Check Out The Other Side Of L.A. Life With Our Handy Valley Tour!

Much like the rivalry between the Trojans and the Bruins, there's always been some heat around the topic of the Valley — every Angeleno seems to have an opinion to share (or overshare!). But, no matter which side of the mountains you call home, we think it's time we all just got along and basked in our sun-drenched surroundings, together.
Because, the truth is, if haters spent a bit of time actually touring the area, they could maybe — just maybe — grow fond of the massive ravine. We're taking those very steps ourselves, and showing the area some love! By no means would we call ourselves experts, but after logging a few weeks playing in that neck of the woods, we've uncovered 26 hot spots totally worth visiting. So, keep an open mind, click through, and we hope to see you over the hill…maybe this weekend?
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Handmade Galleries
On the hunt for a truly spectacular gift or a splurge for yourself? Jump on the 101 and head to this mecca of eclectic, handmade treasures. The 500-square-foot space is teeming with one-of-a-kind works from over 100 artists and local artisans. This feast-for-the-eyes goldmine has been around for 18 years and we have a feeling you'll lose track of time while taking everything in. We’re talking aisles upon aisles of pottery, jewelry, clothing, and many other items you won’t find anywhere else. We're sure you'll agree, this spot gives Etsy a brick and mortar run for its money!
Handmade Galleries, 14556 Ventura Boulevard (near Cedros Avenue); 818-382-3444.

Photo: Via Handmade Galleries
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Asanebo
Serious sushi addicts have been venturing to this Studio City spot for the past 15 years — and for good reason. The cozy eatery serves up super-fresh and consistently unbelievable sushi. We recommend perching yourself at the sushi bar and asking the chef for his recommendations. Prep yourself for out-of-this-world seafood delicacies that will compel you to snap a couple Instagrams before devouring. Insider tip: Like we said, it’s pretty cozy with limited seating, so we suggest booking a ressie prior.
Asanebo, 11941 Ventura Boulevard (near Radford Avenue); 818-760-3348.

Photo: Via of Asanebo
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Fryman Canyon
If you venture to the north side of Mulholland Drive, you’ll discover this majorly majestic canyon park. Tucked away between Mulholland and Ventura, the vast 122 acres not only offers up ooh- and ahh-worthy views, but it’s also the home of a fitness course and the Betty B. Dearling Mountain Trail. All of it is dog-friendly (on leashes only), and the low-key trail (just under 3 miles round-trip) has some of most breathtaking views of the entire San Fernando Valley. The best part? The well-shaded trail keeps your hike nice and cool.
Fryman Canyon, 8401 Mulholland Drive (near Allenwood Road); no phone.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
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Black Market Liquor Bar
Adjectives like sumptuous and heavenly come to mind when we think of this Studio City bar and restaurant. But don’t take our word for it — on any given night, the hotspot is always bumpin’. The chef behind the kickass menu isTop Chef alum Antonia Lofaso and the out-of-sight drinks 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, so prepare to get, well, hot and bothered. It's definitely the go-to spot if you want to broaden your neighborhood bar horizons or impress visiting friends.
Black Market Liquor Bar, 11915 Ventura Boulevard (near Carpenter Avenue); 818-446-2533.

Photo: Via Black Market Liquor Bar
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Bob’s Big Boy
This is where the historic L.A.-based burger joint first began, and it’s the oldest remaining Bob’s in the city. Since 1936, the fast-food landmark has been serving up classic burgers and fries. There's no bells and whistles on these babies, though — just plain and simple delicious burgers. The Burbank spot feels like a blast from the past — like you’d expect to hear the Beach Boys on the jukebox. It even has car service stops on the weekend to complete the '50s vibe. Oh, and it's open 24 hours to satisfy your late-night carb cravings, too.
Bob's Big Boy, 4211 West Riverside Drive (at North Rose Street); 818-843-9334.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
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Casa Vega
You may recall our epic guide to the best Mexican restaurants in L.A. and, naturally, this spot made the cut. From the awesome ambiance to the beyond-delicious grub and ‘ritas (the Blood Orange Margarita in particular), we’re truly smitten by this Sherman Oaks eatery. Expect amazing lunch and dinner specials, and maybe even a celeb spotting (Gisele Bundchen, Rachel Bilson, and Dakota Fannning are fans). It’s also rumored that the Jolie-Pitt clan frequently dine here. Our menu picks include the lobster enchiladas, tostada chiquita salad, queso fundido, and the carna asada green burrito.
Casa Vega, 13301 Ventura Boulevard (at Fulton Avenue); 818-788-4868.

