19 Incredible Hidden Gems in Los Angeles

On a trip to Los Angeles, you’re, of course, going to want to visit the city’s most popular tourist attractions. However, Los Angeles has many hidden gems that I’d also encourage you to see.

1. Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens

⏰ Open: 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm on Sunday, Wednesday & Friday
πŸ’° Cost: $6.00 (tickets must be bought in advance)
πŸ’» Website: www.peacelabyrinth.org

Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is a spiritual centre. This Renaissance-style mansion has a meditative labyrinth & Asian-style gardens for you to explore. Bringing peace and tranquillity to the hustle and bustle of city life.

2. The Bridge To Nowhere

⏰ Open: 24/7
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: N/A

An hour’s drive north of Downtown LA, you’ll find the Bridge to Nowhere. This ten-mile round hike is a much-loved local treasure and a great place to visit during your trip.

The bridge on this hike dates back to 1936 when it was built over the East Fork of the San Gabriel River.

However, two years later, a flood changed the landscape and washed out the road leading to the bridge. The road was never restored, so The Bridge To Nowhere remains alone in the San Gabriel Mountains.

To hike to The Bridge of Nowhere, you’re supposed to get a wilderness permit. However, in my experience and others online, the permit checks are not enforced. That being said, if you want a wilderness permit, you can get one from any of the ranger stations for Angeles NF.

3. The Abandoned Zoo

⏰ Open: 5:30 am to 10:30 pm
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: N/A

Situated in Griffth Park, you’ll find Old LA Zoo. This is what remains of the original Los Angeles Zoo before it moved in 1966.

The area is free to enter and is covered in graffiti. The zoo was moved due to overcrowding and animal health and safety, and after just five minutes, you’ll see why. This place is surprisingly small.

So small you can explore the whole area in 15 to 20 minutes. As such, I’d highly suggest pairing a visit to this abandoned zoo with other areas of Griffth Park.

4. The Bunny Museum

⏰ Open: Midday to 6:00 pm on Mon to Sat and until 5:00 pm on Sun
πŸ’° Cost: $12
πŸ’» Website: www.thebunnymuseum.com

If you love bunny rabbits, then no trip to Los Angeles is complete without a trip to The Bunny Museum.

The Bunny Museum is designed to show the history of the bunny rabbit through art, advertising and entertainment. The museum has more than 45,000 bunny objects on display and has held the world record for “owning the most bunny items in the world” since 1999.

5. Museum Of Neon Art

⏰ Open: Midday to 7:00 pm on Thur to Sat and until 5:00 pm on Sun
πŸ’° Cost: $10
πŸ’» Website: www.neonmona.org

The Museum of Neon Art is a one-of-a-kind space dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and preserving neon art.

This museum features permanent installations and rotating exhibitions, making every visit unique. The Museum of Neon Art is excellent for art enthusiasts and casual visitors. The collection contains hundreds of items of interest and a fantastic gift shop.

6. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

⏰ Open: 6:00 am until 9:00 pm
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: www.parks.ca.gov

For a fantastic view of Los Angeles, visit Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. There are two ways to get to this vista:

  1. Take the 282 Culver City stairs
  2. Hike the trail that zig-zags up the hill

On a clear day, you can see from the San Gabriel Mountains in the east to Santa Monica Bay in the west.

7. Boomers Santa Maria

⏰ Open: Varies
πŸ’° Cost: Varies
πŸ’» Website: www.boomersparks.com

Boomers is a family-fun entertainment center in Santa Maria. This place features several attractions, including:

  • Go Karts
  • Laser Tag
  • Batting Cages
  • Mini Golf

If you’re travelling to Los Angeles with teens or tweens, this is a great place to take a break and hang out.

8. Mural Mile

⏰ Open: 24/7
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: www.muralmile.org

Mural Mile started as a movement in 2012. However, it’s gone on to gain worldwide acclaim and the backing of public commissions.

This mile-long riverside wall demonstrates artists’ raw talent on LA’s streets. There are over 50 murals to view along this path, and the artwork is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Whether you are interested in art or are a casual viewer doesn’t matter, as you’ll enjoy a visit here regardless.

9. Korean Bell of Friendship

⏰ Open: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, daily
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: N/A

Located inside a stone pagoda in Angel’s Gate Park, you’ll find the Korean Bell of Friendship. This bell is made from bronze, is 12 feet tall, and weighs 17 tonnes.

The South Korean government gifted the bell to the United States to mark the U.S. Bicentennial. However, the Korean Bell of Friendship isn’t just for display. Instead, this bell is rung five times a year:

  1. Constitution Day
  2. Fourth of July
  3. New Year’s Eve
  4. Korean American Day
  5. Korean Liberation Day

The bell’s ringing is designed to bring clarity, peace and harmony to all who listen.

10. Autry Museum of the American West

⏰ Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
πŸ’° Cost: $18
πŸ’» Website: www.theautry.org

Founded in 1988 is The Autry Museum of the American West. This museum is designed to showcase the stories, culture, art, and history of the American West, connecting the past with the present.

