A Guide to Sustainable Living in LA

As seen on Folkdays.com.


Ah, Los Angeles. California’s most populous and talked about city– home to the glamour of Hollywood, the beaches of Malibu and the craziness of Venice Beach.

Californians though, as fun loving and odd as they can be, are a very health conscious and eco-friendly bunch. Whether that be conserving their precious and limited supply of fresh water, buying organic, or spending their days outside hiking, surfing and just generally soaking in the spectacular year-round weather, Californians appreciate what they have and do their best to preserve it.

So if the Golden State finds its way onto your upcoming travel itinerary here are a few of our must see’s for those who want a sliver of that true Californian lifestyle for a (literally) hot minute.

Ambrose Exterior 1

Just a short drive from LAX head towards Santa Monica where you’ll find yourself in the midst of palm tree-lined streets while cruising legendary strips like Santa Monica Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway. Five minutes from the equally renowned Santa Monica Pier is the Ambrose Hotel, an award winning boutique inn known for its sustainability and attention to green living. It’s the first hotel in America to receive the United States Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Certification, which means water-saving technology throughout the establishment, hybrid car rentals on-site, and 75 percent of the building’s waste being recycled or composted.

Venice Beach's Eco Cottages

If you’re looking for a completely different experience other than a hotel however, head south to Venice Beach’s Eco Cottages. Made up of just three petite beach bungalows called Papa Hemingway, Aunt Zoe’s Place, and Le Bébé Cottage, it’s a great way to truly live like a local. These cozy huts were built in 1922 but were recently restored by popular eco designer, Kelly LaPlante making them the solar-powered urban retreats they now are. Environmentally friendly amenities such as a hot tub made from recycled plastic milk jugs to non-toxic building materials and paints to purified drinking (and shower) water to fabulous flea market finds for the furniture. The abodes go fast though, so don’t wait around to book. Your money will go to a good cause, as three percent of all proceeds go to charity.

Once you’re settled in, the time is nigh to explore. LA is not the type to slack off. LA likes to look good. Because the sun is usually shining bright, the sweaty gym is often bested for an outdoor excursion dripping in sunscreen.

Yoga at Griffith Park
Yoga at Griffith Park

Say hello to Griffith Park. What once was an ostrich farm owned and operated by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith in 1882 has become one of LA’s most popular attractions. Often referred to as the Central Park of LA, you can get lost for days in the 4,310 acres and 53 miles of wilderness and trails in the hip, star-infested Los Feliz neighborhood. It’s home to the Greek Theatre, a 5,870 seat amphitheater that’s hosted everyone from Neil Diamond to Jack Johnson to Russell Brand in the movie, Get Him to the Greek. It also houses the Griffith Observatory, the most-visited public telescope in the world, which sits at the top of the canyon and offers unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean, downtown LA, and of course, outer space.

Do pull-ups from a tree branch, squats on a dirt embankment, and yoga in a mound of woodchips. Lift some hefty rocks, jump over a riverbank, or hike as close as you can get to that Hollywood sign you’ve seen in all the movies.

The Trails Cafe in Griffith Park
The Trails Cafe in Griffith Park

After your workout, stop by the park’s own little cabin restaurant situated in a clearing amongst the woods called The Trails Café which locals love so much, long lines out the door is a commonality. The food is delicious and largely from an organic vegetarian and vegan variety (think avocado sandwich sprinkled with soy bacon bits and Vegan Pie). It’s all made from scratch and is perfectly on par with the homey atmosphere that comes with being just off the beaten path. Only a few short minutes away from the hustle of the city and that famous god-awful LA traffic, but just far enough to send any lingering worries launching right off that telescope into oblivion.

Find a picnic table in a shady area to eat your healthy lunch while you listen to birds chirp and watch a steady stream of joggers in bright athletic gear. You overhear talk of failed auditions, of new pilots set to air, and lots and lots of sure-to-be-million-dollar ideas in the works. You swear the girl who just sprinted passed you is a model. And you’re positive the guy doing jumping jacks at the opposite end of your mini-frittata has a role in Leo’s new movie. This is the Hollywood Hills after all, and one of the A-lists’ favorite workout spots.

Nena & Co. Day Bag

All that stargazing has put you in the mood to shop. Of course it did. First things first though, you’re going to need a bag to put all your loot in. Nena & Co.’s popular “Day Bags” are big and beautiful—a sort of modern Mary Poppins-type sack. Created by Alejandra Hynek who wanted to share with the world her Mayan culture, the bags are 100% handmade, woven by Guatemalan woman from colorful recycled embroidery patterns (sometimes taking up to two to three months to make). Every purchase aids in making a difference in someone’s life that is less fortunate, whether that be helping a young Guatemalan child get an education or providing a family purified filtered water. These bags do more than just give people jobs; they give back to the culture that created them, which was what Hynek’s goal was all along.

So now that you’re settled in, worked out and energized, grab that thing and get moving! LA is full of great shopping, from the high-end boutiques of Rodeo Drive to the hipster shops of Abbott Kinney to the vintage treasures of the Melrose Trading Post. They’re waiting for you. As patiently as California can.

Ambrose Hotel
1255 20th Street
Santa Monica, California 90404
+1 310 315 1555

Venice Beach Eco Cottages
447 Grand Boulevard
Venice Beach, California 90291
+1 866 802 3110

Griffith Park
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, California 90027
+1 323 913 4688

The Trails Café
2333 Fern Dell Drive
Los Angeles, California 90068
+ 323 871 2102

Nena & Co.
Los Angeles, California
+1 801 592 6158

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