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A woman with a glass of champaign wears a monocle made of a penny
(Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles Times)

17 luxurious things to do in L.A. under $100

Los Angeles can make almost anyone feel broke. Only 17% of the city’s residents can afford to buy a median-priced home and couples making six-figure salaries question whether they can have children and still save for retirement.

But even as the city becomes less affordable than ever, there are still lots of ways to feel fancy without spending an arm and a leg. The key is knowing where to look.

Here we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite L.A. County spots that conjure up luxury without breaking the bank. Sprawling in the sun on a postcard-worthy beach in Malibu won’t cost you more than the price of gas and parking, but it will make you feel like a million bucks. And just because you may never be able to buy a $5-million house doesn’t mean you can’t show up at any open house you like and soak up the moneyed vibes. All our recommendations cost less than $100, and some of them are free.

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You won’t find any Michelin-starred restaurants or a Rodeo Drive shopping spree on our list because spending there can feel daunting. But you will find a handful of moderately priced spas with day passes or a la carte amenities, very fancy tennis courts with unique L.A. history and an aspirational grocery store.

These suggestions aren’t meant to mimic what rich people do. Instead, we’ve assembled activities and experiences that make us feel like we’re living a life of abundance and leisure — even if it’s just for an afternoon.

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The Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts.
(Courtesy of Gabriel Noguez and the Hammer Museum at UCLA)

Reign over a personally-curated collection of masterpiece artworks

Westwood Art Museum
You: “I’d like to see the 17th century Rembrandt, please.”

Hammer Museum staffer: “Of course. Anything else?”

You: “Let’s also pull a Daumier print and a Japanese woodblock print from the Edo period. I’ll be in at noon.”

Reign over your own personally-curated collection of masterpiece artworks for the afternoon. Really.

The Hammer Museum’s Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts — with more than 45,000 prints, drawings, photographs and artists’ books from the Renaissance to the present day — is one of the largest collections of its kind on the West Coast. Most of the works are kept in on-site storage at the Westwood museum and — little-known fact — the staff will pull up to 15 pieces for you, if you call at least two weeks in advance and make a reservation.

Your visit will take place in the museum’s adjacent study room — part of a recent, $90-million renovation — and you’ll be provided a handout with basic artwork information. In some cases, the staffer supervising your visit may stay and help you interpret the work. If you don’t know what, exactly, you’d like to see, they’ll consult with you ahead of time to decide. And while there’s no official time limit, a typical visit lasts about an hour.

The cost of this one percenter-like experience? Free.

Prefer to sit quietly and contemplate the artworks? That’s fine too. The state-of-the-art study room, which is connected to a works-on-paper gallery featuring rotating exhibitions, has especially comfy seats.

Just don’t fire up a cigar or crack open the Cognac, please, as you ogle your priceless collection.
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A three-tiered tower of finger sandwiches and other treats graces a table at the tea room of the Huntington in San Marino.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Raise a pinkie at the Huntington's historic tea room

San Marino Teahouse
I always feel rich strolling through the immaculately manicured grounds of the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens where admission is $25, but if you really want to up the luxurious ante, make a reservation at the recently renovated Rose Garden Tea Room where you can order the Huntington Tea for an additional $62 per person, complete with finger sandwiches, scones, Devonshire cream, lemon curd and assorted other sweets.

Reservations are recommended but not required, and when I went with a friend on a chilly weekday afternoon at 3:30 the place was almost empty. (Lunchtime and weekends tend to be busier, as are the warmer months).

You can choose from a wide assortment of teas, but otherwise the menu is fixed. It all arrived quickly — the sandwiches and sweets thoughtfully arranged on a three-tiered silver platter. Our server offered to take a photo of us with it before we dug in and since my friend and I had both put on floral dresses to make the afternoon feel extra special, of course we said yes.

