In a place as big as Los Angeles, you can find all types of food at any price range and a community of people from every inch of the world. Whether you’ve been a resident for years, born and raised here, just visiting, just driving through, or moving here for college or work, here’s a list of 15 off the beaten path things that you should see  and do in LA. In addition to the famous walk of fame, the Getty, and the hollywood sign, these 15 awesome places will introduce you to the complexity and variety of cultures and scenes that exist here.

Are you ready to see what LA is all about?  (list is not ranked in a particular order of awesomeness)

1. lost sunken city

Palm Tree

Due to a landslide, a section of a cliffside neighborhood near Long Beach sunk into the ocean and gives birth to the sunken city. The area will show you what the post apocalyptic world may look like. It is fence off but that shouldn’t stop you from going in. If you’re down for some trespassing (it’s illegal) then maybe this is the right adventure for you. Graffiti covered every inch of broken concretes at this place and you can hike down to the ocean and see some of the most beautiful sunsets. This is a popular place for the locals for bon fire, drinking, and hanging out. If graffiti is supposed to represent the decay of urban life, then this place is a perfect example.

read more about THE SUNKEN CITY IN SAN PEDRO

2. time travel mart

Time travel mart echo park

Yes, this isn’t a joke. There’s a store near downtown in the heart of Echo Park right by the lake that is all about time travel. The store has a lot of cool stuffs and things really quirky in there. From a roommate post listing by a caveman to dinosaur eggs, there’s something from the past time period and the future.

The store is actually a part of a nonprofit organization that helps students with writing and reading proficiency. Check them out!

Read more about TIME TRAVEL MART 

3. museum of jurassic technology

museum of jurassic technology

Love museum? Your goal is probably to visit the famous Getty Center. Well, the museum scene in LA is much more interesting than that. This place collects some of the coolest early human inventions and it is all about human advancement. Some technology, art & crafts that are lost, forgotten, ineffective, or are directly responsible to the success of modern day technology that we all love.

Read more about the MUSEUM OF JURASSIC TECHNOLOGY 

4. the angeles crest highway

angeles crest highway

Hate LA traffic? Me too! Who doesn’t? Driving up the PCH in Malibu might be one of the top things to do for tourists in LA, but how about driving through the mountain range in LA? The view is spectacular and you won’t be disappointed. The Angeles Crest Highway runs from La-Canada Flintridge to Wrightwood. This 66 miles scenic route will blow your mind. You won’t believe that you’re in LA.

Read more about THE ANGELES CREST HIGHWAY

5. wildlife learning center

Petting a sloth. No big deal.
Petting a sloth. No big deal.

Love animals? Maybe LA zoo isn’t the best place for you. Just north of downtown, there’s a wildlife sanctuary. This small center has some of the coolest and some really rare animals. Most importantly, they are all rescue and you can actually interact with these animals!

Read more about WILDLIFE LEARNING CENTER

6. venice canals

Venice Canals

Wait… venice canal? los angeles? what? yes, it exists. LA might have paved over its own natural river but we made it up by building a fake network of canals similarly to the real and more famous canals in Venice Italy. This place is located near the venice beach and is one of the best places for leisure stroll in Los Angeles.

read more about  VENICE CANALS

7. abandoned old zoo in griffith park

Old Zoo
Inside of the cages

Before the time of the LA zoo, there used to be a zoo in griffith park. It was shut down a few decades ago but the structure is still there, and it’s open for the public to go and see. You can explore the cages of where animals used to be contained and see what it was like for them… It is a really strangely cool place. Plus, it’s right in the griffith park. Bring some snacks and drinks and picnic later.

