A City in the Ocean, Tunnels Beneath Downtown and Much More
Are you visiting Los Angeles or just looking for something to do this weekend? These include unique and hidden locations that LA has to offer. Knock some out on the weekend or take a special someone on a fun date…
The Garden of Oz, Hollywood Hills
Back in the 90s, Hollywood Hills resident Gail Cottman set aside a small portion of her land to make a rose garden. She quickly ran into a problem when she realized concrete walls dulled the otherwise beautiful garden … she decided to do something about it.
Gail decided to brighten up the concrete by tiling it up with various colors. She realized the appearance reminded her of her favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, so she decided to continue the trend with the rest of her property.
This resulted in the popular local landmark known as the Garden of Oz. Although the garden isn’t generally open to the public, it can easily be viewed from the street. You’ll see tiled thrones dedicated to Liv Presley, Rosa Parks and the Dalai Lama. Colourful plants line the yellow brick road and guide the visitors through sparkling crystal balls and shining mosaics.
3040 Ledgewood Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Sunken City, San Pedro
In 1929, a huge landslide sent an entire San Pedro neighborhood into the ocean. The destruction left nothing but rubble sitting at the bottom of a cliff, and those ruins still sit there today. Now dubbed Sunken City, the location has become a popular attraction among locals.
Although closed to the public and very dangerous to visit, Sunken City is a neat location that’s rather unknown unless you’re from the area. A nearby hiking area gives access to daring citizens, showing exposed foundations, broken sidewalks and lots of graffiti.
You might recognize the area from the movie, The Big Lebowski. It’s where Donny’s ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at the end of the film.
500 W. Paseo Del Mar
San Pedro, CA, 90731
Abandoned LA Zoo, Griffith Park
Deep in Griffith Park you’ll find the remnants of the Old LA Zoo. Although the current LA Zoo replaced it, many of the chambers and living habitats still remain. You’ll find a picnic area inside an old bear cave, the old lions den and the abandoned monkey cages. You really get a good feel for what it was like for an animal back in the 1930s.
The zoo closed back in 1966 and is now used for various events. features such as the popular Los Angeles Haunted Hayride every Halloween!
5400 Griffith Park Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Secret Prohibition Tunnels, Downtown LA
Way back in the 1920s, alcohol was illegal in the United States. Hard to imagine, right? This didn’t stop people though, because where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Miles of underground tunnels kept the party going during prohibition when illegal bars went underground. Much of these tunnels run underneath Downtown LA, where people would travel to and from these illegal bars.
Although most of the pathways are inaccessible because they’re earthquake hazards, some are open for walking tours. You’ll find the entrance tucked behind the city’s Hall of Records on Temple Street, accessible by a hidden elevator. Pretty cool, huh?
(Behind Hall of Records)
320 W Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Watts Towers, Watts
Italian immigrant, Sabato Rodia, built the Watts Towers on his own land in 1921. The project, built in his spare time, took 33 years to complete and is comprised of miscellaneous junk including utensils, bottles, dishes, tiles, etc. The site eventually became a symbol of freedom and individuality among the locals.
The Watts Towers are recognizable by the 3 huge spires, but also includes several smaller spires, a gazebo and many other art pieces. The city was met with backlash after they planned on tearing the location down after Rodia moved away. Today, the city of Los Angeles now owns and embraces the land. They opened the Watts Towers Art Center, where you can take a guided tour of the site.
1727 E 107th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90002
Batman’s View of The Hollywood Sign
Hidden in Griffith Park is the Bronson Canyon, also known as Bronson Caves. Originally a boring rock quarry back in the 1920s, Bronson Caves became a popular filming location. It served as the filming location for countless TV and Movies since the 1920s including The A Team, the Star Trek series and many more.
What made the location so popular is mostly due to the fact the mouth of the cave, a small tunnel, was used in the 1960s Batman series, starring Adam West. As an added bonus, it provides a unique view of the iconic Hollywood sign.
3200 Canyon Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Phantasma Gloria, Echo Park
Phantasma Gloria is a glittering sun-inspired work of art created by Randlett Lawrence, known as Randy. It’s hidden away in Echo Park and is the perfect hidden spot for art lovers and those looking for legit Instagram shots.
The beautiful art installation made up of glass bottles, wire and water. Refracted light through the bottles displays a beautiful array of colors and is meant to represent Echo Park’s multicultural community.
It’s important to note you must make an appointment if you want to check it out. Randy gives tours on weekends during the times when the sun hits the bottles just right.
1646 Lemoyne Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026
The Last Bookstore, Downtown LA
The Last Bookstore is well-known among LA locals, but this iconic location deserves more attention. The bookstore is located in an old former bank in Downtown LA. Located just around the corner from Pershing Square, The Last Bookstore is decorated from floor to ceiling with books.
There are sculptures made entirely of books and the smell of old pages … so good.
453 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, 90013
St. Vincent’s Court, Downtown LA
St. Vincent’s Court is named for the former St. Vincent’s College, which has since relocated and is now called Loyola University. As a small back alley, St. Vincent’s court ended up seeing a lot of foot traffic when the Bullock’s Department Store opened up next door way back in 1907.
Seeing that the alley was popular among vendors and delivery drivers to the store, they decided to rent out small shops within. What resulted was a small assortment of shops neatly tucked away in the alley. Then, in 1957, the alley was remodeled to have an old European look and feel.
Today, St. Vincent’s Court has small cafes, Chinese and Middle Eastern restaurants and various little shops. It’s definitely a unique spot you can have a quaint little date at. Side note, it’s around the corner from The Last Bookstore … so make a day out of it!
Between Broadway & Hill Street
Entrance on 7th Street
Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, Highland Park
Lastly, we have another location with a long history in Los Angeles. Galco’s originally started off as a grocery store in Downtown LA way back in 1897, but moved to Highland Park in 1955. It wasn’t until 1995, when owner John Nese took succeeded his father in running the business, they started specializing in soda pop.
Grocery chains were seeing a dip in business and not one to be a victim, he shifted their focus. Now called Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, they offer a huge variety of every type of soda you can think of! They even have a ‘Soda Creation Station’, where people can mix flavors and create their own sodas, carbonation included.
5702 York Boulevard
Los Angeles, California, 90042