We had a lovely afternoon, but there are a few things I’d do differently: Because of the cool weather we sat inside in a pretty mint-colored room, but next time I’ll ask for a table in the newly added alfresco pavilion so it would feel more like having tea in a garden. I’ll also show up earlier. The tea service may look dainty and elegant, but it’s actually quite a lot of food and I was stuffed by the end of our meal. Wandering through the 207 sprawling acres afterward would have been an ideal way to work off some of the richness of the sandwiches and desserts, but the Huntington closes at 5 p.m. so there wasn’t time.
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The pool pavilion at the Virginia Robinson Gardens.
(Courtesy of Joshua Johnston)

Play tennis at the stately Virginia Robinson Gardens

Beverly Hills Botanic Garden
Tennis, anyone?

The Virginia Robinson Gardens, with its ornate, 1911 Beaux-Arts style residence and intricately tiled pool pavilion, was the first grand mansion of Beverly Hills, home to Harry and Virginia Robinson — and tours of the more than 6-acre estate, now owned by the county, are a little-known gem in Los Angeles, a posh getaway in the heart of the city.

Even lesser-known: members of the public can rent the estate’s storied single tennis court as a group by the hour. Former owner Virgina Robinson — a socialite and consummate party host who held legendary soirees on her Great Lawn for guests that included Dorothy Parker, Mae West, Lillian Disney and Fred Astaire — played tennis on this court into her late 70s. Legend has it she and Charlie Chaplin played their very last game, each, on this court, which is surrounded by brilliant-pink bougainvillea, towering palm trees and an arrangement of elegant, cast-iron patio furniture. Perhaps for a spot of tea, between sets.

Not into tennis? Tours of the property meander about its lush, Italian Terrace Garden, its manicured, fragrant Rose Gardens and its vast, densely planted Australian King Palm Forest — the largest collection outside of Queensland, Australia. Until recently, tours ended promptly at 4 p.m. But they’ve since been extended through “golden hour,” in every season. For the first time, members of the public can watch the sun set from the property, with views of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Century City skyline and the ocean, on a clear day.

For the tennis inclined, however, be sure to pay tribute to Robinson’s elegance and wear your finest tennis whites. Not tired out afterward? Head to the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, down the street, for a post-game refreshment. Try “the Millionaire,” with vodka, ginger, lemon and Giffard Crème de Pêche Blueberry to put a fine point on the afternoon.

This way, everyone has the advantage.

Tours cost $15 for adults, $6 for children (5-12), $11 for students with identification and $11 for seniors (62+).
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Barber chairs inside Gornik & Drucker
(Adam Tschorn/Los Angeles Times)

Indulge in a celeb-worthy straight-razor shave

Beverly Hills Barber
If you want to feel like a million bucks for less than a hundred, hustle over to Gornik & Drucker’s Barber Shop, a clubby, four-chair shop tucked away in the lower level of the Maybourne Beverly Hills hotel and ask the man who greets you warmly for a straight-razor shave.

He’ll motion you to sit in a vintage Kochs barber chair, tilt you back and begin a 45-minute grooming-meets-pampering ritual that includes two rounds of hot towels, a warm lather of Geo. F. Trumper shaving cream, a meticulous pruning of your facial forest that involves at least two passes with a straight razor (one with and one against the grain), a vibrating face massage, a spritz of bay rum aftershave and a finish that involves the snap of a cool towel inches from a face that’s as smooth as polished marble.

Gornik & Drucker’s (which also has an outpost in the Palisades) isn’t the only place in town to get a straight-razor shave, but it is the only place that dates to 1936 — and has catered to the tonsorial needs of Ronald Reagan, Frank Sinatra, Orson Welles and gangster Bugsy Siegel — the last of whom supposedly stopped in the day he was gunned down in 1947.

Book your $85 appointment in advance online (each barber sees between eight and 10 heads a day, said Carlitos Dosouto, the 21-year veteran of the barbering trade who took my face from grizzled to baby-butt smooth on a recent Tuesday morning), and park for two hours free in the city garage just north of the Maybourne (a door leads from the garage almost directly to the barber shop). Or, if you’re feeling extra fancy, roll into the hotel’s $20 valet and get validated — which will shave $15 off the fee. (Put it toward the tip — because, hey, it’s always a good idea to tip the person who lays a straight razor against your neck.)

