Hidden Los Angeles

Everyone knows some of L.A.’s best attractions, whether it’s the Hollywood Sign, Universal Studios & Disneyland, the Griffith Observatory, or the Venice Beach Pier. But these experiences get stale and sometimes expensive. Obscured behind these more typically tourist attractions, there is still plenty to enjoy in the Los Angeles area. Our Oz Los Angeles team, along with some on the spot angelenos, recommended some awesome and lesser known attractions in L.A. sure to amuse everyone from travellers to locals.

Old Griffith Park Zoo Trail


The remnants of the Griffith Park Zoo, closed in 1966, are still accessible to the public through a hidden trail in the park. The ruins of the zoo include abandoned cages and caves/enclosures intact or nearly completely intact. “Some say that it’s haunted”, our L.A. branch manager Carlos says. At any rate, the strange emptiness of the area is a little ominous. If that suits you, there’s no stopping you from visiting the skeleton of the old zoo.



In Griffith Park as well, the Bronson Caves might not be picked out as significant by those without a keen eye for pop culture; but superhero fans will recognize “the Batcave” from Adam West’s incarnations of Batman. Well recognized in Hollywood as a filming location, the caves have been featured in many TV shows and movies filmed in the Southern California area. A small caveat (ha ha): the caves are a little tricky to find, so make sure you understand the directions before you head over.


Tongva Park Santa Monica



A new age public space, Tongva Park offers something to the Santa Monica patron that isn’t a warm sandy beach. A team of experts led by James Corner Field Operations designed this wonderful new age park in memory of legendary Santa Monica civil servant Ken Genser. “It’s gorgeously landscaped and has wonderful concrete and metal shapes.” says Sara Sloboda, a California-based photographer. “If you have kids, you won’t be able to get them out of the playground!”


Museum of Jurassic Technology


In 1987, David Wilson sought out to create a museum that portrayed “life in the Jurassic.” Describing in few words what is found inside proves difficult, and perhaps unfair to the sense of surprise it desires to invoke. “It has an unassuming facade, which sets the bar low, but once you’re inside, you’ll find all kinds of oddities that will make you feel like you’ve entered another world or another time or both.” Sloboda says. The ‘truly novel’ adventures inside have earned Wilson and the museum a McArthur Genius Grant for their troubles. To not spoil the surprise, we won’t say any more.


Grand Central Market Downtown LA



The market which might have previously been thought a distraction in Downtown LA has become reborn as a local favorite, thanks to some clever recruitment from Adele Yellin, the owner and proprietor, in getting ‘new and inventive food purveyors’ to open up inside the market. “[GCM] has both traditional food and new-age food and drink under the same roof showcasing the true melting pot of Los Angeles.” says Avital Ungar, owner of LA based food tour company Avital Tours. From mexican food to falafels to hip new egg-based Eggslut, there’s sure to be no unhappy visitors in any group. If you love Grand Central, you can also try Clifton's Cafeteria, a recently renovated spot which boasts of being the “World’s Largest Cafeteria.” Ungar is eager to recommend both, and with lots of options at either cafeteria, your taste buds will never get bored.



Equidistant from the Hills and the heart of Hollywood, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has a place in the history of SoCal showbiz. It’s the site of the first ever Academy Awards, and the former home of rising actress Marilyn Monroe. “Boasting a showstopping lobby, come here to sit at the bar, drink a martini, and feel like part of Hollywood glamour and a bygone era." Avital Ungar says. Luxury accommodations, delectable cuisine, a glamorous poolside, and well-stocked bars all around, the Roosevelt provides the Hollywood vibe for any visitor, whether or not they come to the hotel to stay the night.


Last Bookstore Los Angeles California


This sprawling literary paradise may slip through the cracks for the normal tourists, but Angelinos know all about the Last Bookstore. The layout isn’t like your normal Barnes & Noble - you’ll find two floors of books and all kinds of interesting sculptures made from books, and neat furniture in reading areas. “Many visitors fail to venture out the side door and up a flight of stairs to experience the labyrinth.”, Eric Espino, co-founder of TourMega, a global search engine for tours and activities, says. “Home to thousands of used books, it’s truly a gem of a space that should not be missed.” Conveniently located in newly hip downtown Los Angeles, the Last Bookstore proves a welcome retreat from some of the faster paced tourist attractions of Los Angeles.


Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, Los Angeles


This 6.5 acre zen space in a hectic city serves as a meaningful refuge for many of LA’s more tranquil souls. Barbara Schiffman, a life & soul coach in Burbank, tells me she recommends the Japanese Garden in Van Nuys to many of her life coaching clients. “[It’s] my favorite place to sit and chill out in the San Fernando Valley... a beautiful and peaceful outdoor space.” Schiffman says. “The garden is one of the Valley’s best kept secrets.” There’s a small entrance fee for entrants (5$ or less), but the great picture you’ll get for instagram more than makes that worth it already.


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