Gay Los Angeles: Rare Finds & Awesome Oddities

Street performer at Venice Boardwalk | Photo by Lori Bucci, Flickr
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When you think “quirky,” do you think of Los Angeles? You should. The City of Angels abounds with a treasure trove of unique boutiques, eateries and everything in between.

Venice Boardwalk

There's only one place in the country where you can walk down a boardwalk past street performers (everything from jugglers to drummers to breakdancers), shops selling the latest (and cheapest) tourist tees and sunglasses and bodybuilders pumping iron right on the beach. Venice has long been home to some of L.A.'s quirkiest residents, and you can get a taste of it all by taking a stroll down the boardwalk. Grab a bite and do a little shopping before parking yourself on the beach and watching the sunset. It's a full day of enjoyment, no matter how many times you've experienced it.

517 Ocean Front Walk, Venice

Big Gay Starbucks

While it's not particularly 'odd,' the huge Starbucks located in the heart of Boystown is certainly a rarity depending on where you're visiting Los Angeles from. For some out-of-towners, this gay hotspot is quite a revelation—the city of West Hollywood truly is a gay mecca, where men and women can be affectionate towards one another and feel completely safe and accepted. And as us gays love our coffee, you're guaranteed to always find this Starbucks locale packed with 'family'—working on Hollywood's next hottest screenplay or just gabbing with friends on the patio.

8595 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Odditorium

Ripley's epitomizes 'rare finds'—you'll come across things in this family-friendly attraction that you're sure to see nowhere else. Plus, it's located right on Hollywood Boulevard amid the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the shopping mecca at Hollywood and Highland Center. You won't regret spending a couple hours perusing Ripley's odd and amazing exhibits from around the world, plus rare artifacts and strange activities for people of all ages. And when you work up an appetite, head next door to Mel's Drive In, a '50s-inspired old-school diner featuring nostalgic greaser memorabilia.

6780 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

Casita Del Campo

Among the city’s artsy underbelly, Casita Del Campo is hailed as one of the city’s most unique haunts. Upstairs, the Mexican food satisfies like no chico’s business—the fajitas sizzle and the margaritas will kick your butt. Downstairs, there’s the Cavern Club Theater, charming in its intimate fabulousness—home to some of L.A.’s best up-and-coming (and also established) comedians and character actors. Come here for dinner and a show while you're in town and you'll leave fully satisfied!

1920 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake

The Cheese Store of Silver Lake

Rare wines, specialty meats and blocks of cheese—oh my! The Cheese Store of Silver Lake has long been a haven for discerning foodies. Think of it as a candy store for kitchen-wizarding adults—jams, crackers, a good variety of olive oils and other unique finds reign supreme here. The staff is also knowledgeable to boot! A secret about this hot spot? Many of L.A.’s hottest restaurants buy directly from here, so stop by the Cheese Store and treat yourself to a slice of whatever L.A.’s latest must-try restaurant is serving up—at half the price!

3926 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake

L.A. Derby Dolls

Sometimes women’s sports can get a bad wrap, but this awesomely insane lady’s group whips back at any stereotypes. A real-life Whip It (the film starring Drew Barrymore and Kristen Wiig), this grassroots organization is a show of spectacular proportions—involving tatted women with fierce nicknames rollerblading down a track and taking each other down, all in a controlled sporting environment. Aggressive enough to give your hetero buds their ESPN fix and exciting enough to sate your lesbian BFFs’ NASCAR needs, the Derby Dolls will entertain all. Here's an L.A. experience that will bring you to your knees—but hopefully not after an elbow to the face.

1910 W. Temple Ave., Silver Lake

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