An Alternative Guide To Los Angeles

Watts Towers | © Megan Westerby/Flickr
Watts Towers | © Megan Westerby/Flickr
Photo of Courtney Holcomb
9 February 2017

Los Angeles is filled with wonderful and weird activities to delight locals and tourists alike. If you want to explore the City of Angels behind the scenes, check out this curated list of our favorite adventures off the beaten track.

The Last Bookstore

Bookstore, Store, Museum
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The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore | © 好少年/Flickr
If you live in the LA area, chances are you’ve already heard of The Last Bookstore. This spot is renowned as an enclave for literature lovers, filled with new and used books to please enthusiasts of all genres. There is also vinyl stocked on the first floor, and you can browse through the rotating galleries and craft shops upstairs, as well.

Underground Tunnels of Los Angeles

Building
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Tunnel
Tunnel | © Nick Webb/Flickr
During the era of prohibition, Angelenos opted to move the party underground. There is now a system of tunnels underneath Downtown LA where the locals enjoyed clandestine cocktails, aided by corrupt members of the mayor’s office staff. The basement at King Eddy Saloon is a great spot to get a taste of these tunnels.

Bronson Cave

Natural Feature, Park
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Bronson Cave
Bronson Cave | © Sam Howzit/Flickr
Located in Griffith Park, Bronson Cave is featured in a number of popular films, even used as the batcave in Batman. Filmed at angles to make it look much deeper and darker than it is in reality, it is not quite the cave that Hollywood makes it out to be, but it is still a great place to soak in the spirits of celebrities past and even get a gorgeous view of the Hollywood sign.

Watts Towers

Building
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Watts Towers
Watts Towers | © Yevgenia Watts / Flickr
In the Watts neighborhood you can find Watts Towers, 17 non-traditional architectural structures built as a personal project by an Italian immigrant in the early to mid-1900s. They are constructed of steel parts, wire mesh, and mortar, and filled with scraps of porcelain, tile, glass, and various random objects for decoration. You can take a tour of the structures with a guide from Watts Towers Arts Center.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Cemetery
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Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the resting place of celebrities like Cecil B. DeMille, Johnny Ramone and Estelle Getty. The grounds themselves are an incredible destination, filled with gardens and gorgeous architecture, but the events hosted onsite make this a must-visit spot. In addition to concerts held on-site, the cemetery is host to a series of outdoor movie screenings each summer.

Venice Canals

Bridge, Building, Natural Feature, Park
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Venice Canals
Venice Canals | © Steve Cadman/Flickr
If you find yourself in the Venice area, be sure to check out the Venice Canals. Tucked in between a series of luxurious homes, these canals mimic the iconic canals of Venice, Italy, filled with arching bridges and clear waterways. In addition to strolling along the bridges, you can appreciate the gorgeous real estate that lines the walkways.

Atmosphere:

Accessible (Blind), Accessible (Wheelchair), Kid Friendly, Family Friendly, Dog Friendly, Accessible (Deaf)

Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum
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Museum of Broken Relationships
Museum of Broken Relationships | Courtesy of the Museum of Broken Relationships LA
Started in the city of Zagreb, Croatia, the Museum of Broken Relationships recently opened a second location in Los Angeles. This museum holds mementos of all mediums from any sort of lost relationship, curating them in displays that will make your heart twinge, or at least make you reflect on your own relationships.

El Segundo Butterfly Preserve

Museum
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El Segundo Butterfly Preserve
El Segundo Butterfly Preserve | © Mark Kent/Flickr
Located near LAX, the El Segundo Butterfly Preserve is a refuge for the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly. While the reserve is fenced of to the public, it is surrounded by a four-mile path from which you can see the butterflies, watch the planes at LAX, or enjoy a view of the ocean.