Your journey begins with requisite fuel: coffee. Sandwiched between a textile store and a fabric shop on República del Salvador is Helu’s, a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop and purveyor of Middle Eastern sweets, snacks, and dried foods that has been tucked here for 60 years. Within the city center, this cafe is one of the last visible traces of Lebanese immigration, which peaked in the 1920s—though the beloved taco al pastor also harkens back to Lebanon, evoking shawarma meat. Helu's is only big enough to hold a few tables and chairs, so it may be cozy or standing room only. But poke around the well-stocked, low-standing counter and take in the sweet and savory treats. There are empanadas and cookies, as well as nut or pistachio burmas, confections made from shredded phyllo dough and honey. Order a café árabe, thick and sweet. It'll be piping hot and wonderful.
República del Salvador 157, Centro, 06090 Ciudad de México
Keep going down República de El Salvador, then hang a right when you get to Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas. One block down, you'll encounter Churrería El Moro. The 24-hour joint with floral-tiled walls and pastoral stained-glass scenes has been here since 1935. This is the original El Moro (other locations have since cropped up across the city), and it’s always bustling. Before you even set foot inside, you’ll understand why. Peer in the window and watch the culinary artisans whose craft is constructing a perfect churro. First, they twist coils of dough and swirl them through bubbling oil. Then they snip the long, fried coils into individual churros and generously coat them with sugar. Once you’ve enjoyed this feast for the eyes, step inside for a taste.
There are two ways you can go about achieving churro heaven: Ask to be seated at a table, or grab a number and get a bunch to go from the counter on the right. Whichever you choose, don't forget hot chocolate or thick, warm sauces, perfect for dipping. The most popular varieties are the Francés (with a touch of vanilla) and the especial (semi-bitter and flecked with cinnamon).
Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 42, Centro Histórico, 06000 Ciudad de México
Take a left as you walk outside of El Moro, then make a right on Ayuntamiento. Stroll through the Plaza de San Juan until you see the Mercado de San Juan on your right. Inside, you'll be greeted by a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and smells. Let yourself get lost and weave between the aisles in whatever pattern you choose, sampling fruits and vegetables along the way.
As you stroll, keep an eye out for some of Mexico’s most delectable fruits, from the pitted, orange-hued mamey to the gelatinous granadilla. Along with its reputation for exceptional produce, which attracts many local chefs, the market is known to sell products that aren't typical supermarket fare—think dried tarantulas and crocodile meat, offered raw or cooked into burgers at the Los Coyotes stand. If that's not your taste, opt for comida casera, home-cooked fare that changes daily. At Comida Sandy, husband-and-wife duo Juan and Sandra have been serving up the likes of pozole and chiles rellenos for 23 years. If you're hankering for a snack, sit down at the counter and ask them what they have today.
2ᵃ Calle de Ernesto Pugibet 21, Colonia Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México
Exit the market on the Ernesto Pugibet side, then walk down the block until you hit Aranda. Take a left, and you'll reach the saloon doors greeting you into the no-frills Pulquería Las Duelistas. Pulque is a drink made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant, and in the 19th century, Mexico City was dotted with places to try it. This spot, which has been serving up pulque since 1912, is one of the last holdouts from an earlier time; the slightly alcoholic drink, also said to be a kind of natural digestif, was fading into obscurity until recent years. Its renaissance has been propelled by a surge of young people taking it up and opening new pulquerías.
Since the thick, sweet sap spoils quickly, it's best to go early, and Las Duelistas can get busy long before nightfall. Post up at the counter to see the staff pull long spoonfuls of pulque from the vats behind the bar, or snag a seat at one of the shared tables and commune with new friends as you gaze at the colorful murals and the neon-lit altar to the Virgin Mary. (The jukebox nestled in the back keeps things lively, too.) Pulque is usually imbibed plain or as a curado, blended with fruit or other flavors such as oatmeal or peanut.
