For this list, we’re looking at the underrated attractions and hidden gems in Los Angeles. We know this ultra-famous West Coast metropolis can be an overwhelming city, so we’ve got you covered if you want to explore lesser-known spots! Whether you’ve been around the block enough or just looking to avoid the tourist crowd, these hidden gems in Los Angeles will let you see a different side of the City of Angels.
1. Karaoke in K-Town
One of the things that makes LA such a challenging city is just how many neighborhoods there are. If you only stayed in the Downtown Core you’d miss everything the city has to offer. One of the areas that many tourists usually skip is Koreatown. This neighborhood is of course great for finding Korean barbecue that rivals what you can get in Seoul, but once you’ve had your fill you have to stop by one of the area’s many bars for some late-night karaoke! Grab a private room with some friends and feel free to belt out whatever embarrassing tune you want, without worrying about strangers judging you!
2. Vasquez Rocks
For this hidden gem we’re going on a little road trip! Just outside the city of LA, you’ll find the Vasquez Rocks. And even if you’ve never heard of them before, it’s very likely you recognize them from some of your favorite movies or TV shows. This otherworldly location has been used as a filming spot for western space movies and prehistoric films. Because of the distinct look of the landscape, depending on traffic, it should be less than an hour’s drive from downtown LA. And it’s totally worth the trip! You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time or flown into space.
3. Rose Bowl Flea Market
If you’re into thrifting, this one’s for you! Hitting up this attraction will take a little bit of planning because it only takes place on the second Sunday of every month. Whether you’re into vintage clothes or furniture or retro knick knacks there’s truly something for everyone here at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. Make sure to arrive early, because it can get really packed! Hopefully you pack an extra suitcase to bring home with you, because it’s gonna be hard to leave all these treasures behind.
4. Bradbury Building
Any architecture or film buff won’t want to miss out on this much overlooked location in Downtown LA. Not far from popular tourist attractions like the Walt Disney Concert Hall and contemporary art museum The Broad, sits the Bradbury Building. Built in 1983, you could walk by the exterior without ever knowing what lies inside, but it’s the interior that’s really special. Because of the intricate iron work in the atrium, many Hollywood filmmakers have taken note. It was one of the major sets in the original Blade Runner and also featured in the final scenes of 500 Days of Summer. You can pop in for free, but unfortunately can’t go higher than the mezzanine.
5. The Last Bookstore
Bibliophiles, get ready to be impressed! You probably won’t find this spot in any tourist guides, but if you love to read you could easily get lost in here for hours. The Last Bookstore is not simply a bookstore, but rather a massive temple of books and reading hidden in plain sight in Downtown LA. They have several permanent installations made out of old books and regularly host artists’ works in the upstairs spaces. They also sell books both new and used, and if you want to support a great brick-and-mortar bookshop before they’re all gone, you’ll feel great putting your money down here.
6. New Beverly Cinema
There are plenty of old movie theaters in LA where you can pop in to watch a flick and feel like you’re in old Hollywood. This one may not be as grand or elegant, but it has been reimagined into something wholly modern. Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino bought the building in 2007 to save it from redevelopment and now shows regular screenings there of films from his own collection. They’re typically 35mm and range from oldies to more current picks. It’s also not unheard of for Tarantino to make an appearance himself, so keep your eyes peeled !
7. Rocky Horror Picture Show
Many cities will offer showings of this classic 70s movie musical around Halloween, but in LA you can see Rocky Horror any week of the year at the Nuart Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard. It’s always a midnight showing and brushing up on your audience participation cues beforehand would be prudent. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the movie or not, this is a fun and unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else!
8. Hollywood Forever Cemetery
When you’re traveling, going to a cemetery may not be on your to-do list. But hear us out on this! Located just behind the Paramount Lot is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, a true vestige of old Hollywood that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Famed members of the entertainment industry like Cecil B. DeMille, Judy Garland and Johnny Ramone are all buried there. Not only that, but in the warmer months Cinespia puts on an outdoor film series that takes place in the cemetery. We can’t think of anything better to do on a warm summer night!