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Los Angeles (Lana’s Version): 4 Lana Del Rey-Inspired Spots To Visit Down On The West Coast

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

California is much more than just a place: for Lana del Rey, it’s a state of mind. Despite her music ranging from sweeping jazz-inspired ballads to indie pop tracks, Lana has remained consistent in her use of Americana aesthetics (just watch her “National Anthem” and “Candy Necklace” music videos to see for yourself). From Coney Island to Miami Beach, Lana’s discography is both a musical exploration of American musical genres and a literal roadmap of the United States. Although Lana is a native New Yorker, I would argue she is more of a California girl at heart (the Golden State does get the most lyrical shoutouts, after all). 

As both a diehard Lana fan and a born-and-raised Southern Californian, I believe everyone living in Los Angeles are truly the lucky ones. Like, we may as well rename La La Land to Lana Land because of how integral a role the City of Angels plays in her artistry. So put on your heart-shaped sunglasses and hop in my white mustang because I’m about to take you on a ride to four of my favorite Lana del Rey-inspired spots in Los Angeles.

Mel’s Drive-In

With four Southern California locations, Mel’s Drive-In is a 1950s-style diner serving up American comfort food classics with a side of fries and Born to Die era flair. But this diner offers something more than just your typical Pepsi Cola or Diet Mountain Dew: the team at Mel’s has concocted their very own Lana del Rey shake. Well, it would actually be more accurate to say Lana del Rey shakes. Lana has done promotions with the restaurant for many of her album releases, so the Lana shake has ranged from piña colada for Honeymoon to minty neon green for NFR.

Growing up in the valley, Mel’s in Sherman Oaks was practically in my backyard, so God knows I tried the Lana shake immediately after she dropped her criminally underrated Chemtrails Over the Country Club. Even though that iteration was basically just a chocolate milkshake with extra oreos, I would still argue it’s the greatest. 

Mel’s is now shaking things up for Lana’s latest release, Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd, by adding Nutella and banana to the signature drink. If you’re craving something sweet, a stop at Mel’s will be the cherry on top of your Lana del Rey road trip.

The Chateau Marmont

Slip on your red dress and put on your makeup, because we’re off to the races to the Chateau Marmont. Opening its doors in 1929, the Chateau Marmont is a hotel nestled between the bustling scenes of Sunset Boulevard. Over its nearly 95-year-long history, the Chateau Marmont has been home to stars like Jim Morrison and Lindsay Lohan. 

Besides her connection to the Chateau through her lyrics and live performances, the Chateau embodies the mysterious aura of art deco beauty which allows one Lizzy Grant to transform into the Lana del Rey. So don’t let me be misunderstood: the Chateau Marmont is just inexplicably Lana del Rey vinyl.

The Ellison Suites Mural

In her iconic “Ride” monologue, Lana once said: “We had nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore except to make our lives into a work of art.” Thanks to artist Jonas Never, Lana’s wish has come true in the form of this sprawling mural. 

The artwork is painted in shades of cool on the walls of the Ellison Suites, an apartment complex in Venice (but not that apartment complex). However, there’s no need to be a million dollar man and buy a room: you can see the mural visibly from the outside. Before your next beach day, you can leave behind your summertime sadness and snap a pic with the queen of Venice Beach.

The Griffith Observatory

Even though you can’t climb the H of the Hollywood Sign like Lana in the “Lust for Life” music video, you can meet me in the pale moonlight at the Griffith Observatory and admire the landmark beneath the stars. Just a short walk from the parking lot, you can see a view of the Hollywood sign fit for the young and beautiful. 

But that’s not all: you can visit the exhibits at the observatory for free. Personally, walking through the Keck Central Rotunda made me feel like Lana at the 2018 Heavenly Bodies Met Gala. For all you Stargirls out there, you can be swingin’ with the old stars at the Griffith Observatory and fly straight from LA to the moon.

Did you have no plans this weekend? Well, baby, now you do. Take a walk on the wild side to any of these gems and make your life sweet like cinnamon. Say yes to heaven, and you may just find your very own paradise.

*PS: If you caught all 33 Lana del Rey references, you’re a living legend (make that 34).

Mallory is a second year English major from Los Angeles, California. She loves thrifting, traveling, and listening to Taylor Swift.