Eat like a local: "Try the celery or guava curados. The flavors are different every day and each season, but these are often available because we have celery all year long, and guava is grown in different regions of the country."—Paco de Santiago, lead guide at Culinary Backstreets, Mexico City
Aranda 28, Colonia Centro, 06400 Ciudad de México
Hopefully you've worked up an appetite for a pick-me-up and are ready for a short walk to the next destination. When you leave Las Duelistas, keep going down Aranda and make a slight right on Ayuntamiento. Walk down a few blocks, then hang a left on Calle de Bolívar, then a right on Avenida 16 de Septiembre. On the side street Calle de Motolinia, take a left to reach La Casa del Pavo. Outfitted with banquettes and bright lights, the spot looks like it’s hardly changed since it opened in 1901. Nestle into one of the booths along the mirrored wall and order the classic turkey torta. The tortas are oven-baked and doused in a sauce the cooks call "la vinagreta," made with pepper, mustard, and oregano. The turkey comes with melted manchego cheese, avocado, and a plate of pickled vegetables that you can add to taste.
You're biting into history here. The restaurant is said to have been the first in the city to serve up turkey as a sandwich fixing instead of pork loin, beef, or the breaded chicken known as milanesa. This poultry has been a staple of Mexican cuisine since it was domesticated by the Aztecs, but these days it’s fairly rare to find turkey tortas in Mexico City. La Casa del Pavo also holds the dubious distinction of being a former haunt of Fidel Castro. The story goes that one day, Fidel, displeased by the torta he’d been served, went behind the counter himself to make the torta cubana, instead. Whether or not that's true is lost to history. Luckily, you can taste either of the sandwiches for yourself.
Calle de Motolinia 40, Centro Histórico, 06000 Ciudad de México
If you continue up Motolinia then take a right on Av. 5 de Mayo, you'll walk right into one of the oldest and most beloved candy shops in Mexico City. Dulcería de Celaya has been around since 1874 and still sells handcrafted candies from the same recipes. Its name nods to the town of Celaya, which, during the Spanish colonial era, became a go-to for cajeta, a type of dulce de leche made with goat’s milk. The cozy shop seems bigger than it is, thanks to large mirrors near the counter—and, of course, it stocks a mesmerizing array of sweets, including cajeta. Near the front, you might see seasonal confections, such as miniature ofrendas or skulls ahead of Día de Los Muertos. Turn around to see different varieties of turrón, or nougat, plus coconut-laden cocadas, and aleluyas, traditional candies made with nuts or milk. We dare you to attempt to leave with only one piece.
Eat like a local: "Try suspiros, which are meringues, made from egg whites and sugar. It's a European technique, but you can find them all over the streets of Mexico City. Mexican cuisine has many appropriations from Asia, France, and more."—Paco de Santiago
Av. 5 de Mayo 39, Centro Histórico, 06000 Ciudad de México
Sanborns, a department store chain with outposts throughout Mexico City, isn't high on anyone's must-see list. But this locale, in particular, is worth a stop. Make a left out of Celaya and this stunning variety store and restaurant will be about three blocks down. This building is nicknamed the "House of Tiles," so be sure to peer up at the brilliantly hued azulejos (or glazed tiles) with intricate geometric patterns. Then, walk in past the U-shaped lunch counters and make a left across from the perfume section. There, you'll find yourself in a former residential courtyard that now houses one of the most gorgeous lunch spots in town. Sit down near the fountain with a cup of coffee, or head upstairs for an even better view. As you climb, you’ll come across a mural called Omnisciencia, painted by José Clemente Orozco in 1925. Francisco Iturbe, a patron of the arts and former resident of this house, commissioned the mural, which depicts women breaking free from religion and repression during a moment of cultural reckoning.
Av Francisco I. Madero 4, Centro Histórico, 06500 Ciudad de México
Cross the street to enter the theatrical world of La Opera. The cantina has been around since 1876, and once catered to a theater crowd—and it has the ornate interior to match, with mirrored ceilings, baroque finishes, and red velvet seats. Order a beer or a tequila and nibble on some botanas, or snacks that come with the drink. If you see people pointing at the ceiling, it's for a reason: Local legend holds that Pancho Villa shot a hole through it when the city was swept up in the Revolution.
Eat like a local: "Order a chamorro (pork shank). It's very well prepared, and is one of the traditional dishes in Mexico City cantinas."—Paco de Santiago
5 de Mayo 10, Centro Histórico, 06000 Ciudad de México
Did you think we’d forget about tacos? Take a right out of La Opera, and then another right on Calle de Bolívar. Four blocks away, you'll reach a stand called Taquería Los Cocuyos. This haunt has been around for 45 years and is ideal for lovers of all kinds of meats, from suadero and tripe to sesos (cow or goat brains). The tacos are small, so order one if you're just a bit peckish or several if you're hungrier. Go for the suadero taco, and ask for it with everything (“con todo”), which will get you a pile of onions and cilantro. The tacos are best eaten immediately—don’t bother waiting for one of the few seats to open up—and loaded with radishes, extra lime, and hot sauce.
