Staying home and binge watching brain-dead television may sound appealing to some but after awhile even that can turn into a monotonous routine. Below I've put together a list of the best and most unexpected places in Los Angeles to relax.
Echo Park Lake
I worked at the swan boat rentals at Echo Park Lake for about a month when I first moved out to Los Angeles. It was such a chill job, and being able to spend my lunch breaks resting on the grass, enjoying the warm sun whilst people watching was so relaxing. Take a short stroll around the lake and listen to the wildlife around you, afterwards you'll feel completely refreshed.
The Last Bookstore
I’m surprised not many people know about The Last Bookstore located on 453 S Spring St in downtown Los Angeles. I could literally spend a day getting lost in the giant bookcase mazes or their large record collection. This place is quirky and a book-lovers paradise. Pick out a novel, take a seat on one of the comfy sofas and get reading. If reading isn't your style then check out the local art and craft for sale on the 2nd floor.
City Hall Observation Deck
Hearing the words, City Hall, probably doesn't sound like your ideal place to go to relax... but once you get past the metal detectors and head up to the observation deck on the 27th floor you'll be put at ease by the panoramic views of the Los Angeles skyline and surrounding mountains. There's something satisfying about being up high and looking down on your surroundings, a quiet and calming way to reflect on the world around you. Not many people know about this place so it shouldn't be too crowded. Plus it’s also free!
There is so much to do at Griffith Park. If you're not sure where to start then I'd suggest heading to Griffith Observatory and sticking to the walking tracks nearby, that way you are close to restrooms and free WiFi. Being amongst flora and fauna is naturally relaxing. During the day you can bring a picnic rug or take a walk, or at evening catch the sunsetting at the Observatory viewing deck - a spectacular way to unwind.
Admission is always free and the best way to get there is by taking the DASH Observatory/Los Feliz bus from the Vermont/Sunset Metro Red Line station.
Museum gardens and courtyards are some of the best places to experience tranquility. I could sit on those life-size spinning tops at the Hammer Museum for hours just looking up at the sky or roam the Mediterranean plants at the Getty Villa. But by far my favourite would be exploring the 16 themed botanical gardens at the Huntington Library, spread over 120 acres. It's a must-see.
You have to admit, going to the beach is always a relaxing experience. It's nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Santa Monica is the most accessible beach for me to get to especially when there is the Expo/Blue Metro Line that takes you all the way downtown. Once here, I'd suggest walking away from the touristy areas including the Pier, and head towards Pacific Palisades for a calming, bare footed walk along the shoreline.
Only open for the season, generally March-September, the butterfly exhibit takes place outside the Los Angeles National History Museum. You’ll need to purchase a ticket (about $14) which will grant you museum entry and with that you’ll be able to access the butterfly pavilion. Walk amongst butterflies dancing between colourful native plants and see caterpillars feeding on leaves. A great opportunity to get some high quality, slow mo film or photographs so don't forget your camera.