Fashion Photographer Eric Ray Davidson’sGuide to Los Angeles

Anyone who’s ever lived in Los Angeles will tell you that the city is a wonderful yet dynamic sprawl that can take weeks, even years to fully explore. To visit L.A. as a tourist is to experience just once slice of all that it has to offer. Here to share one very stylish slice of the city is celebrated fashion photographer and beauty-seeker, Eric Ray Davidson who has lived in L.A. off and on for decades and currently calls the City of Angels his permanent home (you may remember his epic shots of Steph Curry and Kris Bryant for Express). Davidson hails from the East Coast, specifically Boston and New York, and fell for Los Angeles because of its gorgeous weather, healthy and balanced lifestyle, and access to incredible nature. L.A. also has famously good light, and we all know photographers are drawn to good light.

 

 

Davidson lives in Hancock Park, just South of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory, two popular L.A. landmarks. As an in-demand creative and father to a little girl, Davidson’s must-see list includes a mix of sexy fashion industry haunts as well as family friendly, health-minded destinations. If you’re looking for a trip to West Coast that’s party, party, party without the raging hangover, he’s definitely your man. Renting a car? One word: upgrade. “I’m a big proponent on spending a little bit more on your car,” Davidson advises. “It means you won’t be bummed out if you happen to get stuck in traffic—something you always need to be prepared for here.” And with that, here’s the rest of your itinerary for a mostly central, definitely photogenic visit to L.A.

 

Health Matters

“For me, what’s great about Los Angeles is the ability to spend so much time outdoors, to live a healthy lifestyle, and just constantly be active. I’m at Runyon Canyon all the time, which is one of the many hikes you can do right in L.A. I go what is known colloquially as “the hard way.” It’s a steep incline up the canyon, and you’re just getting smacked with sun. I tend to dress in layers so I sweat even more; I love the cleansing feeling you get from a good sweat. The whole thing takes about 45 minutes from car door to car door.”

“I get almost all of my food from Erewhon, which is a big organic grocery right in West Hollywood. It puts even Whole Foods to shame, it’s very LA. I’m pretty religious about it. They have the best prepared food in L.A., so it’s a good spot to get lunch while you’re stocking up on groceries. I go for the organic salmon combo. It’s $17 and worth every penny. You can sit outside at the picnic tables and enjoy the sunshine.”

 

“I’ve got two dogs. One of them doesn’t really like being outdoors and the other one doesn’t really like going to dog parks, but I take them to Laurel Canyon dog park to socialize them. I imagine it’s what parents do through trying to get their kids to make friends. The park is way up on Mulholland, and it’s pretty massive with a great view—worth checking out even if you’re just out for a drive.”

 

Do It, Do It

 

“I enjoy the bigger L.A. museums like The Broad and The Hammer, but the smaller joints are also well worth seeking out. They just feel more personal. M+B Photo is one of my favorites. It’s strictly photography, and the shows are always incredible. They did a really cool show recently with Hugh Holland, a skateboarding photographer from the ‘70s, and the current exhibition is with Norm Clasen, who shot all of the original Marlboro ads. It’s really amazing. This is the first time he’s officially shown his stuff. I was so moved by it.”

“One of the owners of M&P Gallery, Kelly Cole, is a friend of mine and also happens to own one of my favorite vintage stores in L.A. called just Kelly Cole. He has the best selection of vintage jewelry and T-shirts, which are what I usually look for when I go vintage shopping. It’s right on La Brea, which is where you’ll find a ton of other shops, cafes, and restaurants, too.”

 

Refuel with Caffeine and Magazines on a Quaint Shopping Street

 

Afternoon delight 😋

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“My favorite coffee shop in L.A. is definitely Go Get Em Tiger on Larchmont Blvd. I’m there pretty much every single morning. It’s bar-style service; you can tell when someone is a first-timer by the sheer confusion and panic in their eyes. If you have a minute to sit they also have delicious food. You can even pick up something to read at the classic L.A. magazine stand just down the block.”

Unleash Your Inner Child at the Happiest Place on Earth

“I’ve taken my daughter to Disneyland more than a dozen times already—she’s not yet three. We have a season pass so we’ll just go ride a few rides, she’ll get her face painted, it’s super fun. I find Disneyland to be pretty manageable; it’s just about not trying to do every single thing in one day and also going when it isn’t super crowded if you can manage it. I go with my daughter but it’s really a fun thing to do at any age. Who doesn’t want to spend the day at Disney?”

 

Hollywood Nights

 

Palihouse is a beautiful hotel and it’s very central, which always helps. It’s a good place to take meetings or just have a few mellow drinks with friends. My friend Dan from New York is the food and beverage director here so sometimes I’ll get to see him while I’m hanging out. The bar always has just what you want, when you want it. I’m not a big drinker anymore, but I like a good Negroni.”

 

“If anyone is having a dinner or a party at Chateau Marmont I’ll always go because it’s always a great time. I love the intimacy of it and the history of it. They do really a good job of making it fun without letting it be a mob scene or just filled with showoffs. I’m not a big clubber so if I want to go out, Chateau is perfect. It’s a good, fun vibe but you can still, you know, have a conversation with someone.”

 

still hungry #alwayshungry #lunch #jonandvinnys 📷: @fivefour

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“When I want to be a little naughty food-wise, it’s Jon & Vinny’s all the way. I always order the ricotta toast—and basically everything else on the menu too. The pizza is great. The wine is awesome. And the vibe is fun, too. It’s pretty much all you can ask for in a modern Italian restaurant.”

Catch a Flick on the Most Silver of Screens

“I think ArcLight in Hollywood is easily one of the best movie theaters in the United States. It’s big and beautiful, but it’s also sort of an industry place so you’ll often see a movie and there will end up being a Q&A afterwards with the director or someone. If you’re going to have more a low-key night in L.A., nothing really beats seeing a movie at ArcLight. (I have a super embarrassing habit of eating popcorn like a wild animal and usually take down a large before the previews are over. They have the best popcorn in L.A. Fact.)

From left to right: Vintage Fleece Hoodie, Supersoft Crew Neck Tee, Skinny Black Tough Stretch+ Jeans