4 Los Angeles Attractions You Won’t Find in Your Guidebook

CIA Los Angeles, California Institute of Abnormalarts, attractions, things to do

The Los Angeles area is full of world-famous attractions, from Disneyland, to The Getty, to Santa Monica Pier, to the Hollywood sign. While it was attractions like these that helped put LA on the world map, however, they’re certainly not all the city has to offer.

All over LA, you’ll find strange and quirky attractions that don’t make appearances in most guidebooks, but are absolutely worth checking out.

Don’t believe us? We’ll prove it!

Here are four offbeat Los Angeles attractions that we recommend seeking out!


Café Jack

You might consider yourself a fan of the movie Titanic, but few people love it as much as Jack Shin, the owner of LA’s Café Jack.

Shin wasn’t born with the name Jack, but actually changed his first name as a tribute to the film’s main character. As if that wasn’t enough to prove his fandom, he then began collecting Titanic memorabilia, and ultimately created a quirky, boat-themed café at 508 S. Western Ave.

The café is decked out with dozens of Titanic-related items including a captain’s wheel, an engine order telegraph, a piano, and a selection of photo stills and posters. Yet while Café Jack has a definite Titanic theme, it also breaks from that theme in several surprising ways: it serves Korean food, and Jack himself offers discreet tarot card readings from a private booth.

California Institute of Abnormalarts (CIA)

The California Institute of Abnormalarts—nicknamed the CIA—is a difficult place to describe. In a nutshell, you could fairly call it a tribute to all things freaky.

Walk through its front doors, and you’ll find old circus signage, supernatural taxidermy, petrified human body parts, and even a mummified clown—with its makeup still on. It also features regular performances from magicians, fire-breathers, contortionists, burlesque dancers—you name it. It definitely has a macabre edge, but if you’re into that kind of thing, it’s a must see.

Find it at 11334 Burbank Blvd.

Lummis Home

Charles F. Lummis, an author, activist and historian, was born in Cincinnati, but moved to Los Angeles for a job with a newspaper. He made that lengthy, cross-country journey on foot, wowing people along the way with his vivid stories. Suffice it to say that he was interesting guy.

Moving to Los Angeles didn’t make him anything less interesting, either. When he arrived, he decided he wanted to live in a castle, and when he couldn’t find any available for sale, he decided to build one from scratch using rocks from a nearby river.

It took him 13 years to finish, but it’s still standing today. Better yet, it’s open for free tours from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays. Find it at 200 E. Avenue 43.

Air Hollywood

Think of all the movies you’ve seen that include a scene on an airplane. Very few of them, if any, were shot on actual planes. Many of them—perhaps all of them—were shot at Air Hollywood.

Air Hollywood is effectively a film set dedicated exclusively to airplane-related shots. The facility has a number of different planes on site, from jet liners to small prop planes. Many of those plans can be explored by visitors. That includes the cockpits, where a smorgasbord of buttons, knobs and flickering lights are yours to tamper with—all with the added perk of not inadvertently crashing a plane.

Air Hollywood also hosts occasional dinners that are definitely an interesting experience—though they tend to be on the pricier side.

Find this amazing Hollywood attraction—a must-visit for film buffs—at 13240 Weidner Street.

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