With its fresh cuisine, year-round sunshine, and proximity to the beach, Los Angeles has been the ultimate wellness city before, well, wellness was even a thing. Because health is baked into the city’s DNA, it offers some of the best and most exciting places to feed one’s body, mind, and soul — in ways that are both nourishing and self-indulgent. With wellness so deeply ingrained in the city’s ethos, it won’t come as a surprise that there’s a surfeit of ways fitness, healthy eating, and spiritual well-being are catered to. Here, a list of six prime spots to take advantage of the City of Angels and honor your own personal version of wellness at the same time.
In recent years the benefits — both physical and environmental — of a plant-based diet have become talking points in certain trendy circles, but Cafe Gratitude has long offered up vegan delights in a casual, friendly atmosphere. Because of this, it’s attracted a wellness-oriented, stylish, and sometimes famous, group of patrons who happily munch on bountiful, flavorful dishes like veggie bowls, tempeh wraps, and seaweed salads. Be ready for Zen’d out waiters to ask you an existential question before you order — who knew you’d have to tell a stranger what makes you happy before ordering your avocado toast? — along with a daily affirmation. A little bohemians? Sure, but it’s LA, baby, embrace it.
In 2011, former chef Amanda Chantal Bacon channeled her study of adaptogens and the healing properties of herbs, vegetables, roots, and other natural fare into a small juice shop located in the beachside neighborhood of Venice. Her restorative tonics, shakes, and teas, have since been a hit for LA’s wellness community, inspiring two more locations (in West Hollywood and Silverlake), a cook book, an all-natural beauty line, and a following that has gone from cult to fervent. Now she offers up supplements, skincare products, and snacks that focus on not just nourishing your body, but healing it (think activated almonds or fermented seed crisps). For anyone who wants to harness the restorative power of nature and the medicinal benefits of ancient diets — or even just a tasty, nutritious smoothie — a stop at Moon Juice is a must.
While wellness most typically concerns the mind and the body, Angelenos aren’t ones to skip out on the mystical. And the best place to really channel your spiritual side is the charming Silverlake crystal shop, Spellbound Sky. Not only do the two “man-witch” owners — Mark Phillips and Martin Anguiano — sell crystals that practically vibrate with elemental energies, essential oils that will cure whatever ails your soul, and ritual candles to help you set your intentions, they offer classes and workshops concerning all things that go beyond our traditional ideas of health, self-care, and wellness. Get ready to have your third eye opened and a protective force field of love cast around your physical body. Make sure to get a charged amulet to take with you as a reminder of this very special, very kooky shop.
Plenty of studios in the L.A. provide luxury perks along with their take on the time-honored practice, but Modo Yoga is a no-frills studio that focuses on the essentials of the practice set in a sweaty space. (And it’s attracted some celebrity fans as well). From traditional hatha-style flow classes to more restorative options, the classes are great for yogis of all levels.
Can a health food store be cool? In Los Angeles, the answer is a resounding “Hell yeah” and the coolest lunch crowd in town is hands down loitering around the all-natural supermarket Erewhon. With five locations, each in a different neighborhood and catering to a distinct customer, Erewhon appeals to everyone from chic Goop acolytes to hip streetwear fanatics. While you can certainly do your day-to-day grocery shopping with its organic and locally-sourced produce (though expect to pay a pretty price) the real draw is the hot food bar, where folks lineup at lunchtime for healthy riffs on classic meals. While usually markets are pretty low-key affairs, at Erewhon people dress to impress — keep that in mind and don’t say we didn’t warn ya.
Any Angeleno will tell you one of the best parts about the city is the glorious weather. And while there’s a robust gym culture in LA, there’s also some really special hikes that help you take advantage of the warm temps and year-round mild climate. While there are countless amazing ones all within a short drive, Runyon Canyon is right in the middle of the city, making it an easy way to get some exercise, see sweeping views of the city from downtown to the ocean (on a clear day), see plenty of puppies and cool (not to mention scantily clad) locals all in one trip. All within a few minutes from countless trendy brunch spots.