Off The Beaten Track In…Los Angeles

Julia Roberts on Rodeo Drive, glamour and excess, little dogs in big bags, washed up actresses – just a few of the things that might spring to mind when you think of this most hyper-glamourized of cities. There are certain spots that every first-time visitor to LA should visit; the Walk Of Fame, Venice Beach, and even Universal Studios, for example. But there’s a considerable amount of quirkiness to be found in a city so deeply immersed in mainstream celebrity culture – so let us take you Off The Beaten Track in the City of Angels…

Lake Shrine

Image by lightgraphs

If you fancy getting away from it all, the burial site of Gandhi’s ashes is a good place to start. Hidden away in Pacific Palisades, it is a site with a sacred feel that people from all around the world come to visit. The grounds cover ten acres and lie on a former movie set – of course! You’ll find a beautiful lake, greenery, waterfalls and statues; it’s the perfect place to top up your Zen when the plastic fantastic world of everyday LA is feeling a bit soulless.

Hike up to the Hollywood sign

Image by Kyle Monhanan

Now, you’d think getting up close and personal with one of the most iconic and recognisable symbols of celebrity culture known to the modern world would be a sure fire way of securing yourself some quality time in the doldrums of Tourist Hell – but you’d be wrong. Very few people actually manage to make it up to the sign, probably because, well, have you seen the size of that hill? It’s not the easiest route up, and you’re not going to get a good ‘me with the Hollywood sign in the background’ picture if you’re right next to it, are you?! For those who can be bothered though, it offers spectacular, panoramic views and a little respite from the Hollywood madness.

Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles Tour

Image by IK’s World Trip

Los Angeles boasts some of the most amazing murals in the world; created by a diverse multi-ethnic population, there are more than 1000 murals in the city today, and the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles seeks to conserve them all. There are several bus tours that take place, with different themes and about different eras and artists. Many of the tours are led by the muralists themselves.

Amoeba Music

Image by johncarljohnson

Ok, so as the largest independent record store in the United States, it’s not exactly ‘off the beaten track’ – but you still won’t find the general masses congregating here, and it still retains an old-school quirky feel and you’ll see some of the real LA here. The variety of music is incredible, the prices are fair and the staff know their music. Great for finding that elusive CD that you can’t find anywhere else.

Los Angeles Farmers Market

Image by lachshand

The original Los Angeles Farmer’s Market is often overlooked by most tourists. Located in the Miracle Mile area at the intersection of 3rd St and Fairfax, the Farmer’s Market is packed to the rafters with bright fruits and fresh vegetables, meat, nuts and sweets, gift shops and some great restaurants. To avoid the crowds, head there during the week.

Olivera Street

Image by jasonippolito

This little strip of shops and restaurants in downtown Los Angeles is one of the best ways to get a taste of L.A.’s Mexican roots. With truly delicious and authentic food, mariachi music and historical buildings, being here gives you a sense of being transported to an entirely different place and time – without ever leaving the city.