Off the Beaten Path Los Angeles

Los Angeles Off the Beaten

If you’re looking to discover the real Los Angeles, beyond the obvious tourist must-dos, then you’ve come to the right place! Here, we’ll uncover the off-the-radar secrets of this sprawling Californian metropolis. From thrilling outdoor adventures to unique cultural attractions, there’s no shortage of hidden gems in Los Angeles that locals love to explore and experience. We’ll take a deep dive into the lesser-known sights that have a big payoff, so grab your map, and let’s venture into an unexplored side of LA!

Sunken City

Located in the San Pedro area, Sunken City was once a residential area built atop cliffs that overlooked the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Unfortunately, due to heavy rains in 1929, these cliffs began to erode, causing a large portion of the city to collapse into the ocean.

Sunken City - San Pedro, CA
Sunken City – San Pedro, CA by Rickmke

Today, visitors can explore the ruins of Sunken City through guided tours or on their own. Along the way, they will be able to see remnants of homes, streets, and sidewalks that remain from before the landslide occurred. The area has become something of a tourist attraction as it offers a unique glimpse into California’s past. Additionally, the cliffs provide excellent views of the harbor below and the nearby coastline.

The best time to visit Sunken City is during low tide when more of the ruins are revealed and accessible. It is important for visitors to stay on top of the path as the area can become dangerous during high tide when the water rises quickly. Whatever one’s interest in the site may be, Sunken City is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who take part in its exploration.

Old Town Pasadena

Colorado Street between Pasadena Avenue and Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena

Old Town Pasadena is a historic district that personifies the booming revitalization of urban centers. Spanning from the 1870s to the present day, the area’s architecture is reflective of the vibrant golden age of Los Angeles. Spanning from Art Deco to Spanish Colonial Revival styles to encompass a range of exquisite designs, visitors can explore this distinct neighborhood and enjoy its charm.

Union Street, Old Pasadena, Pasadena, California
Union Street, Old Pasadena, Pasadena, California by Ken Lund

In the 90s, $70 million was invested into the region to restore and modernize it. As a result, a wealth of shopping opportunities have since arisen: Tiffany & Co., Apple, Banana Republic, and many more high-end stores have established themselves in the area. In addition, gastronomical delights are rampant in Old Town Pasadena—from casual eateries to upscale restaurants for all tastes.

For many, Old Town Pasadena is an ideal destination for people-watching and leisurely shopping. The perfectly manicured streets lined with stunning buildings encourage pedestrians to take their time and revel in the beauty around them. When searching for a one-of-a-kind experience east of Los Angeles, look no further than Old Town Pasadena.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles

Hollywood Forever Cemetery is an iconic landmark that pays homage to the famous personalities of the golden age of Hollywood. Taking a stroll through this site offers visitors a unique perspective into eternity, as here there are no differences between the common person and the powerful movie moguls of yesteryear. Among the prominent members of Tinsel Town’s elite resting at this cemetery include Douglas Fairbanks, Cecil DeMille, Fay Wray, Rudolph Valentino, Bugsy Seigel, and Johnny Ramone.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery - Los Angeles California - Historic
Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles California – Historic by Onasill ~ Bill

The cemetery grounds also present a varied array of marble monuments and works of art, showcasing each individual’s successes and contributions to the entertainment industry in grand style. Ultimately, these features demonstrate how even after death, Hollywood’s most prosperous citizens still strive to outdo one another in eternal glory.


Sunset Boulevard between Vrigil Avenue and Alvarado Street

Silverlake is currently the epicenter of LA’s ever-evolving hipster scene. Formerly home to Latin gang-bangers, the area has seen a huge transformation in the last two decades, with run-down laundromats now replaced by cool cafes, restaurants, and thrift shops. In order to explore this cool neighborhood, start at Sunset Boulevard running between Virgil Avenue and Alvarado Street, where aspiring artists come to write screenplays and take acting classes.

Silverlake Hilltop View
Silverlake Hilltop View by Clinton Steeds

It’s also a great spot for celebrity spotting; you’re much more likely to see a famous face here than in Hollywood. Be sure to make a stop at the beloved Intelligentsia for some delicious coffee and people-watching. Enjoy the trendy boutiques as you explore this vibrant area of Los Angeles.

