Are you going to this year’s Wattcon in Los Angeles? Great, me too!
Since I’m a local, I figured I’d share a few of my top favorite spots and things to do in the area for those of you traveling to LA.
The Ripped Bodice
3806 Main St - Culver City
This amazing independent bookstore is devoted entirely to romance novels! It's packed floor-to-ceiling with books, bookish swag, and awesome photo ops.
The Last Bookstore
453 S Spring St - Los Angeles
If you've ever seen a gorgeous bookstore on Pinterest, it was probably this one. The Last Bookstore has two huge floors of books and a side room for music too! But the coolest part is the reading-inspired art installations like its porthole window and tunnel made entirely of books.
Los Angeles Central Library
630 W 5th St - Los Angeles
While several LA libraries are quite stunning, my favorite is the LA Central Library. It is massive—with 8 floors, 538-thousand square feet of space, and nearly 89 miles of shelves. (In metric, that's about 50,000 square meters and 143km of shelves.) The building is an architectural marvel and the elaborate rotunda with blow you away. It also houses rotating art and museum exhibits, if you need another reason to go.
For Fans & Nerds
The Netflix Experience
189 The Grove Drive - Los Angeles
Fans of Bridgerton and Stranger Things will love this part-photo op, part-experience, part-gift shop at the Grove shopping center. The pop-up carries all kinds of fan merch for Netflix shows, but you don't have to buy anything or pay to visit. (Plus, The Grove has an hourly fountain show and, some evenings, they even turn on the snow machine.)
Nerdy Themed Bars
100 Universal City Plaza - Universal City
This one goes without saying, really, but if you're into Harry Potter, the whole Wizarding World area of the park id a must. While you're there, make sure not to miss the Studios Tour and the special effects show.
WB Studio Tour
3400 Warner Blvd - Burbank
This studio tour is by far the best in town. Tour guides cater the tour to your fandoms, so tell them if there's something specific you want to see. On a typical tour, you can see everything from the Batmobile to the café from Friends. While not guaranteed, it's common to spot Hollywood sets in action.
Close to Wattcon
Good Food in Walking Distance
There are a ton of great spots within walking distance of Wattcon in Hollywood. Bollywood Grill on the other side of Hollywood Blvd has excellent Indian Food. Jinya Ramen Express inside the Hollywood and Highland shopping center has delicious custom ramen bowls right next door to the Loews Hotel where the convention will be. Mel's Drive-In is also a good option with classic American food in a traditional fifties diner.
Stuff to Do
A lot of the stuff to do in Hollywood is obvious—Madam Tussaud's wax museum, the TCL Chinese Theater, the Walk of Fame—so I'll skip that stuff. Instead, I'll recommend some of the lesser known options. Less than a 10-minute drive east from the hotel is Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where legends like Johnny Ramone of The Ramones and actress Marilyn Monroe are buried. It has beautiful park-like grounds and monuments for many Hollywood greats. For music-lovers, I recommend checking out Amoeba music on Hollywood Boulevard. This record store is a music-lover's dream, with new and used CDs, vinyl records, and music-themed books for very good prices. They also have a pretty extensive collection of T-shirts, posters, and music merch if that's your jam.
Where to Get a Hollywood Sign Photo
3160 Canyon Lake Drive - Los Angeles
You can actually see the Hollywood Sign from multiple spots near the Loews hotel. If you just want a quick snap, head to the Ovation shopping center and follow the back steps up to the back courtyard, then look to the mountains.
For a better photo and viewing experience, check out Lake Hollywood Park. Street parking is plentiful and it's the best spot in the city to take in the Hollywood sign.
A Few More Favorites
Tacos: Trejo's Tacos & Trejo's Cantina
Actor Danny Trejo has a chain of taco restaurants in LA serving up really excellent tacos and burritos, including pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan options that are a lot more creative than tofu. (Psst... try the cauliflower!)
Donuts: Donut Friend
These are not your mother's donuts. Donut Friend makes wild flavors named after punk bands and fully custom donut sandwiches where you pick the toppings and fillings. In a crazy twist, all their donuts are vegan! I'm not vegan, but these donuts are genuinely the best in town. (Bonus: my lactose-intolerant self can eat all the cream and custard-filled ones without getting sick.)
Shopping: Magnolia Blvd Burbank
If you like pinup style, vintage clothing, goth stuff, or antiques, you will adore this area of Burbank. The street is lined with cool and quirky shops, including a gothic horror gift shop and a place that sells clothing used in TV shows and movies.
Free TV Taping Tickets
If you have time and the taping schedules align with your trip, you can see the live taping of a tv show for free. Sites like 1iota and On Camera Audiences offer free tickets to whatever's filming this month. (And the theater where they film Jimmy Kimmel Live is actually within quick walking distance from the Loews.)