18 Beautiful Places You Probably Didn’t Know Were In Los Angeles

It’s not all skyscrapers and beautiful people.

Note: All of these locations are in the Greater Los Angeles area.

1. Wayfarers Chapel

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Location: Rancho Palos Verdes

This beautiful church overlooking the Pacific Ocean was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son (Lloyd Wright), in the late 1940s. You’ve probably seen it before on the Fox television show, The O.C., in seasons one, two, and four.

More info here.

2. Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens

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Location: San Marino

This gorgeous research institution hosts an impressive collection of 18th and 19th century European art. The library is also surrounded by 120 acres of botanical gardens, which include the expansive “Desert Garden” and majestic “Japanese Garden.”

More info here.

3. Abalone Cove Shoreline Park

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Location: Rancho Palos Verdes

These cloistered tide pools are absolutely stunning at dawn, and a great place to take small children if they want to get up close and personal with a little marine life. The park also offers a mini playground, and lifeguards are on deck every weekend.

More info here.

4. Eames House

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Location: Pacific Palisades

This historic landmark was designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1949, as a home that incorporated nature and the needs of post World War II couples coping with the modern age. It’s also Ice Cube approved.

More info here.

5. The Getty Villa

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Location: Pacific Palisades

The Getty Villa is a part of the larger J. Paul Getty Museum, and serves as an educational center for ancient Greek and Roman art. It’s also home to UCLA’s Master’s Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation.

More info here.

6. Mount Baden-Powell

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Location: San Gabriel Mountains

Mount Baden-Powell offers some of the most pristine views you’ll ever find in Los Angeles, and it’s perfect for hiking. It was famously named after Lord Baden-Powell, who founded the Scout Movement in 1907.

More info here.

7. Bradbury Building

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Location: Downtown Los Angeles

This famed architectural landmark has been shown in over 63 feature films and television shows, including Blade Runner, (500) Days of Summer, Chinatown, Pushing Daisies, and The Artist. It’s also the oldest commercial building in the city.

More info here.

8. Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

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Location: Pacific Palisades

This “spiritual sanctuary” was founded in 1950 by meditation guru Paramahansa Yogananda, and is home to a wide array of plant and animal life from across the globe. It’s a hugely popular destination among tourists who want to relax and find inner peace in their lives.

More info here.

9. The Last Bookstore

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Location: Downtown Los Angeles

The Last Bookstore is California’s largest used and new book store, and is a favorite among book lovers for its impressive collection and laid back atmosphere. It also hosts musical performances, community meetings, and literary gatherings.

More info here.

10. Virginia Robinson Gardens

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Location: Beverly Hills

This posh estate was the private residence of Virginia Dryden Robinson and her husband, Harry Winchester Robinson, who was the heir to Robinson & Co. The home’s gardens are now managed by the County of Los Angeles and are open to the public.

More info here.

11. Watts Towers

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Location: South Los Angeles

These beautiful sculptures located in the Watts community of Los Angeles were built over a period of 33 years (1921- 1954) by Italian immigrant Sabato (“Simon”) Rodia. The structure was originally titled “Nuestro Pueblo,” meaning “our town.”

More info here.

12. Descanso Gardens

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Location: La Cañada Flintridge

This 150 acre botanical garden is especially popular around Easter, when its tulips are in full bloom. This stunning property also boasts a lilac garden, Japanese tea house, and bird sanctuary.

More info here.

13. Murphy Ranch

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Location: Rustic Canyon

This abandoned Nazi base was originally built in 1933 by Winona and Norman Stephens, and came with a sizable water storage tank, fuel tank, bomb shelter, and bunkers surrounding the compound. The site is now owned by the city of Los Angeles, and despite repeated calls for its demolition, it remains a popular attraction for hikers and tourists.

More info here.

14. Mount Baldy

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Location: San Gabriel Mountains

Mount San Antonio (or Mount Baldy as it’s commonly known) is a sweeping, majestic respite from the day-to-day haranguing of city life, and is perfect for any L.A. transplant who misses being surrounded by a little snow.

More info here.

15. Malibu Creek State Park

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Location: Calabasas

Malibu Creek State Park is a charming little getaway destination for Angelenos, and is a favorite shooting location for 20th Century Fox. The park has been featured in Planet of the Apes, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Pleasantville, and Secretary.

More info here.

16. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

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Location: Simi Valley

Whether you agreed with his politics or not, the fact that you can board Air Force One in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is pretty damn cool. This is also the Gipper’s final resting place — he’s buried in the building’s underground vault.

More info here.

17. Sandstone Peak

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Location: Santa Monica Mountains

Sandstone Peak offers some of the most memorable views you’ll ever experience in sunny, Southern California. It’s perfect for hikers, rock climbers, and all around nature enthusiasts.

More info here.

18. Sunken City

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Location: San Pedro

This too-cool-for-school surf spot was forged in 1929, when a landslide caused a number of homes to fall into the ocean. It’s also close by to a few other notable San Pedro tourist destinations, including the Point Fermin Lighthouse, Cabrillo Beach, and the Korean Friendship Bell.

More info here.

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