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from July/August 2005
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Insider's Los Angeles

13.  Be charmed at an unquestionably odd museum
Enigmatic from the word go, the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City (9341 Venice Blvd.; +1 310 836 6131) can't help but get you thinking. Billed as "an ethnographic and natural history museum of the lower Jurassic," there's practically nothing ancient in or about the place, which promises to take visitors "from familiar objects toward the unfamiliar." This is accomplished with exhibits on trailer parks, Noah's Ark, Napoleon, a 17th-century Jesuit inventor, and more. "It's not your typical museum of objects and artifacts," says artist Kristi Lippire. "It gives shape to ideas in science and culture."

14.  Flip for the flapjacks in Hancock Park
"I like to think of Larchmont Boulevard in Hancock Park/Windsor Square as Mayberry RFD L.A.," says Katie Trevino, a neighborhood resident. "It's the main street of a real neighborhood that's old and historic and resembles an English garden. Most days people bring their dogs and their baby strollers to 'do' the boulevard. Make Café Chapeau [236 N. Larchmont Blvd.; +1 323 462 4985] your fueling station: It's got the most perfect pancakes in the city. Big, fluffy, and yummy."

15.  Do the real Rodeo
"Rodeo Drive contains the flash, of course, but real Beverly Hills does its shopping over on Robertson Boulevard near Third [Street]," says Mike Alexander, a producer for TV's Tonight Show. "In the last few years, Robertson's been transformed into a destination shopping street with upscale boutiques and furniture stores and, of course, the Ivy [113 N. Robertson; +1 310 274 8303], the restaurant to see and be seen in. Get a table during the weekday at lunch and you're guaranteed to spot somebody famous. Or, go across the street to the Newsroom Café and watch the comings and goings along with the
paparazzi—it's cheaper."

16.  Experience Broadway's spicy downtown beat
"Broadway is always packed with people and humming with Latin American energy," says playwright Chris Bomba. "A visit to Grand Central Market [317 S. Broadway; +1 213 624 2378]—a great place for a nosh—instantly transports you to Mexico City—or some other Mexican metropolis."

17. See a movie the old-fashioned way
"The Egyptian [6712 Hollywood Blvd.; +1 312 466 3456] was the first movie palace on Hollywood Boulevard," says Web designer David Groth. "Now owned by American Cinematheque, a film-appreciation foundation, it screens the classics. Plus, people responsible for having created the movies share their experiences with people who adore them. George Clooney, Peter Fonda, and Ron Howard have been guest speakers. Tickets are $9—less than the cost of some first-run movies—and you can buy tickets up to a month in advance."

18. Spend quiet moments at the L.A. cathedral
"Every city provides administration and services. But a great city like Los Angeles provides much more: an identity through cultural and spiritual nourishment," says L.A.'s Mayor Jim Hahn. "I think travelers feel this when they visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels [555 W. Temple St.; +1 213 680 5200]. I hope visitors come see how this complex has helped create a more vital urban center for the Los Angeles of the 21st century."

19. Hear them strum at McCabes
"If you want to tap into the great southern California folk rock tradition, go to McCabes, in Santa Monica [3101 Pico Blvd.; +1 310 828 4497]," says musician Hannah Nishimoto. "There are always performances by people like Jackson Browne, Dave Alvin, and John Hammond, as well as up-and-comers. It's a very comfortable place—there aren't many spots in L.A. where you're spared a mob scene. McCabes has been here since 1958, in a funky part of Santa Monica. It's a white storefront with a guitar neck for a door handle and a main room cluttered with books and instruments and just 150 seats. Tickets are reasonably priced—usually under $25."

20. Rediscover the Los Angeles River
"The river is 52 miles long and mostly ignored," says Lewis MacAdams, founder of Friends of the LA River [FOLAR; +1 323 223 0585], a group devoted to restoring the waterway. "But the area between Griffith Park and downtown is special," he says. "It's a natural bottom, with a path along the bank. Start your visit at Fletcher Drive's gates, which are sculpted in the shape of herons, or at Los Feliz Boulevard. The path is a nice place to ride a bike, or just walk. Some 200 species of birds live here. You'll discover L.A. does indeed have a river running through it."

21. Elbow the counter culture at a Beverly Hills icon
"Everything about the Beverly Hills Hotel [9641 Sunset Blvd.; +1 310 276 2251; 800 283 8885 (U.S. and Canada)] is lushly pink, classy, calming, coolly air-conditioned, and pricey," says screenwriter Hilary Galanoy. "But if you head to the below-ground level of this world-famous hotel, you'll find a reasonable meal away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. The Beverly Hills Fountain Coffee Shop, with its retro hipness, uniquely curved counter—which allows you to actually look your dining partner in the eye and converse more naturally than you can at most coffee shop counters—and delicious breakfasts are just the cure for the 'fun' you might have had the night before at the latest L.A. hot spot."

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