Hike to the Bridge to Nowhere in the San Gabriel Mountains; just one of a few Los Angeles places to visit when you want to chill. (Photo: chasebrock / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo)
Los Angeles may be one of the world’s most well-rounded destinations. The city offers a buffet of cultural institutions both established and brand new, burgeoning and world-class culinary offerings, plus endless opportunities to see and be seen in tony neighborhoods favored by entertainment-industry types. Alas, when you visit, you must also contend with the requisite parking and traffic nightmares required to access all that cultural goodness–just like us locals.
The good news is L.A. also offers plenty of opportunities to regroup and relax. Here are just a few among them.
Reflect at The Huntington
The Huntington, a library, art collection and botanical gardens, provides countless opportunities to relax and find your center amid sprawling grounds. The gardens alone cover 120 acres, with more than a dozen unique areas including thousands of plant varieties. Among the most well known areas are the Desert Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Chinese garden, which all provide peaceful terrain for quiet reflection.
Soak in Korean Spas
Of course, Los Angeles is well known for its over-the-top posh spa options — befitting Hollywood’s elite. But it’s also the place for regular folk to soak in an ethnic pampering experience, given its range of Korean spas. Primarily located in Koreatown, popular day spas include the 24-hour Wi Spa, and Century Spa — both massive, multi-floor complexes where you can easily spend an entire day.
Get Lost on Hiking Trails
Sure, Los Angeles has plenty of hiking trails that offer experiences akin to people-watching in an elite gym. (Looking at you, Runyon Canyon.) But the region, of course, also hosts an array of hiking trails that really offer a chance to get away from the urban intensity and find inner calm. Consider a trek to Fish Canyon Falls, or the mysterious Bridge to Nowhere for a remote escape.
Find Yourself at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple
Lake Shrine, dedicated in 1950, attracts thousands each year seeking a spiritual experience amid peaceful grounds and natural beauty. It covers 10 acres, offering you a chance to roam gardens and a natural spring-fed lake, and the property hosts swans, ducks, koi, and other soothing flora and fauna. The venue also includes a court that honors the world’s five principal religions, the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial, a museum, and a gift shop with Indian arts and crafts.
Wind Down Venice Canals
Not to be confused with the famous canals of Venice, Italy, the canals of Venice, California make for a peaceful backdrop for a day of unwinding by the water. More than a century old, the man-made canals were carved from the region’s wetlands in the spirit of the Italian city’s landscape. Now, canal views and salt air make for solitude and tranquility during an afternoon stroll.