Tourist stop swaps in Los Angeles

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Erica Lee/File

During the sunny months of summer, travelers flood the gates of California in search of top tourist destinations. While these attractions span across the state, most can be found in one location: Los Angeles. This city of stars contains a plethora of activities, yet many of the same top attractions are targeted. With thousands of people flocking to Hollywood and Santa Monica, the allure of these areas is smothered. Instead of fighting fleets of selfie-stick families, check out these alternative areas for a taste of LA without the overwhelming crowds.

One of the first stops while touring Los Angeles is none other than the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Known for its supposed glitz and glam, many find this façade immediately crushed beneath the feet of thousand of sightseers. Instead, hunting for celebrities’ tiles becomes a game of avoiding getting lost in massive crowds, hit by cars and pickpocketed. Rather than tackling this mess on Hollywood Boulevard, why not go straight to the main attraction itself: the Hollywood sign. While there have been many endeavors to block the way to this historical landmark, many persistent people have been able to find successful hiking paths to the sign. All it takes is a simple Google search and you’ll be able to navigate away from the crowds and into the hills of the most famous town in showbiz. Plus, once you reach the top, you’ll be trying to spot your favorite actor’s home rather than a slab of concrete marked with their name.

Following this destination, other top attractions include numerous museums within the city. One whose name has gained even more fame recently is the Griffith Observatory. Thanks to the Oscar-winning film “La La Land,” the views from this location have been broadcast internationally. This has left audiences yearning to recreate their own love stories on the dusty paths of the observatory. While the astounding view of Los Angeles was no illusion in the movie, neither was the parking situation. Getting up to the Griffith Observatory can be quite a struggle. If time seems better spent away from the crowds, take a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to the Getty Villa. This museum is an extension of its older sibling, the Getty Museum, but provides an experience just as breathtaking. Quietly hidden on a side road in the Pacific Palisades, sightseers flock here to immerse themselves within the art of ancient Rome. After wondering through this Roman-inspired country villa, everyone will leave mesmerized by its unparalleled exhibits and ocean views.

Continuing with museums, The Broad in downtown Los Angeles is one that has been caught in the clutches of social media. Even Adele used The Broad’s most popular attraction, the Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama, as a backdrop for her performance at the BRIT Awards last year. While this museum is free, the line can wrap around the streets, leaving excited viewers sweltering in the sun for hours. If sweat and sunburns don’t sound like an ideal day in LA, take a walk across the street to the Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as the MOCA. Even though it’s a bit smaller than the famed museums, don’t underestimate the value held within its walls. The MOCA presents exhibits that are both unique and challenge society and culture. And if things still don’t get any better, the museum also hosts free music events during the summer, filled with food trucks and funky tunes galore.

Lastly, many do not pass up coming to LA without a trip to Santa Monica. This glitzy beach city offers everything from window-shopping at Third Street Promenade to lazy days on the warm sand. While people tend to dwell on the strip of retailers, the Third Street Promenade holds nothing that couldn’t be found at a local mall. If this sight of another Urban Outfitters puts you off, take a quick trip up to Abbot Kinney Boulevard instead. Although this street is just a few blocks from the tourist-ridden Venice Beach, local boutiques are lined up on every corner. Here, both visitors and residents alike can get their fix of hipster Instagram photos as well as artisanal soaps. Abbot Kinney leaves everyone feeling like they’re locals, but it doesn’t deprive tourists of beloved attractions. So after grabbing an iced coconut milk latte, stroll over to Muscle Beach and snap some pictures of the Los Angeles hot spot.

While LA is home to some of the busiest tourist spots and worst traffic, don’t let that deter a visit. Instead, just enjoy the sun, catch some waves and check out some alternative destinations in this City of Angels.

Contact Kirsty Fowler at [email protected].