There’s something to be said for simply being present and enjoying your surroundings, but sometimes, you just want to take a perfectly crafted picture to remember it by. Los Angeles is an extremely photogenic city, from its beaches to its swaying palm trees. To rack up those likes on your feed (for whatever they’re actually worth), here are a dozen spots that’ll look great with a Mayfair or Juno filter.
The Broad is always a good spot for pictures, as this contemporary art museum contains several large-scale pieces that are truly impressive to behold. The most popular Instagram spot, however, is Yayoi Kusama’s mirrored infinity room, The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. Several twinkling lights and mirrors together form the illusion of being lost in space. Guests are invited to enter the room alone or in pairs, but only for a short amount of time. It’s enough, if you must, to snap a selfie in the mirror. The Broad is free, except for certain special exhibitions, but visitors should first make a reservation online.
High above the streets of downtown L.A. is Spire 73, the Wilshire Grand’s rooftop cocktail lounge. The Wilshire Grand Center is 73 stories tall, and its spire makes it the tallest building in L.A., just edging out the U.S. Bank Tower. Needless to say, the sweeping 360-degree views are excellent here, and therefore, perfectly Instagrammable.
Even though there are photogenic spots all over LACMA—from their scenic grounds to the exhibits within—the most popular place to pose is at Chris Burden’s Urban Light. This installation consists of 202 carefully aligned vintage street lamps. Visitors often position themselves among them, by day or night. It stands in front of the museum and is free to access at any time.
The ending point of Route 66 and tourist hot spot, the Santa Monica Pier, established in 1909, offers lovely views of the Pacific Ocean. Here, one will also find numerous shops and restaurants, fishing, and amusement park Pacific Park, whose Ferris wheel is visible from a distance and is a spectacular shot when lit up after dark.
No well-curated Instagram feed is complete without cute coffee shops and latte art—if a scroll through the home feed is any indication. You’ll satisfy both requirements at Coffee for Sasquatch. A metal Sasquatch creeps out of a green plant wall near the front of the shop, and a winding mural decorates the wall across the counter. Seating is provided via white benches that swirl around the space. Some lattes are decidedly adorable, such as the seasonal marshmallow-topped S’mores latte. Other drinks on the menu include a turmeric chai latte, an affogato or tea-gato, and all the standard espresso and coffee drinks one expects from a modern café. They also serve a variety of savory and sweet pastries, including quiches and donuts (available vegan and/or gluten-free).
Designated the “birthplace of Los Angeles,” Olvera Street is a historic area home to several L.A. monuments and a Mexican outdoor marketplace full of vendor stalls and restaurants. In addition to buying a variety of goods, one might stop for taquitos or margaritas, solicit a song from a roving Mariachi musician, or learn about L.A. history via a free tour.
Inside Clifton’s Republic, visitors will find numerous distinct worlds, depending on what floor they find themselves exploring. For those who wish to go on a tiki-themed adventure, the fourth floor’s Pacific Seas will not disappoint. The original Pacific Seas opened in 1932, but it was demolished in the 1960s to build a parking lot. Unlike previous iterations of the tropical hideaway, this one serves alcohol in the form of several fruity tiki concoctions. There are plenty of places to tuck away, and numerous artifacts to be discovered. Nearly any corner of the venue is an excellent one for photos, including the boat positioned in front of the bar.
Solo adventurers will find no better place to kill a few hours than this enchanting downtown bookstore. The sprawling Last Bookstore sells new and used books, comics, and magazines, plus there’s an art gallery upstairs. What makes it unique is the fantastical shapes and designs created out of old books. No stop to this shop is complete without a shot of one of these installations and the purchase of a new favorite read.
Pitchoun! Bakery's spring vibes | Courtesy of Pitchoun! Bakery
Not far from Metro’s Pershing Square station is Pitchoun! Bakery, which means “kiddo” in French. Find freshly baked bread, coffee, tea, breakfast items, and both sweet and savory pastries here. Select pastries are especially suitable for a closeup. Éclairs and macarons are often specially decorated, be it for an upcoming Dodgers game, Halloween, or the changing of the season.
Enter The Bradbury Building, and you may get the sense that you’ve seen this place before. While it opened in 1893 as an office building, it’s best known for its role as Tyrell genetic designer J.F. Sebastian’s house in Blade Runner (1982). Its distinctive internal stairwells are gorgeous and instantly recognizable from the film. Today, the building is on the list of National Register of Historic Places, and the lobby is open for tourists to come and snap a photo. On the ground floor, you’ll find Blue Bottle Coffee, which is always a reliable spot for a pick-me-up.
Aesthetically pleasing inside and out, The Other Half is a botanical boutique where shoppers can find a variety of artfully potted plants. Designed by floral installation artist Nelson Pitts, customers will see cacti, succulents, and other greenery, all beautifully presented and ready to add life and color to their homes. The installation in the shop changes every so often, so it’s worth stopping back. The colorful exterior has been hand-painted in bright splashes, so it’s easy to find.
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Rarely will one hear this gigantic bell ring, but it’s beautiful to behold in silence too. South Korea gifted the 17-ton Korean Bell of Friendship, located in Angel’s Gate Park in San Pedro, to the United States as a gesture of friendship in 1976. It was inspired by South Korea’s Bronze Bell of King Songdok. It is only rung on New Year’s Eve, Korean-American Day, the Fourth of July, Korean Liberation Day, and Constitution Day. The structure that surrounds the bell is called the Belfry of Friendship.