Los Angeles is a boundless city, county, region of numerous neighborhoods and no shortage of things to do. When people come here, they think Hollywood. The walk of fame. Universal Studios. You couldn’t be further from the LA atmosphere and closer to the cliches than those sights. Here are five much better things you can do instead.
A great part of Los Angeles are the numerous bookstores you can rummage through thousands of books, both new and used. Book Soup is perhaps the most famous book store in LA, but there is also The Last Bookstore where you can find used copies of books that have actually been taken care of alongside brand new ones. Don’t forget to check out the movies and records, the upstairs is full of wacky oddities.
There are plenty of coffee shops all around the city, but some stand out among the rest. Blue Bottle is one of my favorite coffee places on earth and there are about five scattered throughout LA. Intelligentsia is also delicious but sometimes the hipster factor gets in the way for me. Philz and Stumptown are also in LA, which originally hail from San Francisco and Portland respectively. Wherever you go to get your cup in the morning, make sure it is special. LA coffee is worth the distance.
Los Angeles is overflowing with museums, but the small ones don’t get enough credit. While LACMA and the Getty are great, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Norton Simon Museum are less crowded, and have tons of great pieces in their permanent collections and always have great featured exhibits.
While there are many fine-dining establishments for dinner, Los Angeles is famous for its street food. From tacos and hot dogs on the street to food trucks on every corner, the options are endless. Don’t forget to try the only-in-Los Angeles combination between Korean and Mexican food, Kogi, the logical conclusion of LA’s huge Mexican and Korean populations.
Angeles National Forest
Not far from the city is Angeles National Forest, where you can escape metropolitan tourism for a day in the woods. I love it here, and the hiking is quintessentially Californian. In a similar vane, Ojai is a short drive away for hiking, hippie-healing remedies, and tons of fine food and drink.