Off to Los Angeles for work? Here's how to make the most of your time.
One part storage unit, one part art prank, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is arguably the weirdest hour you can spend in LA. Purporting to be the collection of “Owen Thum” (both elder and younger), this cult “museum” seems to have no clear curatorial program and exhibits objects as discordant as dioramas of trailer parks and portraits of Russian cosmonaut dogs. It may be a big in-joke but it’s a strangely fascinating one.
The newly opened Broad Museum is the hottest museum ticket in town but, with advance bookings hard to come by, use the opportunity to instead visit The Getty Villa. A satellite of The Getty Center, the villa was built to house J. Paul Getty’s extraordinary collection of classical art. A faithful copy of a Roman mansion from the city of Herculaneum, the building and grounds are as beautiful as the contents. You could easily spend a full day here.
There are a lot of awful Hollywood tours but this one is the real deal. Philip Mershon has a reputation as one of the best tour guides in LA and his passion for the history of Hollywood is contagious. Unlike most tours, these are on foot and cover only a relatively small area. About 90 minutes long and in groups of no more than eight, the tours are a genuinely nostalgic window into a bygone era.
Established in 1934, The Original Farmers Market is a pleasantly ramshackle collection of market stalls. Originally a fresh produce market, it’s now mostly a collection of restaurants, bakeries and cafés – including legendary diner Du-par’s, which still keeps its hotcakes recipe in a safe. Be sure to check out Monsieur Marcel, a superb gourmet grocer and kitchen-supply store with hard-to-find products.
Anyone with hopes to make it big in comedy comes to LA eventually, which is why stand-up here is a must-see. There are fancier comedy clubs than The Comedy Store but this old workhorse on Sunset Boulevard has a grungy charm that seems to suit the hardscrabble life of the comic. Although only aficionados would recognise most of the acts, many are brilliantly funny and it’s not uncommon for big names to do unannounced shows, especially later in the night.