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Los Angeles' 5 Best-Kept Secrets

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    When we first came across photographer Molly Steele's work, we couldn't believe her snaps of lush treelines and untamed riverbanks were taken in Los Angeles. Turns out, beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and Rodeo Drive lies a secretly rustic city full of cozy bars, charming vintage shops, and natural hideaways. And, we're totally in love with it.

    For a glimpse into L.A.'s hidden charms, we asked the Florida native — whose commercial and personal work involves unearthing unusual, picturesque locales — to share some of the off-the-beaten-path spots in her adopted city. Ahead, get Steele's itinerary and ultra-cool, laid-back Cali vibe, courtesy of Coach. Now, all that's left to do is take the scenic route (or book a plane ticket).

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  2. Photographed by Chantal Anderson.

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    Beachwood Cafe
    2695 North Beachwood Drive, Los Angeles; 323-871-1717


    "I live in Beachwood, a quiet neighborhood in the canyon that leads up to the Hollywood sign. This café has been around for a long time, but two years ago, two women I know bought and transformed it into the perfect place to study or read a book while enjoying your meal. My ideal weekend day involves getting up really early, before the city is awake, and going on a hike and eating alone, here."

  3. Photographed by Chantal Anderson.

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    "The space still has the Art Deco charm of the original, with colorful wallpaper and bright floors. It was always beautiful inside, but, now, it serves wonderful, sustainable food, and everyone is so happy to be there. I usually get one of the veggie-packed omelets — and the tea selection is great, too."

  4. Photographed by Chantal Anderson.

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    The Loved One
    2 East Holly Street, Pasadena; 626-304-0009


    "This vintage shop is tucked away on a side street in Pasadena, about 10 miles from L.A. proper. Because it's off the beaten path, you can find things that elsewhere would get snapped up in less than a day. One of the owners, Hannah Metz, will often recommend a dress I would have never picked out — like a 1960s forest-green waitress uniform that makes me feel like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory — but then looks amazing."

  5. Photographed by Molly Steele.

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    "My style is kind of all over the place. I often choose menswear, like trousers and blazers, but I also have a really expansive collection of vintage dresses — Edwardian styles are my favorite — which is why I try to go to at least one vintage store in every country or state I visit. I love being able to bring back an item that's special to me. That way, every time I see that piece hanging in my closet, I remember the trip. If you're going to L.A., I would recommend making this your vintage stop."

  6. Photographed by Chantal Anderson.

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    The Los Angeles River

    "Even people who live in L.A. don't know about the Los Angeles River — or they're only familiar with the stretch that's all concrete and dried out. There are actually some really lush, fertile environments, not to mention an artist's community called Frogtown that runs alongside it. L.A. River Expeditions leads kayaking trips down the 48 miles of water, which is how I first encountered the river."