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Los Angeles - Off-The-Beaten-Path

When you think of LA, you think of Disneyland, Universal Studios, Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Walk of Fame, all BTDT for most of us. Here is a curated list of not-so-popular, yet fun things to do the next time you are in LA.

  1. The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker - Located in Sunset Plaza on Sunset Blvd, this is a great place for a weekend brunch and to people watch. And for "Selling Sunset" fans, this is right across from the Oppenheim real-estate brokerage office. But the one item this place is most famous for is its colorburst lattes. Painted with organic, edible colors, they just add a "pop" to your Sunday morning routine. This place gets booked weeks in advance for a weekend brunch. So plan in advance.

2. Little Damage - A hole in the wall ice cream joint in downtown LA made famous by Instagrammers. This place stands out from other creameries in and around LA by serving unique creations in their signature charcoal activated black cone. The ice cream I had was black chocolate yogurt which was delicious. The black cone didnt taste any different from the regular cone. But I was secretly happy that I was doing something good to the body(activated charcoal has health benefits) while licking away the calories!

3. Urban Lights at LACMA is arguably one of the most popular outdoor artwork in Los Angeles. Located in a small area next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Downtown LA, this "sculpture" is made up of 202 cast iron lamps which once lighted Los Angeles, placed in a grid. The lamps run on solar energy and turn on automatically at dusk and off at dawn. Obviously, they are best viewed at nigh time. The place is usually crowded in the early hours of the evening by selfie seekers and photo enthusiasts. Parking is free and can be found on city streets.

4. MODS (Museum of Dream Space) : This special place has its very own blog here.

5. Smorgasbord : This is the largest open-air food market in all of North America. They have a great lineup of food trucks of every imaginable cuisine. It is totally foodie heaven and a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning. Go early in the day if you want to find parking.

6. Griffiths Observatory Peak Trail - This hike deserves a blog of its own, located here.

7. The Last Bookstore - This is a one-of-a-kind bookstore and an old gem in downtown LA, with a whimsical and artistic decor. Located in an old bank, this is truly a playground for bibliophiles - you can explore the stores for hours on end.. Books are organized and arranged in such unique fashions, like a lighted tunnel of books, a "frame" made of books, the checkout table supported by, what else, books! It is an amazing place and I highly recommend a visit when you are in Los Angeles next.

8. Warner Bros. Studio tour : Universal Studios Hollywood may be the most famous studio tour in LA, but did you know that almost every movie house has a backlot tour ? One such tour is offered by Warner Bros Studio in Burbank. It consists of an hour long backlot tour in an open air "bus", which takes you to many popular sets, such as that of Gilmore Girls, the famous fountain in Friends opening scene, and even the sets of Ellen. After the tour, you can further explore the sets of Friends and Big Bang Theory, to name a few.

9. Porto's Bakery and Cafe : There are a number of locations of this Cuban favorite, but no matter which location you go to, expect to see long lines that snake around the block. The bakery seems popular for cakes and savories, but we went for some breakfast savories, like empanadas and cream filled croissants. Everything tasted crispy, flaky and buttery goodness. The inside is huge and spacious with plenty of seating.


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