Either way, you’ll be leaving with your best face forward.

Gornik & Drucker’s Beverly Hills is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
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 Carbon Beach in Malibu
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

See how the rich and famous live at Billionaire's Beach

Malibu Beach
For years, it was difficult for people to get to Carbon Beach, which is famously known as Billionaire’s Beach. Celebrities like former Dodgers co-owner Jamie McCourt and actor John Travolta live near the prized beach.

Unlike Venice and Manhattan beaches, which are brimming with residents and tourists daily, wealthy residents like music mogul David Geffen and Lisette Ackerberg (widow of developer Norman Ackerberg) fought hard to keep people away from their prized properties along Carbon Beach, which is public property up to the average high-tide line. Some residents even went as far as installing fake “no parking” signs or hiring security guards to shoo people off. This all changed when the California Coastal Commission created multiple public access points, including a walkway nicknamed the Hooray for Hollywood Moguls path, making it easier for the public to access the beach.

When I visited on a gloomy weekday morning, I was one of roughly 10 beachgoers. (Carbon Beach is typically less crowded than nearby Zuma and Surfrider beaches.) This made me feel like I somewhat had the beach to myself, which is a luxury in and of itself in a county as big as Los Angeles. I also found a parking spot — there’s only street parking nearby — close to one of the public access points. Another win.

As the waves swung back and forth, I walked along the beachfront and gazed at the sumptuous homes, imagining what it would be like to live in one of them or how I’d decorate them differently. This is especially fun if you’re interested in architecture and design. At one point, a beautiful dog ran up to greet me tenderly. (Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach unless they are service animals, although it’s common to see a few.) Billionaire’s Beach is the perfect place to romanticize your life on a solo date, or bring a loved one along for a relaxing beach day.
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Two blue cups sit on a poolside table with lounge chairs and palm trees.
(Joel Barhamand/For The Times)

Escape to Europe for an afternoon at the Cara Hotel

Los Feliz Hotel
Instead of catching up with a friend or colleague at a busy coffee shop, why not ask them to meet you at the charming Cara Hotel, where you can feel like you’re escaping to Europe for the afternoon?

As you approach the boutique hotel, which is tucked near Western Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, you’ll walk into what looks like a Mediterranean villa filled with elegant, neutral-colored decor. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, which can cost between $280 to $850 a night, you can hang out there and still feel like a cherished guest.

Take your pick between sitting at the hotel bar, which has bright red suede stools, moody lighting and opens at 10:30 a.m. where you can order a drink. (We’re not judging you for ordering a cocktail for breakfast.) Or sit on one of two white, Midcentury Modern-style couches in the lobby area, where there are multiple art books to peruse while you enjoy a latte. The final option, and my personal favorite, is the restaurant, which sits in an airy courtyard that is embellished with centuries-old olive trees and a calming tranquility pool that makes for a perfect Instagram story. If you feel like having a snack, I recommend the Yucatecan ceviche ($26) or the truffle fries ($18).

The Cara Hotel also offers free live music including a live salsa band on Wednesday nights, jazz on Sundays and live DJs throughout the weekend on a patio near the bar.

There’s a decent amount of street parking along Western Avenue with either a one- or two-hour limit, and valet parking is $15.
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 A pond full of koi and a sunken Buddha head
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Let your budtender prepare you an iced-down bong

West Hollywood Dispensary
Sometimes it’s the little things that make you feel the fanciest, those small gestures that telegraph you’re in good hands and being well taken care of. I realized that one stoned evening at the Ganja Giggle Garden — the tropical-oasis-meets-cannabis-consumption-lounge at the Woods dispensary — after borrowing a bong from the assortment behind the bar (free to use as long as you leave your driver’s license as collateral).

After placing the glass waterpipe on the counter in front of me, my budtender filled it with water and then offered to top it off with a generous scoop of ice cubes. I answered with an enthusiastic “Yes,” which resulted in some of the smoothest bong rips I’ve had in years. It was a simple handful of frozen water but it made me feel seen. And it remains the most thoughtful and luxurious exercise in public weed consumption I’ve had to date.

