Los Angeles - City of Stars, where young dreamers bring their hopes of fame, fortune, and freedom. She’s given us Hollywood, Disneyland and rolling beaches under the sun. Away from the obvious sights, however, the nooks of L.A. streets offer plenty of quirky activities for the visitor, from its art, theatre and culture, to science, stars and space. So even if it does rain, here are the 10 best ways you could take advantage of it to get one step closer to the heart of the City of Angels.
1. Get up close with celebrities at Madame Tussauds
Okay, so maybe they can’t talk back if you ask them a question. But they won’t protest if you want to take a we-fie and will hold the perfect smile until you get your perfect shot. Spend a couple of hours at Madame Tussauds and rub shoulders with A-list celebrities, Hollywood icons, and Superheroes in a life-sized display. The visit may be slightly pricey, but it’s a once in a lifetime photo opportunity.
Address: 6933 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, California 90028
Price: from 14.95 USD
Opening Hours: Saturday, 10am - 10pm. Sunday, 10am - 8pm. Monday, 10am - 9pm. Tue - Fri, 10am - 7pm.
Duration: around 3-6 hours required.
Access: The Metro RED LINE Subway has a stop at Hollywood/Highland.
Contact: 323 7981670
Website: Madame Tussauds
2. Visit world-class LA museums
LA is home to some of the best, world-class museums, and you wouldn’t want to miss it. One highlight is The Broad - LA’s free newest contemporary art museum that offers the biggest names in contemporary art. It’s easy to spend half a day here exploring its gorgeous displays. If you’re a music lover, you would want to drop in at the Grammy Museum which houses a dizzying array of rare artefacts from behind the scenes of one of the world’s biggest music awards shows.
Address: 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Price: General admission is free.
Opening Hours: Closed on Monday. Tuesday & Wednesday: 11 am – 5 pm. Thursday: 11 am – 8 pm. Friday & Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm. Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm.
Duration: 1-2 hours.
Access: The closest Metro station is the Civic Center / Grand Park Station (Purple or Red Line) located at First and Hill Streets. The museum is just a 0.4 mile walk from the station
Contact: 213 232 6200
Near by Food: Mendocino Farms at 300 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071,
Website: The Broad
3. Find your place among the stars (or fall in love!) at the Griffith Observatory
By now we’ve all seen that scene in La La Land where Ryan and Emma waltz into the Griffith Observatory, dance among the stars, and start to fall in love (sigh). At the Griffith Observatory, a glorious architectural masterpiece on its own, visitors can explore space, learn about stars and get a breathtaking view of the cosmos through telescopes, exhibits, and live shows. After all, they do call it the City of Stars.
Address: 2800 E. Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Price: General admission is free.
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 12 noon - 10 pm Saturday - Sunday, 10 am - 10 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Duration: 1 - 2 hours.
Access: There’s a weekend public bus service from the Vermont/Sunset Metro Red Line station to the Observatory.
Contact: 213 473 0800
Website: Griffith Observatory
4. Watch a live show taping
There’s a pretty high chance your favourite TV shows are taped in LA, so now’s the time to grab your chance to be part of the audience at their live taping. You could get tickets to talk shows like Ellen, Jimmy Fallon Live!, Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Maher, or competition shows like The Voice, Dancing with the Stars and The Price is Right. To score tickets, go to sites like TV TIX, Audiences Unlimited (TvTickets.com) and 1iota for show listings and to find out how to get tickets.
Live show taping
Address: Audiences Unlimited, 801 S Main St, Burbank, CA 91506
Contact: 818 260 0041
5. See Broadway’s historic theaters for yourself
One of the cultural assets that have become synonymous with LA is Broadway. You wouldn’t want to miss a trip down Broadway history of the best performers and performances. Take a walk along Broadway Theatre District to glimpse the 12 movie theatres built between 1910 and 1931. For a window into the world of LA theater, drop in and book one of the amazing shows at the landmark, historical Pantages Theater that was opened in 1930. There are plenty of amazing show titles to choose from, so you may want to read up box office information and book tickets in advance.
