BRUNCH & BOOKS STAYCATIONSometimes you just want to get away for a little bit. Not necessarily for a long, carefully planned vacation, just an extended weekend… a couple days off either at the beginning or end of the week where you can stick around locally and take your time doing the things you really enjoy. For me, that’s a brunch & books staycation in Los Angeles. I love being able to go to a bookstore, then walk over to a place where I can grab brunch or coffee. Here are my 3 favorite bookstore and restaurant pairings, that are in walking distance of each other, whenever I need a little staycation.
Skylight Books is one of my favorite bookstores, and a perfect staycation stop if you’re living in Los Angeles. They have such an unique selection including works from local artists and writers. They’re open from 10am to 10pm- it’s just so gratifying to have places you can visit that are open semi-late. Skylight has 2 locations that are right next door to each other. Their main store is bigger and serves as a general bookstore, but they have a smaller store just outside that I’m in love with – Skylight Arts Annex. The Arts Annex store focusses on design, architecture, fashion, art, and geek chic flare like sci fi, zines and comics. Their magazine section alone is pretty amazing – they manage to curate the most luxe and beautiful magazine publications I never knew existed. LOTS of coffee-table books… ones with lots of beautiful photography. Needless to say, you can spend hours in there just looking through pages and pages of art books. I also just like the fact that it’s a smaller space with lots to offer – feels cozy and grand all at the same time.
Whenever I’m at Skylight Books, I need to go to Alcove Cafe. They have both indoor and outdoor seating, but it’s pretty much all about their patio. This is one of my favorite places to enjoy breakfast and some reading. With a gigantic cup of coffee of course. And if you’re ever there for dinner, they have a beautiful bar area, and delicious entrees. I really like their fish tacos, especially on a warm Summer night on the patio.
Pasadena – Vroman’s Bookstore and Urth CaffeVroman’s has 2 locations in Pasadena, but my favorite one is on Colorado Blvd because there’s so much to do in that area. It’s two stories, with huge selection of books. But my favorite is of course the Art section. Right next door is the Laemmle Playhouse 7 where you can indulge in unique and entertaining independent films. And across the street is Urth Caffe. Urth also has several locations all throughout Los Angeles. This Pasadena location is super convenient because it’s huge… I never have a problem finding a table, and the line goes pretty fast, no matter how busy it gets. I can hang out at Urth practically all day – their menu has so many different dishes on it and so far, everything I’ve tried has been delicious. I have an obsession with smoked salmon, and their Eggs Salmone is one of my fave brunch dishes. Some of my other regular orders are the Tomato & Rice Soup, Nori Plum Rice Wrap and their Vegan Chocolate Cake (yes, they have a super impressive bakery with beautiful desserts). All of them are definitely worth trying.
Gallery Nucleus is by far one of my top places to go for inspiration. The front of their store is filled unique art books, art prints and some vinyl toys like Dunny’s and Unicornos. Everything is so well-curated… you just want to look through every little thing they have. The back of their store is an art gallery and they usually have openings on Saturday nights with super talented artists. They sell the original artwork at each exhibit, but they’ll produce several of the pieces as prints that anyone can buy at a reasonable price… which I think is SO cool. Everyone should have an opportunity to own beautiful art without having to pay hundreds of dollars. I have a bunch of these prints all over my living room. I absolutely love having this little gallery in the neighborhood. I’ve been coming here since college when it started as a tiny novelty store with a limited selection of art and toys- I’d drive up on weekends from UC Irvine just to see if there was anything new. It’s definitely the gem of Alhambra. Check here for their events and exhibitions.
There’s actually a ton of places to eat at right around Nucleus, but if you walk West, down Main Street, to 2nd Street… Bon Appetea Cafe is an adorable little cafe where you can order different teas, lattes, sandwiches and MACARONS. They have really fun flavors for their macarons- they change each day, but if you ever get a chance, try their Fruity Pebbles macaron… tastes just like the cereal. It can get pretty loud inside, but they have a couple tables outside that make it a perfect place to leaf through the gorgeous books you scored at Nucleus. And it’s actually a super cute place to go to at night for a quick bite.
Spending a weekend just hitting different bookstores and eating and drinking coffee seems like a such a simple idea, but I really do feel so refreshed when I finally return to work. So next time you’re having a tough week, take an extra day or two off and have yourself a little books & brunch staycation. It’s good for you. <3