Located in southern California, Los Angeles is known as being the center of the film and television industry. Close to the iconic Hollywood Sign, visitors can take tours of studios like Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers and Universal. Meanwhile, it is always exciting to stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame with its celebrities’ hand and footprints. While there, vendors sell maps to the stars’ homes. However, besides the celebrity side of Los Angeles, the city has a number of unique and unusual attractions to take in.
1. Echo Park Time Travel Mart
For anyone with a quirky sense of humor, the Echo Park Time Travel Mart is a fun place to browse. Basically, the store has been set up to sell all the necessary supplies you need to time travel. The shop comes from 826, an organization responsible for other fun stores. These include the Superhero Supply Store in Brooklyn and the Pirate Supply Company in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the Echo Park Time Travel Mart boasts the mindboggling slogan, “Whenever you are, we’re already then.”
While the store sounds like a light, funny place to visit, it also has a more serious side. Located in the historic Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, the store is both a fun retail space and a literacy tutoring center. In each 826 location, the back of the store houses a non-profit organization, where 20-30 students are tutored each day in creative and expository writing.
Meanwhile, the store sells funny relics of the past, present and future, including Michael Jordan pogs, Robot Emotions and Barbarian Repellent. The store also sells Woolly Mammoth Chunks, Time-Freezy Hyper Slush ice drinks and more. All proceeds from sales go towards funding the non-profit organization
2. Griffith Observatory’s Tesla Coil
Most people know at least some of the story of the genius, Nikola Tesla. The Serbian-American American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist died in New York City in 1943. One aspect of his famous work can be seen in action on a hill overlooking Los Angeles. The world-famous conical Tesla Coil is one of the most memorable exhibits at the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles.
Usually every hour, on the hour, its lightning discharges thrill the crowds. The Tesla Coil lives in a newly designed alcove for the maximum effect, meaning its giant arcs and zapping noises can be heard better than ever. While Tesla designed the coil to someday transport the world’s electricity by air, the Tesla Coil has only one job – lighting up a neon sign. The Tesla Coil is free to see anytime during normal observatory hours.
3. Garden of Oz, Los Angeles
Hidden away in the hills of Hollywood is a colorful Oz-themed garden, full of dozens of thrones. The idea came in 1991, when Hollywood resident, Gail Cottman, bought a small plot of land beneath her home in the Hollywood Hills. Originally, she was planning a rose garden. However, the garden quickly became something more magic and spectacular.
Starting of the garden, Cottman’s contractor, Manuel Rodriguez, planted her roses in a garden bed of concrete. However, the cement looked dull, so Rodriguez brightened up the concrete with colorful tiles and beads. As soon as Cottman spotted the new flowerbed design, it recalled one of her favorite movies, The Wizard of Oz. She used the inspiration from the movie to take her garden project to a new level. She went on to devote the décor of the garden to “Munchkinland,” basically, a plant-filled garden dedicated to the Land of Oz.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Naturally, the garden even has its own yellow-tiled path, as a nod to Oz’s Yellow Brick Road. The pathway takes visitors through a landscape built with colorful tiles. Along the way is the Wall of Toys, as well as a mailbox where visitors can send letters directly to Oz.
The combination of colorful flowering plants with beautiful tiles and mosaics is truly glorious to see. Meanwhile, dotted throughout the garden are a number of thrones, each with a unique back story. Musical thrones are dedicated to Duke Ellington and Elvis Presley. Meanwhile, peacemaking thrones are dedicated to inspirational characters like Rosa Parks and the Dalai Lama. Of course, being Oz, Dorothy has her own throne in Munchkinland. A further throne is dedicated to Cottman’s Japanese friend, Musako Morioka, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombings.
While the Garden of Oz is not typically open to the public, it is possible to capture beautiful views from the street outside. However, this YouTube video takes you on a virtual tour of this wonderful attraction.
Take time out in Los Angeles, California, USA, to see these and other unique and unusual attractions.