Photo: Courtesy of Casa Vega
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Encore Nouveau
A self-described contemporary resale shop, this boutique is everything we dream about and so much more. The moment you step into the Burbank destination, you’ll be blown away by the well-edited collection of clothes and unique jewelry pieces from any era, and you’ll truly appreciate the super-knowledgeable staff. But, where do all their fantastic spoils come from? They scour the Fashion District, huge sample sales, wardrobe stylists, and Hollywood studios to track down the best of the best. Sounds like the perfect spot for the thrifting set to us.
Encore Nouveau, 3322 West Magnolia Boulevard (near North California Street); 818-848-3788.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
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Brats Brothers
Welcome to bratwurst heaven, folks. You may be in Sherman Oaks, but you'll be instantly transported to Germany the second you walk in — it’s like a taste of Berlin right on Ventura. With more than two dozen sausages to choose from, all the brats are fresh and grilled to order with absolutely nein MSG. The waitresses are even dressed up in dirndls to match the kitschy ambiance of the must-try restaurant.
Brats Brothers, 13355 Ventura Boulevard (near Dixie Canyon Avenue); 818-986-4020.

Photographed by Shawna Shellmeyer
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Firefly
In need of a new date-night haunt? Head to this romantic dining location — one of Studio City’s most unique restaurants and bars. You’ll first notice the cozy yet surprisingly sexy library-themed lounge, followed by the dreamy patio atmosphere of fireplaces, plush curtained cabanas, and candles galore. Our eyes (and bellies) bet on the cast iron skillet mussels and prime angus ribeye, followed by the caramelized pear brulee for desert. It also offers a late-night menu, and the bar is open late. Trust us, Firefly's definitely worth the trip, no matter how far you have to motor.
Firefly, 11720 Ventura Boulevard (near Colfax Avenue); 818-762-1833.

Photo: Via Flrefly
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Eclectica Vintage Store
Prepare to be wowed by this phenomenal vintage storefront. Whether you’re looking for nostalgic costume jewelry, clothing, or home decor, you’ll spot impressive finds that will stand out in your modern wardrobe or home. There's constantly new treasures coming in daily, so return often to score the good stuff. Hot tip: Eclectica's cash-only, so definitely hit up the ATM before!
Eclectica Vintage Store, 5663 Lankershim Boulevard (near Collins Street); 818-398-1144.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
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11 of 26
Laurel Tavern
Allow us to introduce you to your new favorite pub. This tavern stands out in the sea of other L.A. bars for a couple reasons. Let's start with the fantastic selection of beers on tap (lots of unique micorbrews) and the A+ wines. But, the food is what will really keep you coming back time and time again. From the mouthwatering peppered steak fries to the grilled ham and gruyere sandwich, you’ll be far from disappointed.
Laurel Tavern, 11938 Ventura Boulevard (near Carpenter Avenue); 818-506-0777.

