Story & Mission
Los Angeles spans over 498.3 square miles (1,290.6 km2), is home to almost ten million people, and is one of the most complex and diverse cities on Earth. There is no way to stereotype a place like that or really understand it in a weekend, a week, or even a year. It’s going to take me a lifetime, and even then I doubt I’ll have it totally mastered. I disagree with people who say that Los Angeles isn’t a city, that there’s no “there” there (a quote actually coined to describe Oakland). The challenge is that there are MANY theres and MANY cities inside of Los Angeles. It’s actually more like a congregation of very different communities, each one with unique offerings. It’s simply impossible to pigeonhole the diversity that L.A. contains, let alone experience every inch of it. So that in and of itself is really what the city’s problem is and why many people have strong feelings against it… the contents of Los Angeles County are simply overwhelming and too difficult for most people to parse. There is only one thing for sure: contrary to what you see on television, in reality Los Angeles is a complex melting pot with a million unexpected layers, just like its inhabitants. It’s ironic, but to view the heart of this place that so many people consider to be all about superficiality… you simply have to be someone who’s open enough to look below the surface.
It’s impossible to truly understand what Los Angeles holds unless you are willing to rip off the packaging and look inside of the box. And frankly, LA doesn’t care if you look beyond that packaging or not… but you’ll miss the entire point of the city if you don’t. Let’s put it this way… many people choose to shop in sweet boutique stores where the storefront is pretty and the inventory is all beautifully displayed, right? These boutique stores always have a lot of great stuff and their trinkets looks lovely, but if you want anything that’s not in the window? You’re in the wrong store. In contrast, Los Angeles is a ginormous, hot mess of a TJ Maxx. From the outside, it looks like a big, non-descript building that couldn’t hold much of interest. Walk inside and it may look like a huge pile of stuff that you have to sift through… who even knows what treasure is under there? It’s hard to know where to start, but next thing you know you’re wearing $500 Cole Hahn boots you found for $100.
Let’s just say here at HiddenLA we’re TJ Maxx shoppers. BIG time. We’re thrilled that you’re joining us and hope as you revisit we’ll inspire you to embrace this community more. Just remember… layers are good!
What “Hidden” Means
A few people have written saying things like, “Hey, I know about Union Station and Cal Worthington! Those things aren’t hidden!?” Well true… any person who grew up here is going to smile when you sing “Go see Cal.” But *that’s* the hidden Los Angeles to the rest of the world. Against popular belief, Los Angeles actually is a place with a heart, and that heart is not, has never been, and will never be crotch-flashing starlets in traffic jams who are shooting at eachother. That is not the reality of your average Angeleno.
HiddenLA isn’t just written for tourists with misconceived notions, though. Even more, it’s written for locals who need a reminder to leave the house, get inspired, meet their neighbors, learn a little, avoid stress, and just appreciate the wonderful stuff within their reach. Los Angeles has PLENTY of positives if you open your eyes to them. Whenever possible, we’ll feature snapshots of local color, great finds and amazing free stuff that might be off the popular radar, but we’re also focused on the things that make Los Angeles iconic to the people who know it best.
In the 80s it was trendy to love L.A., and then after the riots it became hip to hate it. Truth be told, it’s time we collectively stood up for this maligned place we live in. My feeling is this: if you don’t like Los Angeles after visiting or living here, that’s cool. Love where you live and don’t worry about this place. But if you don’t like Los Angeles and yet live here with no plans of moving, quit whining and FIND WAYS TO MAKE IT BETTER!
Life is very, very short and Los Angeles is filled with great stuff if you actually want to find it. It’s also filled with plenty of suck if you want to find it. It’s truly up to you.
My name is Lynn and both sides of my family settled in Southern California during the first few years of the 20th Century. My dad’s descendants made the trek from Pennsylvania to San Diego in 1908 while my maternal relatives were already setting up shop here in Los Angeles. My maternal great grandfather and grandfather painted murals at Charlie Chaplin’s house and Pickfair; my grandmother preached with Aimee Semple McPherson and babysat her son Rolf; one of my great uncles owned the first miniature golf course on the West Coast; and the stories go on. Athough people think the region has no culture I beg to differ. Some people embrace their French culture, some people are proud New Yorkers… well, Southern California is my only real heritage, and I’ve learned to love it.
As a former Los Angeles tour guide infected with a *serious* addiction to world travel and no budget to feed it, I figured why not look at my own surroundings with the same curious eyes that I would view an exotic foreign country… and it’s with that sense of openness and sense of adventure that this site was created. My goal with has been to create something positive to encourage people (including myself) to step outside with a better attitude whenever possible and maybe glean some some new insights into a city taken for granted.
After moving out of town for a fewyears, it’s been easy to look around with fresher eyes. Yes, this place definitely has bad points – every place does – but Southern California also harbors much more truly interesting history and dimension than most visitors and residents expect. Especially during a time in history where many people are struggling, I wanted to create a site that maybe makes time spent in this unique and overwhelmingly large city a little more enjoyable for both residents and visitors alike. It’s as enlightening for me to research and write about it as it hopefully is for you to read about it.