Fun Things To Do in Los Angeles: The Hidden and Not So Hidden

Fun Things To Do in Los Angeles: The Hidden and Not So Hidden

Want to get the best out of Los Angeles? We have a list of tried and true or fresh and new adventures to try in Los Angeles.

It has been said that Los Angeles is a city that reveals secrets slowly and with great deliberation. Los Angeles was built on smoke and screens and holds to that tradition today. While driving through the City of Angeles a person might not be as wowed by the facade they see. Only when you begin to dig deeper into the culture and venture out of comfort zones does Los Angeles begin to become magical.

Arts District

The Arts District is a popular area in Los Angeles to visit for handmade and handcrafted items. Formally a warehouse district that has slowly been re-purposed over the years. Now most of the warehouse have become shops, homes, and restaurants. The Arts District has become so known because of the art that has popped up in and on buildings.

The Arts District has very wide streets, sidewalks, and buildings; some have loading docks that are used as entryways to the shops and restaurants. The Arts District takes and enormous amount of pride in the artisan aspect of all there is to offer. The warehouse windows let in a fair amount of light most days, highlighting the quality of workmanship.

The coffeehouses and restaurants in the Arts District also focus on quality over quantity. A good cup of coffee, done right can take up to 15 minutes to make; bakery items are also sold in limited quantities to allow the cook to meet his or her standards of quality. The food items available in the Arts District are sure to be delicious.

Eagle Park

Explore the vintage scene at Eagle Park, where the air seems cleaner and life moves slower. While some of the diners have been refurbished inside, the signs are still flourescent and unique. The cooks really put heart into the dishes they serve, coffee isn't served from a carafe, and there doesn't seem to be any "fast" food.

Homes are happily and lovingly cared for with maintained lawns. With winding switchback roads to discover and nature trails to conquer Eagle Park is a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of fast-paced Los Angeles.

Named one of America's "Hottest Neighborhoods" by a real estate website Redfin, Eagle Rock has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. The newer, more hip, crowd has started to call Eagle Rock home because of all the community offers.

Griffith Park

In 1896 Griffith J. Griffith donated over 3,000 acres of land to the city of Los Angeles — to be named for him — from his land, Rancho Los Felis. Griffith became inspired to donate his land during a tour of Europe when he noticed that the great cities had parks and land for people to enjoy. After becoming interested in astronomy at Southern California Academy of Sciences and visiting Mount Wilson; Griffith offered the City of Los Angeles $100,000 to be able to build a free observatory for the public.

I consider it my obligation to make Los Angeles a happy, cleaner, and finer city. I wish to pay my debt of duty in this way to the community in which I have prospered.


Griffith Park Observatory

Located on Mount Hollywood, at 2800 East Observatory Rd. the Griffith Park Observatory is open Tuesday through Friday from 12pm-10pm, and on the weekends from 10am-10pm. Griffin park itself is open from sunrise until 10pm.

Griffin Park Observatory has free admission to all exhibits and telescopes year-round and access to parking and the grounds is unlimited during daylight hours. The Observatory is open late to allow visitors the chance to view the beauty of the night sky.

The Samuel Oschin Planetarium and programs within do charge a nominal fee. The fee is $7 for an adult, seniors and students (with ID) are $5, children 5-12 are $3. Children under 5 years of age are allowed into the first show, provided they sit on an adults lap during the show. Late entries are not permitted and if you have to leave the show early there is no readmission. These guidelines are strictly enforced to protect the integrity and the enjoyment of the show.

Griffith Park Observatory is a nationally leading public observatory that welcomes over 1 million visitors yearly. The Observatory was a dream of Griffith J. Griffith, who left the land and plans for construction in his will in 1919. He left the Observatory to Los Angeles with the provision that the Observatory and Park be completely open to the public with no admission fees.

Abandoned Griffith Park Zoo

Built in 1912, the Griffith Park Zoo housed a grand total of 15 animals when it closed down. Now this abandoned zoo has become a popular sight-seeing destination when hiking through Griffith Park or driving to the Observatory. While some cages are welded shut for safety reasons, there are still exhibits you can climb inside of, some with picnic tables set up for visitors to enjoy a meal.