Calle de Bolívar 57, Centro Histórico, 06000 Ciudad de México
The only thing better than a first taco dinner is a second taco dinner. Next door to Cocuyos, you'll find El Huequito ("the little hole"), a stand and retro-looking sit-down restaurant where you can enjoy your next round. (The original El Huequito is a few blocks away, but this one is right along your route.) One popular order is the especial, which one staffer described as a "taco mountain." You can't go wrong with anything, but the classic al pastor is the best bet—and served rolled up and without pineapple, it’s a bit different than others you might encounter. Whatever you order, dip into the impressive array of homemade hot sauces, including chile de arbol, habanero, and chile seco.
Eat like a local: "This is my favorite pastor taco in the world. I first went to [the original El Huequito] when I was 16 years old. The only thing they served was taco al pastor. That’s one of the clues to identify a very good place on Mexico City streets: The good places are the places that offer only one thing, like the barbacoa place, the pastor taco. One good thing they sell, and no other."—Paco de Santiago
Calle de Bolívar 58, Centro Histórico, 06000 Ciudad de México
Your final stop is a sugary dream. Linger near the glass cases to see cakes and seasonal pastries shimmering like jewels. Farther inside the bakery, you’ll glimpse a well-oiled operation: People take long trays and load them up with the desserts of their choice, from every kind of concha to pan danés (Danish pastries) filled with fruit. While you pay, sure-fingered staff artfully wrap your selections in the bakery's lovely paper so the treats don't get jostled on your journey. Before you go, check out the feats of cake-making upstairs. The cake room, where towering, multi-layered confections line a sample floor, is a marvel of pastry physics that's open for all to see. The “cakes” on display are actually inedible cardboard boxes, carefully shaped and covered with real icing and finishes—but that doesn't mean they're any less spectacular.
República de Uruguay 74, Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México
The Sunflower State has a reputation for being flat—in fact, scientists have shown that it is objectively way flatter than a pancake. Far from being featureless, though, Kansas can be mind-bending in its own weird way. Maybe it all started with The Wizard of Oz. From a missile silo that once dominated the world's LSD supply to rock formations shaped like mushrooms, roadside art that will make you think you've been whisked away by a tornado, and a giant pile of sock monkeys, Kansas is full of treasures that are sure to make you do a double take. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
New York been described as a playground for the rich and powerful, but the state's history is full of ordinary people who have overcome extraordinary struggles. What if Seneca Falls, the village that launched the fight for women's suffrage, were as famous as Niagara Falls? What if Weeksville, the historic free Black community in Brooklyn, were as well-known as Williamsburg? From immigrant sanctuaries to the Survivor Tree, here are sites where New York has shown its resilience. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
North Dakota is not quite the flattest state in the U.S., but it's pretty close. (In one analysis, it placed third, after Illinois and Florida.) During the last Ice Age, glaciers moving across the terrain had a planing effect on the land, dropping sediment that filled in any valleys, creating sprawling prairies and open, big skies. These large expanses are home to more than a few sky-high structures, both natural and human-made. From rocky peaks and multi-ton animal statues to one of the tallest buildings in the world, these are some of the most impressive structures that North Dakota has to offer. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
For about half of any given year, much of Arizona is too hot to handle. But even in peak summer, the state is home to a stunning spread of geographic diversity and a mysterious magic that emanates from the landscape—and we don’t just mean the mirages. Locals and visitors alike flock to higher altitudes, recreation-friendly bodies of water, and indoor spaces that are so heavily air-conditioned they practically require a jacket. Here are eight sheltered spots to retreat from the heat, from natural formations to an immersive art exhibit that invites lingering. We've even added a couple cool places (220 feet underground or a mile above sea level) to dream about spending the night. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
Originally named “Venice of America,” Venice, California, owes its existence to a wealthy developer’s dream of a canal-laden resort town west of Los Angeles. The dream didn’t last long: After opening in 1905, the city went broke before joining Los Angeles in 1926. The decades of neglect that followed earned Venice the nickname “the slum by the sea,” but its affordability also attracted artists, beginning with the Beats in the late ’50s. Venice’s identity as a rough-around-the-edges artist haven endures more than 60 years later, though its affordability less so. If you’re looking to plot a trek across Los Angeles pavement and beaches, zero in on Venice with a run that oscillates between fast-and-furious and slow-and-curious. Take on this 5.2-mile run in one go, break it up into multiple runs, or do it in reverse. With the right running shoes, you’ll be ready to navigate Venice’s storied past and its eternally eccentric personality.
