The secret and unique places in Los Angeles
These are some of the secret, unique, and hidden gems of Los Angeles that must be visited during your holiday.
From hidden bars and rooftop hideaways, to underground tunnels and truly one of a kind museums, Los Angeles is a verified hub for the unique and wonderful. In this guide, we will walk you through our top secret places in LA, including hidden gems and eccentric attractions.
Time Travel Mart
Fancy a trip back in time during your stay in Los Angeles? Well, a visit to The Time Travel Mart at one of its two locations (Echo Park and Mar Vista) should surely be on your agenda. This truly unique store – where all proceeds go towards the non-profit 826LA – is a certified treat for all those interested in the past and that are in search for one-of-a-kind gifts to bring back home.
To help paint the scene, Time Travel Mart further describe just what is on offer:
“Our motto is ‘Whenever you are, we’re already then.’ Whether you’re an android visiting from 3017, a cave person in search of fresh mammoth chunks, or a tourist taking in the sights, the Time Travel Mart is one-stop shopping for all your time travel needs. Impress people back at home (or in your home century) with souvenirs like Mad Scientist Goggles, Industrial Revolution Pollution, and Emergency Mummy Kits.”
Time Travel Mart were also able to tell us what else visitors can expect to find upon their arrival:
“Both Time Travel Mart locations (in Mar Vista on the Westside and Echo Park to the east) are attached to 826LA’s writing and tutoring centers, where students from 6 to 18 participate in creative writing programs and get homework help. Be prepared to see students from the 21st century having a lot of fun! You can purchase books they’ve published (sample title: No Traffic in Space), plus weird tote bags and T-shirts, and the usual time travel supplies: dinosaur eggs, dodo chow, portable wormholes.”
Galco’s Soda Pop Stop
Thirsty? Well, you’re in luck. Galco’s Soda Pop Stop is a sanctuary for refreshing beverages, selling 600 flavours of soda to suit the needs and tastes of all that enter. Considering all that most of us drink these days is Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or maybe a Dr Pepper, Galco’s Soda Pop Stop is a unique offering and a special find for all those that happen upon its location.
Image Credit: Martha Benedict
Galco’s spoke to us about the store’s history, clearly illustrating what makes the location such a secret treasure for visitors to Los Angeles.
“Galco’s has a long history; it’s been around for almost 100 years. It originally was an Italian grocery store located near downtown Los Angeles but moved into the Highland Park neighbourhood in the 1950s. It thrived for many years, but with the advent of large chain grocery stores, things needed to change.
“John Nese inherited the store from his father and mother and realized that he needed to offer customers an alternative and hit upon the idea of stocking small soda bottlers that needed exposure and support. He wanted to provide ‘Freedom of Choice’ so customers had more than 3 or 4 sodas to choose from.
“He first devoted a few aisles to these regional favourites; once customers discovered that someone was selling these old time and unusual sodas, word spread quickly. Today, Galco’s still sells Italian deli sandwiches, aka Blockbusters, as a continuation of its history.”
In terms of what visitors can expect upon heading to Galco’s, the store told us about their sodas and what else can be found inside:
“Along with 600 different types of sodas, Galco’s also stocks a wide variety of small craft beers, meads, ciders, sakes, French wines and other items you can’t find in regular stores. ‘If you can find it easily somewhere else, I won’t stock it,’ says John about his carefully curated inventory. Customers love to browse the aisles discovering new soda flavours — cucumber, mint, birch beers and more — as well as the old time favourites like Moxie soda, Lemmy, Double Cola and others.
“Additionally, there is a wide selection of old time candies and small toys which make a trip to Galco’s a family affair. Lively 50s music welcomes customers who can also pick up a Blockbuster sandwich and enjoy the comfy vibe at tables in the store or out on the patio. Customers are also encouraged to craft their own soda flavor at Galco’s Soda Creation Station where a million possibilities exist. John is always at the store and is ready to answer questions, offer suggestions and chat with everyone. He believes that people should do what they love and so everyday John sees his store as a place ‘to play not work.’”
Spoke Bicycle cafe
Thinking about exploring LA on a bicycle during your trip? It’s certainly a good idea with many wonderful trails available, and the hidden gem known as Spoke Bicycle Cafe is perfectly designed for such a desire. If you want to rent your ride for the day while simultaneously chowing down on some fantastic grub, this is the place for you.
Spoke Bicycle Cafe describe the unique and charming nature of their establishment:
“We are the first business along the LA River bike path and one of the very few destinations in the city that is more accessible by bicycle than by car. We are a bike shop and a cafe. We rent bikes, repair bikes, sell accessories, serve delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner, locally roasted coffee, draft local beers and California wines. We have live music, outdoor movie showings, and we play and sell records.”
As you can already see, it’s all happening at Spoke Bicycle Cafe, and to help paint the picture further, here is more from the cafe:
“All of our seating is outside on our spacious, partially covered riverfront patio. The space is perfect for large groups, is dog friendly, kid friendly, and a great place to work or meet friends. Our menu can be described as classic California with many locally-made products and ingredients and many vegetarian options. Some favourites include the Spoke burger, breakfast bun, and cauliflower farro bowl. Our coffee is roasted right here in LA and is top notch. Our beers are carefully selected and rotate often. We have a small, but quality selection of wines.”
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