Southern California has a wonderfully weird and wacky side that makes this place so darn lovable and incredibly approachable. We have some bizarro museums, unusual places to watch outdoor flicks and a bunch of other surprises that will make you fall in love with a completely unexpected side of SoCal you’ve never seen before. Here are a few of my favorite “weird” spots that every Southern California resident should take some time to see. And, if you’re a tourist, you should think about adding these to your list as they will add some great memories to your California getaway.
1. Hollywood Forever Cemetery
This historical cemetery is the resting place for many Hollywood greats. People from all over the world come to pay their respects to the legends who have made this their final resting spot.
Since 2002, Cinespia has been hosting movie nights and other cinematic special events on the grounds of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Can you imagine watching a movie late at night at a cemetery? Cue the goosebumps!
2. Ruddy's General Store Museum
If you do nothing else on this list, this one is a must. It's a charming little museum in Palm Springs that is set up with the original products and store fixtures that were used in a typical 1930s general store. Many of the items on the shelf aren't just empty boxes either -- they actually have the original product still inside. This general store is beyond charming and does a perfect job of capturing the look and feel of a general store back in that era. And the admission price is only 95 cents per person. Now that's adorable!
3. Museum of Death in Los Angeles
I'm not really sure who goes to this kind of museum and quite frankly I'm a little scared to ask. This place is packed full of the world's largest collection of murder and death-related items that will give you the chills -- original crime scene photos, artwork from convicted serial killers, body bags, coffins, antique instruments used by morticians and a ton more. It's a bizarre yet memorable experience that really is quite the outing in Los Angeles.
4. The Cabazon Dinosaurs
Located west of Palm Springs, you will find these towering dinosaurs off the Cabazon exit on Hwy 10. If you're a local, you most definitely have seen them from the road as they are pretty hard to miss. These dinosaurs have also made appearances in movies and TV shows so if you're from out of state they may also look familiar.
5. International Banana Museum
With over 20,000 banana-related items on display, I bet you'll go banananas at this Riverside County museum. But just remember, it's all fun and games until someone slips on a banana. Sorry, I can't help myself but these banana jokes are just so a-peeling. Seriously, someone, make me stop!
6. Bubble Gum Alley in San Luis Obispo
An alleyway full of chewed up bubblegum? Whaaaat? Yep, it's true and only in SoCal. If the thought of it doesn't turn your stomach, then it's an interesting thing to check out just to see the artistry of the bubble gum walls. Who know chewing gum could be so entertaining!
7. Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch in San Bernardino County
Located along Historic Route 66, you will definitely want to pull over and see this place for yourself. Art made from every bottle imaginable is what will surround you at this unexpected hidden gem. Try to time your visit when the sun is out as the vision of the glass catching the sunlight is a spectacular and colorful light show.
8. Harper's Topiary Garden in San Diego
Located in the charming neighborhood of Mission Hills in San Diego, this whimsical garden designed and maintained by the Harper family is full of shrubs that have been lovingly trimmed into elephants, bunnies, and other cute animal designs. Although it's a private residence, the owners love people to come by and view their work of art. You are welcome to not only drive by, but you can also get out and take a look. It's a short and quick tour, but it's something fun and unusual to add to your day.
These spots are pretty weird! Did you have any idea these things existed in Southern California? We’re always on the lookout for other memorable outings in the area so let us know in the comments other places you would add to this list.