Where in LA do I take someone who hates LA?
April 4, 2012 6:30 PM   Subscribe

I live in L.A. and I have someone special coming to visit. He didn't much care for this city the last few times he visited, so I want to take him to places that are very un-L.A. Any suggestions?

It's hard to articulate, but I'd like to take him anywhere that might make him say, "Wow! I can't believe this is in L.A." I'm open to anything in L.A. County.
posted by HotPatatta to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (40 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
Huntington Library and/or Descanso Gardens

There's a beach on the East side of Point Dume that's backed up under some fairly incredible 100-ft cliffs. You get to it by descending a rickety old stairwell. You can see LA from there, but it feels like you're a world away.
posted by carsonb at 6:37 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is probably very, very LA, but I find it totally inspiring: Watts Towers.
posted by xingcat at 6:40 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Are you looking for an area, or an attraction/restaurant kind of thing? Montrose and some of the surrounding areas feel like you’re in a smaller town, complete with not much going on, but then again so does parts of Burbank (to a lesser extent and with more interesting stuff).

I don’t know about "wow".

You can go up the PCH past Pepperdine to some of the small beaches and you might be the only people there except on warm summer days, but I don’t know if that’s un-LA.
posted by bongo_x at 6:44 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Would it work to instead deeply celebrate the fact it is a cosmopolitan city that was once situated in Mexico and take in Lucha VaVOOM?
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 6:45 PM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: Are you looking for an area, or an attraction/restaurant kind of thing?

Areas, definitely.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:46 PM on April 4, 2012

Did he say what he didn't like about it?
posted by cecic at 6:51 PM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: Um...YES to Lucha VaVOOM! (METAFILTER MEETUP!!)
posted by HotPatatta at 6:52 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

When I visited someone was nice enough to take me to the park. Maybe have a picnic, although after looking at the Vavoom website I would be intrigued.
posted by ibakecake at 6:57 PM on April 4, 2012

This might sound weird, but:
What about the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley?
Whatever your politics, Reagan had an incredible impact on the world. The museum there is very interesting, he had an interesting life.

The building and the surrounding area are beautiful. There is an impressive piece of the Berlin Wall, there is a replica of the oval office, and there is the original Air Force One 747. It is an impressive museum complex.

Honestly, that place is well worth a visit - and it is very much a place that makes you say, "wow, i can't believe this is LA" (the museum is in simi valley, but reagan's life is in LA)
posted by Flood at 7:02 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Check out the eastern part of downtown - Pershing Square, Grand Central Market, Broadway (could be a street in Mexico). Also, Leimert Park.
posted by gteffertz at 7:04 PM on April 4, 2012

By "un-L.A.," do you mean someplace that doesn't feel like a big city? Someplace that isn't a cliche of L.A. tourism? Someplace far from the entertainment industry?
posted by corey flood at 7:06 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by ovvl at 7:10 PM on April 4, 2012

Response by poster: By "un-L.A.," do you mean someplace that doesn't feel like a big city? Someplace that isn't a cliche of L.A. tourism? Someplace far from the entertainment industry?

Yes. As an example, I once got lost and got trapped on Topanga Canyon Rd. As I tried to find my way back to PCH, I drove by so many neat, quirky, fairytale-y places and I couldn't wait to come back and explore them someday. Not quirky like Venice is quirky, though. Venice is overrun with tourists and freaks™ who cater to tourists.
posted by HotPatatta at 7:16 PM on April 4, 2012

Best answer: If your friend is into architecture or history, I highly recommend exploring downtown LA. The LA Conservancy Walking Tours are fantastic. I'm especially fond of the Downtown Broadway Theater district tour. It's very un-shiny, very unpretentious, a bit sad, and, to me, very uncharacteristic of the idea that some might have of LA.

While in Downtown LA, a ride on Angel's Flight (the seriously cool, old timey funicular that goes up Bunker Hill) and a trip to Grand Central Market are highly recommended.

I also second Watts Towers - amazing place!

Lunch at one of the many dumpling restaurants in the Alhambra area along with a trip to the Huntington is definitely on my top 5 list of LA experiences.

Some of the Secret Stairs LA walks are on my to do list as well.

The Griffith Observatory.

This blog has tons of amazing and sometime offbeat things to do around here that probably wouldn't be on every tourist's list. Have fun!
posted by couchtater at 7:21 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Such a great blog, couchtater! Thanks for the link!
posted by HotPatatta at 7:30 PM on April 4, 2012

Ooh! If you like Topanga Canyon, take him to the Inn of the Seventh Ray!

