LA Travel Guides

The Best Instagram Spots in Los Angeles (that others don’t know about yet)!)

You want to be an Instagram star, right?  That means lead, don’t follow!  So we’ve pulled together a long list of hot places in LA for your Instagram photo ops that won’t make it look like you’re just following the crowd.

I lied just a little bit.  There are some of the number one Instagram spots on this list.  Some are just too iconic to leave them out.  But we have an ample number of prime locations that you can say you put on the map once you put them on your timeline.  Click the links within the sections of each location to get even more information and see more photos. Also look for LA Instagram Spots in our tags and click to find even more!

We’ll start with the most iconic Instagram spot in Los Angeles.

1. Urban Light

The Urban Light Sculpture is a public art installation of 202 street lamps at the entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). 

After it was installed in 2008, the New York Times referred to it as an “instant landmark.” It’s certainly become a top Instagram landmark! Urban Light is the most visited and photographed artwork in SoCal.

As a note, the correct hashtag is #urbanlight, NOT #urbanlights however you’ll see that most Instagrammers use the plural.

The installation makes for incredible photos whether you arrive during the day, or after dark when the lights are lit up.

You may even catch a celebrity or two out there posing or performing under the lights.  I happened to literally bump into Derek Hough there one time and captured this video of Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert from Dancing with the Stars dancing at Urban Light!

Urban Light is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd

2. Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant

Just a block or two west of Urban Light is Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant.  It’s on the corner of Wilshire Blvd and Fairfax Ave.

It will probably look familiar to you as it has starred in a number of movies. Click the link to see the list.  It also looks like the restaurant that was in the movie, Cult Fiction, but I can’t find any reference to verify that one it.

Johnie’s is currently closed to customers and used only for filming.  It’s a Los Angeles Historical Landmark and one of the few remaining examples of a style of architecture called Googie.

By the way, if you are traveling to LA, you might want to try out to save some money on your travel costs.

3. Petersen Automotive Museum

You’ll see the Petersen Automotive Museum while you are at Johnie’s.  It’s right across the street.  It’s dramatic architecture of ribbons of sheet metal that are set out about six feet from the red walls provide a number of unique ways to pose.  You can also go inside and pose with the cars, but be sure to check what their photo policies are before you go in.

4. Pose With a Prehistoric Animal at LaBrea Tar Pits

The LaBrea Tar Pits are back closer to Urban Light.  You can go inside and take all the tours, but if you just want a picture of yourself near the mammoths beside the tar pit it’s free to go on the grounds.  You won’t have to pay admission until you go inside one of the exhibits.  By the way, the mammoths move.  They do it so slowly you will think your eyes are tricking you but they do move.

The address is 5801 Wilshire Blvd.

5. Strike a Pose in Front of the Brown Derby Restaurant

The Brown Derby Restaurant was actually a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles frequented by A-List celebrities, but most people think the one that was shaped like a man’s derby hat was the only one.

Though already famous, the restaurant took to the world spotlight when it was used as the location for filming the first I Love Lucy Show episode taped in Los Angeles.  The episode was entitled LA at Last and Lucy manages to embarrass herself in front of Eve Arden and William Holden both.

Little remains of the famous LA landmark.  It was almost completely torn down for a new shopping center, but the brown derby dome was moved to the third floor of the new center.  The center is called Brown Derby Plaza and it’s located at 3427 Wilshire Boulevard.  Keep an eye out for the security guards.  They will run you off if they see you with a professional looking camera, but if you pay attention and work fast you can get your shots before they come around.

6. The Eastern Columbia Building

The Eastern Columbia Building, also known as the Eastern Columbia Lofts, is considered one of the twenty most iconic buildings in Los Angeles.  The Art Deco building at 849 S. Broadway in the Broadway Theater District is considered the greatest surviving example of Art Deco architecture in the city. The Eastern Columbia was listed as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 294 in 1985.

It’s also home to a handful of A-List celebrities. Johnny Depp acquired five penthouses in 2007, totaling a combined 11,500 square feet of space. Actor Tom Sizemore is said to be residing there as well as John Stamos. (note: Johnny Depp sold the last of his units off in November 2017, but other celebrities seem to continue moving into the building).