The museum has over 50,000 artefacts, including paintings, cultural materials, and film memorabilia.

11. Fork in the Road

⏰ Open: 24/7
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: N/A

This intersection between two streets was once nothing special. That was until several local business owners decided to honour their city. They did this by creating an 18ft wooden fork, painted to look like metal.

The fork was first installed in October 2009. However, it was taken down by the city on June 10th, 2010, citing safety issues.

Thankfully, the proper permits were successfully obtained. As a result, the city returned the fork sculpture in October 2011, where it remains today.

12. Mosaic Tile House

⏰ Open: Saturday, Midday to 3:00 pm
πŸ’° Cost: $20
πŸ’» Website: cheripann.com

The Mosaic Tile House is exactly what it sounds likeβ€”a house covered in titles. This started as a passion project in 1994 by husband and wife team Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran, who continue to work on the house to this day.

Situated in Venice Beach, the shimmering colours and vast use of broken tiles on this house means it’s one you’ll never forget.

13. International Printing Museum

⏰ Open: Saturday 10:00 am until 4:00 pm
πŸ’° Cost: $12
πŸ’» Website: www.printmuseum.org

The International Printing Museum has the most extensive collection of antique printing presses in the USA.

This museum is dedicated to bringing the history of printing to life. As such, you’ll find several interactive demonstrations here demonstrating how these things operate. My favourite is the Linotype Machine, which you can use to cast your name.

14. Battleship USS Iowa Museum

⏰ Open: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, daily
πŸ’° Cost: $29.95
πŸ’» Website: www.pacificbattleship.com

The Battleship USS Iowa Museum is an incredible maritime museum in Los Angeles.

The star of this museum is, of course, the USS Iowa. The USS Iowa was the lead battleship in World War II, Korea, and the Cold War. However, the museum as a whole is fantastic and gives a real insight into the life of a sailor on the open water.

15. Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park

⏰ Open: 24/7
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: N/A

Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park is a place of rest, not an attraction. Nevertheless, it’s somewhere many may want to visit during a trip to Los Angeles.

This is a place of rest for many Hollywood celebrities, including:

  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Dean Martin
  • Hugh Hefner
  • Bettie Page
  • Carroll O’Connor

16. Venice Canals Walkway

⏰ Open: 24/7
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: N/A

The Venice Canals were created in the early 1900s and designed to replicate the canals of Venice, Italy. Much of the network of canals here has since been concreted over to make streets. However, there are still several waterways here to enjoy.

You can access Venice Canals off 25th Street; each is around a quarter of a mile long, and there are four in total:

  1. Howland
  2. Sherman
  3. Carroll
  4. Linnie

17. Topanga State Park

⏰ Open: 8:00 am to 6:30 pm
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: www.parks.ca.gov

Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, Topanga State Park has some of the best hikes in southern California. There are miles and miles of trails to explore here, from canyon to ocean views.

One of the most popular hikes at Topanga State Park is the Musch Trail to Eagle Rock. This trail will take you on a four-mile loop and can be completed in 2 hours.

18. The Last Bookstore

⏰ Open: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, daily
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: www.lastbookstorela.com

The Last Bookstore is the largest new and used bookstore in California. Located inside an old bank, this 22,000 sq ft. store features over 500,000 book titles.

I purchased a Last Bookstore tote bag during my first trip to LA 10 years ago. This $15 item is still going strong today and remains one of my favourite LA souvenirs.

19. Bronson Caves

⏰ Open: 5:00 am to 10:30 pm
πŸ’° Cost: Free
πŸ’» Website: N/A

You’ve likely already seen Bronson Caves without ever travelling here. That’s because these caves are featured in several famous films and TV shows, including:

  • Lightning Bryce
  • The Lone Ranger
  • The Scorpion King
  • Batman: The Movie (1966)
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
  • Twin Peaks
  • The A-Team
  • Star Trek

You don’t need a permit to hike to Bronson Cave, and you’ll also get a great view of the Hollywood Sign.

Los Angeles Travel Planning Guide

πŸ₯ Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Trip to Los Angeles?

Yes, you should definitely buy travel insurance for any vacation to Los Angeles. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Trip to Los Angeles?

Whether you’ll want a rental car in Los Angeles will really depend on how long you’re visiting for and where you plan to go during your trip. The traffic in Los Angeles is notoriously crazy, yet public transport is still somewhat limited.

If you do decide to hire a car in Los Angeles, then I’d recommend using Discover Cars to find the best car rental deals.

🏨 Where to Stay in Los Angeles?

The best place to stay in Los Angeles will really depend on what you plan to do most during your trip. If you’re planning to visit Disneyland, for example, then staying in a hotel in Anaheim is likely going to be best.

Alternatively, if you’re planning on exploring the city and visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, then I’d recommend Loews Hollywood.

When booking your accommodation in Los Angeles, I recommend using either Booking.com or Hotels.com. However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.


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