Photo: Via Laurel Tavern
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Lake Balboa
Spend a sunny (or cloudy!) afternoon taking in the scenery of this 27-acre lake. Located in Encino, this oasis is the hidden secret of the Valley, and is perfect for BBQs with friends or jogging. It also offers recreational activities like fishing and boating. Our advice: Mark your calendars for a visit in March once the cherry blossoms around the park are in bloom.
Lake Balboa, 6300 Balboa Boulevard (near Victory Boulevard); no phone.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
13 of 26
Itzik Hagadol
We’ve been searching for a delicious Israeli restaurant for quite some time, and this one has made it worth the wait. The Encino favorite serves up Tel Aviv fare that will blow your mind. Known for its massive “salads” made up of 20 plates of Israeli-spiced veggies and meats, you’ll get a serious deal for the amount of food coming your way.
Itzik Hadaol, 17201 Ventura Boulevard (near Balboa Boulevard); 818-784-4080.

Photo: Via Itzik Hagadol
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The Japanese Garden
Want to get zen and escape the craziness of Lala land? Then make the very necessary jaunt to this serene Japanese Garden in Van Nuys. The haven is truly a magical place that you'd never expect to exist right off the 405. Take your time as you walk around the garden, meditate when sitting under the calming trees, or relax while sipping on some green tea at the teahouse.
The Japanese Garden, 6100 Woodley Avenue (near Victory Boulevard); 818-756-8166.

Photo: Via The Japanese Garden
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Olive & Thyme
Specializing in gourmet foods, this family-owned Burbank shop and restaurant is a Valley favorite. It should come as no surprise that around lunchtime, this place is packed with people ordering crazy-delicious gourmet sandwiches. Plus, it's always stocked with some of the world's finest cheese, charcuterie, wine, salts, and condiments. We suggest heading there in the a.m. for the breakfast panini and Intelligentsia coffee, or on Friday evenings for the famous Burger Night.
Olive & Thyme, 4013 Riverside Drive (Near North Pass Avenue); 818-557-1560.

Photo: Via Olive & Thyme
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Playclothes
Recently invited to an era-specific costume party and starting to stress about what you’re going to show up donning? Not to worry! Just head to Playclothes, which specializes in clothing, jewelry, and accessories from the '40s to '60s as well as an extensive collection of home finds. Our favorite part is without a doubt the cowboy room that’s packed with Western shirts, boots, and so much more. We’re thinking it’s also the ideal spot for our 2013 Halloween masquerade (because it’s never too early!).
Playclothes, 3100 West Magnolia Boulevard (near North Fairview Street); 518-557-8447.

Photo: Via Playclothes
17 of 26
Sugar Fish
We're devoted fans of the multiple locations of this five-star sushi restaurant, and its Studio City rendition that resides in the old Nozawa space ensures that we can always get the melt-in-your-mouth sushi anywhere in Los Angeles. You can’t go wrong when you order the Trust Me, the sushi style that has made the high-end franchise so famous. Word to the wise: The hotspot is always packed and reservations are not accepted, so be prepared to patiently wait with a sake in hand.
Sugar Fish, 11288 Ventura Boulevard, #C (at Eureka Drive); 818-762-2322.

Photo: Via Sugar Fish
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Soto
This Studio City emporium is easily our favorite boutique to find items that look anything but cheap and keeps us pleasantly surprised when we check the price tag. We’ve found some amazing and affordable wardrobe essentials here, and we never leave empty handed. Prepare to stock up on cute basics like tees and tanks, jewelry, shoes, denim, and beyond.
Soto, 13814 Ventura Boulevard (near Matilija Avenue); 818-817-9775.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
19 of 26
Sweet Butter
Talk about first impressions! Upon arriving at this Sherman Oaks resto, you enter through gorgeous wrought-iron gates and pass through the herb garden before making your way into the charmingly rustic marketplace. There, you’ll discover a delectable menu of housemade pastries, signatures soups, salads, and sandwiches. Plus, it offers afternoon tea from 2 to 6 p.m. with reservations. What’s not to love about catching up with pals al fresco at afternoon tea?
Sweet Butter, 13824 Ventura Boulevard (at Matilija Avenue); 818-788-2832.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
20 of 26
Swift
This beloved Burbank vintage shop is a favorite amongst editors and celebrity stylists — and we see why. The charming boutique specializes in gorgeous one-of-a-kind reconstructed garments at wallet-friendly prices, and pulling together a statement-making ensemble can be done in the blink of an eye. The owner also wears many hats — the former makeup and hair artist is a sewing ace (a.k.a. she'll help you figure out what to do with that vintage strapless dress you bought last year and never wear), and she's available for weddings, photo shoots, and other special occasions.
Swift, 3216 Magnolia Boulevard (at North Ontario Street); 818-558-1289.

