A three-day Los Angeles city tour!?

Yes, this is what I'm planning to do with my dad at the end of January. It might be hard to imagine an LA trip without theme parks and Hollywood, but this city indeed has a lot more than these artificial and affluenza landmarks.

When my dad finally decided to visit me during the Chinese new year, two ideas immediately came to my mind were: a road trip to Yosemite, and an Amtrak ride along the coast. Surprisingly, upon hearing my ideas, he said he is a lot more interested in the city itself. Unlike the last trip we did twelve years ago, a typical theme-parks-and-Hollywood trip, this time he'd rather get to know the city more.

To be honest I was quite happy to know his suggestion. From Hengchun, Taipei, Worcester, Boston to Los Angeles, I always like to discover hidden spots in cities. In Taipei, I enjoyed riding my bike in aged military-affiliated communities near Taipei 101 more than joining the huge crowd in the shopping plaza under the ugly skyscraper. In Los Angeles, I found a downtown strolling far more attractive than theme park pilgrimages. Now it's time to excavate more interesting hidden experiences in this diverse mega city!

Even a quick search on tripadvisor.com prompted so many cool spots I've never heard of. While preparing for this "local" trip, I think it's worth to documenting some information I ran across, as well as how I planned this trip.

Ethnic enclaves

Travel around the world in Los Angeles! Just realized that I haven't taken advantage of the ethnic diversity to get good food and experience various cultures since moving here in 2012. My dad's visit is definitely a good time to do it.
  • Little India in Artesia
  • Olvera street near Union Station
  • Armenian communities in Glendale
  • Little Ethiopia in mid city
  • Historic Philippine town
  • Thai town near Hollywood
  • Little Tokyo
  • Little Saigon in Westminster
  • Cambodia Town, Long Beach
  • Little Arabia or Little Gaza, Anaheim
  • Little Persia near Westwood

View Ethnic Enclaves in Southern California in a larger map

Historic downtown

Southern California is never a cultural desert. In downtown LA you can experience the atmosphere of a typical American business district while seeing the unique landscapes of this city! Sadly it's often considered unsafe and boring, which explains why most Angelinos have never been there...
  • El Pueblo de Los Angeles
  • Olvera Street
  • The Grand park
  • Grand central market
  • Central Library
  • Angel's flight
  • Business district
  • Little Tokyo
  • Union Station
  • The Walt Disney Concert Hall

Near Downtown

  • Exposition Park
    • USC
    • California Science Center - the Endeavor opens on weekends
    • Rose Garden
  • Griffith Park and Observatory
    • Travel Town & Railroads
  • Hollywood Bowl (& Overlook)
  • The Japanese Garden
  • The Gamble House


There are some "architectural battlefields" around the US, where every famous architect tried to display his own masterpiece. LA is also one of them.

From http://www.archdaily.com/104761/architecture-city-guide-los-angeles/:

View Architecture City Guide: Los Angeles in a larger map

(More to be added...)