7 Hidden L.A. Gems That'll MAKE Your Weekend

We live for the weekend. So, this summer, we're sharing the epic destinations that are filling up our 48 hours of uninterrupted freedom in this new series, Urban Tripping. Get inspired, and then show us your own #Epic48 weekend snaps on Instagram.
Right about now, most of the country is reveling in the last weeks of summer and willing the weather gods to stave off the cold a little while longer. Except Los Angeles.
Here in the City of Angels, we can feel almost smug about the fact that we never need to check the weather forecast to help us decide what we’re doing for the day. From ocean beaches and outdoor concerts to flea markets and alfresco dining, the city is our oyster. All. Year. Long. The only downside? This lack of a change in the weather each season can lead to some serious ruts. Like wearing flip-flops every day. Or going to the same WeHo gay bar every weekend. So, to help breathe new life into your time off, we searched the city for seven killer activities that’ll make a trip to the Rose Bowl flea market sound lame.
To help us round ‘em up, we teamed up with Secret and its Destinations and Scent Expressions Collections, so you stay fresh and smell sweet when you’re braving the warm California sun. From a speakeasy with burlesque and tightrope-walking shows to a shrine that’ll kick your creativity into overdrive, these under-the-radar hot spots guarantee you’ll have a Los Angeles adventure like never before.
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Photo: Courtesy of Valerie Colter.
Lake Shrine
Think you need to spend major bucks on a yoga or meditation retreat to infuse your life with a little more serenity? You’ll think again after checking out this 10-acre site and its beautiful gardens, natural spring-fed lake, and the wildlife (koi and swans and ducks, oh my!) that lives there. If you’re the spiritual type, check out the Court of Religions, which honors the five principal religions of the world. More into world peace than prayer? Don’t miss the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, where a portion of Gandhi’s ashes is enshrined. Even if you’re just looking for a pretty spot to plop for a few hours, a walk around the lush and beautiful grounds will undoubtedly provide plenty of zen-inducing options.

Lake Shrine, 17190 Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Palisades; 310-454-4114.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Museum of Jurassic Technology.
Museum Of Jurassic Technology
Don’t let the name fool you. This place has nothing to do with dinosaurs (sad face) or archeological artifacts. But, walking through this museum is like stepping back in time. From the dimly lit alcoves and winding corridors to the antique wood display cases and baroque music playing, you’ll feel like you’re on a Victorian-era adventure. Even better, there are no boring displays reminding you of the history lessons you zoned out on in high school. In fact, the exhibits (think things like a miniature sculpture of the pope created in the eye of a needle) will confuse the heck out of you. And, that’s the point. The museum’s metaphysicist creator once said that confusion opens the mind and leads to creativity. So, enter this museum with a healthy dose of curiosity and skepticism, and prepare to be wowed.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology, 9341 Venice Boulevard, Culver City; 310-836-6131.
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Photo: Courtesy of RKPR/The La Feline Film Festival.
The L.A. Feline Film Festival
It’s no secret how much of a sucker we are for cat videos. Cats who can’t jump, a kitten that does a killer head bob, the felines that dance to “Turn Down For What” — we want them all! If you’re an obsessive, unabashed cat lady like us, then we’re about to make your day. Introducing, the Feline Film Fest, an entire day that’s devoted to frisky felines. Imagine kitties IRL, the best cat videos (basically all of them), and guest appearances by the famous pawed friends (yes, even Grumpy!). Mark your calendars for September 21, and get ready for some major cute cat overload. And, as if you needed more convincing, a portion of the $15 ticket price will go to local kitty sanctuaries and rescue organizations. Stock up on that Benadryl stat.

LA Feline Film Festival, 700 State Drive, Los Angeles.
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Photo: Education Images/Getty.
Kayaking The L.A. River
In most major metropolitan areas in the country, you have to trek outside the city limits to have water-based adventures. But, here, you can paddle your way through the heart of the city, down the Los Angeles River. Though you shouldn’t bank on white water rapids and Instagram-worthy pics of wildlife on the river bank, you can expect to take in the sights, smells, and sounds of L.A. from a totally different perspective — not to mention have a fun flashback of Sandy and the Grease Lightening boys dancing and racing their cars along the very same river bank.

LA River Kayak Safari, 2825 Benedict Street, Los Angeles; 323-463-6363.
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Photo: Courtesy of Time Travel Mart.
Time Travel Mart
In the market for dinosaur eggs, a robot toupee, or a blank audiocassette to make a 1990s-style mixed tape? Of course you’re not. But, you’ll still love poking around this shop filled with oddities deemed necessary to visit the past or the future. It’s the brainchild of author Dave Eggers, and all proceeds from the sale of these tchotchkes go toward funding his nonprofit, 826LA, which provides free writing lessons to local kids in need. If you find yourself smitten with the concept as you shop, sign up to volunteer. Or, if you have an idea for an item that should be sold along with the Barbarian Repellent and Primordial Soup in a Can, pitch it to the store employees, who may just help you design it for the store to sell.

Time Travel Mart, 1714 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles; 213-413-3388.
Time Travel Mart, 12515 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles; 310-915-0200.
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Photo: Courtesy of Frank Ishman.
No Vacancy
Ever wonder what old Hollywood was like? This building used to be a brothel and a hotel, so you’ll get a sense of both the glamour and grit of that era at this under-the-radar speakeasy. Watch a burlesque show while sipping pre-Prohibition era craft cocktails, then look up as tightrope walkers do their best to balance high above your head. The decor, perfectly suited for the refurbished Victorian mansion, also helps set the mood: baroque fireplaces, original mahogany moldings, red velour everywhere, and vintage cocktail glasses. However, modern touches like the $5 grilled cheese sandwiches in the side room pop-up grill and the photo booth in the old-style telephone booth will remind you of how great it is to be living circa now.

No Vacancy, 1727 N. Hudson Avenue, Los Angeles; 323-465-1902.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hollywood Beer & Music Festival.
Hollywood Beer & Music Festival
The music scene in Los Angeles is as woven into the fabric of the city as sighting film stars shopping at The Grove. To really enjoy the best of what our city has to offer, swing by the annual Hollywood Beer and Music Festival on September 13. The $35 price of admission includes unlimited samples of more than 50 craft beers, live music by local bands and DJs, and a food-truck pavilion to help you stay somewhat sober.

Hollywood Beer & Music Festival, 1735 Vine Street, Los Angeles.
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