Dip Your Toes Into These L.A. Experiences

Kayaking the rapids with LA River Kayak Safari
Photo: LA River Kayak Safari, Facebook

For those seeking the life aquatic, there's more to Los Angeles than world-famous beaches like Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice. Read on for five locations that will wet your appetite for new and unique L.A. experiences.

Photo courtesy of Echo Park Lake Pedal Boats, Facebook

Echo Park Lake

Originally built as a drinking water reservoir in the 1860s, the 13-acre Echo Park Lake is surrounded by 16 acres of open recreational space. With the Downtown L.A. skyline as the backdrop, the parklands, charming footbridge, boathouse, beautiful lotus beds, and the Lady of the Lake statue have attracted visitors for generations. Activities include pedal boats, picnic tables, jogging, and strolls around the perimeter pathway. The annual Lotus Festival is one of L.A.'s most popular summer events. Film noir fans will recognize Echo Park Lake from a scene in Chinatown when J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) takes photographs of Hollis Mulwray (Darrell Zwerling) from a rowboat.

Photo courtesy of LA River Kayak Safari, Facebook

LA River Kayak Safari

LA River Kayak Safari runs summer trips from Memorial Day through the end of September. Meet at the end of the river trip in Oso Park, where you'll get a bike to ride to the Put In Point and begin your excursion. You even get to experience some rapids on this portion of the river. From start to finish, it’s a 3.5-hour adventure. In addition to a great core workout, you’ll get a little river history, see some wildlife and enjoy a mini-vacation. “There are times when you really have no idea you’re in Los Angeles,” says founder, Steve Appleton. And in case you are wondering, “You will absolutely get wet,” he says. Dress accordingly.

Tropicana Pool at the Hollywood Roosevelt
Tropicana Pool | Photo courtesy of Hollywood Roosevelt, Facebook


You’re surrounded by Hollywood history the moment you step into the Hollywood Roosevelt's Spanish Colonial style lobby. The first Academy Awards were presented at a private dinner in the hotel’s Blossom Ballroom, while Clark Gable and Carole Lombard carried on their infamous affair in the hotel penthouse. Marilyn Monroe lived at the hotel for two years as her modeling career began to take off - she was staying in one of the vintage 1950s Cabanas at the time of her first professional magazine shoot, which took place at the Roosevelt's pool.

The Tropicana Pool is an urban oasis at the heart of the hotel, featuring the celebrated David Hockney-painted pool and the new poolside hideaway, The Rosy Oyster. Surrounded by lush foliage and exclusive Cabana rooms, this seductive retreat welcomes a trendy crowd day and night, when intimate conversations are whispered around glowing fire rings.

Golden Lotus Temple and swans | Photo courtesy of Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

Self-Realization Fellowship

The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is tucked away on a lush, ten-acre site in the Pacific Palisades a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean. Founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1950, the Lake Shrine offers a lakeside Meditation Garden with shrines and waterfalls, a hilltop Temple with weekly services and meditations, a retreat for silent renewal, and an ashram for monks of Self-Realization Fellowship.

Photo courtesy of Hornblower Cruises & Events, Facebook


For an unforgettable romantic dinner, book a sunset cruise aboard a Hornblower luxury yacht, departing from the Marina del Rey Fisherman’s Village on Friday and Saturday nights. The 2.5-hour cruise begins with a welcome glass of champagne. Guests are then invited to sit down at a private table to enjoy a delicious four-course dinner crafted from local, seasonal ingredients. After dinner, head to the outdoor deck for music and dancing under sparkling night sky. As the yacht glides around the harbor, you’ll be treated to views of Southern California’s beautiful beaches. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit the Hornblower website.