Photo: Via Swift
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The Great Wall of Los Angeles
The Great Wall of Los Angeles is the unsung hero of the city’s cultural landmarks. Located in Valley Glenn, this magnificent wall of murals spans a half mile, and you’ll be in awe over the vibrant masterpieces. Started in 1974, the project was completed over five years and is a visual representation of the history of ethnic people of California from prehistoric times to the '50s. It’s also a great place to take your pup for a walk and take in all of the breathtaking images.
The Great Wall of Los Angeles, Tujunga Flood Control Channel, Coldwater Canyon Avenue (between Burbank Boulevard and Oxnard Street); 310-822-9560.

Photo: Via SPARC
22 of 26
The Local Peasant
You’ll quickly feel right at home at this low-key Sherman Oaks gastropub. From the carefully thought out vintage decor to the affordably priced food and beer menu, everything about this eatery makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon. You’ll go weak in the knees for the crispy pork belly with watermelon and the pretzel with truffle-butter dipping sauce.
The Local Peasant, 14058 Ventura Boulevard (at Hazeltine Avenue); 818-501-0234.

Photo: Via The Local Peasant
23 of 26
Unique Vintage
Fact: You can never have enough vintage dresses. And it just so happens that this Burbank shop provides a seemingly endless selection of pre-loved wedding gowns, cocktail dresses, and sundresses from bygone eras. Expect to discover beyond-lovely frocks, and don’t be afraid to ask the staff for help finding exactly what you’re looking for.
Unique Vintage, 2013 West Magnolia Boulevard (near Keystone Street); 818-848-1674.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
24 of 26
Valley Inn Steakhouse and Bar
Take our word for it, you’re not going to find anything quite like the Valley Inn Steakhouse unless you hop in a time machine. You might not find too many people under the age of 70 here, but this place is straight-up old school in the best way possible. We love the throwback bar, dark booths, fur coats, and gobs of gaudy jewelry. It’s the kind of place we imagine Tony Curtis frequented and the menu features classic steakhouse staples like BBQ baby-back ribs and roast prime rib for dinner. It’s the perfect spot to rock your vintage finest and head over for a night of classic fun.
Valley Inn Steakhouse and Bar, 4557 Sherman Oaks Avenue (near Ventura Boulevard); 818-784-1163.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer
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Dari
This Studio City boutique is a cool combo of Moroccan decor and all of our favorite designer clothes. The spacious shop is chock-full of a beautifully eclectic selection of dresses, denim, tops, accessories, and tons more. Fun fact: It was once owned by William Shatner’s daughter, Melissa (Leah Segall and Brooke Fisher now count themselves as co-owners). Consider us beaming!
Dari, 12184 Ventura Boulevard (near Vantage Avenue); 818-762-3274.

Photo: Via Dari
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Charlie’s Pantry
If you consider brunch a weekend sport, then it’s crucial that you head to this Studio City gem along the L.A. River. The gourmet resto has become our favorite go-to brunch spot for its right-at-home vibe and downright-amazing Californian cuisine. It serves up an extensive and delectable menu of omelettes, soups, quiches, salads, sandwiches, and freshly baked sweets. Plus, you can grab ah-mazing takeout at its marketplace for grubbing at home.
Charlie’s Pantry, 12265 Ventura Boulevard (near Laurelgrove Avenue); 818-509-9085.

Photo: Via Charlie's Pantry
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