Celebrate a 40th Birthday, Los Angeles Style

In La-La Land for the big 4-0? We've compiled the only list you need to mark the occasion

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Santa Monica at sunset

You knew it was coming since the day you were born. You were warned. And the day has come. For the first time in your life, you’re no longer a ‘young’ adult. Young is now an abstract notion that only exists in relation to your life indirectly; say, a child, or a nephew. Apparently, the world’s youngest great-grandparent was 40. Seriously, look it up.

That said, you've now entered the realm of grown-ups, and there's still a whole lot of fun to be had. You’re 40: that means no more vacationing on a budget, no more dreaming of rather than embracing the finer things in life. It’s time to explore the upmarket restaurants, to order the vintage champagne, to stay in the exclusive Plum Guide homes. It's time to mark the milestone properly.

Here are our recommendations for your 40th birthday in Los Angeles.

Where to eat

If you’re in charge of organising the location as well as turning 40, choose from some of the city’s top restaurants, from the STK Steakhouse and the n/nake sushi restaurant to the Providence seafood spot and the Little Door French restaurant.

As glamorous as those aforementioned restaurants are, some people prefer something fun and easy. If that's more to your liking, take your group down to the Wurstkuche or the San Pedro Fish Market & Restaurant. Among the city’s best relaxed eateries are the Tocaya Organica, Guisados and Philippe the Original restaurant.

Where to drink

The various neighbourhoods spread across the vast metropolis of Los Angeles each have their own flavour of bars. Downtown LA has all kinds of cool and alternative drinking hubs to whet your whistle no matter your tipple (what?). Check out Clifton’s, Mikkeller or the Slipper Clutch. Don't be fooled by the latter's name, which reads as a new (and rather confusing) ladies' footwear/handbag combination. It’s got some of the most innovative cocktails in town. Try West Hollywood for LGBTQ and live music, or try the themed nightclubs of the Hollywood Boulevard.

Food hall in Downtown LA, California

Food hall in Downtown LA, California

Where to explore

So, you’ve managed to gather your friends and family together for your 40th birthday in Los Angeles. Now, let’s get them to leave. Take a trip to the Joshua Tree National Park, head down to the zoo in San Diego or ride around Santa Barbara in a Vespa. Within the city itself, go for a picnic on one of the many golden strands draping the coastline and try a scavenger hunt, a helicopter ride or a cruise on a yacht. Ride the lift up to Big Bear mountain for snow sports; the trip is free on your birthday.

Joshua Tree National Park California United States

Joshua Tree National Park California United States Landscape Sky Plants Rocks

Where to dare to be different

Are you, as the birthday recipient, a little tough to please? Perhaps it’s time to think outside the box. Play on the retro arcade machines at the Button Mash restaurant or go for karaoke in Koreatown. Immerse yourself on the bizarre Lost Spirits Distillery tour and then wander drunkenly around Disneyland with your group like a bunch of lunatics.

Where to shop

Malls

Remember all those 80s and 90s movies about cool American teenagers hanging out at malls? Of course you do, you’re turning 40. If you’re feeling a little Clueless as to what to treat yourself to, head to the upscale designer stores of the Beverly Center, the Westfield Topanga or the Americana at Brand. The Glendale Galleria, the Civic Center and the Universal CityWalk Hollywood among myriad others ensure that, although you may be running low on years, you’ll never run out of shopping options in this haven for malls.

Streets

It's a special birthday, so it needs to be marked by a special (and probably expensive) gift. Find upscale stores on the Third Street Promenade and the rest of Downtown Santa Monica. Bohemian bubbles of boutiques brighten the boulevards of Venice, while the Santee Alley in the Fashion District has a more eclectic vibe in its flea market.

So, you're almost set for the big 40th birthday in Los Angeles. All that's left is for you to choose which Plum Guide LA home you'll be staying in during your celebrations. Our home critics have handpicked the cream of the LA crop, so you can focus on what's important: making this birthday the best one yet.

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