Best Kept Travel Secrets: Get to Know Los Angeles, CA

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

You've been to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and all over the famous sites in Hollywood like the Walk of Fame. These spots are great places to visit while you're in Los Angeles and probably what the city is best known for.

Moving away from the cookie cutter experiences to be had, there's a trove of lesser known spots that will take your trip to the next level. While the history of this city may not be as deep as those found on the opposite coast, the remnants that do exist have a captivating story.

When you get away from the glitz and the shiny lights, you get a whole new sense of the city that will intrigue you.

L.A.'s Underground Tunnels

During prohibition, underground downtown Los Angeles became the destination for patrons who wanted to booze up. One such establishment that still exists is King Eddy Saloon, located on 5th and Main. Fronting as a piano store, the business prospered, and not it finds itself as an official saloon once again. Order your favorite libation upstairs and head to the basement where the tunnel system remains.

Go behind the Hall of Records on Temple Street to find an elevator that will take you back to that time. Filled with street art and rusty machinery, there are iron gates that will keep you from furthering your exploration.

Abandoned subway and equestrian tunnels also litter the underground streets of LA. Police transported prisoners, money was moved around by banks, and even bodies were stored by mobsters and coroners alike.

The Museum of Death

If you're a fan of the morbid, the Museum of Death highlights such pieces as the Manson crime scenes, full size replicas of execution devices, and the Heaven's Gate Cult recruiting video. It is considered the largest collection of serial murderer artwork out there. These artifacts of death are available as a self-guided tour that will kill about an hour of your time.

The Last Bookstore

Once a bank, The Last Bookstore features pillars of marble and a ceiling that seems to stretch for miles. You can get a little bit of everything here when it comes to books. While you can find the newest titles, the bookstore specializes in used books and offers a great vintage selection.

Books can be found in every nook and even hidden away where the bank vault used to be. The majority of the fiction books are meant to be all over the place to invoke a sense of finding a treasure. You will find the disarray to be a thing of beauty.

The Sunken City

A landslide in 1929 caused the tumble of affluent homes into the ocean in San Pedro, California. Land movement was occurring at 11 inches a day during the peak. A part of Point Fermin Park also met its new home in the ocean during this slide.

Now known as the "Sunken City," the area includes pieces of foundations of homes, sidewalks that have buckled, and streets that are empty. Hiking is now a popular activity in the area.

Picnic at an Abandoned Zoo

Ever wonder what it would be like to be on the other side of the cage? The abandoned area in Griffith Park still has the remnants of the iron bars that were standard from the 1930s. Closed off in 1966 to make way for today's LA Zoo, picnic benches and grills are available, so you can turn it into a lunch destination.

If you want to get a zookeeper's view of the lion's den, there's a trail that leads up to the caves to capture the scene. Be prepared to feel a bit eerie at the sight of abandoned cages.

Huntington Gardens

With 12 unique gardens that sprawl across 120 acres, Huntington Gardens has plenty to see. The Japanese Garden, Conservatory, and Children's Garden are just a few of the gardens you can walk through.

For the green thumb enthusiasts, there are 15,000 different plants you can find scattered throughout. A magnificent library encompasses close to half a million books and well over seven million manuscripts.

Joshua Tree National Park

To get away from the hustle and bustle, you can drive over to the Joshua Tree National Park to enjoy some natural views. The Mojave and Colorado deserts can both be found there.

There are 191 miles of hiking, camping, and rock climbing to help you get even more acquainted with the park. Have your camera ready because there are plenty of Instagram worthy photography spots and stargazing that's out of this world.

Skyslide at U.S. Bank Tower

Sitting on the 70th and 69th floor of the tallest building west of Chicago, the skyslide is not for the faint of heart. It's basically a chute made of glass that's roughly 45 feet long and hovers 1,000 feet above the pavement.

For those who may have doubts, the glass is made of three-ply glass that's 1.25 inches thick, using steel outriggers to hold it all together. Hurricane winds up to 110 miles per hour could be withstood by the material.

The City of Angels

You may love where you live, but these secret locations in Los Angeles will have you coming back again. Prepare to throw out all your previous ideas about this city. When you get away from the glitz and the shiny lights, you get a whole new sense of the city that will intrigue you.

There's adventure in the underground tunnels, beauty in a bookstore, and solitude in a park. The story you will have to tell your friends when you come back is truly one they won't be expecting.