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The 16 Best Places for People Watching in Los Angeles

June 17, 2014 by Brian Champlin

People.

They are the one factor of living in a big city that make it at once both absolutely dreadful yet also unendingly interesting.

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People can be loud, obnoxious, irritating, smelly, and worst of all (at least in L.A.), terrible at operating their giant moving death machines otherwise known as automobiles.

But you know what? People also make for great natural entertainment. Case in point: The art of people watching.

People watching is, in many cases, compelling absorbing, hilarious, occasionally insightful, and best of all… free.

Who are these people? How long has it been since that dude shaved? Why is that homeless guy wearing a steering wheel as a backpack? How are those woman’s fake boobs staying in place with only 19 inches of shoe string tenuously serving proxy as a swimsuit?

So many questions…

That said, here’s a list of the best spots in L.A. to get your people-watching game on.

We encourage you to check each of them out, get in touch with your inner voyeur, and really get to know (at least on a totally surface level) the weird bunch of people who you share this city with.

Enjoy the show.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

[Photo Credit: sawaco_x]

Venice Beach: playground of eclectic weirdos.

3rd Street Promenade

[Photo Credit: annenadineholland]

Lots of musicians, lots of performers, and  loaded with plentiful people watching opportunities. One of the best sunny day walks in the entire city.

The Getty Museum

[Photo Credit: mevansito]

Great spot to take a seat on the grass or on one of the benches and watch the flow of museum goers flow back and forth.

Old Town Pasadena

[Photo Credit: jordansfather]

Old town has seen a nice revitalization over the last decade and the crowds on weekends tend to get pretty diverse. Also, quite a spectacle on New Year’s Eve and during the Rose Parade.

Shoreline Village

[Photo Credit: lb_femme]

Whether you’re enjoying a beer on the marina side or grabbing shade underneath the (fake) light house on the aquarium side, come here on a weekend and for a bit of sunshine and a crowd of passers-by.

Grand Park

[Photo Credit: faridaamar]

The city has put some funds behind revitalizing Grand Park and it shows. Keep in mind of the farmer’s market here on Tuesdays and the food trucks that stop by Wednesdays and Thursdays

Griffith Observatory

[Photo Credit: sasadiee]

One of the most iconic spots in the entire city. Great spot to grab a patch of grass and watch the folks go by coming in and out of the observatory.

Hill Top Park 

[Photo Credit: gcm1212]

One of the lesser known but still great viewing spots of the city. If you come during twilight you’ll certainly catch a number of families, loving couples, and photographers enjoying the beautiful sunset.

LACMA

[Photo Credit: ernie334]

Another iconic spot, one of the great things about LACMA is that you peruse the outer grounds without having to purchase entry for the galleries. If you do want to check them out, keep in mind that after 3 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, general admission is free to Los Angeles County residents with proof of residency.

Manhattan Beach Pier

[Photo Credit: 9oh266]

Gorgeous beach. Lots of people. Beautiful weather. Done.

The Grove

[Photo Credit: princessbebop]

Best outdoor shopping mall in the entire city? Just might be.

Grauman’s Chinese Theater

[Photo Credit: chrisloghry]

A traditional people watching spot in the heart of Hollywood. Note the ample number of costumed folks walking around impersonating characters from your favorite movies. Try not to talk to the guys trying to sell you CDs.

Echo Park Lake

[Photo Credit: genatalia_]

A little respite of nature in the heart of hipsterville.

Beverly Canon Gardens

[Photo Credit: mrsnattie_b]

Nestled right between the Montage Beverly Hills and Bouchon Bistro, this courtyard area is a perfect spot to for a lunch meeting in the heart of Beverly Hills, and lots of eye candy to boot.

Sunset Junction (Intelligentsia Coffee)

[Photo Credit: mkraish]

Drink expensive coffee while you watch hipsters go by.

Grand Central Market

[Photo Credit: missericayvette]

No place in the city recreates the gritty, bustling New York City market feel better than Grand Central. And there’s tons of amazing food options too!

Have another people watching spot in Los Angeles you like to hang out at? Let us know in the comments below!

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