Previous visitors do give friendly advice to those planning to visit. Bring wipes or sanitizer as the zoo is completely abandoned (no restrooms or water), people do take their pets to the Park for a walk/hike, and park in the playground's parking lot for easiest access to the Zoo.

East Hollywood

Bordered by the neighborhood housing Griffith Park, East Hollywood is a normal area when compared to the fame and fortune of Hollywood. Home to Little Armenia, a culturally diverse area housing mainly Armenian people and businesses. Little Armenia is known as the second largest community in the world and the largest in the United States.

There is also a small area inside Little Armenia called "Thai Town" where a Thai community has grown. Visitors can find some of the best Thai food in Los Angeles in East Hollywood. A strong Hispanic influence is also found in East Hollywood making for a very diverse place to live.

East Hollywood, being placed in the center of Los Angeles, offers locals a community college and 3 medical centers. East Hollywood also houses the first Church of Scientology, which was remodeled and expanded in 2010.

Mystery Pier Books

When you are walking down the famous Sunset Strip make sure you are looking into the small entrances and alleys for hidden gems. One of those gems, the Mystery Pier Books, Inc, bookstore is located down a small set of stairs, a long skinny alley inside of a cozy cottage.

This first-edition bookseller is open Monday through Saturday from 11am-7pm and on Sundays 12pm-5pm. Visitors are greeted warmly and encouraged to browse through the selections at their leisure. Mystery Pier Books, Inc. focuses on customer satisfaction and has been visited by many famous individuals throughout the years.

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles? Check out the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine hidden inside the wealthy neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. This 10-acre paradise has been dedicated to helping people find their inner peace for over 60 years.

The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine has been visited by many people and celebrities over the years. The Shrine's creator, Paramahansa Yogananda, dedicated the world's first monument to Mahatma Gandhi. The Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial actually has some of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes entombed within; the portion of ashes Parmahansa Yogananda received for the memorial are the only ashes known to have left India.

The Gardens of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine include a Court of Religions, the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial, the Temple, a museum of works by Parmahansa Yogananda, and a gift shop with items from India artists available for purchase.

There are rules regarding respecting the grounds and meditation of others. Children are to be supervised by their parents at all times, clothing and shoes are required, and the Shrine asks that the silence of the grounds is respected at all times.

Admission to the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is free and a guided tour of the Temple is available. The tour lasts 45 minutes and includes a 5 minute silent mediation. The Gardens and Lakes are closed on Mondays, holidays and during inclement weather. It is always recommended to call prior to arrival if it is raining. Visiting hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am- 4:30pm, and Sunday 12pm-4:30pm.

Houston Hospitality Bars and Restaurants

Ready to check out the Los Angeles nightlife? Take a look at the bars and restaurants that Houston Hospitality has opened. Houston Hospitality is owned by the Houston Bothers, Mark and Jonnie. The Brothers started their business and opened their first venue in 2007. Each venue owned by Houston Hospitality has a specific timeline and theme for each location. We have listed the venues in order of creation.

Piano Bar

The Piano Bar, Houston Hospitality's first venture, has been dedicated to keeping things simple and letting the music speak for itself. This simple music venue has no dress code, no entrance fees, no lists; it is simply come as you are. Musicians rotate throughout the month, coming to the Piano Bar to fill the rooms with energy filled music. The staff encourage strong relationships with all that enter the Piano Bar, relying on word of mouth to bring customers and musicians to the Piano Bar.

La Descarga

La Descarga, the second venture of Houston Hospitality, features a prohibition vibe with a focus on rum drinks. The ability to purchase and smoke a cigar in the separate room with separate ventilation allows you to feel like you are back in the 1920s. A strict dress code is enforced, no casual dress allowed. Everything about this lounge is upscale, from the drinks to the entertainment; patrons are able to enjoy burlesque routines during their visit. From the hidden entrance, to a secret set of stairs La Descarga seems to be shrouded in mystery, until you know how to look in the right places.

