If you’re familiar at all with local Los Angeles clickbait generators and news aggregators you may’ve noticed that whether they’re promoting the hottest restaurants for “celeb” sightings, the hottest restaurants for “celeb” chefs, game changing brunch spots, or juiceries one has to visit before (never after) one dies, they all have one thing in common — they’re focused entirely on the Westside and Central Los Angeles. Those two regions, whilst together larger than all of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and San Francisco combined, comprise just 3% of Los Angeles County’s area.
Perhaps this exclusion of 97% of Los Angeles is driven by the demands of the advertising overlords. Maybe the underpaid “content generators” are just ignorant of most of the region — although nothing I’ve read suggests that firsthand familiarity is ever as prized by their bosses as the ability to describe everything and everyone as “hipster.”
I’m not knocking Central Los Angeles, nor even the Westside. For all the mockery of it, the Westside has some of the best Indonesian, Brazilian, and Persian restaurants, is home to the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and boasts the closest things we have to proper pubs. Central Los Angeles, of course, is typically broken up into the regions of Downtown, Hollywood, Midtown, and Mideast Los Angeles. Downtown deserves more than a footnote, Hollywood is famous around the world for it’s Thai food, Midtown is home to the city’s
most vibrant hottest neighborhood (Koreatown), and MELA is where most of the city’s pupuserias are found.
Meanwhile, though, there are sixteen other regions out there to explore: Angeles Forest, the Antelope Valley, the Channel Islands, the Eastside, the Harbor, Northeast Los Angeles, Northwest Los Angeles, the Pomona Valley, the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains, the South Bay, South Los Angeles’s Eastside, South Los Angeles’s Westside, Southeast Los Angeles, and the Verdugos — 4,608 square kilometers which get almost no love from the listiclers (unless, in the case of the San Gabriel Valley, the listicle in question is of Chinese places of which the reader is accused of being unaware).
So as a corrective, here are my Top 100 secret, game-changing celeb hipster attractions to check out before you die that you should be visiting but don’t know about…
Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, writer, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities — or salaried work. He is not interested in writing advertorials, clickbait, listicles, or other 21st century variations of spam. Brightwell’s written work has appeared in Amoeblog, Boom: A Journal of California, diaCRITICS, and KCET Departures. His work has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft & Folk Art Museum, Form Follows Function, Los Angeles County Store, Skid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as a subject in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Magazine, LAist, Eastsider LA, Boing Boing, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA? and at Emerson College. Art prints of his maps are available from 1650 Gallery and on other products from Cal31. He is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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