The best part is, flaring up with this level of fancy won’t break the bank; a $20 minimum purchase at the dispensary is no longer required to partake on site so just buy the smallest bag of buds on the shelf (on a recent visit, a 3.5 gram jar of Stone Road’s Milk & Cookies was $18) and indulge. Of course, if you want to shell out some serious green to experience a whole new level of high-class high, rent a spacious cabana (rates start at $150 for 90 minutes) and kick back surrounded by Buddha statues, a pond full of badger-sized koi (some of these fancy fish are nearly 30 years old) and a cockatoo named George.

The Woods dispensary hours are 9 a.m. to 9:50 p.m. daily and the Ganja Giggle Garden consumption lounge hours are 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
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A felted hat embroidered with "Voda Spa"
(Elisa Parhad)

Don a felted hat and steam all day

West Hollywood Day Spa
Expect an international crowd and a heavier male contingent at Voda Spa, a midsize spa facility off WeHo’s Santa Monica Boulevard. The vibe here is modern and airy with a touch of luxury. The heart of the spa has a large lap pool, Jacuzzi, cold plunge and sauna rooms, which are open to all sexes, so bring your swimsuit. A large lounging area with an adjacent natural juice bar lies just off the pool for relaxing or socializing — a key aspect of the Russian banya experience, after which Voda Spa is modeled.

The focus here is the sauna rooms: a dry banya (the hottest at 240 F), wet banya (200 F) and Finnish sauna (the coolest, at 180 F), plus a eucalyptus-scented steam room. Some patrons bring their own felted banya hat to help keep in the heat; you can buy one at the front desk. Or pick up your own venik, a bundle of oak leaves used to stir around the heated air. Our suggestion? Sign up for the Platza Treatment — the most popular at the spa — which uses the venik as a traditional therapeutic tool to supposedly improve blood circulation.

Voda Spa was members-only during COVID and its aftermath, and it still retains its social club feel. The in-house cafe and bar are popular with the local Russian and Armenian communities, where a taste of home can be found in the borscht (beet soup), pelmeni (dumplings), fish platters and sides of krivetki (shrimp) paired with pints of beer.

Pro tip: Cool off (or warm up, depending on the season) upstairs at the small but inviting, outdoor patio space.

Price: A day pass is $100. Treatments start at $90.
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A cocktail at Hotel Bel Air.
(Jordan Michelman / For The Times)

Pretend you belong with a deluxe martini in hand

Bel-Air Cocktails
Within the canyons of perception, behind a wall of money, high among the grand estates sits the Hotel Bel-Air. The bar here oozes Art Deco, all black and gold, with low-slung tables lit moodily by a single lamp each. A Monkey 47 Deluxe Martini costs $30 and tastes like it. But each guest, be they pauper or prince, is served an architecturally daring snack tray with popcorn, olives and mixed nuts.

Incredible old rock ’n’ roll photographs hang on the wall, shot by Norman Seeff; real live swimming swans grace a little lake at the front of the property (it is called, no joke, “Swan Lake”); and there is Chateau d’Yquem and Krug by the glass ($125 and $80, respectively).

The sum total effect is rather like a parlor trick: For $40 (including tax and tip) you can sit in this room for an hour and forget about the rest of the world, breathe in that canyon air and pretend that you belong at a hotel whose rooms begin at $1,000 a night. It’s luxurious escapism, a bit of camp and a touch of suspended reality.
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People sit inside Erewhon on tables and at a bar.
(Kailyn Brown/Los Angeles Times)

See what the hype is about at the fanciest Erewhon

Pacific Palisades Grocery Store
Whether you’re familiar with their beloved hot bar, Hailey Bieber’s $18 skincare smoothie or the unconventional Erewhon-branded accessories that Balenciaga used in its December runway show — the upscale grocer’s influence has become inescapable.

Given that daily grocery essentials at Erewhon cost more than your average store — a bottle of hot sauce is $12.50 and roasted almond butter is $18 — going there can feel like an exuberant experience for people under a certain tax bracket.