Harvard & Stone

Located on Hollywood Boulevard this adventurous nightclub is almost undefinable, a mix of new and old, hip and classic, Harvard & Stone has something for everyone. From the burlesque dancers entertaining patrons throughout the room to the bartenders fulfilling drink requests Harvard & Stone keeps people happy and coming back. Though there is no strict dress code, patrons are asked not to wear bright colors or flip flops; reservations are encouraged but not required.

Pour Vous

Pour Vous, a Parisian themed lounge created by Houston Hospitality, focuses on bringing the art of the perfect drink to customers. Bottle service is available when requested along with the normal drink orders. Pour Vous has an interesting option available for customers wanting a pleasant surprise, a punch bowl can be ordered. When you order a punch bowl the only input you have is the alcohol, Pour Vous creates a concoction based on your choice. Opening at 8pm nightly, this lounge has aerial performances along with burlesque routines and live music.

No Vacancy

No Vacancy is a vintage style cocktail lounge located at 1727 N. Hudson Ave., built inside of a beautiful Victorian Era style house, this lounge is pure class from top to bottom. This unique cocktail lounge is open from 8pm-2am and not only offers shows for patrons inside, occasionally they have porch sessions for those wanting to take in the night air. Patrons also have the opportunity to tour the house and explore the secrets inside.

Dirty Laundry

Hidden completely underground, Dirty Laundry requires a password to enter (found on social media) or a reservation. This not-so-secret hidden lounge is underneath No Vacancy, another Houston Hospitality lounge. The Dirty Laundry location was once a bar owned by Rudy Valentino; there is actually a intimate little side room dedicated to Valentino for patrons to use. There is a secret room, hidden in the back, with a DJ for those wanting to dance.

Good Times at Davey Wayne's

On N. El Centro Avenue in Los Angeles there is a permanent garage sale that becomes very active around 2pm. The garage sale actually leads customers to a refrigerator door; when they open it however, a secret entrance is revealed. Modeled after the Houston Brothers father's memories, Good TImes at Davey Wayne's, has a VERY distinct 70s feel. From the cannabis smell wafted into the suburban street surrounding the hidden entrance to the vinyl record themed menus.

Butchers & Barbers

Butchers & Barbers is Houston Hospitality's first venture into the actual restaurant business. While most of their lounges have a small food items, Butchers & Barbers has a full menu for patrons to enjoy. A former barbershop turned restaurant, this venue is Zagat rated and has been named one of LA's top new restaurants. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 6pm-2am Butchers & Barbers will satisfy with delicious food and a wonderful atmosphere.

Break Room 86

Break Room 86 is an 80s themed lounge featuring karaoke, cocktails, and entertainments. In keeping with Houston Hospitality the entrance is hidden behind a vending machine off of a loading dock along S. Ardmore Ave. in Los Angeles' Koreatown. Open from 8pm-2am Break Room 86 is full of 80s nostalgia; from the Atari consoles to the stage that appears behind the bar this lounge is full of surprises.

TCL Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Walk of Fame

Want to see what theaters used to be? Go back to a time when going to the movies wasn't an everyday occurrence, when it was a very special occasion. Make sure you visit the TCL Chinese Theatre, home to major movie premiers and the Forecourt of the Stars. The Forecourt of the Stars is the well-known area housing the hand and footprints of the stars.

Tours are available to view the inside of this newly refurbished theatre Monday through Sunday (excluding special events) from 10am-6pm. Ticket prices are: $13.50-Adults, $11.50-Seniors, $6.50-Child.

Make sure when you leave the TCL Chinese Theatre that you get a look at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Walk of Fame has recently experienced a"face lift" of sorts; instead of one star per section the City of Los Angeles has decided to add in a second star that alternates with the original star. The most popular stars are located in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre. A Los Angeles icon for almost 100 years the TCL Chinese Theatre is an absolute must see for anyone stepping foot in Los Angeles.

