secret stairs la

An Abbreviated LA Guide

By popular demand I made a quick list of places in LA that I enjoyed. I spend a lot of time researching new coffeeshops and my absolute favorite thing is to just walk around the neighborhoods and find hidden architecture gems (helped by Craig Fleming’s Secret Stairs of LA). I don’t typically go to restaurants or drink…but I’ve put some places on my big map…the full list can be found here.

Westside (Santa Monica/Venice):

  • Getty Villa Museum and The Getty Museum
  • Grab some Groundworks coffee and poke around boutique shops on Montana Ave in Santa Monica. 
  • Point Dume State Beach (there’s a hiking path on a cliff which is lovely) or Matador State Beach up in Malibu
  • Hike Solstice Canyon where there are remains of a burnt down mansion or ocean views on Los Leones trail
  • Shop all the hip places on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice
  • Walk through the Venice Beach Canals
  • The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City is all sorts of weird. Walk over to the old Culver Hotel/Culver Studios/Sony Studios for some good cinema history and bustling restaurants
  • Lake Shrine Self Realization Temple in Pacific Palisades 

Hollywood/Beverly Hills:

  • Museum Row: LACMA, La Brea Tar Pits, Petersen Automotive Museum.
  • The Grove can be charming, along with it’s permanent Farmer’s Market
  • Cinefamily occupies an old Silent Movie Theatre and they always have odd films showing there. 
  • Hollywood Forever cemetery has lots of history and shows outdoor movies in the summer. 
  • Griffith Observatory/Hike to the Hollywood Sign
  • Did you know that the LA Philharmonic has free, open rehearsals at the Hollywood Bowl?
  • Larchmont Village is a charming little shopping strip

Downtown:

  • Definitely go to the Velaslavaysay Panorama for a peaceful, unique experience
  • I just went to the California Science Center and was very underwhelmed, but seeing the Endeavour Space Shuttle was pretty cool
  • The Natural History Museum, because dinosaurs
  • Shops in the downtown arts district including Poketo, Apolis,  and Alchemy Works
  • The Broad Museum is great and next to it find serenity at the Blue Ribbon Garden on the roof of the Walt Disney Concert Hall
  • Tour the Los Angeles Times Building and then go to the Los Angeles City Hall Observation Deck
  • Bob Baker Marionette Theater and the Velveteria Museum of Velvet Art for a healthy dose of kitch

Silverlake/Echo Park:

  • Enjoy views from Barndsall Art park and tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House
  • View the Neutra VDL Studio
  • Grab coffee in the boathouse on Echo Park Lake and take a stroll, be sure to make friends with all the dogs
  • So many coffee shops and hip stores. 

Pasadena/Northeast LA

  • Travel Town Museum on the north side of Griffith Park
  • The Brand Library is a unique gem. 
  • Walk under beautiful bridges at the Lower Arroyo Seco Park
  • See the lovely victorian homes at Pasadena Heritage and then the famous Gamble House
  • Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena for all your shopping needs. 
  • I personally think the Norton Simon Museum is better than the Getty, but maybe it’s just the Degas ballerinas. 

Neighboring Areas:

  • You can go to the roof of the domed theme building at LAX. And then eat In-n-Out off of Manchester/Sepulveda and watch the planes land right overhead (It’s exhilarating!) 
  • Valley Relics Museum in Chatsworth
  • Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo has a sweet-ass organ and they show vintage films
  • Los Angeles Maritime Museum and Point Fermin Lighthouse in San Pedro

Complete list including restaurants here.