Hidden Gems in Los Angeles
There’s more to Los Angeles than glitz and glamour. Step off the Walk of Fame and away from Hollywood to discover a secret world that’s hiding in broad daylight, right under your nose. Follow this two-day itinerary to explore the most intriguing attractions, hidden sights and clandestine venues that add depth to the City of Angels.
Start your day with a 15-minute drive from Beverly Hills Hotel or Hotel Bel-Air to the Museum of Jurassic Technology.
Museum of Jurassic Technology
Of all the museums in Los Angeles, this is arguably the most unusual. While its neighbours celebrate filmmaking and art, this intriguing space is filled with curiosities of an often unclassifiable nature. Guests are encouraged to embark on a journey to broaden their minds through exhibitions such as No One May Ever Have the Same Knowledge Again and Tell the Bees: Belief, Knowledge and Hypersymbolic Cognition.
Then, hail a taxi and enjoy a 15-minute ride to The Last Bookstore.
The Last Bookstore
The largest independent book shop in California, The Last Bookstore offers an alternative shopping experience to its chain competitors. The shop keeps the traditional bookstore concept alive by giving its regulars a welcoming space in which to browse an ever-changing collection of new, rare and antique books, international graphic novels and vinyl records.
Next, take a five-minute drive or a 20-minute walk to the Underground Tunnels.
Quite literally under the streets of Los Angeles, the Underground Tunnels expose an important part of American cultural history. During the prohibition era of the 1920s, the former service tunnels were used as passageways to deliver banned alcohol to secret basement speakeasies, where locals could continue the party deep underneath Downtown Los Angeles. Keep your eyes peeled for a secret entrance near the Los Angeles County Hall of Records.
The next destination, Trois Mec, can be reached with a 10-minute drive.
Behind the façade of an old pizza parlour in a nondescript strip mall off Melrose Avenue, you’ll find Trois Mec, a highly rated but hidden fine dining restaurant. A sign outside stating ‘Raffallo’s Pizza’ throws foodies off the scent, while inside the atmosphere is welcoming and unpretentious. The intimate eatery serves an excellent five-course tasting menu, which must be booked in advance via a special online ticketing system.
Drive for five minutes or walk for 30 minutes to reach No Name.
Located opposite Animal (a famously trendy restaurant on Fairfax Avenue) is one of the city’s most secretive bars. With no outward signage and blacked out windows, No Name is easy to miss. The interior resembles a Prohibition-style speakeasy with low lighting, vintage chandeliers and velvet curtains keeping partygoers hidden from sight.
Finish the day with a 15-minute drive back to Beverly Hills Hotel or 20-minute drive to Hotel Bel-Air.
Start the day with an Esotouric Tours adventure. Check the pickup location for your chosen tour and order a taxi to that point.
Discover another side of the city with Esotouric Tours’ alternative bus adventures. On Saturdays, the local company offers fascinating, luxury bus tours covering Los Angeles literature, true crime and California culture. The most popular is The Real Black Dahlia, which explores the questions surrounding one of the most compelling unsolved crimes in the city’s history: the 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short.
Next, make your way to Destroyer. Pick up a taxi from the closest drop off point offered by your tour.
This 16-seater restaurant from chef Jordan Kahn (formerly Alinea and French Laundry) serves the most beautiful, ultra-Instagrammable Scandi and Asian inspired dishes. In fact, the food is so pretty; you likely won’t want to eat it. Only open for breakfast and lunch, Destroyer is a sleek, minimalist spot where you can experience fine-dining finesse before midday.
From Destroyer, drive for 35-minutes to reach the Bronson Caves
The Bronson Caves have appeared in a wide array of science fiction blockbusters and western movies, from Star Trek: Voyager and Fantasy Island to The Lone Ranger and Wild Wild West. Located within Griffith Park, the isolated canyon is ideal for a quiet hike or, if there’s filming taking place, a dose of celebrity spotting that’s far more interesting than the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The next destination is just a 10-minute drive from Bronson Caves.
The Magic Castle
Secretive, captivating and entertaining, The Magic Castle in Brookledge is unlike any other entertainment venue in the city. It’s home to The Academy of Magical Arts, where celebrated and rising stars of the magic world come together to show off their latest tricks and illusions. The Magic Castle is for members only, so visitors will need to secure an invitation in advance.
Then, take a 20-minute drive to the final stop on the itinerary, n/naka.
Bringing the traditional Japanese Kaiseki concept to the City of Angels, n/naka offers multi-course dining at its very best. Helmed by Chef Niki Nakayama, diners have 13 exquisite courses to work their way through. Arrive hungry and believe us when we say you won’t want to miss a single one.
From n/naka, take a 15-minute drive to Beverly Hills Hotel or a 20-minute drive to Hotel Bel-Air.
All journey times are approximate and subject to variation.