10 Places To Have The Most Perfect Summer In Los Angeles

1. Have a fabulous brunch at the Scientology Celebrity Center

image - nasikabatrachus
image – nasikabatrachus

Okay, so I know Scientology is terrifying. They’re a bizarre cult for rich people and they may or not occasionally murder people for funsies, but oh my god, I heard their brunch is amazing!!! Yes, at the Scientology Celebrity Center in Hollywood, there’s a hotel and a restaurant because why not? Who doesn’t love their Egg’s Benedict with a side of light brainwashing? I’ve never gone but I’m going to this weekend. If I go missing, check the compound in Lake Arrowhead or call Leah Remini.

2. Hang at the Echo Park Lake

image - Boss Tweed
image – Boss Tweed

What a lot of people don’t seem to realize about Los Angeles is that it’s surrounded by nature. You can be driving in a sea of strip smalls and take a left turn and be at the beach or in the mountains. One of my favorite parts of the city is its random lakes, like Lake Hollywood, which is sort of secret and hidden. Now we also have Echo Park Lake, which recently opened after being closed for two years to have a $20 million makeover. There’s a cafe and pedal boats and all other kinds of cute stuff. It’s great!  I love LA because you can just call up your friend and be like, “Hey, wanna go on a hike or hang at a lake?” In New York, it was always, “Hey, wanna drink wine on a stoop somewhere and feel things?”, which is fun too, but oh my god let’s try to do at least one healthy thing a month, okay?

3. Go to a water park/dance party

image - Felipe Skroski
image – Felipe Skroski

Summertramp is a water park rager that happens on the last Sunday of every month in downtown LA. There’s a water slide, pool, and apparently a lot of shirtless babes hanging out on Astroturf. I’m obsessed. If I didn’t hate my body so much, I would be there in a heartbeat! All of the best parties seem to be downtown. Once I went there to see a band play in a #NotClearOn warehouse. After the show ended, my friend and I wandered next door where someone was throwing a giant party in their industrial loft. There were people at the door taking donations for some cause I can’t remember and, being the social butterfly that I am, I started chatting them up. After ten minutes, they decided to put a feather headband on my head and make me in charge of the door. It was so fun! Here I was, living laughing, and loving at this random party taking strangers’ money. I did it for about two hours before joining the actual party inside. I then danced so hard till 6am with people I didn’t really know and loved every moment of it. Downtown feels like New York before Giuliani became mayor. Which is to say that it’s somewhat dangerous but loads of fun!

4. Go to Descanso Gardens

image - wordcat57
image – wordcat57

Descanso Gardens is 160 acres of gorgeous gardens and woodlands. I’m usually pretty dead inside when it comes to oohing and ahhing over nature but this place is legit. If I had a BF, I would go here every day with him and be like, “Babe, look at the flowers. Do you think that flower is prettier than me? Be honest. No, you don’t think so? You’re a liar!” Then I’d go on a jealous rampage, destroying all the precious botanicals while scream-singing “Every rose has its thorn…” to my terrified soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. That’s what couples do, right? Get jealous of flowers and then make a scene in public?

5. Channel Old Hollywood Glamour by heading to the drive-in!

image - bradleygee
image – bradleygee

Speaking of couples, the Electric Dusk Drive-In in downtown is the perfect summer date spot! I haven’t been to a drive-in since I was placenta but I remember them being a super weird and fun experience! Honestly though, a drive-in seems like a total couples only zone, am I right? I think it would feel really bizarre to sit in my friend’s car at night and watch a movie on a giant screen next to all of these other strangers in their cars. It’d be like sharing an elevator for 90 flights with a stranger who has BO. Okay, maybe that’s a bad example. Basically I feel like if I’m going to sit in a car and stare at something for two hours, I better get make out breaks. Otherwise, I’ll just be checking my phone.

6. Oh, I guess you could go to the beach

image - Tomas Aleksiejunas
image – Tomas Aleksiejunas

When I started thinking of ideas for summer fun in Los Angeles, I totally forgot the most obvious one which is: THE BEACH. I know this sounds dumb but do people actually go to the beach in LA? It’s so far from everything! People who aren’t from California have this image of LA as being 100% ocean but it’s not true. Unless you’re rich and having a beach house moment in Venice Beach or Malibu, the coast is far from where everybody lives. Going there is an actual day trip. You can’t just swing by the Pacific Ocean for a 20 minute dip in the water before going on with the rest of your day. You got to pack a bag, drive an hour in traffic, spend thirty minutes looking for parking, and then find a spot on the sand that’s free. Maybe it’s not that hard and I’m just being a neurotic brat. Whatever. Yay the beach!

7. Visit my girlfriend, The Grove

image - Prayitno
image – Prayitno

When I tell people that one of my favorite places in LA is The Grove, they judge me harshly before deleting me from their phone/life forever. I don’t get it. Yes, The Grove is a tacky outdoor mall in West Hollywood that’s filled with mini-Mario Lopez’s and Lauren Conrad’s but the ridiculousness is part of the fun! Where else can you visit a bunch of stores without driving everywhere? Where else can you sip margaritas, look at a trolley that goes five feet around the mall, and head to a matinee showing of the latest Sandra Bullock movie? The Grove has it all, including a Cheesecake Factory! If you can’t appreciate the pure Cheez-Whiz this city has to offer, you’re going to have a hard time having fun here.

8. Take the Dearly Departed tour

image - Alan Light
image – Alan Light

Hollywood bus tours are usually a bust (do we really need to know the name of the restaurant where Mary-Kate Olsen once consumed a carb?). The Dearly Departed tour, however, is good morbid fun. Want to know where George Michael was arrested for being a little too “hey girl hey!” to an undercover officer? Or where the infamous Menendez brothers killed their parents? How about where a bunch of old starlets you’ve never heard of died, penniless and drunk? If any of these things pique your interest, then congratulations! You’re a complete psycho like me and should take the tour. Hollywood is a creepy, creepy place. I have a feeling that if this tour was left unedited it could last for weeks.

9. Go see some live music outdoors

image - ricardodiaz11
image – ricardodiaz11

LA is overflowing with outdoor concerts during the summer. The LACMA has live jazz on Fridays, the Hammer Museum throws concerts with KCRW, there’s FYF Fest, and the Hollywood Bowl. Just go see some music. It’s fun. I hated going to concerts in New York because they were usually inside and cramped but in LA you can just sip some white wine, lay on the grass, and watch all of the parents completely lose their minds as the band plays. Has anyone noticed just how crazy adults get at concerts? I remember going to them when I was a kid and just being like, “Why is every adult closing their eyes and swaying back and forth?”

10. Just drive

image - H Sanchez
image – H Sanchez

Driving is usually a nightmare in LA but with the right person and playlist, it can be “Perks Of Being A Wallflower I FEEL INFINITE” good. One of the best drives is on Mullholland where you can see panoramic views of the mountains and the beaches. It’s chillingly beautiful. Never forget: LA may be plastic and ridden with smog in some parts but it’s stunningly lush in others. This city makes no sense. It’s a walking contradiction, which is why it’s so fun to explore. There’s something for everyone. It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Ryan Vaarsi

More From Thought Catalog