With 10 locations stretching from Calabasas to Pasadena, each store offers varying customer experiences when it comes to parking ease, store size, product placement and overall fancy vibes.

The most luxurious Erewhon location is, without question, the Pacific Palisades store. Situated in Rick Caruso’s Palisades Village, this Erewhon is just a short drive to multiple picturesque beaches including Will Rogers State Beach and Topanga Beach. Plus, there are several upscale boutique stores nearby for window shopping, such as Diptyque, Saint Laurent and Toteme. The outdoor mall also has a movie theater that only shows Netflix films.

Given that Pacific Palisades is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, the overall experience feels ritzy and the customer service is great. You may even spot a few celebrities here.

And the large garage — free for an hour with validation — makes parking a breeze.

When I visited on a recent weekday, a fellow shopper jokingly asked me, “Are you ready to spend $100 on food here?” My answer was no, but it was fun to peruse through the wide aisles and imagine what it’d be like to do all of my grocery shopping there. Erewhon gets particularly busy midday around lunchtime, but even with the larger crowd, it’s still peaceful to sit on the idyllic patio and eat your hot bar meal. I had a burger with Brussels sprouts and buffalo cauliflower florets for $30. It’s a great place to people watch.
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Three baths in a steamy room
(Kailyn Brown/Los Angeles Times)

Pamper yourself at the celeb-approved Remedy Place

Hollywood Hills West Spa and cafe
In order to experience the amenities at many of Los Angeles’ membership-based clubs like Soho House and Heimat, you have to 1) be a paying member 2) be a guest of someone who’s a member or 3) be attending a specific event.

But unlike these exclusive spots, none of the above are requirements at Remedy Place, a Sunset Strip club where members can enjoy an array of treatments and services such as ice bath classes, cryotherapy, infrared saunas, acupuncture and cupping at a la carte rates.

Created by celebrity wellness guru Jonathan Leary, Remedy Place claims to be the world’s first social wellness club. (There are two locations in the U.S., including West Hollywood and the Flatiron District in New York.) Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kacey Musgraves and Lana Condor have been said to frequent Remedy Place, where the cheapest membership starts at $300 per month and the highest is $2,000 monthly. But everyday folks can receive the same services and hospitality starting at $50.

At Remedy Place, you can book a breathwork ice bath class (includes a 10-minute guided breathwork exercise and six-minute ice bath) or cryotherapy session (3 ½ minutes in a -160 degrees Fahrenheit full body cryo chamber) for $50. Other services that you can try for less than $100 are a 30-minute hyperbaric oxygen session for $100, a 30-minute lymphatic compression session for $100, or 60 minutes in a private infrared sauna for $80. (A larger infrared sauna that comfortably seats two people is $100 an hour.)

To test the ease of Remedy Place’s a la carte services, I booked an infrared sauna online about an hour in advance on a recent Monday morning. (I got lucky this day, but for longer services like this, it’s best to book 48 hours in advance online or call that day to get the time that you want.) Upon arrival, a front desk representative greeted me warmly, asked for my name, then escorted me to my private room. The room has a full shower and an iPad to use for music or to watch various streaming services (Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video and Max). The sauna has Bluetooth speakers inside, so you can leave your airpods at home. The attendant also gave me a complimentary water bottle (you can pick still or sparkling).

After perspiring what felt like a bucket’s worth of sweat, I cooled off with a eucalyptus-scented ice towel, then hopped into the luxurious, stone-walled shower, which was equipped with Saya products (shampoo, conditioner and body wash). Once I was dressed, I plopped onto a cozy leather couch in the lobby area and poured a cup of complimentary tea. Even if you aren’t a member, you’re allowed to hang out here after your service. Some people do work on their laptops in the lobby, which is filled with posh furniture and greenery, while others mingle at the alcohol-free bar (which sells seltzers, herbal energy drinks, etc.).

