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Los Angeles isn't just all-American glamour. There's plenty of culture, plenty of quirk and many a knockout view. It's true, most things in this city are sprinkled with pizazz, but so much of LA hides under its ostentatious image of star-studded streets, red-carpet flash photography, soaring highways and superficial, sunkissed sirens.
Wedged between two worlds: the carefree bleached sands of the Pacific and the rocky rivers and twisting roads of rugged national forest lies this City of Angels. On the west coast, this city exhibits its beauty through palm-flecked horizons and relaxed, romantic boardwalks.
Originality is expressed through Pasadena's world-record-holding Bunny Museum and its obscure, metaphorical Fork Statue. Fairytales come to life with the gingerbread-esque Spadena House, and Bavarian influences are embraced at Alpine Village's Oktoberfest.
Deep in the San Gabriel Mountains sits The Bridge to Nowhere. A forgotten road, destroyed by the elements and abandoned by the people, once led out to a stone arch connecting two sides of a deep chasm. For decades this solitary, isolated structure has drawn hikers from across the globe. On route, expect to see optimists panning for gold, and on arrival bungee jumpers braving the bridge. Wading through water, dipping in refreshing waterfalls and catching sight of big-horned sheep are also likely.
To see the effects of weather in a more urban environment, the Sunken City of San Pedro is a site for contemplation. Only a broken jigsaw of graffiti-embellished buildings remain of what was once a set of exclusive bungalows.
What is clear is that LA is mellow, high-maintenance and intrepid all at once. This is a city juggling many identities and it is up to you which one you discover.