Rain or Shine — 6 ways to have the best local tourist* experience in LA

Jan 14, 2017 · 6 min read

*Local tourist — one who is not an LA native and wants to experience LA like a local. This blog is for you.

So it’s that one week a year where water falls out of the sky in LA and as a result everyone drives unethically slow, calls off from work, and stays at home contemplating life’s problems. If you happen to be visiting LA on one of these days, don’t worry about not being able to head straight from LAX to take the picture perfect IG photo in Venice Beach announcing your arrival.

Before you start cringing at the thought of standing in line in the rain to see Michael Jackson’s star or getting drenched as you walk in circles around the Grove hoping to run into a celeb, I can reassure you that your IG story and celeb spotting dreams are still very attainable. Allow me to show you the best indoor alternatives for site seeing (read: people watching) that will have you questioning the hype behind the more popular attractions.

1. The Grammy Museum

Photo courtesy of SEGD
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame Alternative: Yes, the Walk of Stars is smackdab in the middle of tourist central in Hollywood. Trust me when I tell you crowds of tourists + locals confused by the rain + eager pickpocketters don’t make for an ideal excursion.
  • Things to Do: The Grammy Museum is $13 for adults unless you’re in a group, military, student, or elder and what’s cool is that this museum is interactive. You’ll learn about the Grammys themselves and about the artists who won them.
Photo courtesy of AE Hospitality
  • What to See: LA LIVE is a decent choice on a rainy day because there are bars, restaurants (from a quick pizza spot to a nice steakhouse), bowling, and movies. Each of these places has the stereotypical posh LA ambiance and is a good option to stay out of the rain after you leave the museum. The Conga Room is a fun place to go dance Saturday nights — from salsa to merengue to reggaeton. I recently went to a private event there to see Prince Royce!
  • Major Plus: It’s at LA Live, where the Kings, Lakers, and Clippers play. Also right next to the Microsoft Theatre where they host the EMMYs, ESPYs, BET Awards, AMA Awards, People’s Choice Awards, and more.
  • Advice for a Sunny Day: It’s an up and coming area where there’s almost always something going on in the plaza — red carpets, ice skating, art fairs, etc. Definitely a cool area to come back and check it out during a sunny day if you have time, especially during game or awards season.

2. Amoeba Music

Photo courtesy of LA Times
  • Venice Beach Alternative: Most people love Venice because of the hipster, laid back vibes. Well, aside from skaters and medical marijuana advocates on the boardwalk, what could be more hipster than a record store? Apparently actual CDs and DVDs are still a thing. You even have to go through a metal detector to enter and leave your bags upfront while you’re in the store.
  • Things to Do: Same thing I recommend for Venice Beach — people watch. Trust me on this one.
Photo courtesy of UpOut
  • What to See: There are live shows all the time in every music genre. Think of it as a smaller, more throwback version of iHeart Music Festival. Except not in Vegas. And to promote actual records instead of a streaming service. And only one band at a time.
  • Major Plus: This is literally the largest record store in the world. Get nostalgic looking at music posters and CDs you haven’t seen in years.
  • Advice for a Sunny Day: Take a walk and wander around this area. This part of Hollywood — ever so slightly away from the main touristy part of Hollywood where the stars are — gives you the more local experience. There are bars, restaurants (both vegan and enjoyable), shopping, ArcLight theater — all the typical hangouts of a major city.

3. The Beverly Center

Beverly Center in 1980s. Photo courtesy of Trip To The Mall
  • The Grove Alternative: Sure the Grove has a train (literally only used by tourists) and outdoor area for events and filming, but if it’s raining you won’t be able to look around and take in the scenery.
  • Things to Do: The Bev Center is right down the street with tons of shopping, restaurants, and places to just sit and people watch as you plan the rest of your days in LA. It’s also next to Cedars Sinai Hospital, the celeb go-to for having their babies and also being escorted from the bar or other crazy events.
Beverly Center today. Photo courtesy of Bayley Construction
  • What to See: Of course you have to experience the 5-level glass-window escalators that are in the panorama view of pretty much every movie ever shot in LA — although they’re constantly renovated so slightly less recognizable to the untrained, non-LA eye.
  • Major Plus: If you’re looking for wifi or a place to plug in your phone, the whole shopping center has wifi (FREE_Beverly) and yes, there’s an Apple store with chargers galore!
  • Advice for a Sunny Day: Return on a sunny day and you’ll get an amazing view of LA — from the Hollywood sign to DTLA — from these escalators. The area surrounding the Bev Center is full of restaurants and shops with patios and outdoor seating to soak in the usual LA sunshine.

4. Grand Central Market DTLA

Photo courtesy of HappeningInDTLA
  • The Original Farmer’s Market Alternative: I’m separating The Grove from the Farmers Market because they offer two completely different experiences. The Farmers Market offers a more diverse range of food options with free-for-all open seating.
  • Things to Do: There isn’t a huge difference between most open layout markets — but unlike the Farmer’s Market, Grand Central is completely covered to shield you on a rainy day! One great thing about LA is our diversity of cultures, especially evidenced in our food. Try a type of food that you normally wouldn’t!
  • What to See: Events are held regularly, from live Jazz music to Trivia Tuesdays and other game nights.
Photo courtesy of Discover LA
  • Major Plus: Two blocks away is City National Plaza, an underground — literally and figuratively — food court and mall. Even many locals haven’t discovered this place yet, and you’re sure to be out of the rain down here! There are also a ton of nearby museums, theatres, and indoor sites to see. My personal fave, the Broad which has both cool art and super instagrammable sites like the Infinity Mirrored Room.
  • Advice for a Sunny Day: Walk around this area of downtown. Right across from Grand Central is the LA Landmark Angel’s Flight. Not to far from there is Pershing Square — one of LA’s parks where many outdoor events are enjoyed on sunny days.

Each of these places are definitely visitable rain or shine. The cool thing is that you don’t have to wait for a rainy day to hit them up — you may be waiting all year.

So what do you like to do on rainy days? Let us know! #BlueWonderRainyDays

Taylor is the newest member of voyadi.com (formerly Blue Wonder Travel). She is a self proclaimed #touristyinmyowncity and has lived in 7 different cities on 3 continents over the past 8 years. Learn more about her at taylordmills.com and contact her at taylor@banianlabs.com.

© taylordmills 2017


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*Local tourist — one who is not an LA native and wants to experience LA like a local. This blog is for you.

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