An Introvert’s Guide to Los Angeles

Social interaction optional

Introverts are a misunderstood bunch. It’s not that we’re antisocial jerks, we just need space to recharge now and then. Thankfully, L.A. is as much a city for loners as it is for socialites. Here are seven places where introverts can soak up some sweet alone time.

Santa Monica Camera Obscura

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Santa Monica pier is sensory overload at its most crushing, but thankfully, there’s a nearby sanctuary. At the south end of Palisades Park, you’ll find an unassuming midcentury building with bold retro script spelling out “Camera Obscura” on a street-facing wall. Swap your driver’s license for the key to the camera in the small office to the right (you may have to knock to get the attendant’s attention). Then, head up the stairs to a cool, dark room. Images of the surrounding beach are projected onto a disk at the center of the space, and you can rotate the view with the ship’s wheel. It’s weirdly mesmerizing, and—even better—the place is all yours to take your sweet time.

1450 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday


Huntington Gardens

With 120 acres of exquisite garden (as well as four art galleries), there’s more than ample space to wander. The Chinese and Japanese gardens are especially lush, but they can get crowded. The desert garden, however, is both whimsical and often empty. Put on a podcast and meander.

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino
10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day except Tuesday

$23 on weekdays, $25 on weekends

Garçons de Café

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This wine bar/French boutique in the Spring Arcade Building has the ambiance of a high-end coffee shop. If you actually want to talk wine with owners Sofian and Thomas, sit at the bar. Otherwise, relegate yourself to the couch or a chair by the window. Bring a close friend (or two, tops) or maybe just a book.

541 S Spring St #114, Los Angeles
11 a.m. – 12 a.m., closed Mondays

West Hollywood Library

Any library is an introvert’s paradise because you get to hang out around people without any obligation to interact with them. L.A. has many excellent libraries (Lincoln Heights, Central), but WeHo’s feels particularly serene. Sunlight spills through the floor-to-ceiling windows, and a white sycamore sculpture wends its way up toward the skylight.

625 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood
11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday

 Pause Float Studio

This is ultimate solitude. Shut yourself into a glowing, sci-fi pod and float in a thick Epsom salt solution in total darkness until you basically become a disembodied mind. You’ll emerge recharged and feeling almost too good.

13353 Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles
9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
$85 (or if it’s your first time, $75)

St. Basil’s Catholic Church

Built in an architectural style known as “Brutalism” (it’s far more inviting than it sounds), St. Basil’s was designed to feel like a place of refuge. Vertical concrete towers direct your attention upward as light filters in through sculptural stained glass windows. Stop by to sit in stillness and mentally prepare for that networking lunch at Commissary you scheduled last week and are now deeply regretting.

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (though you may want to know their Mass and choir practice schedule before going)

El Matador State Beach

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Like Santa Monica, Malibu is madhouse on weekends, but if you can swing a weekday off, you’ll likely have the place to yourself. If there’s anything more introspective than kicking back in a secluded sea cave, humankind hasn’t discovered it yet.

32350 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu