West Los Angeles is a vibrant area packed with popular tourist destinations which can get very crowded. However, nestled amongst these renowned spots are one-of-a-kind hidden gems treasured by locals. These secret spots offer a chance to unwind and enjoy a more peaceful experience. Here’s a curated guide of five unique, hidden places in West L.A. that provide a break from the usual tourist spots. Bookmark this guide if you’re looking to explore our side of town like a local!

Mother’s Beach, Marina del Rey

Mother’s Beach, also known as Marina Beach, is a family-friendly destination situated in the welcoming neighborhood of Marina del Rey. It’s located in a peaceful 12-acre lagoon, which offers a calm swimming area, making it ideal for children. This tranquil destination boasts several picnic areas, a playground, and volleyball courts. Moreover, visitors can rent paddle boards and kayaks from vendors. Mother’s Beach is an excellent destination if you’re looking to relax at the beach but don’t want to deal with the crowds of more popular beaches such as Santa Monica or Venice Beaches. Furthermore, it is within walking distance of several excellent restaurants, such as Beachside Restaurant & Bar and Sinder Lounge.

Admission: Free

Kenneth Hahn Park, Baldwin Hills

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, also known as Kenneth Hahn Park, is one of the biggest urban parks and regional open spaces in  West Los Angeles. It’s a well-loved destination for locals, offering a variety of activities within its verdant 401 acres. Kenneth Hahn Park boasts several viewpoints with panoramic vistas of the Los Angeles skyline and the Hollywood sign. ​​It is home to five miles of trails, including the Burke Roche Trail and the Rim Trail, which cater to different fitness levels. It is perfect for family gatherings as it houses several picnic areas scattered throughout the park, many with picnic tables and barbecue grills.

Admission: $7 per car

Point Dume Natural Preserve, Malibu

Point Dume Natural Preserve is a 34-acre preserve situated at the western end of Malibu. It’s one of the finest examples of a coastal bluff in Southern California, which protects a wide range of plant and animal life. The park is an excellent spot for hiking, with a short but steep trail that leads to the top of the bluffs. From the top, hikers are rewarded with awe-inspiring vistas of the Santa Monica Bay and the Los Angeles coastline. Point Dume is a quiet spot to relax and immerse yourself in Malibu’s beautiful natural landscape.

Admission: Free

Hike Behind the Hollywood Sign, Mount Lee

A great way to explore West Los Angeles is by going on a hike. While tourists typically crowd the various viewpoints to take photos with the Hollywood sign, locals hike to the spot behind the Hollywood Sign. This Hollywood Sign Hike takes about three hours and awards hikers with unobstructed vistas of the Hollywood Sign, the city’s skyline, and the Pacific Ocean. There is also an option for a less strenuous 90-minute hike that takes people directly below the Hollywood Sign. The best way to do these Hollywood hikes is with a guided tour by companies such as Bikes and Hikes LA. Standing behind the Hollywood Sign and looking down at the city and ocean, you can’t help but feel on top of the world!

Admission: $29 for a guided hike behind the Hollywood sign with Bikes and Hikes LA.

Paradise Cove Beach, Malibu

Paradise Cove Beach is a public beach well-known by locals for its surreal natural beauty and celebrity clientele. It sits in front of the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, which provides a charming California beach experience with dining and rentals. ​​The beach boasts a stunning setting with calm waves, sandy shores, and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. In addition, due to its hidden location and upscale ambiance, Paradise Cove Beach has been a popular spot for Hollywood celebrities. There is a good chance that you might run into a familiar face while relaxing there!

Admission: Free

Photo by the L.A. County Department of Parks & Recreation.

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