Illustrations of various Los Angeles landmark buildings.
Illustration: Clara Mari

Emilien Crespo Explores the Soul of Los Angeles Today

By Aileen Kwun
February 1, 2020
2 minute read

What Los Angeles lacks in density, it delivers in latitude: miles of freeway and a stunning array of neighborhoods, each as large and diverse as a mini city. The experience can be overwhelming, even puzzling, for visitors not accustomed to tackling a metropolis of such a scale. “People come with so many clichés, and I think L.A. suffers for it,” says cultural strategist and Purple editor-at-large Emilien Crespo, a veritable bon vivant, French expat, and Angeleno of more than 10 years. “It’s a tough city, it’s not easy to navigate—but it’s so full of secret gems.”

For his first book, Soul of Los Angeles (Jonglez Publishing), Crespo shares a list of 30 adventures (chosen from 1,000) for locals and visitors alike in his adopted hometown. His picks include a bit of everything the city has to offer—art, architecture, film, sights, shopping, food, and more, including interviews with locals such as Jonathan Gold, the late Los Angeles Times Pulitzer Prize–winning food critic, and Sqirl’s Jessica Koslow. There’s even a gem to be found in the tourist trap of Hollywood, at the historic Musso and Frank’s Grill, a 100-year-old institution where the martinis are stiff and “legendary red booths and wooden panels make you feel like you’re entering a time machine, a relic of a bygone era.” The book is the latest in a series that includes guides to Tokyo, Venice, and Berlin—and we hear a New York City guide, authored by travel and food writer Tarajia Morrell, is coming next.