Off the Beaten Path- Secret Gems of Los Angeles

Los Angeles is filled with so many iconic cultural treasures, attractions and destinations. From the Hollywood sign and Walk of Fame, to the Santa Monica Pier and the La Brea Tar Pits, it’s no wonder why tourists flock to Tinseltown from across the globe. But there’s so much more to see and experience in this magical city than might initially meet the eye. World-class restaurants are hidden in strip malls here, and nature thrives in the midst of massive urban sprawl. With an adventurous spirit, and a little bit of guidance, you can set out on your own to see the best kept secret dives and gems of LA.

Los Angeles River


Many native Los Angelenos don’t even realize that the Pacific Ocean isn’t the only body of water in their home town- the Los Angeles River is a 48-mile long waterway that flows right through the middle of the city! A huge revitalization and restoration initiative has recently made the river far more accessible and enjoyable. There are hiking and bike trails that run along its gently curving banks, and an expedition company that leads guided kayaking trips down the river! Take a walk along the water and you’re sure to see a whole new side of the city you never knew was there.

Beach Cities of South Bay


While tourists head to Malibu in droves, local Angelenos know to head south for a day at the beach. The three sister cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach flank the South Bay of Los Angeles, and offer visitors and residents a totally different kind of beach culture. Though the real estate in this area is some of the most expensive in the country, the vibe on the beach and in the streets is casual and lacking in pretension. Pack up your car from and plan a day trip to explore these quiet coastal enclaves. We love strapping our surfboard to the roof of our Nissan Expedition from to catch some breaks at Hermosa. Afterwards, hit up one of the local seafood shacks like Fishing With Dynamite to refuel on some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste.

Mystery Pier Books


Trying to find Mystery Pier Books feels a little like stepping into a fairy tale. This highly laurelled but little known independent bookstore is one of West Hollywood’s best-kept secrets. After turning into a hidden entryway on the Sunset strip, you have to walk down a flight of stone steps and into a narrow alleyway before stumbling across the tiny little cottage that houses Mystery Pier. A Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, the store is a virtual literary museum. It houses a remarkable selection of rare books, including first edition prints of William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. Though you might not be able to afford the $100,000 price tag attached to some of these special volumes, you can browse to your heart’s content at this truly unique Los Angeles treasure trove.

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