The easiest place to park is in the lot next door to Remedy Place, which is $3 with validation, though this can vary.
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The terrace at the Living Room at Shutters on the Beach.
(Shutters on the Beach)

Sip espresso with a beach view

Santa Monica Cocktails
Shutters is home to three dining establishments, including a beachside restaurant called Coast and a more formal dining room, 1 Pico. But my favorite is the patio at Living Room & Terrace, which offers a vaunted 180-degree vista of the beach, the pier and the roaring Pacific Ocean. There are about a dozen seats on the patio, which can get competitive, and the sun is mighty strong in the afternoon, glinting off the roller coaster at Santa Monica Pier, but here you can actually hear the waves crashing and take in the multimillion-dollar view.

The offering on the terrace is broad, from Little West juices (Green Detox, Ginger Snap) to imported bottled beers to a $55 California whiskey flight. Each guest is served a little dish of chips, a treat best paired with the Sage Advice, the bar’s house flip cocktail with Amass gin, egg white, lemon and California sage, or a Banana Bread Spritz with walnut crème de banana and Prosecco. There are snacks available too, pretty much in the style you’d expect, including ceviche, shrimp cocktail and a chicken club sandwich.

On my last visit I ordered a very well-made shot of La Colombe espresso, pulled on a La Marzocco Italian espresso machine and served in subtle English ceramics. This — with the sunset and the waves — was a moment of accessible luxury.
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The entryway to Le Labo
(Adam Tschorn/Los Angeles Times)

Pick up a personalized perfume bottle

Fairfax Perfume Shop
You could spend hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars and countless hours working with a master perfumer to formulate a bespoke perfume all of your own, complete with your name on the bottle. Or you could fancy-hack your fragrance game by buying a Le Labo scent off the shelf and have them print up a customized bottle label on site (up to 23 characters) that will have you feeling like you reek of cash money.

The personalized labels, which include the date and location of purchase, are available for any bottles of 15 milliliters or larger, which means you can get out the door of this perfume shop at the Grove (or one of the handful of other L.A.-area locations) for $99 before taxes. And, if you’re feeling extra flush (and sustainable), buying a 50-milliliter size ($230) bottle or larger means you can bring the same bottle back and have it refilled again and again. That kind of makes it feel less like a splurge and more like an heirloom now doesn’t it?

Le Labo Los Angeles — the Grove is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
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Pancakes on a plate topped with strawberries and butter with a cup of coffee on the left and syrup on the right.
(Adam Tschorn/Los Angeles Times)

Grab a stack of silver dollar pancakes at the Fountain Coffee Room

Beverly Hills Diner
Instead of shelling out your hard-earned dough checking into the Beverly Hills Hotel (where rates start at $995 a night), why not simply breakfast like you did? All it takes is finding your way to the Fountain Coffee Room (take a sharp left before the entrance to the Polo Lounge, head down the gently curving staircase and bang a sharp right), and posting up at one of the 19 wrought-iron counter seats.

There, with a forest of iconic banana-leaf print wallpaper on one side, and gleaming stainless steel diner fixtures on the other (the way they’ve been since architect Paul R. Williams designed the space in 1949) you will start your day with a steaming cup of coffee. You will give the menu full of diner classics due consideration. (Those dual waffle irons look like they mean business after all. And shouldn’t a joint like this serve up first-class eggs Benedict?) Then you will set it aside and confidently order the silver dollar buttermilk pancakes.

Less than five minutes later, a stack of nine tiny flapjacks — each the size of a canning jar lid — slides in front of you, dotted with three perfectly round marbles of butter and garnished with a sliced strawberry just so. Not one but two small bottles of Vermont maple syrup are placed just north of your plate, sweet sentinels ready to sacrifice themselves on the battlefield of your breakfast.

As you eat, savoring each bite, Ruth will make sure your coffee cup is always full. Ruth might bring you a tiny sidecar of sliced strawberries to scatter upon your pancakes like so many rose petals. Ruth has been there for almost 30 years and she treats you like you have too. Ruth thinks you should order the waffles when you come back.

When you finally pay your bill — $19 for the pancakes and $7 for the endless pour of coffee — you marvel at the exchange rate on those silver dollars. You promise Ruth you’ll be back. You also promise her you’ll order the waffles and sit by the pool. But you both know you’ll head right for the counter and order those pancakes.