A run through New York City demands a delicate balance: Zoning out versus keeping your eyes peeled. On the one hand, there’s the clear-headed, in-the-zone mental state that any good sneaker-to-pavement exercise requires. At the same time, well, it is New York City. You can hardly walk two blocks without uncovering a hidden gem or noticing some new detail that’s actually been lurking in plain sight for decades. This 5.3-mile run takes you along a scenic route to discover some of these hidden gems. You can run the entire route, break it up into multiple runs, or do it in reverse. With the right running shoes, you’re bound to pick up on one of the million tiny, fascinating details along the way.
Long before California was home to tech campuses, freeways, and palm trees, Native inhabitants etched huge designs into the landscape. Even before that, at roughly the same time that the Pyramids of Giza were under construction, a tree that still survives today began taking root. And even farther into the past, glaciers and mammoths created enduring monuments to antiquity. Across the state, the distant past is still within easy reach. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
There’s a time-tested saying about things being large in Texas—and it certainly holds true for the state’s artworks, many of which are so huge or sprawling they could only reasonably live outdoors. Across the vast expanse of the Lone Star State are artistic testaments to some of the area’s oddest characters and stories. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
The smallest state in America is often the butt of jokes. Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island, and it was once famously parodied in the now-defunct website “How Many Rhode Islands”—a simple tool that allowed you to see just how many Rhode Islands could squeeze inside a given country. The United States could contain 3,066 Rhode Islands, and Russia could hold 5,445. But the tiny state has a rather grand history. Rhode Island was founded on the principle of religious freedom, was the first of the Thirteen Colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown, and was one of only two states not to ratify the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol. Many of the state’s attractions still loom large, including a 58-foot-long blue fiberglass termite and an improbably large blue bear slumped under a lampshade. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
Famous for country music and hot chicken, Tennessee is also filled with natural wonders. Across the state, caverns beckon. Venturing into some of Tennessee's strangest subterranean haunts is a great way to experience the depths of the state's spell-binding charm. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
Louisiana has long had a complex relationship with the wet world. Chitimacha, Choctaw, and Atakapa peoples built communities among the knobby knees of bald cypress trees; French fur traders and pirates eventually made their own marks. Later still, modern engineers attempted to corral waters with levees and dams, or to reclaim land where there had been none. Across the 50,000-odd square miles that make up the state, troves of special places are becoming concealed by rising water. Here are seven places water has revealed or covered up. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
Michigan is famous for its steep, sweeping sand dunes, freckling of lakes, and unique fossils—but across the state, you'll find slews of automated wonders, past and present. From old animatronic toys to the ruins of early assembly lines, here are seven places to be dazzled by industry. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
Here at Atlas Obscura, we have a fondness for the forbidden, a hunger for the hidden, a gusto for the grim. (You get the point.) But it wouldn’t be so intrepid to simply highlight Nevada’s underbelly, would it? There’s more to the state than extraterrestrial-themed brothels and nuclear bomb test sites. Kids and grandparents might enjoy enormous Ferris wheels, unusual geysers, or pristine parklands. Even Nevada—home to Sin City—has a family-friendly side. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
Maine is widely known for its mottled red crustaceans and stony-faced lighthouses, as well as bucolic towns and the top-notch hiking outside of them. But before all that, Maine was all about one thing: trains. As America industrialized in the 19th century, there was an insatiable demand to build and a hunger for lumber. Maine had plenty of it, and the state’s rivers became swollen with the fallen bodies of pine and spruce, much of which was hauled by rail. Trains did the heavy lifting to coastal hubs including Bangor and Ellsworth, and by 1924, there was enough railroad mileage in Maine to get from London’s King's Cross station to Mosul, Iraq. Over the years, some of the old cars were fashioned into eateries, but many were simply abandoned in the woods. Now, relics of Maine’s railroad history are scattered in museums, restaurants, and more. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
Picture Alaska. You might see in your mind's eye the granite and stark white snowcaps of Denali National Park, or the dark seas that surround 6,000-plus miles of coastline, or the muted olive of its tundra in the summer. But as anyone who's been there knows, the country's largest, most sparsely populated state can absolutely burst with color, from the luminous green of the Northern Lights, to the deep aqua of its glaciers, to the flourish of wildflowers fed by its long summer days. Here are some places to see the full spectrum of The Last Frontier. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
The District of Columbia is home to a number of places that you need to flash the right ID to access. From restricted rooftops to government storage facilities and underground tunnels, the city is filled with places that are off-limits to the average visitor. What’s more, many of them are hidden within popular tourist destinations and densely populated neighborhoods—so you might catch a glimpse of them, but never get any closer. These are a few of our favorite restricted spots in D.C., and the stories behind them. As the pandemic continues, we hope this virtual trip helps you explore America’s wonders. If you do choose to venture out, please follow all guidelines, maintain social distance, and wear a mask.
