From calming beach visits to walking down Hollywood Boulevards, it's no question that Los Angeles is a popular tourist attraction. Many travelers say they come for Disneyland and stay for the weather, but whether you're a local Angeleno or a vacationer in town for a few days, L.A. is full of gorgeous destinations that most people have never heard of.
The perfect photo opportunities live both inside LA buildings and on its beautiful, beachy coastline. What's even better is the fact that you can visit most of these sites within a day! Here are our top 10 prettiest Los Angeles destinations.
10 "Urban Light" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, you'll be able to see one of the city's most prized pieces of art. The piece "Urban Light,"by artist Chris Burden, is a popular spot for both local and tourist photos.
There are 16 different lamposts in the piece. Against a clear blue Cali sky, it makes for the perfect daytime photo. However, you don't want to miss the way it looks once the sun goes down. All the lamps are lit at dusk, and it makes for an almost-magical feeling. You do have to pay to view all the art inside the museum, but you'll be able to visit and walk through "Urban Light" for free on the LACMA grounds. Take your cameras and don't miss this gorgeous spot!
9 El Matador State Beach
If you came to California for the sun, the sand, and the surf, you should make it a point to stop by El Matador State Beach. Located in Malibu, this beach runs along Pacific Coast Highway and is Malibu's favorite beach spot.
Whether you're into surfing or scenic views, this beach has something for everyone. At any time of day, you'll find both pro-surfers, photographers, and swimsuit models dotted along the beach, as the water and its beach stacks set the scene up for a perfect sunset. You can also hike through the northernmost parts of the beach where you'll find a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean.
8 Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
In Rancho Palos Verdes, California, about a 40-minute drive away from the heart of L.A., is the Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. Also known as a "Sacred Cove," this park is under ecological preservation by the state of California which prohibits the taking of any marine wildlife from its waters. Because of this, travelers are able to see a huge variety of wildlife, marine life, and plant life at the site.
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is most popular for its beautiful hiking trails that take you so high above Los Angeles that you can enjoy views of the ocean and Catalina Island that look just like the pictures.
7 Echo Park Lake
Located in East Los Angeles, the newly restored Echo Park Lake is now a local favorite, especially for families with little children and younger crowds looking for a relaxed day to spend the day. With an awesome view of Downtown L.A'.s skyline and a gentle frame of palm trees above your head, Echo Park Lake is a great place to take your kids boat pedaling or for a picnic at lunchtime.
Not at all far from central Los Angeles, Echo Park Lake is an awesome place to go if you're looking to get away from the rush of the city!
6 The Getty Center Gardens
Calling all art lovers! Los Angeles's famous Getty Museum is not only home to timeless, classic art pieces, but also to a beautiful botanical garden that tourists love to visit. Located at the back of the museum, the Getty Center Gardens is full of colorful flowers and a wide variety of plant life that changes with California's weather.
If you're in search of a photo-friendly place to take pictures in L.A., this is a great place to do it. To visit the entirety of the Getty Museum, including their Botanical Gardens, admission is absolutely free!
5 Carlsbad Ranch Flower Fields
If you're the kind of traveler who's looking to explore every part of California's coast, a visit to Carlsbad on your way up to Los Angeles is a must-visit! For over sixty years, beautiful weather, steady winds, and the right amount of rain has been bringing the flower fields in Carlsbad to life. You'll find a flower of every kind in every color of the rainbow in this well-kept flower field.
As another popular photography spot, the Carlsbad Flower Fields is most vibrant and the most packed with tourists during the Spring and Summer seasons.
4 Malibu Creek State Park
Established in 1974, the Mailbu State Creek Park is located just a little north of central Los Angeles and is a great place to go for daredevil travelers who are curious enough to explore and hike through the Santa Monica Mountains.
With breezy winds and clear skies almost always surrounding the area, the Malibu State Park is a popular place for hikers to explore. When you do reach the top of the hiking trails, you get a fantastic view of L.A. During early March, the wildflowers in the area begin to bloom and breathe color and life to the park. You won't want to miss it!
3 Bradbury Building
The Bradbury Building is actually one of L.A.'s best-kept secrets that many locals don't even know about its existence. Built in 1892, the Bradbury Building is L.A.'s oldest commercial building and was once nothing more than a five-story office. Today, however, it has become one of Los Angeles' most iconic architectural landmarks.
As daylight lights the way upstairs and walkways through the building, many people like to visit the site to see its Romanesque architecture. A Victorian-court, marble stairs, and caged elevators take tourists through all five flights of stairs. If you're the kind of traveler who loves to witness history in the cities you're visiting, think of stopping by Bradbury.
2 Descanso Gardens
Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge is a 150 acres botanical garden that houses tons of flowers and is home to a huge collection of desert plantlife that thrives with California's weather. It's not only a popular destination for tourists but also for families with young children, as its wide-open grounds allows for space to run and walkthrough.
Descanso Gardens is one of the places in L.A. that loves to host events that brings its community together. This coming Halloween, the gardens will be lit up with nearly 1,000 carved jack-o'-lanterns.
1 The Orpheum Theater
In February of 20126, the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles was opened to welcome new Vaudeville acts as the golden age of entertainment began taking over the city. In 1989, the city renovated the theater and turned it into a cinema.
Angelenos who have lived in Los Angeles their whole lives can recall from the theaters earlier days watching comedians, burlesque performers, and musicians that were yet to come up in Hollywood at the Orpheum. Today, the theater is used mostly for concerts and shows. It's a great stop to visit if you want to get a feel for historic Hollywood.