The view in the photo was taken on Broadway a few blocks north of it where the clock can be seen towering above the city. The turquoise front entrance also makes a magnificent place to strike your Instagram pose.  Click the link above for more photos. This section of Broadway is the historic Broadway Theatre District and you’ll also see a number of the grand old movie palaces to pose by.

7. The Bradbury Building

While we’re in downtown Los Angeles, or DTLA as the locals call it, there are a few other spots you’ll want to check out.  The Bradbury Building is a must!  From the outside it couldn’t look more ordinary, but that all changes when you step inside.

The Bradbury Building has appeared in so many movies, television series and music videos that it simply isn’t possible to list them all.  I counted about 50 listed on various sources.

They are quite used to tourists coming inside to check out the building, but you can’t go above the first landing on the stairs.  Don’t look too professional with your cameras and get there to see it before 4 or 5 when it closes.

The Bradbury Building is at 304 South Broadway.  When you have finished, check out the Million Dollar Theatre directly across the street, and the Grand Central Market, both great photo ops.  Grand Central Market is LA’s oldest food court and has an impressive assortment of artistic neon signs (each vendor is required to have neon signage).

The Bradbury Building


8. Pose in the Most Iconic View of Los Angeles City Hall

At the western end of Grand Park is the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain.  It’s been situated to line up perfectly with the iconic City Hall Building. Prior to 1964 it was the tallest building in Los Angeles.  The observation deck on the top floor offers the best free view of Los Angeles (our next Instagram spot).

The shot you want here is taken from the 200 block of Grand Avenue, the western boundary of the park.  You can also get some great shots playing in the splash pad part of the fountain.

City Hall is located at 200 N Spring Street.  Cut through the park to get to it for our next spot.

9. Put Yourself in a Birds Eye View of Downtown Los Angeles

From the observation deck of City Hall you have a 360 degree view of Los Angeles.  You see the skyscrapers, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the historic Union Station, and out over Hollywood.

Though the address is 200 N Spring, you will want to enter on Main Street to go to the deck.  There is a metal detector you have to pass through.  The guards will help direct you to the top.  They had no problem with my bringing in professional cameras.

You can get an idea of the view from the City Hall Observation Deck in the linked video.

10. Pose with the Modern Art Sculpture at the Museum of Contemporary Art

We’ve doubled back now to Grand Avenue just a bit south of where we started with the fountain at Grand Park.  You’ll come to the Museum of Contemporary Art and you won’t be able to miss the modern art sculpture in the courtyard.  It’s definitely Instagram worthy.

There is more to be seen inside the museum, but there is so much more in the next couple blocks to see that you may want to just move on to the next place on the list.

MOCA is located at 250 S. Grand Ave.  We’re not going to give this one a special spot here, but The Broad Museum is just across the street and you might want to check it out.

11. The Walt Disney Concert Hall

This is one of the most iconic buildings in Los Angeles.  The exterior has been designed to resemble giant sheets of sheet music tossed into the wind.

Don’t stop at the main courtyard and call it good.  There are numerous stairways and walkways through the sheet metal music that offer unlimited photo ops.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is at 111 S. Grand Ave.

12. On the Beloved Angels Flight

Angels Flight was built in the early 1900’s to take the rich and famous from the shopping district at the lower end up the STEEP incline to the top of Bunker Hill where their stately mansions once were (now LA’s tallest skyscrapers).

It’s the shortest railway in the world and Angelenos have fought to save it several times.  For just a dollar you can step a full century back in time and take your iPhone with you to prove the experience.

Trust me.  This is the single most fun thing you can do in Los Angeles for a dollar.  And when you see California Plaza on the top, you’ll be doubly glad you took the ride.

Hop on the Angels Flight at 350 S Grand Street.  NOTE: This is what Google Maps lists as the address, however that requires you get to Angels Flight by walking through the California Plaza.  The way I prefer to get on Angels Flight is at the base (not the top) on Hill Street between 3rd and 4th.

13. Among the Book Displays at the Last Book Store

As long as you are in DTLA, head on over to The Last Bookstore. This is one of the largest, and coolest bookstores in the world.

It isn’t just that there are a lot of books.  There are walls made of books. Arches made of books, bank vaults full of books, peep holes in the books and more creative photo ops than any serious Instagrammer could hope for.

