**Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please use these blog references for when it's okay to safely travel again.
If social media influencers had a Mecca, it would be Los Angeles, so it only makes sense that LA would have some incredible Instagram-worthy locations. However, you don’t have to be an influencer to want great Instagram pictures. Most people who travel to LA are also looking for those beautiful and/or iconic places to get that pic for the ‘gram. As someone who has lived in Los Angeles for 8 years and now just moved back, I’m going to break down some of the top Instagram spots in LA, along with the one you should totally avoid.
This is hands down my favorite place in LA, and it’s also one of the most iconic spots here. The Griffith Observatory is most famous for the James Dean film Rebel without a Cause, but it was also prominently featured in the Oscar-winning hit LA LA Land. Along with being a famous LA landmark, the observatory also has a beautiful view since it sits at the top of Griffith Park overlooking the city. If you do go to the Griffith Observatory, here are my two photo suggestions: 1.) Go at dusk and take photos walking along the back balcony or 2.) Go during the daytime and head to the exact spot from the famous knife scene in Rebel without a Cause. This is located outside in the back of the building on the far east side. Then, have a friend go to the higher level up top to take the photo of you. You’ll get a prime shot of you standing where James Dean stood in the movie along with a beautiful view of the city behind you.
Solstice Canyon Hiking Trail
Angelenos are known for their love of hiking, yours truly included. And there are certainly plenty of great hikes here. One of the prettiest though is the Solstice Canyon Trail in Malibu. You can hike high in the mountains and get stunning views of the ocean – and I kid you not, the water in Malibu is way more blue. Not only will you get your Instagram picture with a gorgeous backdrop of the mountains and ocean, you’ll also fit in right with the locals. My advice is to try and go on a weekday and be there at least a half-hour before the park opens at 9am. That’s because parking is very limited. My boyfriend and I attempted to do this one time on a Sunday morning. We got there exactly at 9am and it was already full. That being said, if you have the money, you can always use a Lyft or Uber to get you there too and then parking is no problem.
Urban Light at LACMA
This is one of the coolest and most popular public artworks in LA. It’s located on Wilshire Blvd. in front the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It features columns of vintage street lamps and was created by artist Chris Burden. This place makes for Instagram-worthy pictures day or night, but my personal recommendation is to go at night.
The Last Bookstore
This spot is certainly one of the most unique used book stores you’ll find in LA thanks to how it displays the books there. It’s located in downtown Los Angeles and features displays of books that will go over your head like a tunnel or form a circle that you can put your face through for a picture. It’s also a local favorite. Tourists are usually flocking to places like Santa Monica, Venice, and Hollywood, so if you’re looking for something more off the beaten path then you’ll want to check this place out.
And finally, the Instagram spot to avoid….
The Paul Smith Store on Melrose
Even if you’ve never set foot in LA you may have seen this store if you follow any influencers. Literally every time I’ve driven past this building there’s a group of people trying to snap pictures here. It’s become a bit of running joke. You see, there’s nothing particularly special about this store; it’s just that the outside wall is pink, which influencers love to use for their photos. Sure, bright colors make for a great backdrop, but you’ll just have another photo like 50,000 other people do and it’s not even an iconic LA landmark either. Plus, more than likely you’ll have to wait for the 50 other people there to finish their pictures, and the type of people taking pictures here aren’t a 1-and-done kind of crowd. They’ll be attempting full-on photo shoots. In a city that thrives on trends, avoiding an Instagram picture here is at least one way to be a little original.
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer, comedian, and television producer who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com