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Something different in Los Angeles

LA is more than just its famous landmarks. Once you’ve paid your respects at the Hollywood Walk of Fame and have dallied on the Santa Monica Pier, it’s time to explore the city’s less-trafficked attractions. Think: trendy boutiques away from the main drag, hidden gardens where you can drink up a moment of tranquillity, and water sports schools for those SoCal surfers.

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Hidden haunts

Though many of the most famous sights in Los Angeles are spectacularly visual – there’s no missing the 45-foot-high letters of the Hollywood Sign – the city also has untold numbers of hidden haunts to explore. From secret Prohibition tunnels to Brookledge (a theatre once frequented by Houdini), don’t be afraid to do some digging.

Underground LA

Live music venues

Los Angeles is host to dozens upon dozens of theatres and music venues, which range from the petite to the colossal. Landmarks like the Hollywood Bowl and Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall are icons in their own right, but smaller spots like the Sayers Club and Hollywood Forever (which also happens to be a cemetery) have plenty of their own charms.

Where to see live music in LA

Trendy eco boutiques

Few cities can give Los Angeles a run for its money when it comes to shopping. And while those itching to splurge would do well to hit legendary stores like Fred Segal, we’d also recommend checking in with some of the city’s hottest eco brands, from TENOVERSIX – which stocks cult designers and ethically sourced body products – to Clare V, which trades in handcrafted leather bags.

The hottest eco brands in LA

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LA for families

Los Angeles is a family-friendly town, and that’s not only due to Disneyland. From the kid-approved LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to the street performers along Venice Beach, from the legendary Amoeba Music shop to the throwback Cinerama Dome movie theatre, there’s plenty here to entertain travellers of all ages.

Travelling with teenagers

Secret gardens

We may not think of Los Angeles as being a particularly green city, but make no mistake: the city’s many secret gardens offer up the dose of verdant calm that you crave. The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is one of the best places in the city for a breath of fresh air, while Griffith Park is home to its own manmade secret garden – see if you can find it on your next trail hiking trail.

Hidden gardens of LA

Surfing spots

Hang ten! Even if you’ve never surfed before, you’ll probably be tempted by Los Angeles’s picture-perfect beaches. A number of surf schools are available to wave-riding newbies, and competitions like the Vans US Open of Surfing make for thrilling viewing. If you aren’t ready to rent a board of your own just yet, you can still soak up the surfing scene at the city’s many beachside cafes.

A guide to surfing in LA

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Image credits: Walt Disney Concert Hall © Discover LA, Eco boutiques - Tenoversix © Tenoversix, Venice Beach skate park © Discover LA, all other imagery © iStock