Los Angeles is one of the most visited places in the world — around 48.3 million people pour through the port city each year. As a central hub location for travellers from all over the world (including China, Canada, India, and South Korea, not to mention the U.S.), it’s the perfect stop for a quick weekend getaway trip or a cosmopolitan destination visit close to the southern California ocean. With so many people visiting every year, and a resident population of 4 million, Los Angeles is a thriving metropolis with beautiful year-round weather. I’m so excited to share some of the amazing places I’ve visited in the “City of Angels” that aren’t touristy and will help you understand “La-La-Land’s” Hollywood and not-so-Hollywood charm.
If you’re travelling to Los Angeles, California, or the USA, chances are you’re not a small-town person — but that doesn’t mean your digs have to be boring! If you’re an artist like me, here’s a place just for you. Try staying at NoMad, an actual gallery and print studio in the heart of Frogtown. NoMad is located at 7th and Olive Street in Giannini Place, a 12-story historical building with sweeping Doric columns, marble floors, and a golden ceiling. Each room, designed by Jacques Garcia, features original artwork and Bellino linens — they are luxurious, believe me. If you’re looking for artistic opulence, the Terrazzo-floored walk-in showers or pedestal bathtubs definitely fit the bill.
Speaking of nomads, the Cazador Yurt in Glassel Park is another of my favourite places to stay, featuring vintage pianos and woodburning stove inside a canvas tent in the heart of L.A. The Malibu Yurt retreat even has its own swimming pool! Finally, L.A.’s best-kept secret (and mine) is The Charlie Hotel, once the home of silent film star Charlie Chaplin. In the heart of West Hollywood, I had my wedding at this fairytale location with its stained glass and private kitchens for a little trip back into the past. Or, pick your favourite: Betty Davis, Marilyn Monroe, or Gregory Peck. Each English bungalow will make you feel like Hollywood royalty.
One of the best experiences you can have in L.A. at night starts with a full moon night hike in Griffith Park, or the Monthly Moonlight hike on the full moon. I’ve been on both and truly loved seeing a different side of the big city. While you’re enjoying the night air, swing by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to check out 202 vintage street lamps, a local romantic spot in the heart of the city where my husband and I met.
If you’re looking for something a bit more posh, make a reservation at £10 by calling or texting (310) 906-7218 — that’s the only way to get into this elegant whisky bar! I can’t afford to go here all the time, but once in a while is fine. Macallan scotch is served here and in Dubai, and nowhere else in the world!
L.A. weather is perfect for getting outside any time of year, and the unusual activities in this city are endless. Where to start? L.A. thrives on individuality and culture — and the city’s underground tunnels are a favourite interest of mine.
They were once home to prohibition-era drinking dens (called “speakeasies”) in downtown Los Angeles. The King Eddy Saloon is still there, and there’s a secret elevator behind the Hall of Records on Temple Street, accessible only from the street level. (I didn’t tell you this, but you may be able to catch a glimpse of the tunnels in this area.)
For a unique experience, I love to have a picnic in the Abandoned Zoo Picnic Area in Griffith Park. Climb inside monkey cages, or hang out in the bear grotto on the other side of the bars. Phantasma Gloria is a great place for an interesting date, located at Randyland near Echo Park. This home has a web of sculptures dedicated to the sun. It features coloured glass bottles, wire, and coloured water that’s best viewed in the morning. The multicultural web is an ongoing art project you have to see to believe.
Los Angeles has so many secrets, it’s the perfect city to explore and find your own unique experiences. Couples have infinite activities and areas to explore. If you’ve had a one-of-a-kind experience in the City of Angels, share it with us. If you have a topic you’d like us to explore before your next trip, let us know! Which of the listed places do you plan to visit?
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