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9 Mindful Experiences in Los Angeles

For a more immersive, off-the-beaten-path visit to the City of Angels, embrace its long-standing culture of wellness, sustainability, and community.

Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park

Courtesy of Los Angeles Tourism

Los Angeles is a travel hub for good reason, welcoming tourists with sun-kissed beaches, Hollywood glamour, and bustling theme parks. Locals enjoy the popular activities as well—but insiders take advantage of LA’s quieter, more serene side. As a visitor, you’ll gain an even deeper appreciation of the city by exploring these lesser-known gems.

From sustainable shopping to green spaces and wellness, these distinctly authentic venues let you see the city through the eyes of a local and help you recharge between visiting must-see landmarks. And, by venturing on the road less traveled, whether for a day or an entire trip, you’ll enjoy a more relaxed and richer experience for mind and body.

Commune with nature (and eat well) in Malibu and beyond

For a deep dive into Los Angeles’s natural world, seek out one of its popular hiking areas. Malibu Creek State Park covers more than 8,000 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains. Following many of the hiking trails, you can walk in the footsteps of Indigenous inhabitants, the Chumash tribe. The region is home to oak, sycamore, and even redwood trees, and depending on the season is dotted with wildflowers, all of which support flourishing wildlife.

The Inn of the Seventh Ray

The Inn of the Seventh Ray

Courtesy of Los Angeles Tourism

Nourish your body post-hike at the nearby Inn of the Seventh Ray, a charming creek-side restaurant that champions a “restorative path to healthful dining” and has been serving dishes using organic and locally sourced food since 1973 in Topanga.

Further down the coastline is Bluff Cove where tide pools can be explored during low tide. Wear rugged footwear to navigate the steep trails down to the rocky beach. If you’re up for a short hike, you’ll find a rusted shipwreck at Palos Verdes Point.

Discover Van Nuys’ eco-conscious garden oasis

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The SuihoEn Japanese Garden

Courtesy of Los Angeles Tourism

Somewhat hidden in the San Fernando Valley, the SuihoEn Japanese Garden is little known even to locals. The three distinct garden styles—dry, wet, and tea ceremony—offer visitors a tranquil escape from city life, while also serving as a sustainable model for water reclamation. For a bit of Hollywood magic, Star Trek fans will probably recognize the futuristic glass building on the premises, featured as Starfleet Academy in most of the modern iterations of the series. Admission is free but requires reservations.

Drink local and check out gardens in and around downtown Los Angeles

Those who appreciate cocktails and spirits will enjoy Greenbar Distillery in downtown Los Angeles. Greenbar is LA’s first post-prohibition distillery, and the founders insist on organic, sustainable, and carbon-negative practices. The global influences of the Los Angeles food scene inspired the gin’s flavor profile; and the vodkas, Amari, and liqueurs highlight California herbs, fruits, and flowers. For every bottle sold, Greenbar plants a tree—they’ve planted upwards of 1 million since 2008. Book ahead for a distillery tour or spirits tasting.

Near downtown, seek out the Peaceful Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens. Located in the historic neighborhood of West Adams, you’ll find a lush, contemplative escape on the grounds of the Guasti Villa (which offers separate tours). Explore the Meditation Garden where you’ll be lulled by the music of 16 waterfalls, then walk the labyrinth to unwind and explore your inner thoughts.

Explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site in East LA

Barnsdall Art Park offers a contemplative space that serves as a vital part of the East Los Angeles cultural community. The Hollyhock House and gardens designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and his son Lloyd, are registered as California’s first modern architectural UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Also on the grounds, an extensive olive grove dating to the 1890s is being preserved and expanded through the Olive Grove Initiative. The goal is to help sustain the local ecosystem and contribute to LA’s Green New Deal of planting 90,000 trees across the city. Further contributing to the venue’s cultural significance, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery features works of local artists like Ed Ruscha and Barbara Kruger, and the Barnsdall Art Theatre hosts dance, music, theater, and other performances.

Enjoy a day of self-care in Westlake

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The Four Seasons Westlake

Courtesy of Los Angeles Tourism

You can delight in wellness in style at the Four Seasons Westlake Village Center of Health & Wellbeing. Book a full stay at the hotel for the ultimate well-being retreat, get a Wellness Day Pass, or simply choose from a variety of individual treatments. From energy healing and art therapy to standard spa treatments, the Center will help rejuvenate body and soul.

Shop sustainably in Venice and Hollywood

For distinctive, eco-friendly clothing, pay a visit to Christy Dawn in Venice. The shop’s designs use organic or regeneratively farmed cotton, as well as “deadstock”, which are surplus fabrics from other brands. The store’s Farm-to-Closet Initiative has already sequestered over 2 million pounds of carbon, as well as created the world’s first Regenerative Alpaca clothing collection.

Located in the NoHo (North Hollywood) Arts District, The Iliad Bookshop offers a different approach to sustainability with its vast selection of used books. With over 150,000 books in stock, the Iliad is a Los Angeles institution and considered one of the city’s top bookshops. Strolling through their selection of books reminds you that a used book for one person is a new book for another.

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