7 Things to Do in L.A., According to B.J. Novak

A low-key guide from a Los Angeles local (who happens to be B.J. Novak)

01.17.17
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There are approximately 302 reasons to love B.J. Novak — writer, producer, comedian and star of The Office. Like the fact that his Twitter profile picture is clearly a shitty crop of his driver’s license. Or that he has a nondescript Instagram handle, picturesoftext, for which his bio reads: “link in bio.” Or that he has hilarious normal-person social media feeds that make you forget he’s not your best friend from college and is, instead, one million miles out of your orbit. Or that he’s smart and humble and talented and accomplished and his books are kind of genius. That’s nine and I’ve only scratched the surface.

Ten! He’s also an entrepreneur, which is something he does while we’re all sleeping like pathetical mortals. A little over a year ago, he created li.st (previously known as The List App), an online social space for sharing lists that I’m obsessed with. Since its founding, 250,000 lists have been published on it, which is like a million (cut in four). Yes or weird: Should I create the list of 302 reasons and post it on his app? Probably weird.

Anyway, since he loves lists and we love him and he loves Los Angeles, we asked him to give us a short one of his favorite things to do in L.A. Here is what he told us. (Not that I’m your boss, but you could probably hit most of these in one day.) (B.J.’s thoughtful like that.) (That makes eleven.)

1. Walk around Griffith Observatory
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

“A field-trip staple and one of most beautiful, special landmarks in L.A, both from a distance and up-close. The planetarium has gifted live narrators and you can see a telescope aimed at the moon that shows you the detail equivalent to a city block.”

2. Look through rare books at The Last Bookstore
453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

“A huge former bank building converted into a church for people who love discovering rare and interesting books. The $1 section upstairs, the pulp paperbacks by the counter and the rare-book annex are my favorite sections. You always find something new and the space is like nothing else.”

3. Explore Skylight Books & Skylight Art Book Store 
1818 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

“One (technically two) of the several great independent book stores in the city (others include Book Soup, The Last Bookstore and Stories). Skylight in Los Feliz is an indie bookstore, and then, two doors down, they have another shop entirely devoted to art and visual reads.”

4. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of The Angels
555 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

“This church is one of the most interesting and inspiring works of modern religious architecture anywhere. It was completed in 2002. It’s right off the 101 downtown, and you can see it from the freeway, this special intriguing building. It’s filled with brilliant architectural details, and is just a really special place to check out.”

5. Volunteer with the kids at 826 LA – Time Travel Mart
1714 W Sunset Blvd, Echo Park, CA 90026
12515 Venice Blvd, Mar Vista, CA 90066

“If you’re in L.A. for a while and you want to get to know the real city a bit more, volunteer for after-school tutoring through 826 LA. You meet real, funny, great kids who come in for help with their homework and to goof off.”

6. Eat literally anything by Korean American chef Roy Choi
Kogi Taqueria, 3500 Overland Ave #100, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Kogi BBQ’s weekly truck schedule
Chego’s locations
Alibi Room, 12236 Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066
POT, The Line Hotel, 3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010
LocoL, 1950 E 103rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90002

“Roy Choi is both the poet and popularizer of the flavors of Los Angeles. He invented the Kogi food trucks with their legendary cultural hybrid tacos. POT, at the Line Hotel, offers amazing Korean food and a very fun experience. If you want to taste the future, go to Watts and check out LocoL, which is bringing health to fast food and underserved communities into the business practice. It could be revolutionary.”

7. Go see comedy at UCB Theater (Franklin)
5919 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

“For about $5 a show, you can see the next wave of comedy talent experiment in an intimate space. Always electricity in the air there.”

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List culled by Alexandra Malmed, introduction by Haley Nahman.

Guide designed by Maria Jia Ling Pitt; follow her on Instagram @heysuperstar.

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