If you’re dodging the raindrops and cursing the cold right now maybe a Los Angeles break is what you need. Whether you want to see where the movies are made, gawk at the Hollywood set, or just hang out on the beach, the California weather is guaranteed. Like the song says, it never rains in sunny California.

The truly LA thing to do is couch surf: call up a friend and stay in their living room until you’ve worn out your welcome. Failing that, for the broke hipster looking for a home away from home, there’s the Venice Beach Suites & Hotel with rooms from around $105.

Located on the beach amid the bustling Venice boardwalk it’s an ideal place to start, but before you make your reservations, be warned: the Venice boardwalk is part tourist trap, part congregating place for bonafide weirdos.

When you’re ready to shop, take a trip to Long Beach to shop alongside Hollywood set designers and costumers on Retro Row, the strip of East 4th between Junipero and Cherry Avenues that hosts over a dozen vintage clothing stores, furniture shops, and décor places.

After you’ve got your shopping fix, you’ll need to get your eat on.

Look no further than Cicada. Housed in a gorgeous 1928-built Art Deco masterpiece with food that matches the atmosphere, Cicada is the antithesis of LA’s trendy restaurant scene: old fashioned grandiose rather than insufferably hip. If you’re into the American dive bar experience, you can’t leave LA without stopping by Frank N Hanks in Koreatown (213-383-2087), which serves up ultra-cheap beer and cocktails to a super-arty crowd.

Best of all, they have one of the best jukeboxes in the city.

3 free things to do

1 The Getty Center (www.getty.edu) offers visitors access to a world class collection of paintings, sculpture and photographs. Admission is free.

2 Since you’re coming to the pop culture factory, why not attend a show taping to see how we do it? Sites like www.audiencesunlimited.com and www.tvtix.com can help you book free tickets.

3 Check out the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (www.ucbtheatre.com) on just about any night. With rising stars like Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer, it would be insane for you not to go.

Latest From ...