Non-Touristy Things to Do in Los Angeles

Non-Touristy Things to Do in Los Angeles

When planning a trip in California, many people spend a day or two in Los Angeles. Most will walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, feel the ocean breeze on the Santa Monica Pier and hike to the historic Hollywood Sign. This is the widely known Los Angeles; the tourist’s Los Angeles. 

There are also lots of alternative, unique, fun and the weird that this amazing city has to offer. Check out my top recommendations with four great “Non-LA” LA adventures you should consider below.


1. Sandstone Peak Hike

Sandstone Peak Hike

  • Ventura County, California

After driving in Los Angles traffic for hours, an escape to nature is much appreciated. With commanding views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Sandstone Peak Hike in Malibu has everything. The scenery evolves from lush trees to strange rock formations to sweeping vistas. Be sure to spend some time at Inspiration Point and its spectacular vantage point. I spent four hours on this lovely hike, including an hour long lunch break at Sandstone Peak taking in the views. 

As I munched my sack lunch, lush green mountains rolled around me and I could see the shimmer of Pacific Ocean ahead. Remember to stop and sign the notebook hidden in the Mt. Allen monument at the peak! 


2. Hsi Lai Temple

Hsi Lai Temple, California

  • 3456 Glenmark Dr, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Outside the main gate, I was met by glowing red, orange and yellow buildings. Inside, I was wholly transported to another culture. I lived in Japan a few summers back and this felt like coming home. The lawn was dotted with tiny Buddha statues and bodhisattvas, enlightened individuals. The Hsi Lai Temple is an actual place of worship where individuals pray to Buddhas and meditate. It is also a learning center to teach Humanistic Buddhism, the Dharma, meditation, chanting and yoga. As I wandered between incensed rooms and peaceful gardens, I never felt farther from Southern California. (View our USA volunteer programs to work at a Buddhist retreat in California).


3. Echo Park Time Travel Mart

  • 1714 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Who has not dreamed of traveling to the future and riding in a flying car or going back in time and seeing dinosaurs roam across the land? You can do all that at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. Sort of. The Time Travel Mart ( is a convenience store with household items that your robot of the future will need or that your great, great (keep repeating great) caveman grandmother would have used.

Try the Tooth Darkening Strips for a duller smile or grab a Time-Freezy Hyper Slush to freeze you right where you are. The added bonus is that all proceeds benefit 826LA, a non-profit organization that provides free tutoring and writing workshops for students 6 to 18 years old. Now go buy some Big Bang in a Jar and help a kid learn to read!


4. Venice Mosain Tile House

  • 1116 Palms Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Hoping to get some extra color while in Los Angeles? Head over to the Venice Mosaic Tile House, where you will be inundated with color. Artists Gonzalo Duran and Cheri Pann have coated every inch of their home, inside and out, with mesmerizing mosaic tiles. Read your fortune from the tiled fortune cookie, play in the mosaic covered forest and appreciate Cheri’s arresting portraits of Gonzalo.

This charming home and couple will keep you smiling through the hour-long tour, which is easy enough to set up with a simple phone call or email found on their website.


So what are you waiting for? Visit Los Angeles, California! And when people ask if you saw the Walk of Fame, tell them you went back in time instead.


By Alecia Weaver


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