Broadway Historic Theatre and Commercial District Walking Tour
Price: 15 USD
Tour Hours: Saturdays at 10 am
Duration: 2-4 hours
Contact: 213 623 2489
6. Catch a movie in the iconic Nuart Theatre
The Nuart Theatre is a kitschy art house movie theatre that started as a neighbourhood theatre in 1929 and has stayed true all these years to be one of the most iconic art-house theatres in LA. With its great selection of the best films and documentaries, Nuart won numerous awards including Best Indie Theatre and Top theatres in LA. A nice plus point is its great snack bar which also serves beer and wine!
Address: 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Contact: +1 310 473 8530
Website: Nuart Theatre
7. Ponder infinity and beyond at the California Science Center
A free museum set to capture the minds and wonder of the young and the young at heart. A great place for the whole family, with interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. The star exhibit is the Space Shuttle Endeavour, an actual aerospace artifact where you’ll get a glimpse of the Endeavours past missions into infinity and beyond!
California Science Center
Address: 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Price: Permanent exhibition galleries are FREE
Opening Hours: Daily 10 am - 5 pm
Duration: Around 2-3 hours
Access: Exit the Metro Expo Line at the Expo Park/USC Station. The Science Center is located 0.2 miles walking distance from the station, on the south side of the Rose Garden.
Contact: 323 724 3623
Website: California Science Center
8. Uncover the super secret hidden bars of LA
Home of hidden bars and speakeasies dating back to the prohibition era, LA is one of the best places to explore speakeasy bars - if you can find the hidden entrances and learn the secret passwords. One such bar is £10, hidden behind The Montage Beverly Hills. Here you will find private lounge spaces furnished with Lalique crystal and the finest single scotch whisky - this is a bar that doesn’t hold back on luxury, and prices that go with it.
But if you’re looking for more down-to-earth places, other cool hidden bars to explore are 1886 Bar at the Raymond, the Del Monte and Good Times at Davey Wayne’s.
Address: 225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Price: Minimum charge of 50 USD.
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 5:00pm-12:00am
Access: To get to £10 (Ten Pound), access through The Montage Beverly Hills up a secret staircase.
Contact: 310 906 7218
Website: £10 bar
9. Warm up in a cosy bookstore
And when the bright lights and all that jazz start to feel just a bit too much, you could escape for an evening in one of the great bookstores in L.A. The Last Bookstore in downtown LA, California’s largest new and used books and record store, has rows of shelves for you to get cosy in, with some of the best-priced used books in town. Skylight Books on Vermont Avenue is one with a charming personality, and Book Soup on Sunset Strip offers great book selection and solid customer care.
The Last Bookstore
Address: 453 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013
Opening Hours: Sun, 10am-5pm. Mon-Thu, 10am-10pm. Fri-Sat 10am-11pm.
Contact: 213 488 0599
Website: The Last Bookstore
Address: 8818 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Opening Hours: 9am-10pm, Monday - Saturday. 9am-7pm, Sunday.
Contact: 310 6593110
Website: Book Soup
Address: 1818 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 10pm
Contact: 323 660 1175
Website: Skylight Books
10. Hit the indoor skating rink
Put on your 70s groove, some neon pants and head to one of the last remaining vintage skating rinks in L.A. Home of entertainment for the whole family since 1950 and featured in shows like Glee and Dancing with the Stars, bring your friends or family for some swirling fun.
Address: 5110 San Fernando Rd. Glendale, CA 91204
Price: Admission from 9.50 USD and skate rentals from 5 USD
Duration: Around 3 hours required.
Contact: 818 241 3630
Website: Moonlight Rollerway
Get to the soul of LA
For all its dazzling lights, grand gestures and fame, the real soul of LA lies in its quiet charms, hidden behind the larger than life facade - in its art and culture that has lasted the test of time with true personality.
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