Non Touristy Things to Do in LA

March 24, 2016 , In: Drift , With: 2 Comments

Whether I am seeing something for the first time or experiencing something I deeply love over and over again, getting out and exploring is something that I will always find intriguing. I am the kind of person who could travel to the same area several times and still get a refreshing feeling from being exposed to things I love. It’s like coming back to a good book or painting all over again – you always find more.

Maybe it is the way I see things, maybe it’s my perspective shining through. However, even though it is nice to experience some of the same things twice, it is always great when you are able to include new sights, sounds and smells into your adventures to spice things up! Smell is supposed to be the most powerful of senses, triggering memory, but you must indulge all the senses to form new and unforgettable memories.

Just to clarify the meaning of “non-touristy” — these are more than likely the things that people who are visiting LA for the first time would overlook. First timer’s in L.A head straight to the Hollywood sign, to Garuman’s Theatre and Santa Monica pier. But there is so much to do in L.A once all of those classic visits are out of the way. Here’s a few non touristy things to do in la.


I’m pretty huge on museums. In the UK most of them are free which sadly isn’t for L.A Checking out a museum might not be your first big instinct when all you want to do is catch a glimpse of Brad Pitt. But L.A offers some really cool galleries and museums. You can check out both The Getty and The Getty Villa – the Villa is on the way to Malibu and the building itself is a good enough reason to visit. Most people miss out on non touristy things to do in la because they are in a rush to get to the tourist traps. Don’t be that person!

The Getty is nestled up in a mountain near UCLA. You have to catch a little tram to get yourself up there after paying for your parking. The artwork is definitely worth taking a look at, and you’ll feel inspired by the charming visit there as the tram curves hill to hill upward. The first timer may have visited the famous LACMA lights without paying a visit to this incognito must-see.

However, LACMA is a must. It’s full of amazing installations and you can even get involved in some. For example, the Rain Room currently at LACMA is a room full of rain except it sensor’s when you are walking and won’t downpour on you – Only Californian’s would pay to go into a room of rain, duh! Another interesting one that’s pretty out of the ordinary is MONA aka the Museum of Neon Art. It’s fascinating, it’s bright, it’s really really cool.

If you really want to engage your eyes, these non touristy things to do in la are the places to do it. You’re guaranteed to see the world a little more brightly than you did before, and you gain temporary super powers where you control the rain. What’s not to love?

First Fridays

If you find yourself in L.A on the first Friday of any given month in the year then there’s only one place you should be going for your dinner at night: Abbot Kinney near Venice Beach. On the first Friday of every month Abbot Kinney is jam packed full of amazing food trucks where you can sample some of the greatest quick food fixes for a really affordable price. Most people think of First Fridays and art. I think food.

The dessert trucks are incredible too and I highly recommend the Italian Panini food truck and the Cupcake food truck – you’ll find them! Abbot Kinney is an amazing place to visit too it’s full of incredible and quirky shops and cafe’s so it’s worth visiting in the day too.

Places for Coffee

If you wouldn’t imagine that a coffee shop in L.A would be worth going out of your way to visit then you’d be dead wrong. My first recommendation is in Venice, it’s a cafe called Flowerboy Project and it’s a hybrid between cafe and flower shop. You can pick yourself up a Lavender Boy or a Rose Girl coffee and also a beautiful bunch of flowers.

If you head over to Abbot Kinney day or night you have to stop by Intelligensia for coffee – the interior is very minimalist and the barista’s are set up in a huge open square so you can see your coffee being made. They also have really cool march that’s worth taking a look at. Definitely a non touristy things to do in la.

Cool Street Art

If you walk for a mile in L.A you’ll undoubtedly see something worth ‘Instagramming’ but just in case you’re out to get some cool photos I highly recommend taking a wonder down certain streets/routes. The journey is perfect for your Instagram story! Take your followers on an art walk. That’s among one of the non touristy things to do in la — you’re basically a local at this point.

If you’re into painted stairways then you have to check out this Google Map of the coolest painted stairways in L.A. If you’re in L.A on the 26th March there’s a huge tour going on where everyone will be walking this route.

It’s amazing where your feet will take you when you do the non touristy things to do in la. You stuff your gut with the most delicious cupcakes ever, and walk it off as you explore the city. For all the walking you will do, you will need coffee.

Fuel up at FlowerBoy Project in Venice and Intelligensia at Abbot Kinney. Keep those espresso-seeking salivary glands in check.

A block away could host the most incredible artwork you’ve ever seen – forget those stuffy master artists! That doesn’t mean you should skip art museums like MONA. Trust your feet over the tourist bus, and let your senses lead you on unforgettable mini adventures while visiting L.A.



  1. Reply

    Dang it!! We were JUST there. These would’ve been great things to do! We’ll just have to do them when we move down there later this year. 🙂 Thanks for putting so much thought into this post!

      • kacey
      • April 26, 2016

      Aw man! Dont ya just hate when that happens! — At least you have these things to look forward to next time you (hopefully) return! 😉


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Kacey Bradley

Lifestyle - Wedding - Travel

Welcome to The Drifter Collective - a lifestyle blog sharing my love for travel, style, wedding inspiration, homemaking and so much more! Some people call me a traveler, while others refer to me as 'the well cultured friend" who drifts into everything. Pun intended. :)

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