People love to hate Los Angeles. Tell someone you're visiting or moving here and steel yourself for the barrage of unsolicited jabs about how "the people are so fake," or "the traffic is unbearable," or "there's not enough water." OK, well, that last one is totally true and we have no clue how to fix it.
It seems like everybody can handle an average of six winters in New York City before they scrap everything and flee west, and the reason is pretty obvious—Los Angeles is beautiful, the weather is routinely gorgeous, and there is a seemingly unlimited amount of fun shit to do while the sun's out. Here are some of our favorites.
WHERE TO HANG OUT DURING THE DAY
Go on a Day Trip
Have you ever been on Soarin', that ride at Disney World where you fly over California? There's a reason they chose California for that and not like, Delaware or something. California is fucking beautiful. It's like the state is a video game world with mountain, beach, city, forest, and desert levels. Drive an hour in any direction and you'll be in an environment so scenic, you'll almost forget to eat the shrooms you brought along for the trip.
One of the main streets in downtown, Broadway has the largest concentration of classic movie palaces in the world. For decades, it's been a popular shopping destination for Spanish-speaking immigrants. You can still pick up a pink ball gown or a cowboy hat for cheap, but the addition of spots like the new ACE Hotel and Acne Studios has made the street equally as popular with people who learned how to ask for the bathroom in Spanish on their junior year trip to TJ. There's also the Bradbury Building, which is that amazing iron and wood building they used in Blade Runner that looks like an Escher painting.
Hike a Trail That Isn't Runyon Canyon
We LA folk sure do love hiking. But not, like, real, Appalachian Trail-style hiking with backpacks and unfashionable shoes. No, LA hiking is really just walking on a dirt path with a slight incline in new Lululemon duds. That said, it's still pretty fucking fun to break a slight sweat with friends on a Saturday afternoon. We have this mountain range just sitting there in the middle of the city. Might as well use it. Just don't go to Runyon.
Let me save you a Google search: Griffith Observatory is that white domed building on a hilltop you see in flyover shots of LA. It has a museum and planetarium laser show, but you're not a kid and you're not going to get around to going to those (if you do, make sure you get really stoned first). Where the place really shines is this: Geeks come out of the woodwork whenever there's a space event in the news and set up telescopes outside the observatory you can use for free. They point it at the sun or whatever, apply the proper filters, focus, and all you have to do is look into it and go, Whoa. Fuck!
876 N. Vermont Avenue, East Hollywood, 90029
That fancy "barcade" place downtown is perfect if you're the kind of person who likes a $12 cocktail and a DJ blasting generic fashion beats while you're lining up for ten minutes to play a retro arcade game that isn't really as fun as you remembered. For everyone else, there's Family Arcade. The games are cheap, there's free parking, and I'm willing to bet everything I have that the guy working there has never tried a drink that cost more than $6.
1800 S Brand Blvd, Glendale, 91204
GameHäus is a cafe in Glendale that has close to a thousand different board games. For a $5 fee you can stay as long as you want and play whatever you want. In addition to legitimately good games, there's a bunch of weird gems hidden in their collection. For example, a Monopoly ripoff that Donald Trump made in the 90s called Trump: The Game, which might be the single most detestable item I have ever seen.
Sweeping its horrific history of displacement, racism, and class warfare under the rug for a second, Elysian Park is a pretty chill spot. You can go to a Dodgers game for just a few bucks (unless you plan on eating or drinking in the stadium) or you can find a grassy knoll, set up a picnic, and engage in your God-given right to day drink.
The Beach Strip on the 1 Between Santa Monica and Malibu
People that don't live here think that just because we live right next to the Pacific, we're constantly at the beach. Unfortunately, due to slogging through traffic for upwards of an hour, searching for parking for another 30 minutes (because fuck caving into the tyranny of beach-adjacent lots and paying their exorbitant fees), and dealing with the throngs of people, beach trips are often stressful and rarely impromptu. Fortunately, if you head north on the 1 and bust a U-turn halfway to Malibu, you can just pull over on the side of the road and walk down an embankment to some primo beach real estate.
Entertainment Industry Stuff
Yes, LA is synonymous with Hollywood, but aside from a few holdover pockets of production, we're really more of Media HQ and creative incubator these days. If you're dead set on doing something industry-related in your time here, skip the overpriced bus and lot tours where you'll be treated like a bumpkin who doesn't know what a building façade is. Instead, go see a capital-F Film at Tarantino's New Beverly Cinema. Or catch a screening of The Room, a cult classic that's so-bad-it's-good. Creepy star and director Tommy Wiseau will even be there to take selfies with you before the show. You can also catch a taping of a show like @midnight with relative ease. Comedy fans should check the calendar for NerdMelt theater, a stage crammed in the back of a comic book store that regularly hosts stand up like The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail or podcast tapings like Dan Harmon's Harmontown.
Special thanks to Justin Caffier for compiling recommendations.
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