Sadly the photo I took when I was in there doesn’t do what the store has to offer justice but take my word for it.  You will want photos of this treasure on your timeline!

You’ll find it at 453 S Spring St, not far from Angels Flight.

14. Shopping on Olvera Street

Olvera Street is the oldest part of Los Angeles known as the “birthplace of Los Angeles.” Located on the corner of Cesar E Chavez Avenue and Alameda Street, Olvera Street houses the city’s first church, firehouse and theatre along with a number of historic sites and residences.

It also has a fun, festive and very colorful outdoor marketplace full of authentic artisan Mexican arts and crafts … along with lots of great restaurants and food vendors.  This is where you will want to do your picture taking.  You can see the video of Olvera Street we put together here to get an idea on why you might want to put it on your bucket list.

Then while you are there, walk across Alameda Street to the historic Union Station… or across Cesar Chavez Blvd to China Town (but you will have to walk a few blocks after you pass under the dragon gate to get to the good spots.)

Olvera Street

15. Hang Out in Front of the Brady Bunch House

The house that was used in the television series, The Brady Bunch, has been popping up in the news quite a bit recently.  At first it was because the famous house had gone on the market and it attracted some noteworthy buyers including Lance Bass from the boy band, NSYNC and Miley Cirus.

Bass thought he landed the winning deal on the Brady Bunch house and bragged about it on social media only to learn HGTV came in with an offer that knocked his off the table.  HGTV created a new (yet to be aired) series in which the former Brady Bunch cast all work at remodeling the house into what appeared to be the interior of the house on the series (all interior shots of the series were actually filmed in a studio, the house was only used for exterior shots).  This has involved adding a second story to the house and much more.

Located at 11222 Dilling Street in Studio City, the house is the second most photographed house in the nation… second only to the white house.  The previous owners, who bought the house in 1972 for – get this – $61,000 say 40 to 50 people a day come by to photograph the house.  They didn’t seem to mind the attention much either.

The Brady Bunch House

See Lots More Instagram Spots After the Break…

16. Walt Disney’s First Home

In 1927, Walt Disney and his brother Roy bought matching homes on the corner of St George and Lyric avenue in Los Feliz. Though Walt Disney lived in other homes and apartments in the Los Feliz area prior to this, this was the first home he owned.

The small homes were just 1100 square feet, with two bedrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen. It was in the garage at Walt’s home that he and his loyal animators worked in secret on the first Mickey Mouse cartoon.

See this post for more information on Walt Disney’s homes and offices in Los Feliz.

Walt Disney’s First Home

17. Jim Morrison’s House in Laurel Canyon

Laurel Canyon is the legendary birthplace of rock music in America and many of the huge names in rock music in the sixties and seventies lived there.  One such legend was Jim Morrison of the Doors.  It was here many he wrote the song Love Street and it was about the people hanging out at the Canyon Country Store steps away.

To see the house, it’s located at 8021 Rothwell Trail.  Turn onto Laurel Canyon Blvd off of Sunset Blvd (between Laugh Factory and the Chateau Marmont) and drive about a mile up the road until you see the Canyon Country Store.  You can also just punch the store into Google Maps but beware, when you have to turn off of Laurel Canyon it will tell you to turn on the street by a wrong name.  You want to turn right on Kirkwood Street just before you get to the store.  You’ll see the cleaners and Morrison’s house right next door to it as soon as you make the turn.

You’ll feel as if time has stopped and you’ve stepped back into the sixties and the psychedelic rock movement as soon as you approach the area.

Jim Morrison’s House in Laurel Canyon

18. Mama Cass Elliot’s First LA Home (that no one knew about)

If classic rock music runs in your blood, then Morrison’s house and this one are a must for your timeline.

Cass Elliot was one of the most influential forces in the evolution of the rock music industry. Her house in Laurel Canyon was a gathering spot where the likes of Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills and Nash, the Monkeys, the Byrds and so many others would come for backyard barbecues.  This is the house everyone hears about.

But before she found success and fame, she had an “unofficial” home in Laurel Canyon.  She lived in a storage room in the Canyon Country Store.  It was complete with a “secret” entrance, a set of stairs leading out to the back parking lot so she would not have to pass through the store to come and go.  This was where she lived until the Mamas and Papas hit the big time.

