My birthplace and my hometown. It’s where my family lives. Home to nearly 4 million people and the second largest population in the United States.
The Last Bookstore is the largest bookstore in Southern California at 22,000 sq ft. The building is a former bank and the book store even occupies the former bank vault. They offer new and used books, coffee, art, records and in the days before Covid, in store events such as book clubs. You can support them by shopping online.
Little Damage offers it’s signature black charcoal cone, 4 rotating flavors and 1 is always vegan. *Currently take out only.
The Wolves is located inside a restored 1911 building and it’s filled with lovely historical salvage. The ceiling is from a train station in Illinois, the booths are from New York and the bar was gifted to the owner’s grandfather. The only thing new is the flooring. It’s incredibly charming and they offer seasonal hand crafted cocktails. The bartender looks like an alchemist with bottles of potions. We only had a light snack but it did not disappoint. *Currently temporarily closed
Olvera St is a Mexican Marketplace that opened in 1930. It is so much more than just tourist shops, although that was the reason I loved visiting when I was a kid. They offer shops, restaurants, events, cultural centers and the oldest house in Los Angeles, the Avila Adobe built in 1818. *Due to the pandemic, the small businesses of Olvera Street have lost 90% of their revenue. You can click the link on ways to support during these times.
South Los Angeles
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles was built in 1913 in Beaux Arts, Romanesque, NeoClassical and Plateresque design in Exposition Park. The museum offers 35 million specimens and artifacts and you can even check out the collection online! Exposition Park is also home to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Exposition Park Rose Garden, California Science Center and the California African American. Museum. *Indoor exhibits temporarily closed.
The LACMA offers 150,000 exhibits. You can view past and current exhibitions online. *The La Brea Tar Pits Museum is currently closed, you can visit online with virtual tours. The outdoor tar pits are open.
Soap Plant Wacko is my favorite store on the planet. Ok, my favorite store in the universe. Opened in 1971 and self proclaimed, “the second happiest place on earth”. I started shopping here 25 years ago. They offer books, toys, kitsch, epherma, novelty and an art gallery “La Luz de Jesus” which always showcases phenomenal artists.
The Griffith Park Zoo opened in 1912 and closed in 1966 after the Los Angeles Zoo opened. Parking is close by and they offer picnic tables. The remains of the abandoned zoo are open for exploring, it takes a couple of hours to check out the area. You can find the location using Google Maps “Old LA Zoo” and just like every other place in Los Angeles, you’ll find lots of people. *Griffith Park is open but check https://www.laparks.org/griffithpark/griffith-park-home-page for closures.
*Griffith Park Pony Rides is currently open, check their website for more details.
Griffith Observatory *Temporarily closed
The original Beetle House opened as a pop up bar in NYC in 2016 and they have established a permanent residence in NYC and Los Angeles. They feature food, drinks, performers and shows and allow children, but I wouldn’t recommend young children. It’s more of an “experience” rather than fine dining or craft food and drinks. *Temporarily closed
An oddities and curiosity gift shop. *They offer appointments and curbside pick up.
Japan LA is the cutest shop on Melrose. Get your kawaii fix here! *They are currently offering online sales and curbside pickup.
A Hollywood staple since 1939 that boast a celebrity patronage. Don’t forget to wear something pink for your Instagram and social media post! *Temporarily closed until Spring 2021
The Formosa is a beautiful historic 1939 Chinese restaurant that famous patrons include James Dean, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Nicolas Cage. *Currently offering take out
MODS Museum *Currently open with Covid restrictions
Museum of Death *Currently closed and awaiting new location
The “Spider Pool wall” was a fun but treacherous, and I’m pretty sure it was a one time adventure. My friend Cara sent me a link from a blog called findinglostangeles.com. She had already been researching it and we went for it. We did have to trespass, which I don’t recommend or advise to anyone but we did it for the sake of abandoned ruins and historic places! The plot is nestled in between private property in the Hollywood Hills, there is no exact address but we found it using Google Earth and online clues. We carried a backpack and water bottle up an incredibly steep hill covered in dry thorny bushes and we were covered in sweat and dirt by the time we reached the top. We quickly undressed, changed into swimsuits, took our photos, changed into clothes and sneakers and slid down the hill covered in sharp brush. It seems the area by the wall is being landscaped and it sits against private residence. We were covered in thorny brush, I think I pulled those pokey bastards out of my shoes and clothing for weeks after. Yes, it was worth it.
Here is the story from the house that we pulled from from the internet.
John “Jack” McDermott was a film writer in director in Hollywood in the 1920s and 30s. He was said to be the most eccentric Hollywood director of all time. He named the house he built “The Crazy House”. The house had no driveway and no real access. It was mostly built out of old film sets that were carried up the hill via donkey. He even had an upside down room where the furniture was nailed to the ceiling, a cemetery prop and one of the only things that remains today is the remnants of the spider 🕷 tiled pool wall.
Jack McDermott passed in 1946 and in 1947 a fire destroyed most of the property. The pool survived and became a hot spot for pin up/ cheesecake photography. Tura Satana, Betty Blue, Jaqueline Prescott, Donna “Busty” Brown and other models were photographed here.
Los Angeles has an incredible and fascinating history and it offers amazing architecture, food, arts and culture. There are so many reasons to visit and the area is incredibly vast. I’ll do my best to update and add to this post.
Stay safe out there and cheers to another long day!
Great post, Jenny. You’re terrific!
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Just adore that bookstore, definitely on my list of places to visit!
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