Most people would agree that Los Angeles is made up of many little cities, as it is one of the most spread out cities in the United States. The dynamic neighborhoods you can discover in the City of Angels offer so much in terms of culture, history, and cuisine, just to name a few! With these ten spots that any local would recommend, we have you covered for your next trip to sunny LA. (Image Credit: D Thory/Pixabay)
#1 Venice Canal Historic District
While the infamous Venice Beach boardwalk, filled with street performers and cheesy souvenirs, is in all the guidebooks, there is also a hidden gem very close by. The Venice Canal Historic District is a charming neighborhood developed in 1905. These man-made wetland canals are now home to some of the most beautiful and colorful houses in the city. Connected by picturesque bridges, which are perfect for an Instagram moment, you will discover a more peaceful side to Venice Beach while strolling these canals.
#2 Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is an Italian escape right in the middle of Southern California. Inspired by the Villa of the Papyri in the Ancient Roman town of Herculaneum, you will find this beautiful museum tucked away in the ritzy Pacific Palisades neighborhood. Famous oil tycoon and avid art collector J. Paul Getty built this museum to house his vast collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. He loved Italy and wanted the Getty Villa to be a place for people to feel as if they were visiting an actual villa rather than just an art gallery. And to top it off, admission is free!
#3 OUE Skyspace
OUE Skyspace is a new downtown hotspot – perfect for those visiting Los Angeles for the first time, or even locals, since it opened only a few years ago. Dominating the cityscape at just over 1,000 feet, you will find an impressive open-air observation deck at the top of the US Bank Tower. At OUE Skyspace, you can enjoy stunning 360-degree views of the city, but also their unique glass slide. So for those thrill seekers who aren’t afraid of heights, I would recommend paying extra to slide down this first-of-its-kind outdoor glass slide that is attached to the exterior of the building!
#4 Terranea Resort
If your goal is to soak up all the fun, sun, and relaxation while in Los Angeles, there is no better place to do that than at Terranea Resort. This five-star, oceanfront resort is located on the dramatic cliffs of Palos Verdes. You will feel transported, leaving all of the bustling city noise behind. Each of their rooms offer balconies with amazing views. There are also several pools to choose from, as well as award-winning dining options that are both casual and high-end. Even if you do not stay overnight, I would recommend visiting for a bite to eat, booking a spa treatment, or discovering one of their many seaside trails. One of them even leads to a secret beach.
#5 Griffith Observatory
One of the best views of the City of Angels can be found at the Griffith Observatory. Not only can you enjoy city views, but this is also a great spot to see the iconic Hollywood Sign! While most people prefer to visit in the evening for sunset, I would recommend visiting while the observatory is open to entering during the day. They offer fascinating exhibits and awe-inspiring shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium – one of the largest planetarium domes in the world!
#6 Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market has been around since 1917, making it the city’s oldest (and also largest) food market! This is a food lover’s paradise, offering fresh produce at great prices, and food stands run by families who have been there for decades. You will also find famous names with their incredible breakfast sandwiches. There is plenty of seating to enjoy your feast inside, outside, and downstairs. Also, their wall of neon signs is a great place for a photo opportunity. Before you leave, be sure to check out the historic Angel’s Flight tram directly across from the market on the Hill St entrance.
#7 Descanso Gardens
While further away from most touristy spots, Descanso Gardens is still a place worth visiting in Los Angeles County. This 150-acre botanical garden offers a tranquil outdoor experience for those seeking some peace and fresh air. While I recommend giving yourself at least a few hours to visit every inch of this place, I would definitely not miss exploring their Japanese Garden, Ancient Forest, and Rose Garden. Also, they have a wonderful museum and gallery on site, as well as a fun railroad experience for the whole family. If you are visiting Descanso Gardens between November – January, be sure to grab tickets to their popular Enchanted Forest of Light, where the garden colorfully lights up at night.
#8 Museum of Neon Art
While neon signs were all the rage back in the 1920s and 30s in terms of advertising, you sadly won’t find many hanging around anymore. Fear not, because the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to neon art. This small but unique museum shows off historic neon signs, as well as teaching you everything there is to know about electric art. Photos, thankfully, are allowed!
#9 The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore stands out in for a number of reasons. The first thing that catches the eye is that the store is housed in an old bank. However, books aren’t the only thing that are sold here. Here, you can also buy records, craft supplies, coffee, and art pieces. Really, it’s like a half dozen stores in one. One of the best rooms in the Last Bookstore is the “Labyrinth,” a popular space where you can take photos of their gorgeous book tunnel, old bank vaults with rare editions, and more. This is such a creative and welcoming space, and truly one of the last great independent bookstores in the city.
#10 Old Town Pasadena
Pasadena is a wonderful city within Los Angeles County that is so worth visiting for those interested in history, art, gastronomy, and more. Old Pasadena in particular is located just 10 miles from Downtown Los Angeles. A great way to experience their colorful alleys, historic buildings dating back to the 1800s, and its delicious cuisine, is with a food tour through Melting Pot Tours. If you’re an art lover, head to the Norton Simon Museum, USC Pacific Asia Museum, or even the Huntington Library. Pasadena is also home to the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium, where they host more than sports on the second Sunday of each month with their Rose Bowl Flea Market.
About The Author: Carmen Edelson is a full-time luxury travel influencer who’s been running the award-winning blog Carmen’s Luxury Travel since 2013. Her main focus is luxury lifestyle and family travel, where she shares her adventures around the world with loyal readers. She wants to inspire people to enjoy the finer things in life, and offers the best tips on luxury destinations, resorts, gourmet hotels, one-of-a-kind experiences, and more.