Read more about ABANDONED OLD ZOO

8. abandoned nazi campground

Me behind one of the buildings
Me behind one of the buildings

Yup, just minutes drive away from the busy and touristy third street promenade, there’s an abandoned nazi campground… A real one! It was built during world war 2 by a rich family of nazi sympathizers. It was meant to be the base camp for hitler to plan plot of taking over the U.S. It was raided by LAPD and shut down of course. Now, the structure is still there; it’s creepy and awesome! This short 2 miles hike into the woods is one of LA’s best kept secrets.

read more about the ABANDONED NAZI CAMPGROUND 

9. museum of death

Museum Of death

Anything from cannibalism and homicides to funeral home and execution, this museum has got all sorts of death documented. You will find some of the most unusual and famous cases of serial killers with original documents and photographs here. It’s pretty intense but if you’re up for it, this will be worth it. Plus, they have a two headed turtle…what??

Read more about the MUSEUM OF DEATH 

10. biking along ballona creek

ballona creek bike path

Everyone comes to LA for the beach. Biking along the beach is popular but we’ve got a cool creek too! It runs from culver city all the way to Marina Del Ray. This 7 miles bike path is one of local’s favorite spots. Rent or borrow a bike or bring your own and have a fun ride!

read more about BALLONA CREEK BIKE PATH 

11. melrose trading post

Want to shop? LA has some of the country’s best shopping streets from santa monica third street to the Grove, but on Sundays, the melrose flea market is where its all at. On every sunday rain or shine, from 9 am to 5pm, a high school on melrose and fairfax turns into a giant shopping center. You can find everything vintage from clothing to old photographs here.

Melrose Trading post website

12. echo park lake

with view of downtown LA
with view of downtown LA

Echo park was once considered one of those “don’t go” neighborhood. After renovation and rehabilitation, echo park is once again a nice park to visit and for local LA residents to relax and hangout. In a place where weather is almost perfect year round, picnic in the park is not a bad afternoon activity.

13. watts tower, 99 1/2 homemade tower

Watts Tower

LA has some of the finest arts in the world. Watts towers truly represents the ability and possibility of human’s creative and dedication. Built all by one man out of broken glasses and bottles, Simon Rodia turned his backyard into one of the most remarkable landmark of the city. These structures stand at 99 1/2 feet, just half a foot shorter than the city’s height limit. This place is open for the public to visit and is accessible by the metro.

Read more about WATTS TOWER BY SIMON RODIA

14. bergamot station, the art scene in Santa Monica

Bergamot Station

Several art studios and the santa monica museum of arts are located at the bergamot station, and they are all open to the public for free. What makes this place special is that the studios are storefronts of some of the finest artists in the city. It is located just minutes away from downtown santa monica and is worth a visit for all those of you with an interest in art.

read more about BERGAMOT STATION

15. wacko, the second happiest place on earth

Wacko, the soap plant

This store may well define the hipster and off beat culture in Hollywood. There are books that will fit all types of sense of humor and interests. The store also sell a bunch of random and quirky items that you may not find anywhere else. If you shop at urban outfitter and enjoy their weird section and book shelf, then this place may be your dream.

read more about WACKO THE SOAP PLAT

There you go! After visiting all these 15 places, you will most likely see LA in a different light. It’s not all about the beach and movie stars here.

So what are you waiting for? Start with number 1 and explore one of these places per weekend. That’s 15 cool weekends for you right there.

Anywhere else I should see and add to the list?

Written by Snook

I do one cool thing every weekend!

11 comments

      1. Sounds good, I will! Two things I’ve always wanted to check out are Vasquez Rocks in Santa Clarita and the Bradbury Building in DTLA. I haven’t been to either, so I can’t vouch for how good they are, but I’ve been told that they are both really cool places to check out.

  1. I’m a native Southern Californian, and I Google-searched fun and unique places to do in SoCal, and I stumbled upon your blog. As I was sitting here creating my list of future adventures with my fiance and soon-to-be husband, I found myself adding 10 of the 15 things you mentioned in this post. Nice blog and blog concept. You just earned yourself a new follower.

    1. wow, thank you so much for the kind words! I really appreciate it. I am so glad that you found my blog helpful! If you ever have questions about any of the locations, please let me know!

  2. Dude thank you for this post! I was getting depressed because our family has been talking about up to a week in LA and in my experience it is largely a shithole. But this gives me hope! Moral of the story: every city can be cool, you just might have to dig a little. Cheers.

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