If you thought Pensacola, Florida—with its powder-white sand beaches, near-perfect weather, and fresh seafood—was just a place to soak up the sun, think again. In fact, the city and beach of the same name is the site of the first European settlement in the continental United States. Established by Spanish explorer Tristán de Luna in 1559, it was christened Panzacola, a name of Native American origin and the precursor to the city’s modern name. The destination is also the birthplace of U.S. naval aviation and is still home to a naval air station and the thousands of service members stationed there, as well as the Blue Angels, the flight squadron famous for their death-defying fighter plane stunts. This delightful coastal city is an ideal, if somewhat quirky, blend of historical sites (on land and underwater) and activities to get your adrenaline flowing.
The people of Tucson have been eating off the land for 4,100 years. From grains to livestock to produce introduced by missionaries in the 1600s, this UNESCO City of Gastronomy is home to some of the oldest farmland in North America. What once was old is new again in The Old Pueblo where ancient flavors are found in nearly every dish — trendy to traditional.
Any travel enthusiast would be hard-pressed to open any social media channel and not see photos of Iceland, with its jaw-dropping peaks, natural hot springs, pure glaciers, northern lights and snow-covered landscapes. But the island nation’s appeal goes well beyond the well-worn paths of Reykjavik, the Golden Circle and the southern region's countryside. Travel to the untamed north along the Arctic Coast Way to discover otherworldly beauty—sans crowds—around every bend.
Crowds clog Edinburgh's Royal Mile, the main artery between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. The road is dotted with stores selling Nessie trinkets and lined with bagpipers and street performers pulling off dazzling tricks. But look beyond the tartan tourist traps, and you’ll discover tucked-away gardens, remnants of the city’s medieval past, and much more.
In 1967, 100,000 artists, activists, and hippies gathered in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood for the Summer of Love. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix played free concerts for fields of college dropouts, and San Francisco established itself as a countercultural capital. More than 50 years later, in a city increasingly known for Twitter and tech rather than art and activism, travelers who come on a pilgrimage are often disappointed to find expensive, skin-deep psychedelia. But if you know where to look, you’ll find a walk down Haight Street to be wonderfully weird, full of historic links to hippiedom and modern takes on the vibe.
More than eight million diverse individuals call New York City home, and many of them share their heritage through food. Whether it’s a billiards hall that serves stellar Bhutanese fare or a mosque where Malian vendors sell snacks for just a few hours each Friday, the city offers a vast culinary landscape for those willing to explore it. Venture beyond the flashy hotspots with months-long waiting lists and you’ll find New York’s true flavor lies within the small restaurants and stands rooted in its thriving immigrant communities.
It may be famous for Mardi Gras, but New Orleans has subtle, surprising wonders on tap all year long—even in the touristy French Quarter. Around every cobblestoned corner, you’ll find historic ephemera, bits of Creole culture, environmentalism, and no shortage of spooky stories, whenever you happen to visit.