I'm not sure if it's technically in L.A. County or if it strays into Orange County, but Belmont Shore and Naples Island in Long Beach are fun places to walk around or take a gondola ride.

The Tam O'Shanter Inn

The Yamashiro Farmers' Market has started back up. It's more of an "eating outdoors while admiring the view" than "buying organic kale" experience, fwiw.

If you can get your hands on a copy of Vintage L.A. by Jennifer Brandt Taylor, you will find all kinds of fun places. The book is geared toward vintage clothing shopping but it has some great ideas for other things to do and see. Since it came out in 2008, you do have to cross-check places to make sure that they are still there (ah, Los Angeles), but thankfully, most of them are.
posted by corey flood at 7:53 PM on April 4, 2012

Best answer: Where has he been that he didn't like?

If you want to get away from the entertainment industry type stuff, I'd head northeast: Atwater Village/Eagle Rock/Mount Washington/Highland Park. But there are all sorts of interesting things all over the city. Venice has stupid tourist crap, but it also has these sweet little walking streets that are basically sidewalks the houses face (with garages in the alleys).
This weekend this mefite is leading a 14 mile walk that is 90% on trails in along the Arroyo Seco and in downtown LA. If you join his FB group you'll get notifcations of all sorts of organized walks through interesting areas.
There is a weekly 2.5 mile stairwalk through Franklin Hills that meets at 7pm in front of Tomato Pie Pizza on Hyperion.
Vista Hermosa Park is another place I think is snazzy--it's a somewhat new park near the intersection of 2nd and Glendale. As you may have guessed by the name, it has a nice view.
Right in the middle of Hollywood is the charming old old Hollywood (think silent film stars) neighborhood of Whitley Heights. Memail me if you want to know how to access the locked public stairways there.
The High Tower area (hilly walking street neighborhood btw Hollywood Bowl and Hollywood/Highland.
If you like tasty beers and don't mind driving, Lady Face Brewery is my favorite beer in the area. But you can also usually get their stuff on tap at Beer Belly.
I always feel like I need to recommend Thai Elvis' show at Palms Thai restaurant. Completely silly, but also sorta awesome.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 8:04 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Consider Watts Towers
posted by lathrop at 8:42 PM on April 4, 2012

"Wow! I can't believe this is in L.A

The Museum of Jurassic Technology

Seconded. Previously
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:50 PM on April 4, 2012

Seconding Thai Elvis. Silly but awesome, indeed.

Also, how about the Venice canals? In one sense, they're very LA (read: lifestyles of the rich and, uh, rich), but in another sense, they feel far away from the city. Or at least far-ish.

And now that two other people have beat me to it, I'll third the motion for the Museum of Jurassic Technology.
posted by chicainthecity at 8:52 PM on April 4, 2012

The Arboretum....Pasadena/San Marino have always felt where LA county's "old money" is based.
posted by brujita at 9:02 PM on April 4, 2012

Felt TO ME.
posted by brujita at 9:02 PM on April 4, 2012

Lucha VaVOOM!

I had no idea this existed, and now I know what the hole in my life is.
posted by bongo_x at 9:27 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

For me, the thing I love about LA is that its a big city with all the big city things, but I can drive just a few short miles and go into the hills, and feel like I'm not in the city at all. Go for a walk in the Santa Monica mountains. My personal favourites are
1. Nike Missile Base off Mulholland for some cold war retro and amazing views.
2. Franklin Canyon for a gentle stroll around the reservoir, side stroll to the ducks and turtles; harder hikes up the canyon sides if you wish.
3. Runyon Canyon for amazing views and hikes
4. Will Rogers State Park for some Will Rogers history, great views and medium hikes. Or if you're more adventurous, go look for the abandoned nazi compound (yes really!).

After a walk in the hills, drive down to the beach. If you want lunch, stop by the Annenburg Beach House for a meal, or stop at any of the small roadside restaurants on PCH.
posted by Joh at 10:48 PM on April 4, 2012

Best answer: Murphy Ranch
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:53 PM on April 4, 2012

Best answer: Great advice so far, additional ideas:
- Late night tacos
- Hiking in Elysian Park
- Echo Park Historical Society Walking Tour
- Dinner and drinks in Little Tokyo
- Ethiopian food in Little Ethiopia (around Olympic and Fairfax)
- Chinese food in Monterey Park
- Sandwich at Phillipe the Original
- Lunch or dinner at Clifton's
posted by outlaw of averages at 11:02 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, great museums:
- The Getty Center
- Norton Simon Museum
- The Getty Villa
posted by outlaw of averages at 11:05 PM on April 4, 2012

seconding highland park / eagle rock.