The Canyon Country Store is actually on the intersection where you turn to go to Jim Morrison’s house and they are just steps apart.

The address is 2108 Laurel Canyon Blvd.  It’s just a little ways up from Sunset Blvd.

The Canyon Country Store. Mama Cass lived here in a storeroom

19. The Rockwalk

Pass the Hollywood Walk of Fame over and take your photos at the Rockwalk if music is your thing.

The RockWalk is in the forecourt of the Guitar Center at 7325 Sunset Blvd.  It was founded in 1985 and is a music industry landmark.

On either side of the entrance to the forecourt are busts of the truly great musicians. Among them are Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Waylon Jennings, Miles Davis and more.  Their guitars are in glass cases and their handprints are in the plaques on the ground that form the entrance.  Note, you can also check out the Grammy Museum’s walk of fame in DTLA, though it is not particularly visually appealing.

The Rockwalk at Guitar Center

20. Put Yourself In This Iconic View of Downtown Los Angeles

The 110 Freeway forms beautiful leading lines into Downtown Los Angeles from this vantage point in Elysian Park.

It’s taken from a small bridge over the freeway.  To get to it take Broadway north from Sunset Blvd to Casanova Street, then turn right on Park Row Drive and go until you see the bridge.

Then while you’re in Elysian Park, punch Angel’s Point into your navigator and check out this awesome view of Los Angeles from there too.

View of the Harbor Freeway leading into Los Angeles

21. Mels Drive In

We’re talking about the Mels on Sunset Strip in this post, but the original Mels dates back to San Francisco in 1947. This was the location that was used filming the 1973 movie, American Graffiti. It has unfortunately since been torn down.

The most photogenic of the Mels Drive-Ins is the one located on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. It, and the now closed Johnie’s Coffee Shop Restaurant, are two of the few remaining structures built in the once popular Googie architcture style.

The legendary rock group, Buffalo Springfield was actually formed in the parking lot of Mels Drive In on Sunset.  It was a hang out for rock musicians before it became Mels.  Check it out at 8585 Sunset Blvd. By the way, the correct spelling is Mels, not Mel’s.

Mels Drive in on Sunset Blvd

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22. Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre

Everyone has heard of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, but Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre should be on your list too.

Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre opened on 1922 and was the site of the first ever Hollywood film premier. The film was Robin Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks and it premiered on October 18, 1922.

Perhaps the only reason it didn’t reach the same fame as the Chinese Theatre is the lack of celebrity hand and footprints.  It’s an architectural masterpiece and the large courtyard that was designed to hold massive red carpet ceremonies is lined with Egyptian-style paintings and hieroglyphs you’ll want in your shots.

The Egyptian Theatre is located at 6712 Hollywood Blvd.

Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre

23. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Of course we can’t leave out the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.  It’s perhaps the most famous place in all of Hollywood.  Count on there being a large crowd there at all times!

The architecture is fabulous and it’s fun to look at all the hand and foot prints.  There are different stories of how the tradition of putting the stars hand and or footprints into the concrete came about.  No one is sure which is correct but they all seem to surround a celebrity of the day stepping into wet concrete by accident.

It’s located on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard where the stars line the sidewalks

Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

24. At the End of the Trail Sign for Route 66

Route 66 is the most famous highway in American History.  You can find signs designating where it once was all over Los Angeles.  The most famous of them is the “End of the Trail” (for obvious reasons) where it ends at the the Santa Monica Pier.

Once you get over the walkway onto the pier, the sign is one of the first things you will see.  Don’t worry about which direction the light will be coming.  It reads the same on both sides.  Of course you won’t want to neglect all the sights on the Santa Monica Pier itself.

End of the Trail Route 66 Sign

25. Pose as a Life Sized Chess Piece

On the south side of the Santa Monica Pier is the Santa Monica Chess Park.  This is a courtyard with a number of chess tables set up permanently.  It also has a chess board in the ground for life sized chess pieces.

If you want to go all out, the life sized chess pieces are available for public use and you can set them out on the board and simply take the place of one of the chess pieces. You just need to get the key from the police substation on the pier.  You will have to sign a form and leave your license until the pieces are returned.  You will also be required to pay should the pieces be damaged.

