10 Hidden Gems You Must See in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is not only known for its glitz and glamour, but also for its hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. In this article, we will take you on a journey through the city’s lesser-known attractions that are worth exploring. From secret speakeasies to tucked-away art galleries, we have compiled a list of 10 hidden gems that will give you a unique and authentic experience of Los Angeles. Whether you’re a local looking for something new or a visitor wanting to go off the beaten path, these hidden gems are a must-see. So, pack your bags and get ready to uncover the hidden treasures of Los Angeles.

1. Griffith Observatory

1.1 Overview

The Griffith Observatory is a must-visit attraction in Los Angeles, offering breathtaking views of the city and the stars above. Located in Griffith Park, this iconic landmark has been a popular destination for locals and tourists alike since its opening in 1935.

1.2 Things to do

When visiting the Griffith Observatory, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained. Start by exploring the various exhibits inside, which cover topics such as astronomy, space exploration, and the history of the observatory itself. Don’t miss the chance to see the Zeiss telescope, one of the largest public telescopes in the world.

After immersing yourself in the indoor exhibits, step outside to the observation decks for stunning panoramic views of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some famous landmarks like the Hollywood Sign or the downtown skyline.

For astronomy enthusiasts, the Griffith Observatory also offers public telescope viewing. You can peer through the telescopes and observe celestial objects such as the moon, planets, and stars. Check the observatory’s website for the schedule of public telescope viewing nights.

1.3 Tips for visiting

To make the most of your visit to the Griffith Observatory, consider the following tips:

  1. Arrive early: The observatory can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Arriving early will give you a better chance to explore the exhibits and enjoy the views without large crowds.

  2. Parking: Parking at the Griffith Observatory can be limited, especially during peak hours. Consider taking public transportation or using a ride-sharing service to avoid parking hassles.

  3. Check the show schedule: The observatory offers various shows and presentations throughout the day, including live planetarium shows. Check the schedule in advance and plan your visit accordingly to catch one of these educational and entertaining programs.

  4. Dress appropriately: The observatory is located on a hilltop, and the weather can be cooler and windier compared to other parts of Los Angeles. Bring a light jacket or sweater, especially if you plan to stargaze in the evening.

  5. Explore Griffith Park: Extend your visit by exploring the beautiful Griffith Park surrounding the observatory. Take a hike on one of the park’s trails, have a picnic, or visit other attractions like the Los Angeles Zoo or the Autry Museum of the American West.

By following these tips, you’ll have an unforgettable experience at the Griffith Observatory and discover why it is one of the hidden gems of Los Angeles.

2. The Getty Center

2.1 Overview

The Getty Center is a renowned cultural institution located in Los Angeles, California. Situated on a hilltop in the Brentwood neighborhood, it offers visitors a unique experience of art, architecture, and stunning views of the city. This iconic landmark should be on the top of your list when exploring Los Angeles.

2.2 Art collections

One of the main highlights of the Getty Center is its vast and diverse art collections. With over 1.3 million objects, it houses artworks ranging from classical antiquities to modern masterpieces. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, manuscripts, and photographs from various periods and cultures.

Visitors can admire works by renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet, and Renoir. The Getty Center’s art collection is not only extensive but also of exceptional quality, making it a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts.

2.3 Architecture

Besides its remarkable art collections, the Getty Center is admired for its awe-inspiring architecture. Designed by renowned architect Richard Meier, the complex showcases a blend of modern aesthetics and meticulous craftsmanship. The buildings feature a distinctive white travertine exterior, which beautifully contrasts with the surrounding greenery.

The architectural design of the Getty Center incorporates elements of light, space, and geometry, creating a harmonious and immersive experience for visitors. The complex includes various buildings, gardens, and outdoor spaces, all meticulously designed to enhance the appreciation of both art and nature.

Exploring the Getty Center is not only an opportunity to appreciate world-class art but also a chance to immerse yourself in an architectural masterpiece that seamlessly integrates with its natural surroundings.

3. The Broad

3.1 Overview

The Broad is a prominent contemporary art museum located in downtown Los Angeles. Established in 2015 by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, it houses an extensive collection of postwar and contemporary art. With its unique architectural design and impressive collection, The Broad has quickly become a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and tourists alike.

3.2 Contemporary art

The Broad showcases an exceptional range of contemporary art, featuring works by renowned artists from around the world. Visitors can explore a diverse array of mediums, including paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, and more. The museum’s collection encompasses influential movements and styles such as pop art, abstract expressionism, minimalism, and postmodernism.