I also love driving down the alameda corridor to long beach, seeing the friendship bell at the point in san pedro, going to RAT beach, stopping in Lomita for Japanese pastries and just generally spending the day in south bay.

if you like contemporary art, chinatown is more fun than culver city: check out human resources, the public school, and the studio for southern california history among others.

koreatown is one of my favorite parts of the city: tons of great cafes, walkable, transit-friendly, fun.

further out: whittier has an old downtown and a great Burmese restaurant called the golden triangle. or go for a beer at lucky baldwin's delirium in sierra madre, before driving out to mt. wilson.

santa barbara is sort of stereotypically touristy, but it's not that far, and everyone I've taken there has enjoyed how much it doesn't feel like LA.

downtown is increasingly fun: not only is the Chandler pavilion still great, but there are some wonderful restaurants popping up: wurstkuche, church & state, bottega louie...plus it's always thrilling to ride the elevator at the westin bonaventure or having drink on the roof at the standard. and if you like new music, the smell always has something to check out. (other great underground venues: pehrspace, the wulf, take off [in the valley]). downtown definitely "feels like LA" but not like hollywood or the westside.

also very la, but still special and not hollywoody: lazing around MacArthur park or going to the Page museum.

if you are on the westside: have dinner at a persian restaurant or a japanese one in sawtelle.

very la but great: catch a movie at either cinefamily, the new beverly, or the Egyptian theatre--they show great repertory work rather than new releases. and you can combine cinefamily with dinner at animal and a peak into family books.

finally, I've never done it, but I've always wanted to go on one of the Esotouric tours of the city.

sorry for the lack of links: I'm stuck with just my phone tonight. I'll try to check in tomorrow with links.
posted by jann at 11:46 PM on April 4, 2012

The West Adams neighborhood might be good for someone who hates LA- it has historic homes. Good luck- you got lots of great suggestions!
posted by ichomp at 11:50 PM on April 4, 2012

Best answer: I've been to LA only once, and it really wasn't my thing. I'm pretty much as NYC urbanite as it gets. But I would fly across the country in a heartbeat, if a friend were inclined to take me to the Eames Case Study House.
posted by functionequalsform at 4:08 AM on April 5, 2012

In terms of sheer oddness, the La Brea Tar Pits are another good bet.
posted by corey flood at 7:24 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have only visited once so feel free to ignore me, but I enjoyed the view of the city from the Getty Museum. Its near the griffin observatory I think
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 9:26 AM on April 5, 2012

Note that a visit to the Getty requires a lot of time -- special parking situation, the tram ride up and back, etc. A nice view, to be sure, but Griffith Observatory is a lot more accessible.

For more specific advice, we need to know something about HotPatatta's special someone's interests.
posted by Rash at 10:09 AM on April 5, 2012

For more specific advice, we need to know something about HotPatatta's special someone's interests. Sexo Y Violencia!

Hah, jk. What I really wanted to note, as per law of averages' list, the Getty Center (or Museum) is the new facility, looks like it's up in the hollywood hills near Griffith as noted, and the Getty Villa is the one in Malibu above PCH, which is verrrrrry un-LA. Because it's a roman villa! With gorgeous gardens and a view and the ancient art collection! And not far from some beaches! Website for both!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 11:20 AM on April 5, 2012

The Nethercutt Collection. It always surprises me how many people don't know about it. You really want to take the guided tour. You will need reservations and there is no charge.
posted by snowjoe at 6:24 PM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Getty Center is in the Sepulveda Pass.
posted by brujita at 8:28 PM on April 5, 2012

Yes yes yes yes on the museum of jurassic technology.

Also, Roscoe's. Because, why not?
posted by paultopia at 1:22 AM on April 8, 2012

You could visit the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Definitely a unique and history rich LA County attraction that's hidden down here.

I'm biased of course, but in my opinion Long Beach is a special place. We're not quite Orange County and not quite LA County and isolated enough (thanks to the port complex to the west, airport to the north, and 605 freeway to the east) that the culture is unique. You could have a pretty good time going to the Queen Mary and then visiting 2nd street or downtown for some lunch or dinner.
posted by Defenestrator at 9:28 PM on April 9, 2012

Also, Roscoe's. Because, why not?

I’ve never been there, only take out, but it’s freakin amazing.
posted by bongo_x at 6:07 PM on April 11, 2012

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