Venice is know for its beach, the glorious stretch of pristine white sands, the warm sunshine and the palm trees making for the perfect postcard. You need not step onto the beach in order to experience the vibrant culture of Venice, just walk along the bustling boardwalk and you will see the local scene unfold before you. Watch the street performers mesmerize spectators with their talents, buy something very unique from any of the shops that line the Boardwalk, or catch the attraction that is the Muscle Beach, where Arnold Schwarzenegger-worshipers pump iron and strive to look as big and muscular as possible.
One of the most telling symbols of Los Angeles, the Hollywood Sign is perched sky-high on Mount Lee. This popular piece of signage was originally set up in 1923 to serve as an advertising gimmick for real estate development, only to become as legendary as its abode in the years that followed the Golden Age of Hollywood. Overlooking the urbane sprawl of its namesake neighborhood, the sign glistens under the Californian sun, profoundly iconic in its stark white lettering that stands at a height of 44 feet (13.4 meters). Swathes of barricades and restricting gates prevent access to the sign, even as adventurous individuals attempt to trespass it. Part of an everlasting cultural fabric that blankets the city of Los Angeles and perhaps all of America, this historical sign has come to be one of the most tangible aspects of Hollywood's fantastical realm.
Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is steeped in history that dates back to when it was founded in 1771. Visitors can tour this well-preserved Roman Catholic Mission grounds and visit its museum. View the tall buttresses and walls then check out the campanile that holds six bells that were crafted between 1795 and the 1830s. The beautiful altar was made in Mexico City in the 1790s and some of the wooden statues were carved in Spain in the 1700s. The mission museum exhibits relics, books and religious artifacts.
Bhagavad Gita Museum is truly a unique Los Angeles gem. Opened in 1977, this museum was opened to help teach visitors about the Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse Hindu scripture calling for selfless action. You'll learn about the scripture through eleven large dioramas that depict colorful scenes. You'll also see animatronics that help bring life to the story. Sign up for a guided tour and experience this one-of-a-kind museum for yourself.
The Lake Shrine is a beautiful place hidden away in Pacific Palisades. It is the resting place for a portion of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes and people from around the world come to pay their respects. The grounds cover ten acres and lie on a former movie set. There is a lake with swans, lush greenery, waterfalls, and beautiful statues. A perfect place to spend the day when you need to get away from it all, the memorial is open to visitors of any denomination. This pleasant place was created by Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda in 1950. Services for followers of this yogi are held in a Dutch windmill left over from its days as a movie studio.
Built among tall redwood trees, the Wayfarer's Chapel is a picturesque church that is made of glass and stone. A dream venue for weddings, the glass church as it is called, sees many weddings throughout the year. Gazing at the skies through the glass ceiling makes one enjoy beauty of Nature. The church has huge lawns and the spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean are sure to win you over.
This Byzantine-style architectural wonder is 454 feet tall and takes up a whole block of space. A tourist attraction in itself, the venue is always alive and humming with activity. Regular tours are held here, so tourists and locals can explore the interiors without getting lost. The structure was built in the mid 1920s. Call for more information, and don't forget your camera!
With a daily circulation of more than one million readers, the Los Angeles Times is by far the most popular newspaper in the Southland. Situated on the outskirts of downtown, the publication's headquarters is a massive building that was built in Modern style in 1935. Free tours of the original, historic plant are offered to the general public on a regular basis. Tours must be reserved at least a week ahead of time. Tours of the actual printing plant are also available but you may have to call for details and tour times.
This imposing Los Angeles landmark was built in 1896 by architect John Parkinson, and was known as the primary steel-reinforced and fireproof structure in the city. Thereafter, it gained its most popular status, the one that designated the building as home to the wildly popular Grand Central Market. The market replaced its erstwhile occupant, the Ville de Paris Department Store in 1917. The Homer Laughlin Building has since seen several renovations, once in the 1905 and again in the 1990s. The building is also well known for serving as the office of Frank Lloyd Wright, famed American architect, sometime in the roaring twenties.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is the mother church of the archdiocese of Los Angeles. Originally built in the 1800s, it was rebuilt to the tune of USD 180 million after the Northridge earthquake in 1994. Every Sunday, this seven-level structure accommodates up to 3000 worshipers. Additionally, the lower-level Crypt Mausoleum is also worth a glance, it is a solemn place of repose for local bishops and cardinals.
La Placita Church, also called La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles or The Church of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels, is a historic Catholic church. Founded in 1814 by Franciscan Fray Luis, this church was built over the remains of an old adobe church. In 1861 the church created a replacement chapel using the same old materials. La Placita Church now features some lovely modern additions, including a tile mosaic of The Annunciation, but it still has its historic charm.
This traditional structure was built in 1976 for the Jodo Shinshu Sect under the Buddhist Churches of America. Higashi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple is associated with the Honpa Hongwangi-ha Hongwanji (Nishi Hongwanji) in Kyoto, Japan. A wide flight of stairs leads to the entrance, and the roof is made of pretty blue tiles and holds two dragons to protect it. The temple is open to anyone: regardless of color, creed or nationality who is interested in learning about the teachings of Amida Buddha. Call the temple before attending for more information.