Cheap Thrills of Los Angeles #1

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If you’re visiting Los Angeles, there is a tourist checklist you have to go through first.  Disneyland. Chinese Theater and Walk of Fame.  Universal Studios. Santa Monica and/or Venice Beach. Your picture with the Hollywood Sign somewhere in the background.

For those of us who live here, most of our memories involving those places precede the photos we’ve posted on Facebook. There are many nooks and crannies that are unique to this city. It’s just hard to locate them all.

We each find our own pleasures in many parts of Los Angeles. They are spread out and we want to share them, but fear that they’ll become victims of their own popularity. After awhile, you realize there are just too many to stick under a rock.

So here’s the first installment of some of my favorite cheap thrills. What? You think I would share them all at once?

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore

Have you ever been to place whose name is a social commentary on itself? Nestled Downtown on historic Spring Street, it very well may be the last book depository we ever see opened.

You’ll find literature from every stretch of the imagination there, both new and used. It is also filled with a number of unique design elements that encourage you to explore the vast selection. The building itself used to house a bank and there hints you can locate throughout.

Up on the second level, there is also a set of artist’s workspaces you can venture into (if they are there). I could spend hours there like you should in any good bookstore.

My only complaint is that there aren’t enough chairs. Maybe you can grab a few books instead.

The Last Bookstore, 453 S Spring St., Downtown LA, 213-488-0599

Greenblatt’s Deli

Greenblatt’s Deli
Greenblatt’s Deli

Technically just off the Sunset Strip, this venerable Deli has been serving Los Angeles since 1926. In its heyday, it used to occupy the larger Laugh Factory space next door as well.

I go for a few reasons. First, I can’t say no to their signature triple decker sandwiches. They may be a tad pricey, but you know you’ve had a full meal if you can devour one whole.

The L.A. reason why I go is free parking! Most people don’t know that all you have to do is pull into the back and park your car yourself. What a luxury in this part of town. Remember, the lot is for Deli use only. If you leave your car there for a comedy show, expect it gone faster than a Michael Richards encore.

My favorite thing about Greenblatt’s is their selection of wine. I’m nowhere near sommelier status, but their selections in front are fabulous and great values as well. Their staff is also friendly and provides far more insight than I could ever offer. Did I mention there was free parking?

Greenblatt’s Deli, 8017 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-656-0606

Franklin Canyon Park

Angelino’s love their hikes. Problem is, there aren’t enough of them. You try Runyon Canyon or Griffith Park, sometimes you’ll spend the bulk of your time finding a spot for your car instead of venturing outdoors.

Franklin Canyon Park
Franklin Canyon Park

Franklin Canyon Park is one of those unknowns that is easy to find solitude within. Nestled right off of Coldwater Canyon, access to the park is easy from either the Beverly Hills or Studio City side.

There’s a lake central to the park that you can picnic next to (take that Lake Hollywood) and even a smaller one that’s more kid friendly. If you look around, you can also find the spot where the opening to the Andy Griffith Show was shot.

For the hikers, you can find a number of trails that stretch out to every region of the park. It’s a great place every member of your family can enjoy. Even your dog.

Franklin Canyon Park, 2600 Franklin Canyon, Beverly Hills, 90210, 310-858-7272

(All photos by Zachary Rynew)