Open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Pro tip: You can save $5 off the $20 valet if you get your ticket validated by your server — or you can park for free (for two hours) between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. along North Crescent Drive.
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An oval window hangs above a mirrored tabletop
(Barbara Bishop / Langham Hotel)

Take a sumptuous retreat for the day (with a dream room)

Pasadena Day Spa
Sneak away to Chuan Spa at the Langham for a day, and enter a glamorous bear cave that is surprisingly accessible. This elegant, tucked-away day spa is perfect for anybody who is weary and in need of a sumptuous retreat full of soft things and good snacks. With a day pass, or any service other than waxing, visitors have full use of the spa, as well as the gym, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This is a pricier option to soak and steam, but worth it if you enjoy beautifully appointed environs and attention to every detail. The robes are heavy and luxe, sandals are given to match your shoe size, and each shower comes with a private changing alcove and set with chilled lavender-scented washcloths for instant revival. Everything is considered and attended to, including you.

Visit the dream room, where you can nap on a heated waterbed or read from the library of newspapers and magazines offered on the spa’s app. Another lounge has a soothing water feature, dim lights, juice and light snacks. As a day visitor, you have access to fitness classes and the posh hotel grounds. The only restrictions are an extra $20 charge for semiprivate Pilates classes, and no use of the hotel pool. Guests must valet park, which costs spa guests $15. This spa is not kid-friendly, and is best for solo retreats.

Price: A day pass is $100. Treatments start at $135, and reservations can often be made day of, online or by phone.
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A hot tub ringed in wood like a barrel that matches the exterior woodwork on a house.
(Deborah Netburn/Los Angeles Times)

Hang out in a house you can’t afford

Real Estate Agent
The kitchen gleams. The floors are immaculate. The carefully arranged books on the coffee table are all color coordinated and perfectly match the throw pillows on the sofa of your dreams. No, you’re not in heaven, you’re in a beautifully staged open house, imagining the life you would lead if only you could make an all-cash offer on this multimillion-dollar home.

Only 17% of of Angelenos can afford to pay the median sale price for a house in the city ($888,500), but that doesn’t preclude the rest of us from showing up at any of the dozens of luxury open houses that occur each weekend.

Finding them is as simple as clicking this link, which automatically searches real estate database Redfin for open houses happening this weekend in L.A. County and sorts them from most expensive to least expensive. The highest-priced homes tend to be in Beverly Hills, the Pacific Palisades and Malibu, but on a recent Sunday I found a slightly less expensive one in the Hollywood Hills (asking price was $4.5 million) that was more my taste. Instead of the white-washed look of some of the pricier homes, it had gorgeous natural oak shelves in the kitchen and drool-worthy bathroom tile in high-gloss shades of sage green and deep maroon.

The real estate agent had me pegged as a nonbuyer from the moment I walked in, but he still offered me sparkling water from the fridge. And since there was no one else touring the home at the time I felt free to wander slowly from room to room, enjoying the expansive views and the sparse, earthy decor. (I find few things more relaxing than being in a house that has only a few perfectly curated things in it.)

Real estate agents expect at least a few looky-loos to come through when they hold an open house, so no need to feel uncomfortable soaking it all in even if the asking price will never be in your reach.
A view of the Beverly Wilshire pool.
(Beverly Wilshire)

Swim in a pool modeled after Sophia Loren's villa

Beverly Hills Hotel $$$
Modeled after Sophia Loren’s Italian villa, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel’s Mediterranean-style pool boasts top-tier service and amenities. Nestled in the famed Rodeo Drive, this 14-story hotel has a spa, restaurant and 94 years of history. During the non-summer off-season, one can buy a day pass for $65 that gets you access to the pool, hot tub, a reserved lounger and complimentary valet parking.

This daycation offers a glimpse into what it’s like to stay at a luxury hotel, where rooms range from $1,000 to $25,000 per night. Day passes are only for those 21+, but children staying at the hotel are allowed.
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