Art enthusiasts will be thrilled to encounter iconic pieces by artists like Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, and Yayoi Kusama. The Broad’s dedication to contemporary art ensures that visitors can always expect to encounter thought-provoking and innovative works that push the boundaries of artistic expression.

3.3 Special exhibits

In addition to its permanent collection, The Broad regularly hosts special exhibits that further enrich the visitor experience. These exhibits often focus on specific themes, artists, or artistic movements, providing a deeper exploration into the world of contemporary art. By showcasing temporary exhibits, The Broad ensures that each visit holds something new and exciting for both first-time visitors and returning art enthusiasts.

Visitors can expect to encounter a wide range of curated exhibits that tackle various social, cultural, and political topics. The museum’s commitment to showcasing diverse perspectives and emerging artists allows for a dynamic and engaging experience. These special exhibits often generate buzz within the art community, making The Broad an essential destination for staying updated on the latest trends and developments in contemporary art.

Overall, The Broad is a must-see gem in Los Angeles for anyone with an appreciation for contemporary art. Its comprehensive collection, stunning architecture, and commitment to showcasing both established and emerging artists make it a truly unique and enriching museum experience.

4. Malibu Beach

4.1 Overview

Malibu Beach, located along the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway, is a true hidden gem in Los Angeles. This stunning stretch of coastline offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and luxurious amenities, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

4.2 Water activities

Malibu Beach is a paradise for water enthusiasts. Whether you are a seasoned surfer or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, the beach offers excellent surfing conditions year-round. The consistent swells and clean breaks make it a favorite spot for surfers of all levels. If surfing is not your thing, you can still enjoy a variety of water activities such as paddleboarding, kayaking, and swimming in the crystal-clear waters. The beach also provides rental services for all necessary equipment, ensuring that you have everything you need for a fun-filled day in the sun.

4.3 Scenic beauty

One of the major highlights of Malibu Beach is its breathtaking scenic beauty. The pristine sandy shores are lined with majestic palm trees, creating a picturesque backdrop against the sparkling blue ocean. The beach offers stunning panoramic views of the rugged Santa Monica Mountains, which add to its charm and allure. Whether you are taking a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, sunbathing on the soft sand, or enjoying a picnic with your loved ones, the natural beauty of Malibu Beach will leave you in awe.

In addition to its natural beauty, Malibu Beach is also home to some impressive beachfront properties and celebrity homes. As you explore the area, you might catch a glimpse of a famous face or two, adding a touch of glamour to your visit.

If you are seeking tranquility and serenity, away from the crowded tourist spots, Malibu Beach is the perfect destination for you. Its hidden location, stunning scenery, and abundance of water activities make it a true hidden gem in Los Angeles that should not be missed.

5. Griffith Park

5.1 Overview

Griffith Park is a sprawling urban park located in the heart of Los Angeles. Covering an area of over 4,300 acres, it is one of the largest urban parks in North America. With its diverse range of recreational activities and stunning natural beauty, Griffith Park is a hidden gem that must not be missed during your visit to Los Angeles.

5.2 Hiking trails

Griffith Park offers an extensive network of hiking trails, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there is a trail suitable for every skill level. The park boasts over 53 miles of trails, providing ample opportunities to explore its rugged terrain and soak in the breathtaking views of the city skyline, the Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding mountains.

Some popular hiking trails within Griffith Park include:

  • Bronson Cave Trail: This short trail leads to the iconic Bronson Cave, which has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows. It offers a unique experience for movie buffs and nature lovers alike.

  • Griffith Observatory Loop: This trail takes you on a scenic loop around Griffith Observatory, offering panoramic views of the park and the city below. It is a moderate hike that rewards you with stunning vistas.

  • Mount Hollywood Trail: For a more challenging hike, the Mount Hollywood Trail takes you to the highest point in Griffith Park. From the summit, you can enjoy sweeping views of Los Angeles and the surrounding landscape.

5.3 Attractions within the park

Apart from its hiking trails, Griffith Park is home to several attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. Some notable attractions within the park include:

  • Griffith Observatory: Located at the southern end of the park, Griffith Observatory is a must-visit destination for astronomy enthusiasts. It offers fascinating exhibits, planetarium shows, and telescopes for stargazing.

  • Los Angeles Zoo: Situated within Griffith Park, the Los Angeles Zoo houses a diverse collection of animals from around the world. It provides a unique opportunity to get up close with exotic wildlife and learn about conservation efforts.

