Are you tired of sitting around all day and want to explore a new place? Well, the City of Angels is a fantastic place to visit, whether you’re a solo traveler or bringing the whole family along. Los Angeles provides a variety of fun and excitement throughout its 503 square miles of land, even during the pandemic. On the downside, it sure gets crowded, especially at popular tourist hotspots, like Hollywood Boulevard and the Santa Monica Pier. Although the crowded tourist attractions tend to be staples of the city and definitely cool to see, you may want to consider visiting the following places to feel like a local in the city. Take it from me, a native Angeleno; born and raised!

The Venice Canals

Venice Canals via Public Domain

The Venice Canals are located in the heart of Venice. They are a great place to leisurely stroll around, a less crowded alternative to the popular Venice Boardwalk, which is only about a ten to fifteen minute walk away. The canals were inspired by the canals in Venice, Italy, providing a very serene “old” feel to the crowded beach city. There are four rows of man made canals with bridges crossing over the water, all surrounded by a residential neighborhood with beautiful houses. Most the houses have a little dock and even a boat they keep in their part of the canal, making it feel very homey and perfect for an afternoon stroll. You can also capture some unique pictures that would include the European style architecture featuring California palm trees in the back (just like the photo above)!

Century City Mall

Century City Mall by Jess C. via Yelp

Also on the westside of Los Angeles, you can walk around and shop at the Westfield Century City Mall, a newly renovated outdoor shopping center with over 200 shops and restaurants. Just a couple years ago, the unique mall spent 1 billion dollars in renovation, making it very visually appealing. Even if you do not actually shop there, walking around is very aesthetically pleasing due to its lounges, cabanas, and plant life throughout. The mall showcases sophisticated artwork, as it partnered with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, making it feel very upscale compared to an average American city mall. The food at the Century City Mall is also a remarkable factor, as it offers fast options like Shake Shack and Los Angeles’ famous Randy’s Donuts, as well as sophisticated sit down restaurants like Din Tai Fung, Tender Greens, and Crack Shack (a popular Southern California chicken eatery). All in all, the Westfield Century City Mall is a great place to spend a few hours, whether you want to spend the time shopping, going out for a bite to eat, or just simply walking around.

Echo Park

Echo Park Lake via Public Domain

Echo Park is located near downtown Los Angeles. Almost hidden in plain sight, there is a man made lake called Echo Park Lake where you can enjoy a few activities that tend to stay free of common tourists. Here you can rent pedal boats that look like huge swans that can take you around the lake with views of the Los Angeles skyline. If paddling a boat isn’t your thing, consider coming to Echo Park Lake for a picnic, yoga or art session, or to sunbathe in the California sun while enjoying some authentic Mexican refreshments sold at vendors nearby. The lake area provides an admirable patch of natural beauty amongst the busyness of downtown Los Angeles.

Other Notable Destinations

View from the Manhattan Beach Pier by and edited by Laura van der Sluys
  • A beach day in Manhattan Beach: This beach town has a variety of restaurants and boutiques. The Manhattan Beach pier is great for pictures and watching surfers from down below. 
  • The Melrose Trading Post: This is a fun flea market where you can find antiques, thrifted clothes, jewelry, and collectables (only on Sundays).
  • Driving around Los Feliz: The hillside neighborhood is part of “Old LA,” so if you want to feel like you’re in the movie La La Land, consider taking a drive around.

Los Angeles, California is a great travel destination, perfect after being cooped up in your home due to quarantine. The city is still enforcing strict guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19, but the places I mentioned above can still be enjoyed and visited during these unprecedented times.