Elysian Being: 5 Peaceful Places to Unplug in LA

Written by Jessica Comingore

There’s no denying the amount of connectivity involved in our day-to-day, regardless of our occupations. Frankly, it’s hard for me to look back on a time when work didn’t involve being tied to a screen in some capacity. I often dream about doing more hands-on work that requires very little time connected, and more time engaged, but for many of us, our nine-to-five lives mean typing, scrolling and communicating in every way possible other than face-to-face. As a result, I’ve found myself having conversation after conversation with friends and colleagues alike about how much we need (and crave) time away from being connected.
While everyone seems to have a different approach for satisfying their desire to unplug, I’ve found solace in a few specific spots around town that always manage to bring me peace. Despite Los Angeles being a major metropolitan city, I think I’ve been able to call this place home for the past twenty-eight years thanks to its proximity to nature, and a few tucked away places that manage to feel like you’re miles away from home, even if you’re just around the corner. So in the spirit of digital detoxing, I wanted to share a few of my favorite places to unplug in the city in hopes of inspiring a bit more time off-screen and unwound.
1. The Trails Café, 2333 Fern Dell Drive, Los Angeles

The Trails is a little café tucked in the middle of Griffith Park that is my favorite place to go on a Saturday morning to catch up with a friend over tea and a slice of quiche. It sits perfectly between Fern Dell and the start of a trail up to the Griffith Observatory, but somehow feels miles away from LA. I like to go right when they open at 8am and retreat to one of their benches for a few hours of sketching or brainstorming before starting my day.

2. The Eames House, 203 Chautauqua Boulevard, Pacific Palisades

I like to think of the Eames House as one of LA’s lesser known marvels, and tend to tell every out-of-towner to make their way out to Pacific Palisades to see it. The house sits on a beautiful meadow overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and most days of the week, you can tour the grounds and peek inside the interior, which is decorated exactly as Charles and Ray left it. Though it’s hard not to want to photograph every nook and cranny of the property, it’s also the perfect place to sit silently, admiring one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture the city has to offer. One time the docent even let me picnic on the lawn with a packed lunch.

3. The Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

The Huntington Library is another one of the city’s beautiful properties where you can easily whisk away an afternoon. The gardens span from desert landscape, to roses, to a conservatory, to a Japanese tea garden, all with uniquely enchanting qualities. I like to sneak around here on a weekday when the crowds are less abundant and spend the bulk of my time at the Japanese House (pictured above), which is widely considered one of the best examples of early 20th-century Japanese architecture in the United States.

4. Mignon Restaurant, 128 E. 6th Street, Los Angeles

Continuing on the theme of places that don’t feel like you’re in LA, one of my favorite restaurants to retreat to at the end of a long day is a little place called Mignon. It’s a cozy food and wine bar in the historic core of Downtown LA that feels as close as you can get to sitting at a sidewalk café in Paris. The interior is small and dimly lit, with walls covered in beautiful oil paintings and funky light fixtures overhead. An evening here always helps me get my dose of Europe when traveling is no where on the agenda.

5. Hennessey & Ingalls, 300 S. Santa Fe Avenue, Los Angeles

One of the best things about Los Angeles is its thriving art and design scene, even down to its bookstores. Though few and far between, there are a handful of bookstores around the city that are dedicated to literature on art and architecture, my favorite of which is Hennessey and Ingalls. I used to have to travel across town to Santa Monica to get my fix, but they recently closed up shop there to open a Downtown LA location that’s not too far from home. Whenever I’m struggling for ideas or inspiration, I’ll pop by here and peruse their endless collection of design books.

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