  • Autry Museum of the American West: This museum showcases the rich history and culture of the American West through its extensive collection of art, artifacts, and interactive exhibits. It is a great place to immerse yourself in the fascinating stories of the region.

  • Travel Town Museum: If you have an interest in trains, the Travel Town Museum is a must-visit. It features a collection of historic locomotives and railroad cars, allowing visitors to learn about the history of rail transportation in Southern California.

Griffith Park truly offers something for everyone, whether you are seeking outdoor adventures, educational experiences, or simply a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this hidden gem and discover the wonders it has to offer.

6. The Last Bookstore

6.1 Overview

The Last Bookstore is a must-visit destination for book lovers in Los Angeles. Located in the heart of downtown LA, this iconic bookstore has gained popularity for its unique collection of books and stunning architectural features. Whether you’re an avid reader or simply appreciate the charm of old books, The Last Bookstore offers an experience like no other.

6.2 Unique book collection

What sets The Last Bookstore apart is its one-of-a-kind collection of books. As you explore the store’s labyrinthine layout, you’ll come across a wide range of genres, from classic literature to contemporary bestsellers. But what truly makes this collection special are the hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Rare and out-of-print books, first editions, and signed copies can be found tucked away on the shelves, making it a treasure trove for book enthusiasts.

6.3 Architectural features

Beyond its literary treasures, The Last Bookstore boasts stunning architectural features that add to its allure. The store is housed in a historic building, dating back to the early 20th century, which adds a sense of nostalgia and charm. One of the most famous features is the book tunnel, where thousands of books are stacked to create a mesmerizing labyrinth. This Instagram-worthy spot has become an iconic symbol of the store and attracts visitors from all over the world.

Moreover, the bookstore’s interior design showcases creative repurposing of books. You’ll find book sculptures, such as chandeliers made from old books and bookshelves transformed into art installations. These unique design elements make browsing through the aisles an immersive and visually captivating experience.

In conclusion, The Last Bookstore is more than just a place to buy books. It offers a unique journey through literature and architecture. From its remarkable collection of books to its captivating architectural features, this hidden gem in Los Angeles is a haven for bookworms and art enthusiasts alike.

7. The Bradbury Building

7.1 Overview

The Bradbury Building is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Los Angeles. Located at 304 South Broadway, this architectural marvel is sure to leave visitors in awe with its unique design and historical significance.

7.2 Historical Significance

Constructed in 1893, the Bradbury Building holds a significant place in Los Angeles’ history. It was commissioned by Lewis L. Bradbury, a mining millionaire, and was designed by George H. Wyman. The building’s construction marked a turning point in the city’s architectural landscape, as it showcased a departure from traditional designs and embraced a more innovative and daring approach.

7.3 Architectural Details

What sets the Bradbury Building apart is its stunning architectural details. The interior of the building is a sight to behold, featuring a magnificent five-story atrium with ornate ironwork, open-cage elevators, and a breathtaking skylight. The intricate wrought-iron railings, marble stairs, and detailed woodwork add to the building’s charm and elegance.

The Bradbury Building’s architectural style can be described as Italian Renaissance Revival, with influences from the Victorian era. Its grandeur and unique design have made it a popular filming location, with appearances in numerous movies such as "Blade Runner" and "500 Days of Summer."

Visitors can explore the building’s public areas and marvel at its architectural beauty. The Bradbury Building stands as a testament to the rich history and artistic vision of Los Angeles, making it a must-see attraction for both locals and tourists alike.

8. Olvera Street

8.1 Overview

Olvera Street is a historic and vibrant destination located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Considered one of the hidden gems of the city, it offers visitors a unique and immersive experience into Mexican culture and heritage. With its rich history and colorful ambiance, Olvera Street is a must-visit for both locals and tourists alike.

8.2 Mexican Marketplace

At Olvera Street, you’ll find yourself transported to a bustling Mexican marketplace right in the middle of Los Angeles. The narrow, cobblestone street is lined with vibrant shops and stalls selling a variety of Mexican traditional crafts, clothing, artwork, and souvenirs. From handcrafted pottery and leather goods to intricate textiles and jewelry, there’s something for everyone to explore and admire.

As you wander through the marketplace, the aroma of delicious Mexican cuisine wafts through the air. Numerous food vendors offer mouthwatering street food such as tacos, tamales, and churros, providing an authentic culinary experience. Don’t miss the chance to savor traditional Mexican flavors and indulge in the vibrant street food scene that Olvera Street has to offer.

