers, outdoor patio (favorite bar in LA).
  2. El Prado (Echo Park) -- really cute little bar on Sunset Blvd w/ great beers, across the street from the Echo/Echoplex, 2 of the best music venues in LA.
  3. Varnish (DTLA) -- secret speakeasy -- go to Cole's, beautiful historic restaurant, for a drink, then find your way to the back of the restaurant, unmarked door leads to the Varnish, tiny beautiful bar that probably holds about 20 people, organized around an old piano.
  4. Footsies (Highland Park) -- favorite divey bar in my old neighborhood, usually has great DJs, cheap drinks, next door to the best tacos ever (El Atacor).
  5. Thirsty Crow (Silver Lake) -- beautiful whiskey bar
  6. El Atacor (Highland Park) -- best potato tacos in the world, no joke.
  7. Cha Cha Cha (Silver Lake) -- amaaaazing Caribbean food, fav restaurant in LA. best chilaquiles!!!!!
  8. Canele (Atwater) -- beautiful cozy little restaurant with A+ food and excellent wine, also good for breakfast.
  9. Daikokuya (downtown) -- best ramen in LA by far, usually a wait but I swear it is worth it.
  10. Cafe Tropical (Silver Lake) -- favorite cafe in LA, amazing Cuban pastries, super adorable kinda hole in the wall spot. Cookies are as big as your head. Amazing. Get the guava cheese pie.
  11. Low End Theory (Lincoln Heights) -- Wednesday nights at the Airliner for the best hip-hop/rap/electronic music. Hosted by Daddy Kev, Nobody, The Gaslamp Killer, D-Styles, and Nocando.
  12. Echo/Echoplex (Echo Park) -- usually more indie/rock shows but often have good electronic stuff too, check their calendar.
  13. MOCA (DTLA) -- if you've never been, worth a visit, one of the more exciting museums in LA right now, contemporary art.
  14. Griffith Park Observatory (Los Feliz) -- huuuuuuuuge park, amazing observatory with a beautiful view of LA.
  15. LAPL (DTLA) -- downtown branch of the library is gorgeous.
  16. Wende Museum (Culver City) -- Cold War museum with an incredible archive of artifacts.
  17. Walking tours w/ the LA Conservancy -- I recommend the Art Deco and the Angelino Heights tours in particular but they're all great.
  18. Museum of Jurassic Technology (west LA) -- a quirky little museum with a cute little tea room and an exhibit of Russian dogs in space -- things like this make LA so special.
  19. Family (Fairfax) -- A+ bookstore focusing on art/film/comics/music.
  20. Cinefamily (west LA) -- best cinema in the country, insane range of programming, everything from things like Buster Keaton silents to 60s French new wave classics to uh Human Centipede. This place used to be called the Silent Movie Theater, and has an amazing history, look it up. Full disclosure: I worked here for years.
  21. New Beverly Cinema (Hollywood) -- really great double features, got my film education in HS there.