Los Angeles has something of a reputation for eccentricity. Maybe it’s the record number of theme parks that can be found nearby. Maybe it’s all of the insane celebrities that call the place home. Maybe it’s the fact that the city gets totally destroyed in films about once a year (that kind of constant reminder of mortality could make anyone a little crazy). Whatever the case, when people visit the City of Angels, their usually not looking for a sensible and conservative weekend; they want something kooky. If you’re one of these thrill-seeking out of towners, here are five strange places in the L.A. area that you’ll want to be sure to visit.
1. Sunken City
Remember back when people were concerned that California might break off from the rest of the continent and sink into the sea? Well, if you understand the California fault lines, you know that the Golden State isn’t in any danger of swimming with the fishes. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t small parts of it that don’t have to worry about getting trapped in Davy Jones’ Locker. In 1929, the 600 block of Paseo Del Mar decided that it was time for a swim.
It began a slow slide into the water at a rate that at times was as high as 11 inches per day. It didn’t complete it’s journey into the sea until the mid 1930s. Most of the houses were relocated before they got swallowed up by the waves, but a few weren’t so lucky. Part of the area is closed off from the public by a chain fence, but but can be clearly seen from a few of the nearby streets.
2. The Great Sand Dune (Pacific Coast Highway)
If you’re driving up the PCH, south of Point Mugu, you’ll catch sight of a massive pile of what appears to be loose sand. Actually, that’s exactly what it is, and climbing to the top of it is one of the most arduous things that you’ll ever do. Personally, I think the phrase ‘two steps forward, one step back’ was coined by someone as they fought against sliding back down to the base. If you reach the top (and for extra fun, try to do so without letting your legs rest), you’ll be treated to a nice view of the ocean.
However, the real fun begins when you realize that the same sand and gravity that made your climb so difficult is going to make your descent spectacular. But don’t worry, a face-full of sand can’t do you much harm. So take a flying leap and try to keep your feet under you as you plummet back towards the base in the most drawn out and uncontrollable crash your body will probably ever experience. Or, bring a piece of cardboard and see how long you can keep your keep standing as you surf down on it.
3. Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hey, have you ever wanted to visit the final resting place of the original Alfalfa from The Little Rascals? Of course you haven’t, until just now when you read that sentence. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in L.A., and holds the remains of hundreds of actors, directors, and others Hollywood influentials. So if you want to pay your respects to the original voice of pretty much every Looney Toons character, or lay a rose on the grave of the guy who named Hollywood, this is the place for you.
4. The Old L.A. Zoo
Located in Griffith Park, the Old L.A. Zoo is basically just what you’d think: A collection of empty and overgrown cages and enclosures. This may not seem like that interesting a place, but once you get there, you’ll see just how much fun it is. Eat a picnic lunch in an empty lion enclosure, or climb around on real monkey-bars. Bring the kids and let them do some exploring, just make sure nobody gets locked in any of the cages, the last time anyone knew where the keys were was 50 years ago…
5. Lucha VaVOOM
If all of these free attractions are making you wonder why you bothered to bring those travelers checks, then maybe it’s time to go someplace where you can spend money. Lucha VaVOOM is a glimpse into the flamboyant violence and action of masked mexican wrestling. However, don’t bring the kids along for this one, because Lucha VaVOOM absolutely revels in its own sleaze. With between-match burlesque shows and over the top comedic commentators, this place has it all (if by ‘all’ you mean enough perversion to make you feel disgusted with yourself for the rest of the trip).
If you go, be sure to bring some money, and if you run out, have some wired to you with Sigue Money Transfer Services, because there’s a gift shop and you’ll be wanting some cringeworthy souvenirs.
Vincent Stokes is a casual freelance writer and traveler.A His recent trips between California and Latin America were helped by Sigue Money services