Home to beautiful beaches and mountains, not to mention major sightseeing attractions (Universal Studios, anyone?) and amazing shopping and eateries, there are plenty of things to do and see during your trip to Los Angeles. But if you’re looking to find some unique, off-the-beaten path sites, here are some cool things we recommend you check out.
You can’t tour this or anything (hello … it’s a real house; someone lives there), but you can drive by and gawk at the unmistakable exterior (the interiors were all filmed on a soundstage), which will surely stir fond memories of that great 1970s television show with the gay dad that you probably won’t admit to loving as much as you do. It’s located at 11217 Dilling Street in Studio City. Here’s the story …
Sure, Beverly Hills is lousy with luxury estates, but this stunning six-acre property, built in 1911 for the wife of Harry Robinson (of Robinson’s department store fame), was the first. It’s now on the National Register of Historic Places and features not only a breathtaking garden but a fancy mansion and a pool pavilion. It’s beautiful and serene, but can only be visited by appointment.
We all want a great view of L.A. when visiting, and if you walk up these stairs you will get many. These 230+ steps are located in the Echo Park neighborhood and start at 1501 Baxter Street. At the top you’ll find Elysian Park and many more walking trails. Wear comfortable shoes.
This American craftsman style house in Pasadena was built for David and Mary Gamble (of the gay-friendly Procter & Gamble company) and is now a National Historic Landmark. The exterior was used as Brown Mansion, the home of Dr. Emmet Brown in the original Back to the Future flick. You can explore this marvel on a variety of docent-led tours. However, opening times are sparse, so be sure to plan ahead.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
Art Deco churches are not easy to find, which makes Our Lady of Lourdes Church in East Los Angeles all the more special. You needn’t be Catholic to appreciate the building’s unique mix of Deco and Spanish Colonial Revival, courtesy of local architect Lester G. Scherer and located at 3772 E. 3rd Street. It’s beautiful inside and out — just don’t go during mass or you’ll only get a look at the outside.
It’s not often that a museum inspires more questions than it answers (like, say, “What is the point of this museum?”), but this gem, located just outside Culver City, is not like any museum you’ve ever been to. Comprised of dimly lit and winding corridors, it’s filled with strange displays like a pair of decomposing antique dice once owned by magician Ricky Jay, a gallery of oil portraits of Soviet space dogs, and an exhibit devoted to pre-scientific remedies.
Every year, thousands of people make a pilgrimage to this spiritual sanctuary, which is located on ten acres that include gardens and a natural spring-fed lake. There’s also a wall-less temple in honor of Mahatma Gandhi here, where some of his ashes are housed. There’s a visitor center where you can get all the information you need for your visit. Relax, contemplate and enjoy.
These are not exactly hidden since they’re almost 100 feet tall, but they are a sight to behold. Comprised of nine towers built of steel and covered with mortar containing mosaic glass, seashells, pottery and tile, the exhibit was designed and built by Sabato Rodia from 1921 to 1954 and originally called Nuestro Pueblo. Spend the money to take the tour so you can enjoy all of the unusual beauty here up close. These are certainly not your typical art installations.