Hidden Treasures of LA

La is filled with so many iconic cultural attractions, destinations and treasures. From the Hollywood sign and Walk of Fame, to the Santa Monica Pier along with the La Brea Tar Pits, it’s no surprise why tourists flock to Tinseltown from across the globe. But there’s a whole lot more to see and experience in this magical city than might initially match the eye. World-class restaurants are hidden in strip malls here, and nature thrives in the midst of massive urban sprawl. With an adventurous spirit, and a little bit of guidance, you can set out on your own to view the best kept secret dives and gems of LA.

Los Angeles River

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Many native Los Angelenos don’t even realize that the Pacific Ocean isn’t really the only body of water in their home town- the Los Angeles River is a 48-mile long waterway that flows right through the middle of the city! A huge revitalization and restoration initiative recently made the river far more accessible and enjoyable. There are hiking and bike trails that run along its gently curving banks, and an expedition company that leads guided kayaking trips down the river! Take a walk across the water and you’re guaranteed to see another side of the city you never knew was there.

Beach Cities of South Bay

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While tourists head to Malibu in droves, local Angelenos know to head south for a day at the beach. The three sister cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach flank the South Bay of La, and offer residents and visitors an entirely different type of beach culture. Though real estate in this area is some of the most expensive in the country, the vibe in the beach and also in the streets is casual and with a lack of pretension. Pack up your car from www.downtownnissan.com and plan a day visit to explore these quiet coastal enclaves. We like strapping our surfboard on the roof in our Nissan Expedition from http://www.downtownnissan.com to catch some breaks at Hermosa. Afterwards, go to one of the local seafood shacks like Fishing With Dynamite to refuel on some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste.

Mystery Pier Books

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Trying to find Mystery Pier Books feels a bit like stepping into a fairy tale. This highly laurelled but hidden independent bookstore is one of West Hollywood’s best-kept secrets. You have to walk down a flight of stone steps and into a narrow alleyway before stumbling across the tiny little cottage that houses Mystery Pier, after turning into a hidden entryway on the Sunset strip. A Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, the store is really a virtual literary museum. It houses a remarkable selection of rare books, including first edition prints of William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. Though you might not be able to afford the $100,000 price tag attached to many of these special volumes, you can browse to your heart’s content at the truly unique Los Angeles treasure trove.