Photos are up!
Lodging in LA is pretty reasonable compared to other big cities. We suggest staying Downtown, which is close to the venue, has easy (and inexpensive) parking, and has things to do within walking distance.
We highly recommend booking at The Standard (550 S. Flower Street), which has a nice rooftop bar where we're planning to gather after our reception for a nightcap. Curiously, their wedding block rates are more expensive than the price advertised on Kayak.com ($185 as of 5/2013), so we encourage you to take the latter route.
Kayak/Priceline/Hotels.com will have plenty more options within a couple of blocks. I just probably wouldn't stay at the Cecil Hotel.
The easiest way to get around LA is to rent a car. To do so, you'll first have to take a shuttle from the LAX terminals to an offsite lot for any of the standard rental companies.
Otherwise, the most direct public transportation option would be the LAX Flyaway Bus, which departs every half hour from the LAX terminals and takes you directly to to Union Station downtown. From there, in theory, you could hop on the Red or Purple lines to the 7th St/Metro Center station, which will pop you out a couple of short blocks from The Standard. I say "in theory" because we've actually never tried taking the Metro in LA, but I can verify that the 7th St. station exists because we walk by it regularly.
Another option is taking the Metro Green Line from LAX to the Blue Line (transfer at Willowbrook), which will also bring you to 7th St/Metro Center. It's likely you'll be asked for change at least 3 times during this experience.
The Elysian is an inconspicuous spot located in an industrial area just north of where the I-5 and route 2 intersect. It's number 2806 on Clearwater Street, or roughly where it intersects with Ripple Street. You really shouldn't need more information that in this day and age to find it.
We'll have valet parking available if you bring your own car. We recommend using Uber if you want to get drunk.
A museum probably more known for its architecture and idyllic campus overlooking Los Angeles than its collection, The Getty is a great place to spend an afternoon. Their restaurant is not cheap, but the food is quite good and the views are unbeatable. Free admission, but expect to pay $15 for parking. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Located in Museum Row, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a large collection of both modern and classical art. Tickets are $15, and advance purchase is available. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Friday, when it's open until 8. Closed on Wednesdays.
LA Live is this mega entertainment complex located in the southwest corner of Downtown. There's the Grammy Museum, a huge Regal movie theater, a large concert call, and the Staples Center, an unfortunate cause of traffic when the local basketball and hockey teams (which, I guess are pretty good) play. Despite living just a few blocks away, we actually haven't gone there to do more than watch a movie.
This compact neighborhood is probably one of our favorite places in LA. There's a Japanese American National Museum, The Geffen Contemporary, and a buddhist temple or two, but let's be honest here... we go there to stuff our face. In addition to the sushi restaurants recommended below, check out Café Dulcé for some dangerously good pastries and Mikawaya, the original creators of mochi ice cream.
A fun place to go window-shopping with just about every single luxury brand you can think of, with things that you didn't realize came in such luxury forms. Keep an eye out for the bumblebee-colored Bugatti Veyron parked outside of House of Bijan, the most expensive store in the world (by appointment only, apparently).
Home to the popular Walk of Fame and the Dolby Theatre (where the Academy Awards are hosted), Hollywood is America's historic center for movies and celebrities (though we've yet to see one).
LA has a terrific offering of good eats and is home to probably the best Asian food you'll find in the country. Here are a few musts that are close to downtown, but don't be afraid to explore. Anything with 4 stars on Yelp is likely to be really really good.
LA's sushi is second to none in the US. Little Tokyo, in the northeastern corner of Downtown, has an amazing sushi spot on every corner. Here are a few of our favorites:
Named one of America's best 10 new restaurants of 2012 by Bon Appetit, this Downtown favorite serves outrageously flavorful flatbread sandwiches powered by ingredients like oxtail, pork belly, and beef tongue.
This is the sort of restaurant where you'll find bone marrow, rabbit, and pork head featured prominently on the menu. They make some of the best deviled eggs we've ever had.
Home to the largest population of Koreans in the United States, you'd be remiss if one of your meals in LA weren't Korean BBQ. Chosun Galbee is a great choice if you don't want to wait, like you do at most of the popular places. Like most KBBQ joints, you will smell like grilled meat for the rest of the night. Think of this as a good thing.
With branches around the globe, this insanely popular Chinese chain serves some of the most famous Xiao Long Bao you can find on this side of the Pacific. Be prepared to wait over an hour if you go during any sort of normal meal time. Beat the rush by getting in line a few minutes before they open at 10 AM.
Like exotic sausages and European beers? You'll like Würstkuche.
An LA favorite and the most popular restaurant in the USA according to Yelp, Bottega Louie is definitely worth a mention for their excellent brunch, tasty pastries, and epic space. But if we're honest, we probably wouldn't go here all that much if it weren't a block away from our apartment.
LA is supposedly known as the nation's donut capitol (which, you think would be in the Midwest, or somewhere where people are fatter) and one of the best examples can be found a bit far afield in Glendora. It's worth the drive. Open 24/7 like all donut places here.
We have a registry here, but don't feel obligated to get us a gift because we understand most of you will be traveling and we're happy enough just to have you here. :)
Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions that we should be mindful about.