Los Angeles is known for a lot of things. Some parts are iconic, while some are known for rampant drugs and crime.
And if you can get past the glitz of the town, there are some really unique and unprecedented destinations in Los Angeles that you won’t find anywhere else. Plus the weather here has only two seasons—hot and slightly warm.
So forget about its Tinseltown status and out-of-touch celebrities, here are ten must-see sights that will have you heading to Los Angeles in no time.
10) Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a 20-acre complex of buildings that was renovated in 2008 and features some of the most extraordinary art in the world.
Sometimes they’ll even feature movies from esteemed filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorsese with artwork that coincides with the film. Sometimes they show the movie and sometimes actors will perform the original script.
9) Griffith Observatory
The best view in all of Los Angeles is at the tippity-top of the Griffith Observatory. It goes without saying that this is a legitimate observatory where you can check out the stars, but it’s more of a park destination.
There are about a dozen or so trails that all lead to the top where you can take in the 360-degree view. Many movies have been filmed atop here, including The Terminator and Bowfinger.
8) Venice Beach
Venice Beach is the most millennial thing you’ll ever witness in your entire life. Imagine skate parks, basketball courts, restaurants and shops – with endless graffiti and street art canvassing it all.
The beaches aren’t especially great considering the sheer amount of people, but it’s still considered a “beach.” And while there are tons of really friendly people at Venice Beach, you won’t want to sport your MAGA hat here—or anywhere in the Los Angeles area.
7) Hollywood and Highland
Hollywood and Highland is the cornerstone of Hollywood. This intersection features the outdoor Highland Mall, the best view of the Hollywood sign, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE, El Capitan Theatre (Disney’s Hollywood theatre), and TCL’s Chinese Theater. If you think the IMAX theater at Grauman’s is only for show, you are sorely mistaken. It’s literally one of the best movie theaters in the entire world when it comes to technical aspects.
When you see Hollywood Boulevard in a movie, it’s usually right here at this intersection.
Oh, and this is where the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located too… if that interests you at all.
Malibu probably isn’t what you think it is. It’s not a town you visit to see the bluest waters ever seen.
You have to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway – about 15 miles north of Santa Monica –before you get to the beach. But once you’re there, you can pull over and walk down to the beach.
Don’t expect to see massive beach houses here either. They are all tucked away inside gated communities.
5) Santa Monica Pier
To put it simply, Santa Monica is really, really clean. It’s also one of the more expensive places to live in Los Angeles for that very reason.
Check out the Third Street Promenade, which is an outdoor mall.
The pier also has the iconic Ferris Wheel along with other games and rides. It’s a pretty swanky neighborhood with a lot of great restaurants and hotels as well.
4) The Getty Center
John Paul Getty was once the richest man in the entire world. You may recall that Martin Scorsese just made a movie about Getty’s grandson who was kidnapped. (Christopher Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey in the title role after the allegations made against him in the wake of the #MeToo Movement.)
What happened was Getty suddenly passed away and all the art he owned was transported to Los Angeles to open a museum. Some of the most eclectic artwork in the world exists here – and much of it he had bought underground.
The best part about this place is that it’s free. The only thing you have to pay for is parking. And the views are incredible too.
3) Downtown L.A.
Downtown Los Angeles is probably the most underrated part of Los Angeles. When you think of LA, you think of Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, etc. One wouldn’t normally think that downtown would be a spot to go to, but you’d be terribly wrong. The art deco buildings here are one-of-a-kind. Don’t forget about the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Staples Center (home to the Lakers and Clippers).
Most of LA’s best restaurants are in the heart of downtown too. However, you’d be remiss if you didn’t go to Angel City Brewery. It takes up an entire block and is probably the biggest brewery you’ve ever seen—and has two food trucks on the lot. There are a ton of distillery’s there as well.
And you’d be an absolute fool not to visit EightyTwo, which is a bar/club and classic arcade. That’s right. Any 80’s or early 90’s classic arcade game you can think of is found right here. It’s an absolute blast.
Does this really need an explanation? It’s Disneyland. One side of the park is the original Disney theme, while the other half is Disney California Adventure. The latter is geared more towards older children and adults since the rides are a little bit better, but both parks are fantastic. It’s Disney for crying out loud.
1) Magic Castle
The Magic Castle is not only one of the coolest places you’ll ever visit in Los Angeles, it’s also one of the most exclusive places to get into. That’s no lie. It’s actually really hard to get admittance. You either need to know someone or be prepared to pay a premium.
But once you enter – assuming you also meet the dress code, which is extremely formal – you will see some of the most amazing magic you could ever imagine.
Magicians from all over the world yearn to get a spot at this exclusive castle on Franklin Street. Imagine walking into a castle, going through side entrances and silly escape passages to find magicians randomly performing shows. These aren’t just any magicians either, they are world class. And there’s a magic piano that will play any song you request too. Yes, literally, any song.
This place will change your life…. If you can get in, that is.
Los Angeles may get a bad rap because of the Hollywood industry, but there are millions of people who live here that don’t care about any of that. You’ll quickly realize it yourself when you visit.
And these places are for everyone—not just those obsessed with Tinseltown.