Josh McNair: Los Angeles, California, USA

We often say, "no one knows a place like a local", but what about a local who's written about their state for the last five years? For this edition of people from places, we talk to writer and photographer, Josh McNair of the blog, californiathroughmylens.com, which contains over 400 posts and has more than 10 million views. When you're done reading his perspective on Los Angeles, CA, make sure to check out his website where he shares all the best spots in his home state of California. 

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Josh and I have been exploring California for the better part of the last 5 years. I love hiking, finding new spots to eat, and photography.

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What makes Los Angeles so special? 

Los Angeles can be a pretty overwhelming place, but there are tons of awesome little pockets of the city that you can explore and that hold a plethora of unique adventures. There are great places to hike in the city, more restaurants than you can hope to explore, and even a new open-air observation deck. This is on top of all the touristy attractions like Hollywood Blvd.

Have you found any "hidden gems" in your city?

I have found so many great hidden spots in the city. A few that come to mind is hiking to the Old LA Zoo, getting a French Dip at Philippe's, visiting Walt Disney's Barn and watching a show at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater.

Where is the "place to be" if you want to meet new people and hang with the locals? 

I always like heading over to Griffith Park where you can check out the observatory, marvel at the Hollywood Sign and do some hiking. It is a super busy spot during warm summer nights and even though there is a lot of people it still has a fun charm.

Where do you go to enjoy nature and is there any specific outdoor activities you would recommend?

Heading down to the beach in Santa Monica or Venice is a great way to enjoy nature, as is hiking in Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon. Just walking around downtown LA or Hollywood can be a lot of fun as well though.

Best place to get a cup of coffee?

Hard to pick just one, but I really like Blue Bottle or Dinosaur Coffee.

What is the most memorable moment you've had in LA?

A few weeks ago I got the chance to go up to the new observation deck in the US Bank building and ride the glass slide they just put in. Even though it was really fast, it was still a super fun experience in the city for sure. Also, the first time I hiked to the Hollywood Sign was pretty memorable as well since it is just such an iconic spot.

Lastly, if someone had one day to explore your town, what would you have them do to get the most out of their time?

I would recommend getting up early, grabbing some coffee, hiking to the Hollywood Sign, then heading into town for a ramen lunch at Daikokuya. After that walk around Hollywood and take in all the sites. Then grab dinner at one of the famous spots like Pink's Hot Dogs before heading up to Griffith Park to watch the sun go down.


Huge thanks to Josh for sharing all about Los Angeles! Be sure to check out his website and follow him on Instagram for his photography!