Whether you’re new in town or a long-time local, discovering the hidden gems where you live will have you see your city from a new angle. Hidden gems can lead you to a different neighborhood to see the city from a tourist’s perspective. They can also make some must-see places to discover over a weekend-long staycation. Meet these 10 unexpected places and hidden gems scattered around Los Angeles.
Wondering what bouldering is? It’s a style of rock climbing performed without the use of ropes or harnesses. The LA Boulders is a bouldering-only gym with award-winning routesetting. Whether you are a climbing veteran or virgin, everyone is welcome to ascend the colorful 17ft high indoor climbing walls. Thankfully, orientations available if you are trying for the first time. Back at ground level, this Downtown L.A center also offers a range of fitness and yoga classes.
The Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Downtown L.A is a self-styled ‘cathedral to the arts’. Originally opened in the 1920s as a three-story movie palace, the Spanish-gothic style theatre is now a restored 1,600-seat venue for eclectic events from live magazine presentations to film festivals, it’s worth a visit just to get immersed in the interior. Ornate open balconies, intricately carved walls and a vaulted ceiling with thousands of tiny mirrors make this unlike any cinema out there. Excursions are available if you just want to tour the theatre. Don’t miss the murals by famed artist Anthony Heinsbergen that depict old screen Hollywood stars.
At the Grand Central Market, you’ll find plenty of L.A. hidden gems for all tastes under one roof. From 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, you can order and eat pretty much anything – there are 37 multicultural culinary vendors to explore. Vendors lit up with a retro neon signs make it a food-filled wonderland. Sampling the cuisines and cultures of L.A have never been easier to reach without a car! Out of ideas as to which stand to choose? Locals love The Infatuation app which includes a rundown of their 14 most popular Grand Central Market counters. A free shuttle runs to and from the market from DTLA, and as the portions are known to be generous, be sure to arrive hungry.
The pioneering independent label Stones Throw Records has opened a new vinyl-focused bar, with over 7,500 vinyl records from label boss Peanut Butter Wolf’s collection. The in-house collections span across rock, soul, reggae, rap, electronic, world and jazz categories. The Gold Line is situated under Stones Throw’s offices in the Highland Park neighborhood, so there’s sure to be some expert selectors in the house. Vintage recording studios and Japanese hi-fi bars were the points of departure for the bar’s design. Here it is all about mid-century sofas and Altec Lansing speakers. Notably, there is a strict policy of no outside records and no computers. The allure of this Los Angeles hidden gem is a sum of all its parts.
Aka “The Glass Church”, designed by renowned Lloyd Wright, is a classic example of Organic Architecture that combines building structures to complement the natural world.
Located atop a cliff in Rancho Verdes with views over the Pacific Ocean, the setting is as stunning as the stone and glass structure. The chapel also enjoyed a stint of celebrity status, featuring in classic teen TV series The O.C and 90210.
The Greek Theatre is an iconic L.A concert venue in a hip neighborhood. This small outdoor venue, dating back to the 1930s, is a natural amphitheater on a hillside in Griffith Park. A diverse musical program from composers like Yann Tiersen to rock bands like King Crimson, make use of the excellent acoustics here. Unique to the venue, visitors can order picnic baskets to enjoy in designated areas near the concert stage. Some of Los Angeles’ hidden gems are experiences hidden in plain sight. How’s that for a truly intimate live music experience?
Experience an area of calm in the city at the Blue Ribbon Garden, a free green sanctuary to zen out to on the rooftop of Frank Gehry’s sculptural steel Walt Disney Concert Hall. The centerpiece of the garden is the Lillian Disney Memorial Fountain in tribute to Lillian’s love for roses and porcelain. This is one place to check out if you’re a lover of live music and botanical gardens. Also, the garden offers stunning views and Instagram-friendly backgrounds for capturing the Hollywood sign and the San Gabriel Mountains. After a visit to The Broad or the MOCA (perhaps on an annual membership), this is the spot for catching some fresh air.
The Last Bookstore is California’s largest used and new book and record store adorned with local art, set in an abandoned bank vault. A literary treasure trove, it hosts literary, musical and theatrical events. In a time of e-commerce, The Last Bookstore is keeping the ink and paper business alive. The unique Spring Arts Collective also have a gallery space with resident artists onsite on Saturdays from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
This small gem in the Los Feliz district has been serving tiki drinks since 1961. A dedicated clientele even bring their own tiki mugs! Known for good cocktails and reasonable prices, there can be a wait to get a seat inside on one of the 12 bar stools. Opened by legendary bartender Ray Buhen, Tiki-Ti occupies a former violin repair shop. The Tiki-Ti menu features more than 90 drinks, including the Bonnie & Clyde (rum and gin) and the Uga Booga (dark rum).
An urban hike with a twist, the Baxter Street Steps are a set of concrete stairs that offer a unique viewpoint of the city. Known as the steepest outdoor staircase in L.A, these Echo Park stairs are landmarks of an L.A. before cars and freeways. At the peak of the steps, you will have an ultra-high view over Los Angeles. Use this vantage point to spot the famous landmarks of the city – the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory – from afar.
If New York has Brooklyn, then Los Angeles has Silver Lake. Revered for its proximity to Downtown and Hollywood, this happening residential area offers some unparalleled views over the city. Locals love grabbing a gourmet groceries (and a bottle of vino) from Botanica, while options for dining out run from upscale Mexican to slurpable ramen.
Going back to that coveted position. Hidden gems worth checking out on a visit are the steps interlinking streets. The most popular photo spots in this area include the Micheltorena Stairs, the Swan Stairs, and the Mattachine Steps.
If you’re looking for somewhere temporary to stay or want to try out neighborhoods and discover hidden gems before you commit to the longer-term buy, Blueground’s flexible leasing options for one month stays and longer can be the ideal home-away-from-home solution. Much like the hidden gems above, renting a Blueground apartment might be the lesser-known housing solution you’ve been looking for. One that makes living in Los Angeles all the more rewarding.