West Hollywood

West Hollywood or WeHo, as it is known by the locals of Los Angeles, is an extremely open, hip, fast-moving neighborhood. With Sunset Strip and Sunset Square running through West Hollywood the neighborhood has small intimate places, boutiques and delicious restaurants. West Hollywood is Los Angeles's main LGBT community, the atmosphere of WeHo is filled with the relentless pursuit of equal rights for all.

West Hollywood loves introducing new and exciting things to visitors, there are often places offering free music, poetry readings, theater, and various artworks throughout the year. On Saturdays, WeHo has free music in libraries and parks. On the summer weekends of 2015, three troupes offered free shows to the public in the parks. There are permanent and travelling art shows and exhibits throughout West Hollywood, some are open to the public and free, some require tickets.

West Hollywood has the second largest Russian Community in the United States. This strong Russian influence has become more apparent as the community has grown; there are now fluent Russian speaking medical professionals, daycare centers and schools, restaurants, and community clubs. The Russian influence on food has allowed many grocery stores and restaurants to begin and flourish in West Hollywood.

Sunset Strip

Sunset Strip, a 1.3 mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard, has been featured in over a dozen well-known movies. Mostly known for the neon signs, gritty feeling and active nightlife, Sunset strip has started to revitalize itself. Though iconic neon signs and huge billboards are still there, the Strip is no longer known for the nightlife. Restaurants have popped up with outdoor dining so people can see and be seen by others, boutiques and shops have also come to life.

Sunset Strip still sees an increase in activity as the sun lowers. Music starts pouring out of doorways, people show up dressed to impress, and the vibe gets happier. A must see when in Los Angeles, the Sunset Strip will wow you with the energy and light packed into every day and night.

Culver City

Culver City has firmly entrenched in movie and studio production since Metro Goldwyn Mayer started using their studio in 1924. While the City of Los Angeles has been featured repeatedly in various films, Culver City remains at the heart.

Culver City is more than just movie production however, a strong sense of community can be felt in the air. Close enough the downtown Los Angeles yet far away to develop it's own personality, Culver City is a fascinating place to visit. Farmers' Markets are easily accessible for locals and tourists, the restaurants and cafes use all the fresh fare they can as well.

Recognizing that active people need an outlet that isn't on a treadmill, Culver City has an indoor ice skating rink, trails running along and through the hills, public pools, bike paths and playgrounds.A mix of new and old, Culver City is slower than downtown, yet still fast moving enough to be trendy.

Museum of Jurassic Technology

The Museum of Jurassic Technology, located at 9341 Venice Boulevard, focuses on two main components. To allow the public to see actual Jurassic technology and what it was like, and to provide the academic communities with specialized relics and examples of unusual technologies.

Despite the misleading name, The Museum of Jurassic Technology is not about dinosaurs. The Museum accepts many oddities, some fact, some fiction, all different and interesting. Due to the nature of the museum large and bulky items are asked to be checked at the desk. No photography or cell phones are allowed while touring the Museum. The Museum is self-guided, tours are not generally available though tea can be prepared for groups upon request with a 2 week notice.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology is open on Thursday from 2pm-8pm, Friday-Sunday from 12pm-6pm. Museum admission rates are as follows: Adults $8, Children 13-21 $5, Children 12 and under are free. There are varying discount rates for seniors, students, and active military in uniform.

Sony Pictures Studios Tour

Want to see where some movie magic takes place? The Sony Pictures Studio offers a guided tour taking visitors under a 94 foot tall rainbow, along the yellow brick road, and past many other stages. Every tour is different due to the fact that Sony Pictures Studio is a working studio, you may get the chance to see the Jeopardy set or be able to peek into the recording studios.

The tour itself is a walking tour that lasts 2 hours; children 12 and above are welcomed and must be accompanied by a responsible adult. The charge is $40 a person and tours run Monday through Friday at 9:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm and 2:30pm. Visitors are asked to arrive and check in 20 minutes prior to the start of the tour. During the busy season tour times can be changed or added in as needed.