8.3 Cultural Events

Olvera Street is not just a marketplace, but also a hub for cultural events and celebrations. Throughout the year, it hosts various festivals, parades, and performances that showcase the rich heritage and traditions of Mexico. From vibrant Dia de los Muertos festivities to lively mariachi concerts, there’s always something happening at Olvera Street.

Visitors can also enjoy live music and dance performances, traditional Mexican folk art demonstrations, and even participate in workshops to learn about Mexican arts and crafts. These events provide a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and traditions of Mexico, right in the heart of Los Angeles.

In conclusion, Olvera Street is a hidden gem in Los Angeles that offers a captivating experience into Mexican culture. With its bustling marketplace, filled with colorful shops and delicious street food, as well as its vibrant cultural events, a visit to Olvera Street is a must for anyone looking to explore the cultural diversity of the city.

9. Abbot Kinney Boulevard

9.1 Overview

Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a vibrant and iconic street located in the heart of Venice Beach, Los Angeles. Named after the developer and conservationist Abbot Kinney, this boulevard has gained a reputation as one of the trendiest and most popular destinations in the city. It offers a unique blend of art, fashion, and culinary delights, making it a must-visit spot for locals and tourists alike.

9.2 Trendy shops and restaurants

Abbot Kinney Boulevard is renowned for its eclectic mix of trendy shops and restaurants. As you stroll along the boulevard, you’ll find an array of boutique stores featuring fashionable clothing, jewelry, and accessories from both local designers and international brands. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or unique vintage pieces, Abbot Kinney Boulevard has it all.

When it comes to dining, this bustling street is a food lover’s paradise. From cozy cafes to upscale eateries, Abbot Kinney Boulevard offers a diverse range of culinary experiences. You can indulge in farm-to-table cuisine, savor gourmet pizzas, or enjoy fusion dishes from around the world. The vibrant atmosphere and creative menus make dining on Abbot Kinney Boulevard an unforgettable experience.

9.3 Venice Canals

One of the hidden gems near Abbot Kinney Boulevard is the Venice Canals. Created in 1905 by Abbot Kinney himself, these picturesque canals were designed to replicate the charm of Venice, Italy. The canals feature beautifully landscaped walkways, arched bridges, and charming waterfront homes, creating a serene and idyllic setting.

Taking a leisurely stroll along the Venice Canals is a perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You can admire the unique architecture of the homes, watch ducks swimming in the canals, or simply enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings. The Venice Canals offer a peaceful retreat and a glimpse into the history and beauty of the area.

In conclusion, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a must-see destination in Los Angeles. With its trendy shops, diverse dining options, and proximity to the enchanting Venice Canals, this vibrant street offers a truly unique and enjoyable experience for visitors. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a food lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Abbot Kinney Boulevard has something for everyone.

10. Watts Towers

10.1 Overview

The Watts Towers, located in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, are an impressive and unique artistic creation. Built by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia over a period of 33 years, these towers have become a symbol of creativity and resilience. Standing at a height of up to 99 feet, the Watts Towers consist of seventeen interconnected structures adorned with a mosaic of tiles, glass, and various found objects.

10.2 Artistic masterpiece

Considered a true masterpiece of folk art, the Watts Towers showcase the vision and dedication of Simon Rodia. The intricate details and design elements incorporated into the towers are awe-inspiring. The use of broken glass, seashells, and pottery fragments adds a whimsical charm to the overall aesthetics. Visitors are often captivated by the vibrant colors and patterns that adorn these towering structures.

10.3 Guided tours

To fully appreciate the historical significance and artistic value of the Watts Towers, it is highly recommended to take a guided tour. Knowledgeable and passionate guides provide visitors with fascinating insights into the construction process, the symbolism behind the various elements used, and the impact of this artistic marvel on the community. Guided tours offer a deeper understanding of the cultural significance and the remarkable story behind the Watts Towers.

Whether you are an art enthusiast, history buff, or simply looking to explore hidden gems in Los Angeles, the Watts Towers should be at the top of your must-visit list. The combination of artistic brilliance, architectural ingenuity, and cultural importance make the Watts Towers a truly remarkable attraction.

In conclusion, Los Angeles is a city filled with countless hidden gems that are waiting to be explored. From the stunning views of Griffith Observatory to the vibrant street art of the Arts District, there is something for everyone to discover in this diverse and dynamic city. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, be sure to add these 10 hidden gems to your must-see list and uncover the true essence of Los Angeles. So pack your bags, grab a map, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure through the hidden treasures of the City of Angels.

Share This Post: