Breathtakingly gorgeous with an impressive blend of landscapes, from beaches to vineyards, mountains and deserts, California is the state that summons dreamers and explorers alike.
Zoom in on Los Angeles, home to sun, surf and celebrities, and a performing arts capital where musicians, actors, writers and artists look to have their dreams fulfilled. Hidden behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, are secret hideaways that reveal the alluringly charismatic side of Los Angeles. An indie homage to film and music buffs the world over, come explore these 6 under-the-radar venues.
For the indie music lovers:
Most of us have heard or visited the popular Amoeba Music, Hollywood Bowl and Grammy Museum where you can find pop music culture and exhibitions. Fans of indie music should experience these three unique music spots as well:
1. A breath of fresh air at “The Smell”
What a breath of fresh air to find this not-for-profit community club run by volunteers. All are welcome here. It is a place for musicians to perform as well as for artists to hang their paintings on the wall. Onto its 19th year, The Smell still maintains the DIY principle where all pitch in, from booking shows, to selling tickets, performing, manning the vegan snack bar, and even cleaning up the venue to benefit the community. The $5 admission is hard to beat. This non-discriminating club is open to lovers of punk, electronic, and rock music of all ages. Punk band Health, girl group Vivian Girls, pop-punk group Fidlar, and noise rock group No Age all began their music career here. This gritty and underground Los Angeles haunt with a capacity for 130 persons has jagged brick walls booming with loud, electric music.
Location: The Smell, 247 S. Main Street
2. Cozy up at “The Echo”
This laid back music club stands out in LA for being small and cozy. It is intimate enough to get close up views of your favourite acts. But don’t let the cheap beer, pizza, and casual setting fool you, the music quality is superior with excellent acoustics in place. In fact, New Yorkers travel to LA just to experience The Echo. Come on Mondays when admission is free, and before the punk rock bands performing here become the next big thing.
Location: The Echo, 1822 Sunset Boulevard
3. Chill at the bluewhale
Tucked inside a shopping mall in Little Tokyo, this is an unusual setting for live jazz music. Brainchild of Korean-born Jazz musician, Joon Lee, this is one of the best jazz clubs in town. The free seating performance area makes it an intimate place for musicians to play, with fans casually gathered around them. Find an extensive menu of craft beer, whiskey, sake, and of course, organic, healthy Asian-inspired bar chow.
Location: bluewhale, Weller Court Plaza, Level 3, 123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. Suite. 301
For the movie fanatics:
Seeing the iconic Hollywood Sign and The Walk of Fame may no longer excite the serious movie fanatics. Why not check out some actors’ stomping grounds. You may even get a chance to get up close and personal with your favourite Hollywood celebrity!
1. Rekindle romance at Runyon Canyon Park
Remember the scene from La La Land where Sebastian and Mia did a romantic tap dance duet against a backdrop of city lights? Experience this firsthand when you hike up the Runyon Canyon. Get away from the city buzz of LA and enjoy the serenity and cityscape from a bird’s eye view. If you are lucky, you may get a chance to be star-struck because this is the go-to park for celebrities like Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, Ben Stiller and more. If the celebrity sightings get you high, the free daily yoga classes in the park can surely help get your feet back down on the ground.
Location: Runyon Canyon Park, 2000 North Fuller, Los Angeles
2. Sleek cinema screenings at Downtown Independent
Located in the Little Tokyo area of downtown LA, you can find this one-screen movie theatre with seating for over 200. While it’s popular for its comedy nights, what most people don’t know is that they play some of the best new releases from indie film studios. Its glass and steel cube sleek architecture makes it a favourite setting for high-brow events and fashion shows. Get up on the rooftop to enjoy a great view of the LA skyline. Before heading there, remember to check out what film is screening and to order some wine or beer to pair with your art film.
Location: Downtown Independent, 251 S Main Street, Los Angeles, California
3. Arena Cinelounge Sunset
Formerly a part of the historic Egyptian Theatre and a stone’s throw away from the Chinese Theatre, this cinema is anything but traditional. This is the place to find cutting-edge, modern indie films right at the heart of Hollywood. It boldly takes chances on films no other Los Angeles cinema would risk booking. The adventure begins as you enter the theatre through the public parking lot and the rear alleyway. There are up to 5 films on offer every day for guests to choose from. Check the listing online before you head down!
Location: Arena Cinelounge Hollywood, 6464 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angles, California
In this city of aspiring performers, take advantage of experiencing live shows and watching unique indie films. There is no other place in the world overflowing with this much talent raring for an audience. Watch them sing, play, or act before they make it big. Being in their midst, you will probably head home inspired to conquer your own dreams.
To celebrate United Airlines’ launch of their non-stop flight from Singapore to Los Angeles, we are giving a pair of tickets on our Instagram page. Hop over there to take part!
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Best time to visit
The months of March to May and September to November are the best times to visit Los Angeles. With temperatures ranging from 10 to 27 degrees Celsius, it is comfortable to walk outdoors and explore.
For Downtown Los Angeles, the Sunset Strip, Beverly Grove and Universal Studios, tourists can rely on public transportation (Metro Buses, Dash Buses, and the Metro Rail Trains). But for all other areas, it is best to hire a car and drive around.
As with the rest of the United States of America, the US Dollar ($) is the legal currency in Los Angeles.
Starting October 29, United Airlines will be flying direct from Changi Airport to Los Angeles. Book your tickets now.