Wheel House Cheese Shop

A gourmet, artisian cheese shop, the Wheel House has an amazing selection of cheese, meats, and alcohols. From the novice to the experts the Wheel House has something for everyone. If you aren't sure what you are looking for or how to pair items these cheesemongers are willing to help. Classes are available for those interested, the Wheel House also has movie nights occasionally.

Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

Check out the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising for any and all outfits, dresses and accessories throughout time. The Museum at FIDM has over 10,000 pieces showcasing over 200 years of fashion history. The Museum has been providing designers and researchers with accurate representation of the past fashions since the late 1970s.

The Museum was unofficially started around 1973; when the program directors of FIDM determined that the students needed access to varying garments in order to properly understand techniques and designs. The faculty members raided their own closets and began the process of collecting items for the Museum.

The Museum was officiated in 1978 and Betsy Bloomingdale, one of the founding donors, donated a large amount of Haute Couture items to the Museum collection. Throughout the years the Museum grew and collections began rotating and attracting new donors. By 1993, the Museum was incorporating Hollywood costumes along with sportswear. Donations are accepted based on how well preserved they are for the time period they represent. Over 70 percent of the acquisitions are received as donations, some of the items at the museum are on loan as well.

The exhibitions are always free to the public at the Museum of FIDM as a thank you to the community support throughout the years. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10am-5pm unless a tour has been pre-arranged

Virginia Robinson Gardens

Take a look at the first luxury estate, originally owned by Virginia and Harry Robinson, located at 1008 Elden Way in Beverly Hills. This vast and beautiful property takes visitors back in time to the beginning of the illustrious neighborhood of Beverly Hills. Virginia Robinson, on her passing, bequeathed the estate to the County of Los Angeles.

The Virginia Robinson Gardens estate has been recognized by the National Register of Historic Places and is maintained by the County and a non-profit organization, Friends of Robinson Gardens. Due to the Gardens being maintained by a non-profit organization and the County it is not possible to accept walk-ins. Guided tours are available, by appointment ONLY, Tuesday through Saturdays at 10am and 1pm. The associated costs for the tour is $11 for adults, $5 for children (aged 5-12) and $6 for students and senoirs (with ID).

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Founded in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art or LACMA has been collecting works of art for over 50 years. LACMA focuses on bring art from all over the world from many generations to the public. Not only the largest art museum in California, LACMA is the largest museum of art in the Western United States.

LACMA is located on Wilshire Boulevard, standard hours of operation are as follows:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday from 11am–5pm
Fridays from 11am–8pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am–7pm

LACMA offers tickets for General Admission and General Admission and Special Ticketed Events. General Admission tickets are $15 for adults, children under 17 are free. General Admission and Special Events tickets are $25 for adults, children remain free.

J. Paul Getty Museum and Center

Millionaire Jean Paul Getty began collecting works of art early in life, in 1954 he opened the original J. Paul Getty Museum to the public out of his ranch home in the Pacific Palisades. In 1974 he opened the current Museum in a building modeled after the Roman Villa dei Papiri, which had been buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Although critics called Getty's vision a gimmick the public flocked to the free museum to view works of art.

Getty cautioned the staff of "the Villa" as it came to be known, that they would have to survive on the money he had originally bequeathed, a total of $40 million. After his death in 1976, Getty's estate reverted to the Trust, it was then learned that Getty had left his entire estate to the Museum Trust, leaving the greatest endowment of that time.

Since 1982, the Getty Trust has expanded on J. Paul Getty's vision with; the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Center, and that Getty Foundation. The Trust has also increased the collections in the Museum itself.

The Getty Villa focuses on the antiques the Trust has collected over the years. Located on the Pacific Coast Highway the Villa is open Wednesday through Monday from 10am-5pm, parking is $15 until 4pm when it drops to $10. Admission itself to the Villa is free.

The Getty Center located on the West Side of Los Angeles, is open Tuesday through Friday and Sundays from 10am-5:30pm, Saturdays from 10am-9pm. The Getty Center features modern architecture, art, and has a central garden for patrons to enjoy. Parking is $15 until 4pm, it then drops to $10. Admission to the Getty Center is free.

