It may be chock full of Hollywood movie magic and iconic Pacific Ocean beaches, but there really is so much more to culture, nature, and fantastic fun when it comes to the City of Angels.
Get a taste of L to the A’s surprising sense of diversity by embarking on weekend adventures such as these. You’ll discover that beyond the stars and the sand, there’s a whole lot more to appreciate about this West Coast hotspot than anyone could have ever imagined. Here are ten things to do on a weekend getaway in Los Angeles.
10 Things To Make Your L.A. Getaway Weekend Fantastic
1. GRIFFITH PARK
Many say it’s the West coast version of Central Park. For L.A. locals, however, it’s really just an all-around massive four-thousand-plus-acre space of untamed land that happens to have everything from hiking trails, bike paths, and merry-go-round rides, to live gigs (courtesy of the Greek Theatre), spying on wildlife creatures (courtesy of the old L.A. Zoo), and a barn full of mouse-shaped memorabilia courtesy of Walt Disney himself. Even cuddle up with that honey-boo of yours to gaze out at those magnificent stars.
2. Old Town Pasadena
Shopping. Dining. Arts. Culture. Football. From Lake Ave. to Arroyo Parkway there is literally too much to see and do in this oldie but goodie-- not to mention a whole slew of rad architecture that adds even more historical charm than it really already needs. Even when it’s not New Year’s Day or the site of a rival Trojans vs. Bruins match, you’ll find packs of people crowded all along Colorado Blvd. Plus, those super friendly diagonal pedestrian “scrambles” make traveling on foot so much more safe not to mention fun. Forget about walking in L.A. Do it here.
3. The Original Farmers’ Market
Only on West 3rd and Fairfax will you find the one and only original farmers’ market. It’s a convenient option for fresh produce and the go-to grocery and goodies store for the City of Angels. It’s also one of the only outdoor markets that’s been feeding L.A. since 1934 with its rows and rows of cute little stalls with things like juicy pomegranates, old-fashioned ice creams, and fresh daily catches-- courtesy of Gill’s and Tusquellas Seafoods, respectively. So go sample, buy, nab, grab, and savor to your heart’s desire all while hopping around to some free summer music.
4. The Tea Room at the Huntington Library
Little girls and boys love tea parties—but let’s face it, so do grown-ups. Plus, the buffet-style array of savory finger sandwiches, gourmet cheeses, just-toasted scones, and fresh-from-the-pot teas at this joint are definitely too hard to resist. A trip to the gym will be in order after partying it up with your pinky finger. But with the three-acre rose garden that’s just around the corner, you’ll be able to move freely around and not feel so guilty. You can also bring out that inner Zen with a stroll through the traditional Chinese and Japanese botanic gardens on site.
5. The Last Bookstore
Bookshop plus art show equals this cool L.A. baby. Inside, curious fellows will have a ball gawking at the ample array of unique decorations and pleasing aesthetics hanging around, as well as an all-around chill-to-the-core vibe.
Get funky in hole-filled science fiction stacks, or bring out your inner Sherlock while exploring a real-life crime-book-filled bank vault. There’s even a maze of paperbacks and hard bounds to get lost in on floor number two! Book aficionados can finally unite at this hotspot-- those on a tighter budget can join in on the fun as well by heading over to the quality bargain section where books and vinyl records can be discovered for under a buck. You can even sell or trade in used books, CDs and DVDs for something from the store.
6. Vineland Drive-In Theater
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from DTLA, in the City of Industry, this funky drive-in always has awesome throwback film showings to enjoy right from the comfort of your own plush leather seats. All seven days of the week. Shows start when the sun goes down, and for nine bucks, you can always catch a double-feature. Outdoor-movie date, anyone?
7. The Hidden Staircases
So there are just about 450—yes, I repeat, four hundred and fifty-- hidden historic stairways, built mostly in the 1920’s, winding through the steep hillside neighborhoods of L to the A.
Forget planes, trains, and automobiles. Get in some major Cardio all while enjoying a fancily steep climb at this uniquely quirky local gem where few are ever really known to tread.
8. It's A Wrap Thrift Store
So where do old sets, costumes, and props go after they've had their fifteen minutes of fame? You guessed it. Right here. It’s the only store of its kind anywhere, where you can peruse through and nab a whole bunch of gently-used but still nice and nifty movie studio hand-me-downs. Forget your sister’s frumpy old sweater. This is seriously so much better.
9. The Ivy
Everything’s better at The Ivy. Sure, there may be some way-overpriced food and all-too-displeasing floral prints (i.e. $22 buttermilk pancakes, $13 guacamole, $22 huevos rancheros, and $28 fried chicken, or shabby chic French Provincial-styled waiters in white getup and flower-adorned ties). But it really is a must-go-to-at-least-once spot on any travel list-- if not just for the likely celebrity spotting, or the chance to feel super classy and stylish for a whole two hours or so.
You’ll be sipping freshly squeezed OJ and nibbling on eggs benedict while seated among industry professionals and famous faces. You’ll witness (with your own two eyes) what a true paparazzi rush feels like—it really is just ‘like in the movies.’ Feel oh-so-Hollywood and ‘90210’ right in the thick of Robertson Boulevard. It’s totally worth the splurge at least once in a lifetime.
10. The San Gabriel Valley
Craving Chinese? Forget Chinatown or, dare I say it, Panda Express. This SoCal “ethnoburb” may be unknown to most, but really, it’s the ultimate ethnic enclave—a suburban Chinatown that offers so much more than the real thing. Check out our guide to the eight best Chinese restaurants in L.A. to get started.
Seriously, on any given day of the week, locals and tourists alike flock to this 'hood for more than fabulous food—not to mention tons of Asian culture to literally drench yourself in. Valley Blvd. alone is filled with a sea of signs boasting complex Chinese characters, as well as specialty shops that are hard to find anyplace else. Dim Sum to your hearts content at Lunasia, or sip on boba bubbles while munching on fresh-out-of-the-oven egg tarts from Kee Wah Bakery. Red and gold line the busy streets in this hub of a Chinese town, especially during holidays like Chinese New Year and the Moon Festival (when you’ll find dangerously packed restaurants, incredibly crazy drivers, and no parking spaces). So plan that itinerary accordingly.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.