Here are five places where those in know go in Los Angeles.

The Groundlings

The Los Angeles comedy scene is one of the world’s most exciting but for a different kind of stand-up experience, catch a show at The Groundlings on Melrose Avenue. Founded in 1974, the school and improv theatre company counts Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow, Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Jimmy Fallon among its alumni.

New Beverly Cinema

In 2007, director Quentin Tarantino saved the arty New Beverly Cinema from being converted into a fast-food franchise. It now has a reputation for an exciting program of cult films, classics, themed movie marathons and even kid’s matinees, many from the director’s personal library of rare prints.

Barnsdall Art Park

Just north of Hollywood, Barnsdall Art Park has been an LA institution since the 1920s. The centrepiece of this 4.6-hectare park and gallery complex is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. Designed for heiress Aline Barnsdall (who didn’t like it), the Mayan-inspired mansion was the legendary architect’s first project in Los Angeles and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Descanso Gardens

Although not as famous as the gardens of The Huntington in nearby San Marino, the less-crowded Descanso Gardens can stake a claim as some of the city’s loveliest. Renowned for having one of the largest camellia collections in North America, the gardens also feature a Japanese tea house, a contemporary art museum, miniature train and the surprisingly good Café Descanso. Mid-November until early January is the season for the Enchanted Forest of Light, a luminous nightly show that’s worth the price of the advance-purchase tickets.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater

America’s longest-running puppet troupe, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater is a haven of child-like whimsy in a city of naked commercial ambitions. Last November, the theatre moved
to larger premises in arty Highland Park but its original charm remains. If you’re in LA with kids and can’t bear to stand in line for another roller-coaster, this is the place to take them.

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