When Honey approached me with this blog post I jumped at the chance to publish it! I’ve been wanting to go to California for a while now and this awesome article has made my wanderlust even worse…
Instagram. Even if you aren’t a blogger or an influencer, sometimes you still want that perfectly lit, frame-able, centrepiece worthy image to stick on your social media, your office desktop, or as a large print for your gallery wall.
So, here you are in Los Angeles. You could be a local, an import, or a visitor, who now has a myriad of local attractions and walls to choose from. Where do you go? Sure, you could follow as much of the walls and wings scattered all over LA – and I think you should – but you could also add a little bit of mystery and excitement to your photos with a location that makes people say:
“Where WAS that?!”
Or, “So pretty! I forgot about that place – let’s go!”
Try Somewhere New
Most people these days know a little bit more about San Fernando Valley than they used to. As the red-headed stepchild of Los Angeles, it usually got a bum rap for being a worthless area of the county with nothing to do in.
There are a lot of misconceptions about this area known simply as “The Valley” even though there’s a minimum of 3 other Valleys within an hour’s driving distance from the LA city centre. The main one I’d like to address here is the misconception that The Valley is not worth visiting.
These days, one of the reasons to visit a spot is its Instagram worthiness. Many places are worth visiting for the experience, but points are added if you can take a great photo there, whether it’s the food, the walls, or the scenery.
Lake Balboa Park
A large park in the Valley that boasts plenty of activities ranging from archery, golf, Japanese gardens, and a lake you can ride a swan paddle boat in, just to name a few.
Because of those, there are plenty of areas and activities in this park that can provide you with some great Instagram content. This single location can provide you with all sorts of different scenery in a day’s worth of shooting.
The Village at Topanga Canyon
A relatively new open plaza in the San Fernando Valley, The Village opened about 3 years ago giving this corner of the valley new retail life.
Built much in the spirit of other open plazas like the Grove and Americana, this place is designed for strolling and shopping, as well as sitting for hours enjoying your coffee, your dog playing in the various textures of dirt, grass, cement, and floor fountains, reading a book, or people watching.
The walkways are lined with a variety of decorated walls, from vertical gardens, floral backgrounds, fake swings, and light up text, there is a beautiful Instagram wall for you and your feed.
Malibu Hindu temple
Not so much an attraction, but an actual temple, this place welcomes visitors of all kinds. Details are best obtained directly from the website, as hours can vary by season and special occasions.
The temple is hidden between the hills and valleys of Mulholland drive. Easily missed if you’re not looking for it, it’s a beautiful glistening white building with statues of Hindu deities inside. You are free to take photos, walk around, or simply sit down to breathe in and meditate in their presence.
One of many trails in the West Valley, Victory trailhead is a favourite of the locals for its easy parking, easy paths, and perfect views of the sunset.
There is a particular spot I often visit when entering from the Victory Trailhead entrance that often reminds me of The Lion King when viewed at sunset.
Note: For those that aren’t local, there are snakes and coyotes in the area. Be aware. Summer hosts a lot of rattlesnakes, so stay on the path. Be cautious of coyotes, especially if you have a pet with you. While a lot of people do hike alone, it’s best to hike with a friend.
A rock formation located towards Santa Clarita Valley, this is a perfect place for some creatively costumed shoots, active, and family photos.
Many families and teenagers show up here to hang out, hike, or climb the rocks. According to trivia, this place is also known as Kirk’s Rock for being heavily used in Star Trek as a variety of planets.
Venture out further and explore
San Fernando Valley may just be the beginning for you. It was for me when I first moved out this direction.
What initially felt like an empty area devoid of most active life suddenly became a treasure trove of places rarely any of my friends in LA had any idea about. Living here is how I found these places and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
When in the San Fernando Valley, those of us that don’t care to plunge into the busy areas of LA are able to drive towards the coast of Malibu, head further inland into Simi Valley or Sylmar, or cross the border into the next county of Ventura.
There are a lot of places here not covered by the usual Los Angeles itinerary that could be worth a day’s drive or a weekend visit. I encourage you to take the 101N or the PCH. Stop by the little-known places along the way and find some of your own little Instagram treasures.
Honey Reyes works in fashion and runs a personal travel blog at thatdamnhoney.com that includes posts on travel advice, Los Angeles events, and journal entries about her life – with a debatable amount of swearing.