The address is 652 Ocean Park, but honestly, it’s down on the beach next to the pier!

26. Palisades Park

Palisades Park is directly north of the pier and the geography rises steeply from the beach here offering amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Pier and the park itself.

The staircase pictured below is a set of steps leading from the the park down to the Pacific Coast Highway below.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to climb them beyond what’s needed to get the right shot.  The mouth of the pier is at the same level.  You just have to turn to your north and you’re there.

Palisades Park

27. Tongva Park

Tongva Park is a 6.2 acre park on Ocean Avenue between Colorado and Olympic right by the Santa Monica Pier.

Two of the unique public art sculptures perfectly frame in views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Pier.  As you can see, they make a wonderful place for a photo op!

Tongva Park

28. Venice Skatepark

If you are into skateboarding, then the world famous Venice Skatepark is a must.

It’s on Venice Beach just to the north of Windward Ave, where the famous Venice Sign is located.

World Famous Venice Skatepark

29. The Jim Morrison Mural

There are two murals in Venice featuring Jim Morrison, front man for the Doors.  Venice was a part of his life.  This one is on Speedway just south of Windward.

The other is part of the Ellison Murals where you will also find larger than life murals of Marilyn Monroe, Lana Del Rey and Sir John Vincent Hurt.  The Ellison Murals are just off the world famous Venice Boardwalk.

Venice has more murals than we could ever hope to cover here, including the Love Wall of Instagram fame.  We suggest you check out our post on the Venice Street Art Tour where host Daniel Wood takes you around to see the more significant murals. We have photos of a lot of the murals in the post and a video showing the tour.

But if you just walk along the boardwalk or Abbot Kinney Blvd, you’ll see enough murals to keep you happy for a long time to come!

Jim Morrison Mural in Venice

30. Venice Graffiti Walls

The Venice Graffiti walls are right by the Venice Skate Park.  The art changes daily and you are sure to see lots of graffiti artists at work with their paint brushes and buckets when you go.

It makes for a beautiful backdrop along with the ocean view!

Venice Graffiti Walls

31. Marina Del Rey

Marina Del Rey is one of the most beautiful places in Los Angeles.  There are two great places to take pictures around all the sailboats, fishing vessels and yachts.

The first is Burton Chace Park.  This park is surrounded on three sides by the Marina and it’s one of LA’s most beautiful and peaceful parks. Burton W. Chace Park is located at 13650 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey

The other is Fisherman’s Village which has the added advantage of live music and lots of shops and restaurants. Fisherman’s Village is located at 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Marina del Rey

32. Inside the Snow White Cafe

The Snow White Cafe is a little hole in the wall bar, cafe on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  It was a favorite hangout of the original Walt Disney animators and it contains artwork of original Walt Disney characters on the walls.  The interior decor is a bit like you would expect Snow White’s cottage to be like as well.

For some reason this has never become a tourist hotspot despite its location and the amazing artwork on the walls.  Capture some good interior shots here and you’ll make a real statement.

You’ll find it at 6769 Hollywood Blvd

Inside the Snow White Cafe

33. Marilyn Monroe’s Grave

Marilyn Monroe‘s funeral was supposed to be a quite affair.  It didn’t turn out that way.

Marilyn’s grave caused the small Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Mortuary to become a popular final resting place for other well known celebrities. Among them are Dean Martin, Jack Lemmon, Rodney Dangerfield, Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, Truman Capote, Ray Bradbury, Eva Gabor, Eve Arden, Natalie Wood Wagner, Don Knotts, Farah Fawcett, and Billy Wilder.

In 1992 publishing tycoon Hugh Hefner bought the tomb next to Marilyn’s so he could spend eternity next to Playboy’s first Playmate.  There was also a bench placed near her tomb by fans where they could sit and reflect on the actress’s work.

It is located at 1218 Glendon Avenue in Westwood.

I literally have another 30 LA Instagram Spots I’d like to add to this post, but it is already too long.  I’ll go through posts and add the tag “LA Instagram Spots” to various places that make Instagram worthy locations.  So just click the tag to call up more places to check out.

We hope you enjoy your visit to Los Angeles and get some great pictures!


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