Watts Towers

1727 East 107th Street, Los Angeles

Watts Towers is a remarkable piece of art and architecture located in the vibrant yet troubled neighborhood of Watts in South Central Los Angeles. Built over 33 years by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia, the towers are a testament to Rodia’s ingenuity and skill, with their impressive 99-1/2-foot height constructed out of steel and mortar and adorned with an eclectic mix of recycled materials such as mosaic tiles, soda pop bottles, shells, and more.

Watts Towers
Watts Towers by The City Project

Not only is it an architectural marvel, but it is also a symbol of hope for Watts’ inhabitants. While it was the site of the 1965 riots which highlighted the racial tension between African Americans and other communities, Watts has evolved over the past two decades to become a place where African Americans, Latin immigrants, and other communities reside together. Watts Towers serves as both an artistic landmark and a beacon of hope that stands as an emblem of resilience and progress.

Angeles Crest Highway

California State Highway 2 north of Foothill Boulevard in La Canada

The Angeles Crest Highway is an iconic Southern California escape from the absurdly crowded Los Angeles. This picturesque drive winds through the majestic San Gabriel Mountains, offering incredible views along cliff-side turns. Motorcyclists often flock to the highway for its thrilling twists and turns, but it’s also accessible for all types of drivers.

The tunnel on Angeles Crest Highway
The tunnel on Angeles Crest Highway by JingKe888

At Newcombs Ranch Restaurant, located on the side of the highway, visitors can enjoy a hearty meal in a lovely mountain atmosphere. For those who are ready to explore, Switzer Falls is a great spot for a short hike – be sure to bring your camera! During the winter months, snowfall blankets the mountains, making this an even more desirable getaway.

More Off the Beaten Path Destinations

These off-the-beaten-path destinations in Los Angeles offer a chance to discover hidden gems, unique stories, and a different perspective on the city beyond the usual tourist attractions. Be sure to check opening hours and any visitor guidelines for each destination before planning your visit.

Watts Towers

These unique towers were constructed by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia over a period of 33 years. The Watts Towers Arts Center offers tours and insight into this incredible folk art masterpiece.

Museum of Jurassic Technology

Located in Culver City, this quirky museum combines art, science, and storytelling in a surreal and thought-provoking way.

The Bunny Museum

This unusual museum in Pasadena is home to an extensive collection of bunny-related artifacts, including plush toys, artwork, and more.

Eames House

The Eames House, also known as Case Study House #8, is an architectural gem designed by Charles and Ray Eames. It’s located in Pacific Palisades and offers guided tours of the iconic mid-century modern home.

Eames House Los Angeles
Eames House Los Angeles by akasped is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Descanso Gardens

While it’s relatively well-known, Descanso Gardens offers a serene and picturesque escape from the city, featuring beautiful gardens, walking trails, and seasonal displays.

Old Los Angeles Zoo

Located in Griffith Park, the abandoned Old Los Angeles Zoo has become a picnic area and hiking spot with the remnants of old animal enclosures.

Japanese Gardens at the Huntington Library

While the Huntington Library is a popular attraction, the tranquil Japanese Gardens within the library’s grounds offer a serene escape and are often less crowded.

Angel’s Flight

This historic funicular railway in downtown LA is one of the city’s oldest landmarks. It’s a short but unique ride that connects Hill Street with California Plaza.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Located in San Pedro, this small and often overlooked aquarium offers educational exhibits about Southern California marine life and is a great place for families.

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Situated in Arcadia, this sprawling garden features a variety of rare and exotic plants, as well as peacocks roaming freely.

Banning Residence Museum

Located in Wilmington, this historic site offers a glimpse into the Victorian-era lifestyle of Phineas Banning, a key figure in the development of the Port of Los Angeles.

Caine’s Arcade

Visit the original cardboard arcade created by a young boy named Caine Monroy. It’s a heartwarming story of creativity and determination, located in East LA.

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