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23 Hidden Gems in Los Angeles You Didn't Know About

23 Hidden Gems in Los Angeles You Didn't Know About

You could live in the city for decades and still not know about these 23 hidden gems in Los Angeles.

Roubina Al Abashian


5 min read

January 31, 2022

If we were to describe Los Angeles with one word, we’d choose “iconic.” The City of Angels can keep you busy and entertained non-stop, no matter how many times you visit. The first few times you come here, you’ll most likely check out typical tourist attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, and famous streets in L.A. you see in every movie. But the truth is, there’s so much more to discover—it’s the hidden gems in Los Angeles that make it so spectacular. Uncover the secrets of Los Angeles at these unconventional attractions you never thought of visiting. 

The Korean Bell of Friendship was presented by the South Korean government to the United States to celebrate the bicentennial of the U.S.

1. The Korean Bell of Friendship

Cast in Korea and shipped to the U.S.A., the Korean Bell of Friendship is one of the most gorgeous hidden gems in L.A. Make sure you snap a few good photos in front of this 17-ton copper and tin bell.  

2. The Bridge to Nowhere

The Bridge to Nowhere is a perfect spot for bungee jumping and hiking in Southern California. Who would’ve thought that a long-abandoned bridge could unpack so much fun?

3. The Time Travel Mart

Wish to travel back in time? Perhaps you’d like to see the future? Visit L.A.’s Time Travel Mart. You’ll find a Victorian iPad and a barbarian repellent when you tour this weird place in Los Angeles

Founded in 1912, this now-abandoned zoo in Los Angeles offers past enclosure ruins, picnic space, and hiking trails.

4. Old Los Angeles Zoo

The site of the first L.A. Zoo is now an abandoned park where you can have a picnic at the bear grotto and climb the monkey cages. If you’re looking for hidden gems in California, the Old Los Angeles Zoo is one of the weirdest attractions in the state.

5. Autry Museum Of The American West

Are you a history buff? You’ll encounter a large collection of Native American artifacts at the Autry Museum of the American West located in none other than Griffith Park. 

The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook features 282 unique, irregular steps made from recycled concrete found on the park.

6. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Better known as the Culver City Stairs, the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook offers the most magnificent hidden views in Los Angeles. Climb the staircase for gorgeous vistas of  Downtown L.A. and the Pacific Ocean.

7. The Bunny Museum

Hop into one of the strangest museums in the Golden State, The Bunny Museum. This fun place in Los Angeles has the widest collection of everything bunny-related such as plushies, puzzles, and figurines.

The unusual and captivating Gehry Residence in Santa Monica is the home of architect Frank Gehry and was built around an existing colonial home.

8. Bubble House

Architect Wallace Niff is the mastermind behind the only remaining Airform house in the United States. The Bubble House was created by inflating a giant balloon, covering it with spray concrete, and finally, deflating the balloon—iconic architecture in L.A., to say the least! 

9. Gehry Residence

The Frank Gehry Residence is arguably one of the most head-spinning works the architect has created. Built around an already existing house, this hidden place in Los Angeles is both strange and aesthetically pleasing—just ask the neighbors.  

10. TCL Chinese Theatre

Not much of a secret in Los Angeles, the TCL Chinese Theatre is one of the largest IMAX auditoriums in the world. No visit is complete without catching a show at one of the most interesting movie theaters in L.A.

11. Bob Baker Marionette Theater

A puppet show is our definition of fun in L.A. with the whole family. The Bob Baker Marionette Theater is one of California’s hidden gems that has been entertaining both kids and adults with vintage puppets since 1963.

The Spadena House is known for its fanciful, intentionally dilapidated design, and is a landmark included on tours of the area.

12. Spadena House

Any tour of Beverly Hills’ neighborhoods includes a stop at the Spadena House, better known as the Witch’s House. The house once served as an office and dressing room on the Willat Studios lot in Culver City—it looks like it's straight out of a storybook.

13. The American Military Museum

A stop at the American Military Museum, also known as Tankland, is a must. More than 170 navy vehicles are displayed at this hidden gem near you (it’s only 12 miles east of D.T.L.A).

14. Phantasma Gloria

California is famous for its abundance of interesting art installations, and Phantasma Gloria is one of the most unique. Located in Echo Park, the glittering glass structure shines brightly under the sun.

The unassuming yet fascinating Avila Adobe in the heart of Los Angeles. You can find it on Olivera Street.

15. Avila Adobe 

One of the coolest secret spots in Los Angeles is the Avila Adobe. Make sure to check out the oldest standing building in the county—it was built in 1818.  

16. Pasadena’s Giant Fork

Sometime during 2009, a giant fork appeared in Pasadena. Checking out the 18-foot-tall installation is one of the coolest things to do in Pasadena.  

Experts investigating the landslide in the Sunken City said that the ground was shifting at a rate of 11 inches per day.

17. Sunken City

In 1929, a portion of cliffside houses in San Pedro fell into the ocean due to a landslide. Now dubbed the Sunken City, this is where people come to view the broken foundations, abandoned vehicles, and graffiti

18. California Institute of Abnormal Arts

The California Institute of Abnormal Arts (CIA) is a secret Los Angeles spot, where you’ll find unusual things like mummified clowns and circus signage.

19. Mosaic Tile House

The Mosaic Tile House is a gorgeous and colorful stop on everyone’s Venice Beach itinerary—don’t miss the chance to admire yet another one of the weirdest places to visit in the Golden State.

Journey through the history of press and check out an exact replica Gutenberg press. vlasta2, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

20. International Printing Museum

Make sure to stop by the International Printing Museum in Carson. This cool hidden gem (that was near you all along) has one of the largest collections of antique printing presses in the country.

21. UCLA Meteorite Collection

With a collection of more than 1,500 meteorites, this hidden gem in Los Angeles is literally out of this world. The UCLA Meteorite Collection takes pride in having the largest selection on the West Coast. 

22. Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens

Whoever said that you can't have a quiet afternoon in L.A. has never visited the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens in L.A. Unwind at this Renaissance-style mansion that boasts a meditative labyrinth and beautiful gardens.

Schedule a tour and see the Stahl House, a modernist architectural icon, up close. mbtrama from Upland, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

23. The Stahl House

For those interested in mid-century modern architecture, the Stahl House will inspire you. From idyllic location to design details, this hidden gem in L.A. is the best you’ll discover yet. 

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