The Atlas Obscura Guide To Los Angeles
231 Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things to Do in Los Angeles, California
Updated July 24, 2023
The City of Angels is full of sites that are known by sight the world over. Weʼre here to tell you about some of the lesser-known highlights, from a mysterious hotel with a dark history to an impressive meteorite collection.
Unusual Attractions in Los Angeles
Cool Places to Eat & Drink in Los Angeles
Plan Your Trip
Unforgettable Experiences Nearby
Atlas Obscura Itineraries
On the Run: Los Angeles
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.
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Lists Featuring Los Angeles
The 11 Best Places to Visit Near the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Curious Travelers
Including Capitol Records Building Morse Code, Chaplin Keaton Lloyd Alley, and Cahuenga Building
Los Angeles' Top 10 Wonders of 2018
The strange and unusual places Atlas Obscura readers wanted to visit most in L.A. in 2018.
Including Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Griffith Observatory's Tesla Coil, and The Last Bookstore
A 12-Stop Road Trip of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Most Surprising Designs
A UFO-inspired church, a futurist gas station, and more deep cuts.
Including Blue Sky Mausoleum, The Darwin D. Martin House, and Kentuck Knob
When Stairs and Slides Are Hiding in Plain Sight
Play real-life Chutes and Ladders at these obscure thruways.
Including Secret Tiled Staircase, Esmeralda Slide Park, and Howe Street Stairs
7 Hidden Tunnels Under Government Buildings
The literal underbelly of public agencies.
Including FDR's Bomb Shelter, Steam Tunnels Under Capitol Hill, and Underground Tunnels of Los Angeles
19 Unusual Hotels in California
Remarkable places to stay—or at least visit—in the Golden State.
Including The Ahwahnee Hotel, Venice Beach House, and Hotel Vertigo