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5 Of Los Angeles' Best Hidden Gems

Last Bookstore header 610
(credit: The Last Bookstore)

Los Angeles may feel like a known entity to veritable strangers who have become acquainted to our city with the wonders presented on numerous large and small screens around the world and throughout the years. That said, there are some places in the City of Angels that aren't readily recognized as the gems that they are, and are worth checking out for visitors and newcomers alike. The following are five to consider.

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(credit: Jennifer C./Yelp)

Runyon Canyon
2000 N. Fuller St.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 666-5046
www.laparks.orgRunyon Canyon is a local's go-to park for walking their dogs, taking a stroll while talking business or hiking to their heart's content. However, this 160-acre expanse situated on the Santa Monica Mountain's Eastern end is not on the radar of most visitors appearing in the City of Angels. So go, see, and choose to take the rigorous Hero Trail if you're looking for a way to watch a notorious Tinseltown sunset while also enjoying ideal views of the area, from the Hollywood sign to the Sunset Strip. Now, how's that for an insider's answer to doing two things at once and being paid off in spades? Score!

los angeles public library - verified
(credit: Terrence Y./Yelp)

Los Angeles Public Library
630 W. 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 228-7000
www.lapl.comA library may the last place on any visitor's itinerary in terms of what to take in while in the City of Angels. Think again. The main library of this vast urban sprawl offers a bounty of wonders, all gems hidden in plain sight. Even if you already live in LA or are taking time to check out this metropolis for a possible move, you may want to consider the millions of books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs and CDs stocked for check-out at this iconic downtown mainstay. That said, if you have the time, you may also want to take a lesson or two while you're on the premises. From computer science to storytelling, this is the place to go for free instructions on these particular subjects and many others as well. Who knew? Now you do

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(credit: Blind Barber)

Blind Barber
10797 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 841-6679
www.blindbarer.comYou may think you're headed for a beard trim, a shave or a hair cut when you set out to visit the Blind Barber, and that could very well be true. But afterwards, take a walk through the shop to the back door and you'll unleash an unexpected sight: an old fashioned speakeasy where the drinks are refreshing, the entertainment is off the chain, and the bartenders like to surprise their guests with their favorite concoctions. All of this debauchery is hidden from the barber scene yet just steps away. So who's the fooled person, now?

Related:  LA's Best Unusual & Unique Museums 

Virginia Robinson Gardens
(credit: Virginia Robinson Gardens)

Virginia Robinson Gardens
1008 Elden Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 276-5367
www.robinsongardens.orgIt can be difficult to imagine that there are any places in Los Angeles that have gone under the radar, but The Gardens of Virginia Robinson in Beverly Hills is certainly one of them. The mansion, which was built in 1911, was one of the first homes in the area and was known for hosting legendary parties. Today, the garden is an LA historical landmark, but also a place where Angelenos and visitors come to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The Last Bookstore
(credit: Sharon Bush)

The Last Bookstore
Spring Arts Tower
453 S. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 00000
(213) 488-0599
www.thelastbookstore.comLofts usually aren't the place where books are bought, but the one housing The Last Bookstore contains these meaningful old school resources on overload, all waiting to have pages turned and type touched at what is billed as the largest bookstore in California. Not only are used and new volumes on sale in this spacious place where books are creatively stored until purchased (up to and including in the curved walls and all the way up to the ceiling) but a nice selection of vinyl is also on offer among the other treasures ready and willing to go with you when you leave the 20,000 square feet you were lucky enough to peruse. E-readers, beware. Books are here to stay!

Related: Most Morbid Hollywood Tours 

Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist and always travels with her pillow. Check out her articles on

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