In December 2017, I hopped on a plane and flew to Los Angeles to reunite with friends I hadn’t seen for years. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I met my friends, connected with a number of other amazing people AND I got the chance to check out a bunch of intriguing places. Looks like a win-win-win situation to me!
Los Angeles offers tons of touristy sights, such as the Griffith Observatory or the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They’re amazing and you don’t want to miss out on them. But there are other locations too, which are less mainstream and yet worth checking out. So here is my list of must-see places in Los Angeles that are not quite as touristy as the rest.
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Sure, Los Angeles has amazing skyscraper bars. But you can save them for later in the evening, when it’s dark. If you want to get a glimpse of the whole city of Angels during daytime, I strongly recommend LA City Hall. Take the elevator (or the stairs for that matter) to the top floor and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking 360 degree view.
Note that you have to go through a security check when you enter the building and sign up for a visitor’s pass. This procedure might take a couple of minutes, depending on how many people want to enter. But it’s all for free.
The Charmed House
1329 Carroll Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90026
If you’re a fan of the 90s series Charmed – yes, the one with the demons and the witches – you were probably led into thinking that the Charmed house is located in San Francisco since that’s where the series is set. Well, it isn’t. Turns out you can find it in Los Angeles!
You can find the house in an area that looks like a typical US-American suburban street. I got off at the Civic Center/Grand Park Metro station and took a thirty minute walk from there but you can also take a bus.
Once you’re already there, make sure to continue your walk for a bit: Only a few meters down the road you can find the house that appears in the music video of Michael Jackon’s Thriller.
Los Angeles Times
202 West 1st Street; Los Angeles, CA 90012
Being a reporter myself, I love checking out newsrooms abroad. So when I heard that the LA Times offers free tours, I absolutely HAD TO sign up for one. All you have to do is call and choose one of the available time slots.
There are two different types of tours, each lasting about 90 minutes. One leads you through the printing press, the other one through the newsroom. I didn’t have time to take part in both so I participated in the newsroom tour, which I absolutely enjoyed.
Visitors get the chance to walk through the newsroom and are presented fun and interesting anecdotes about LA Times, which, by the way, even has its own cooking studio.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Dropping by a cemetery when you’re on vacation is morbid, you say? Well, Hollywood Forever Cemetery is way more than a place where they put dead bodies to rest.
It’s a picturesque, green area with a number of remarkable monuments, partially dedicated to legends that passed away. Among them are Chris Cornell and Alfred Hitchcock. (Note that the Hitchcock tombstone at Hollywood Forever Cemetery is only a monument to honor him. His actual grave is located somewhere in Connecticut, I believe.)
If you’re lucky, you can even spot one of the peacocks that reside there. You see, it’s actually a quite lively and yet peaceful place.
640 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
If you’re into true crime, you definitely should drop by Cecil Hotel or, as it’s now called, Stay-on-Main. It’s where serial killers such as Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger checked in. And in 2013, a horrible tragedy happened.
Guests complained that the water had a strange taste. Turns out that there was a dead body in the water tank. There’s even a Wikipedia article, dedicated to the murders and suicides that took place there. On top of that, it inspired Season 5 of the American Horror Story franchise.
Of course, at the end of the day it’s just a building, which you won’t even be able to enter at the moment. It’s going through a renovation process, but should reopen in 2019. And yet, it’s worth a visit. Standing right in front of it, you will definitely notice its eerie aura, especially if you have its violent history in the back of your mind.
Have you ever been to Los Angeles? Which are your favorite places to go to? Leave a comment or drop me a message. I’d love to read about your LA experience.