From the street, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is hard to miss: The institution’s two-million-square-foot main building, at 1000 Fifth Avenue, spans four New York City blocks and stretches into Central Park. Inside the galleries, you’ll find thousands of objects spanning 5,000 years of world history. With so many treasures under one roof, it's inevitable that some fascinating pieces are tucked into the museum's lonelier nooks and crannies, hiding in plain sight. The next time you spend a day at the museum, keep an eye out for these overlooked wonders.
Detroit and Nashville are synonymous with two all-American music genres. It’s no surprise that visitors flock to these cities each year to get a feel for the places where artists such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton began their careers. A (relatively) straight, north to south route connects the two cities, as does musical heritage. Load up the RV, make sure your speaker system is in tip-top shape, and create a playlist filled with old-school Motown and Country hits. If you're not driving on the trip down south, you should be dancing.
The terrain along the Gulf of Mexico is sometimes called the “Third Coast,” but for an offbeat road trip, it’s second to none. Starting in Houston and ending in Pensacola Bay, this journey takes you through some of America’s most diverse landscapes. You’ll cross Cajun swamps, drive along sparkling white sand beaches, and even spend some time in the Big Easy. Take an RV and camp along the way to truly immerse yourself in this wondrous region. The world’s largest gulf, it turns out, holds some of America’s best-kept secrets.
The Coachella Valley and its environs boom in the spring, when tens of thousands of music lovers flock to catch their favorite artists perform in front of a dramatic, mountainous backdrop. But this region stays wonderfully weird all year long. If the festival drew you to the area and you only have a day to explore, choose a direction: Either head north, toward Joshua Tree and Landers, or southeast to the Salton Sea and nearby oases for a blissful respite. If you can spare a couple of days, lucky you—go forth and see it all.
Los Angeles’ Highland Park is a diverse, eclectic neighborhood that Native Americans and Latinx communities have inhabited for centuries. Celebrated for its history, art scene, ethnic diversity, and cuisine, Highland Park is filled with surprising delights that more and more people are discovering every day. Exploring the neighborhood's nooks and crannies is one of the most rewarding ways to spend a day in L.A.
Once referred to as “The Coney Island of the Pacific,” L.A.’s beachfront neighborhood of Venice has long been a popular tourist destination. Its colorful characters, quirky architecture, and carnivalesque atmosphere are well-known the world over. But take a moment to look past the kitsch, and you’ll discover a place where artistic ingenuity thrives more than a century after Abbot Kinney endeavored to bring a grandiose version of Venice to America. The bohemian beehive has always attracted artists and performers, and everyone is welcome to enjoy the show.
The 1970s brought a wave of artists into this former industrial area in Downtown Los Angeles. They sparked a fuse of creative imagination that burned for years. Up-and-coming creators took advantage of the then-low rents and built a foundation for the creative mecca that exists here today. In its infancy, L.A.’s Downtown Arts District came to life behind-the-scenes, with artists mostly working in closed studios. Today, the art has spilled onto the streets in the form of colorful murals, attractive gallery spaces, and stylish storefronts. But the curious explorer can still find literal and figurative traces of the ‘70s. In addition to the more historic spots that remain, a creative, entrepreneurial spirit abounds.
Wedged between Charing Cross and Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square is known for the throngs of people flocking to its famous attractions. Weave around the tourists on the National Gallery stairs and dodge the crowds clogging the street corners. Instead, duck down dreamy alleys and pop into unique, overlooked museums and shops. There, a secret side of this busy area waits to reveal itself.
Few cities on Earth are as well-trodden as New York–but as any intrepid traveler knows, the more you explore a place, the more wonders you find. You may not be able to discover all of these spots in a single trip, but that could be a good thing. No matter how many times you return, the city that never sleeps never ceases to surprise. Visit NYCGo to uncover more of the city’s secret spots.
Hollywood Boulevard is world-famous—for the Oscars and the Walk of Fame, for schlocky souvenir shops and crowded tour buses. But beyond the terrazzo stars and the occasional celebrity sighting, there’s plenty left to discover. Here’s how to make Hollywood’s acquaintance, whether you’re a visitor or a local who keeps a practiced distance from these busy, saturated blocks. Look closer and you'll find a neighborhood full of nature, history, and wonder.
There's the Times Square you know, full of blazing billboards, selfie sticks, and costumed characters. Then there's the less familiar one, beyond the lights—the nooks and crannies that most visitors to Midtown Manhattan overlook. They're not obvious, but surprises can still be found along this world-famous stretch of real estate.
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