Suzy Beal

Credit: Suzy Beal

Best Pocket Observatory

When the San Fernando Solar Observatory — one of the oldest of its kind — was finally moved to Cal State Northridge in 2016, it enlivened an already charming corner of the campus. The dollhouse-like domed structure sits next to a landscaped turtle-and-duck pond and historic orange grove, with a......
Credit: Suzy Beal

Best Campground Convenient to Central L.A.

Millard Campground, aka Millard Trail Camp, is an intimate, six-site campground that's just a few hundred yards from city streets but feels worlds away, tucked into a cool, leafy canyon. This first-come, first-served location offers access to the scenic Sunset Ridge Trail, with views of Punchbowl and Saucer Falls en......
Credit: Courtesy Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch

11 SoCal Pumpkin Patches Where it Always Feels Like Fall

To officially mark the fall season, everyone, it seems, must obtain a pumpkin. Theoretically you could just select one at Vons and call it a day. But then you’d miss the rustic, sawdust-flecked pleasures of an outdoor pumpkin patch, with all its attendant harvest-y rituals. In Southern California, especially, we......
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Best Little Cathouse in SoCal

Hidden away in a dusty corner of the high desert, the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound, aka the Cat House, is one of our more eccentric animal sanctuaries, functioning as sort of a feline zoo. Inexpensive to visit ($5 to $7), tiny (you can see everything in less than an hour),......
Credit: Suzy Beal

Best Geology Hike

For hikers in Greater L.A. looking for new areas to explore, Santa Clarita Valley offers an ever-increasing number of world-class hiking trails. While this summer's wildfires have affected some of the most scenic canyons in the SCV, fortunately one of the best is still largely intact: Towsley Canyon. The first......
Credit: Suzy Beal

Best Creepy History Hike

For outdoor explorers who like their hikes with a helping of history and a frisson of dread, Santa Susana Pass is your kind of place. Several trails here wind through the ruggedly scenic Simi Hills, along with an unofficial trail that takes you through the former Spahn Ranch, onetime home......
Credit: Danielle Bedics

Best Steampunk Jewelry, Hats and Duds 

One of L.A.'s great eccentric clothiers, Clockwork Couture is where serious steampunks source their parasols, gloves, frilly hats, goggles, gowns, long coats, leather "harness," corsets, boots, walking canes, medals of uncertain origin and, of course, timepieces. Reveling in the reimagined world of Victorian romance, steam travel, dirigibles and buccaneers, the shop can......
Credit: Suzy Beal

Best Artisanal Jellies, Pickles and Syrup

E. Waldo Ward & Son has been packing and selling small-batch jellies, marmalade, syrups, pickles and relishes from a farm in Sierra Madre since 1918. The Ward family still sells its products from a tiny room above the barn and gives free tours of its largely unchanged packing house and orchards......
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