Hollywood Farmers' Market

Founded in 1991 the Hollywood Farmers' Market was one of the very few farmers' markets available to Los Angeles. With over 150 vendors this market has strengthened the relationship between farmers and customers. The Hollywood Farmers' Market has become a meeting place for the Los Angeles community. Open rain or shine every Sunday from 8am-1pm on the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Street.

Live entertainment has become available over the years, form single musicians with an instrument to bands coming together informally. Some booths have artisans selling handcrafted items to customers. Child-friendly activities are available most Sundays throughout the year for patrons.

Heritage Square Museum

The Heritage Square Museum has preserved homes from the Victorian era to showcase the settlement and expansion of the area of Los Angeles. In the 1960s, Los Angeles experienced significant urban development, the historical building began being demolished daily. A group of citizens became outraged at the destruction, formed a city-approved Cultural Heritage Foundation of Southern California, Inc. and began raising funds to move the historical endangered buildings. Over 40 years the the Cultural Heritage Foundation of Southern California, Inc. has moved a total of 8 historically significant building to the permanent location, Heritage Square.

Though no one actually lives in the historical houses at Heritage Square there are often "live events" throughout the year. During these events the museum staff and others dress in historically accurate clothing and speech. Those visiting the Heritage Square Museum during this occasions are able to witness firsthand the differences in how people interact. The speech patterns are different, manners more refined, and people are actually interested in each other.

Located in Lincoln Heights along the Arroyo Seco, Heritage Square offers guided tours between the hours of 12pm-3pm. Tours depart on the hour and are included in the admission fee. Admission costs are; $10 for Adults (age 13 and up), $8 for seniors (with appropriate ID), $5 for children (age 6-13), children under 6 are free.

Hollyhock House

Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House was his first attempt and creation of Southern California architecture. He was commissioned by Aline Barnsdall to build a main home, two additional residences, two theaters, dormitory, studio, shops and a director's house. Aline Barnsdall chose Olive Hill, a site of 36-acres for the project location

Construction began in 1919, but due to budget restrictions and artist differences between Frank Lloyd Wright and Aline Barnsdall, construction halted in 1921. When construction stopped only the main house and the two additional residences had been built. The Hollyhock name came from Aline Barnsdall's favorite flower, which Frank Lloyd Wright had incorporated into the overall design of the house. If you look closely you will notice Hollyhock flowers are incorporated into columns and walls.

Frank Lloyd Wright noticed the weather in Los Angeles was usually mild and dry and developed his architectural style around the climate. Hollyhock House has a large center garden and each room is connected to the outside, there are also rooftop terraces offering phenomenal views of the Los Angeles basin.

In 1927, Aline Barnsdall gave Hollyhock House and 11-acres to the City of Los Angeles to be used as a public art park. Though the two smaller houses were demolished in the 1940s, Hollyhock House has withstood the test of time. As of 2015, Hollyhock House was refurbished for public viewing, the garage was turned into a visitor's center, the house itself is open for self-guided tours.

Tickets are available for purchase onsite only — adults are $7, children 12 and under are free, students and seniors with appropriate ID are $3 — open Thursday through Sunday from 11am-3pm. No photography is allowed. Hollyhock House is closed during the month of October to allow upkeep of the museum.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

La Brea Tar Pits are the world's only active Ice Age excavation site in an urban setting. With 9 areas to explore, La Brea Tar Pits offers a look into the past by way of bones and plants. There are no dinosaur bones in the Tar Pits, the Pits themselves did not come to fruition until 65 million years after dinosaurs went extinct.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is open daily from 9:30am-5pm excluding certain holidays. There are 4 types of tours available at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum; Self-Guided, the Excavator Tour, Group Tours, and given a weeks notice Private Tours. The Excavator Tour is available for those that have paid the admission fee to the Museum. Group tours are able to take the Excavator Tours as well, though it is asked for a reservation to ensure space.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach is Los Angeles is a must-see in California, full of colorful performances, people, and buildings this beach has it all. The Venice Beach Boardwalk is a fantastic place to people watch; visitors are able to soak in the atmosphere while walking along. The Venice, California founder Abbot Kinney had a dream to turn Venice into the West Coast's "Coney Island".

