Okay, the main reason my husband and I went to Los Angeles (all the way back in July of 2017) was to experience the Disneyland Resort and the D23 Convention. However, this was only our second time to beautiful, sunny Southern California, and we wanted to take in some sights we’ve never seen before. Of course, we saw all the conventional sites like Griffith Park, the Chinese Theater, the Walk of Fame, and the Hollywood Sign…but here are 3 of my favorite unique L.A. destinations.
Santa Monica Beach and Pier
I know what you’re thinking- Santa Monica is not a unique destination. Actually, it’s a very popular tourist destination. Nevertheless, we hadn’t stopped by any beaches the last time we visited California, and so our goal was to hit up Santa Monica.
We went to Santa Monica straight from LAX, right after dropping off our rental car. This may have been a mistake, as we were tired from the flight, hungry, and all our swim gear was still buried somewhere in our luggage. But, after growing up ten minutes from the Atlantic Ocean my whole life, I was excited to see the Pacific.
Driving to Santa Monica was terrifying, and parking was, well, a nightmare. We finally found a spot after ages of circling around and making U-Turns, and after forking over $10 dollars to the parking attendant, we could FINALLY park, stretch our legs, and head out the beach.
It was a beautiful, sunny, windy day, and the sand and water were crystal clear. The beach was filled with beautiful people: some buff guys and gals were working out; some couples were strolling along the dock; some musicians and street artists were rocking their work on the sidewalks; some families were walking their dogs, or riding skateboards, or surfing- it looked like we had just walked into a commercial for living in California.
I saw the pier- you know, the one with the Ferris Wheel and the roller coasters, the one from all the movies and TV Shows- and knew we had to take a ride. So, the husband and I bought an overpriced ticket and hopped onto the old, rickety, wonderful Ferris Wheel overlooking Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean.
He refused to sit on the same side as me, convinced that our car would tip over if he did. It was a gorgeous and fun ride, and even though I didn’t get to swim in the Pacific Ocean, we got some great views.
On the stroll back to the car, we had another couple take a photo for us, and then we kindly offered to return the favor. Because that’s what you do when you’re on vacation as a couple- when you ask someone else to take a photo for you, you must offer to do the same in return. It’s good karma.
Urban Lights, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
This was something I had always wanted to see, not only because it’s become one of the most “Instagram-able” spots on Earth, but also because I have a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies and wanted to check out this stunning exhibit, one that’s quite famous in the museum world.
Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to tour the whole museum, but luckily, the Urban Light sculpture is located outside, and tourists are welcome to take pictures near the lights after dark. The exhibit looks especially beautiful at nighttime, and I can see why girls and couples like getting their photos taken here. There is something magical about these street lamps- they are all shapes and sizes, but come together in a breathtaking synchronicity.
I definitely encourage everyone visiting L.A. to tour the museum and look at this stunning sculpture- even if you just do it “for the ‘gram.” This turned into a cozy, special night for my husband and I, and we even found a really yummy burger restaurant a block away. All the driving through the city and traffic, at night, to get to these lights, were worth it.
Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Scranton Van Nuys
Depending on whether you’re a fan of the show The Office, this may or may not make your list of top L.A. destinations. However, this show is particularly special for my husband and I- he gave me Season 1 to watch back when we first became friends, because I was getting my wisdom teeth taken out and needed something to do during my week off recovering. We’ve watched the show, and the re-runs, together ever since. Once we were in L.A., we knew we would have to make a pilgrimage to see where the show was filmed.
The company from the show, Dunder Mifflin, is a fictional paper company located in Scranton, Pennsylvania. However, the show was actually filmed in L.A., and the building is called the “Chandler Valley Center Studios.”
The building is behind a gate, but you can see the parking lot and the street, all the areas where they filmed the exterior shots. It was pretty cool getting to see the location of our favorite TV show. We couldn’t stay very long, as it was clear this was a working office building with real people, and we were parked on a street in an industrial, non-tourist area. Still, this was one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions we had to explore this destination, and I’m so glad we did it.
Of course, there were tons more destinations that we loved in L.A., and tons more that we have yet to visit. We will be back!
What are your favorite destinations in Los Angeles, or around the world?
Hugs and Fishes,