Since the Grand Opening in 1905, Venice Beach has been an exciting place. Originally modeled after Venice, Italy Venice, California once featured gondolas, a lagoon, roller rink, the Abbot Kinney Pier, restaurants and hotels for visitors to enjoy. Despite nay-sayers, Kinney stood firm with his desire to have Venice flourish and put in an aquarium on Kinney Pier. The aquarium has since become the marine biological station for USC (University of Southern California).

Venice seems to have an unparalleled ability to rise from the ashes; the city and beach have fallen and risen again repeatedly throughout history. Today tourists visit the 3-mile stretch of Venice Beach to "shop and gawk" according to the locals. Wander down to Muscle Beach to see fanatic bodybuilders pump iron and flex their muscles. Stop and watch the performers; everything from juggling to acrobatics can be found at most intersections. Tucked in between the touristy shops one can find hidden gems, offering interesting takes on food and artisan handcrafted items.

At Venice Beach you are in for a good time no matter what you are going for. People are friendly and very (sometimes too much) open with themselves and others. It is definitely a must visit for those looking to get a real look into California life.

Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive has always been a well-known shopping destination and landmark of Los Angeles. Rodeo Drive may have received a small dent in reputation in 1990, when the street was featured in Pretty Woman as Julia Roberts shopped for a cocktail dress.

These days Rodeo Drive is filled with people of all walks of life from tourists window shopping and dreaming to the hardcore shoppers that know exactly what they are looking for. The 3 blocks of Rodeo Drive in Beverly HIlls hold some of the most fashionable places to eat, sleep and shop.

There is also a second Rodeo area built off of Rodeo Drive, Two Rodeo is a walkway modeled after european houses and has plenty of charm. Two Rodeo has regular hours from 10am-6pm Monday -Saturday and on Sunday hours are 11am-5pm.

Home to many of the oldest jewelry makers, designers, hotels Rodeo Drive has no shortage of polish to offer to those wandering through the streets.

Runyon Canyon Park

If you are looking for a great place to take photos of Los Angeles, whether it is the Hollywood sign or the aerial view of the city. Just two blocks away from Hollywood Boulevard Runyon Canyon Park has a small play area, a unleashing area for dogs, and a few trails of varying difficulty for hikers.

Locals give advice to those thinking about visitng Runyon Canyon Park. There is very little shade, which while allowing for amazing views means that it can get extremely hot in the summer, make sure you have water. Dogs are allowed on the trail, they are usually required to be leashed but Runyon Canyon Park is not a patrolled area.

Beverly Hills Juice

Since 1975 Beverly Hills Juice has been serving raw, mostly organic, and fresh juice to customers. Beverly Hills Juice uses produce from local farmers, supporting the farming community in Los Angeles area. The labels of the bottles are carefully marked to showcase which blends and mixes are completely organic.

Beverly Hills Juice has its own completely vegan alternative to ice cream made with only 2 ingredients. The Banana Manna Shake is purely made from raw organic bananas and a choice of one other ingredient. The other ingredient selections are; almond, cacao, or sunflower.

Located at 8382 Beverly Blvd and open Monday through Friday from 7am-6pm and Saturdays from 9am-6pm. Beverly Hills Juice is a guilt-free, healthy, delicious option for those with dietary restrictions or just looking for a treat.

From the gritty neighborhoods reinventing themselves to the majestic mansions lining Beverly Hills, Los Angeles has plenty to offer. Classic homes offering a look into the past, museums showcasing priceless works of art, and areas proudly displaying beliefs and cultures apart from the Hollywood scene. From tourists wanting to immerse themselves in a culture not their own to the locals wanting to stretch their comfort zones Los Angeles can accommodate them all. Los Angeles is an ever-changing city, each day there is more to discover as the neighborhoods evolve and change to suit the people living in and visiting them.

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