Discover More, California by Jonpaul Douglass in Los Angeles

We sent Jonpaul out with a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: California to get his perspective on what it means to use a travel guide in his local area.

When I look at Los Angeles, I see endless layers. It’s glossy, grungy, and a mix of the two. It’s a magical place and sometimes surreal. Some parts are a suburban wasteland with ever-changing billboards and ever-present palm trees. Some parts are very upscale, lined with expensive cars, people wearing designer clothing, and again more palm trees. As you drive between areas you can see worlds meld into each other and spot some very interesting visual chaos and scenes that could be described as being “very LA.” I wanted these photos to show how I see this great city.


Name:Jonpaul Douglass

Can you sum up Los Angeles in a paragraph? Los Angeles is too much to grasp in a short visit. It takes years before it can even feel familiar to a person. The best way to describe LA is that it’s like 10 magical cities in one, all very different from each other. No other city I have experienced offers as much diversity and culture. Los Angeles is the perfect place to remain inspired.

Can you sum up the people of LA in a paragraph? Given that we have every walk of life here in LA, I feel like we are unified in a way. No matter who you are or what you do, you’re an Angeleno. One rarely sees discrimination here since it’s such a melting pot of culture. We all do our own thing and nothing is ever perceived as crazy or strange because you truly see it all here.

What was the experience like looking through a travel guidebook for your own local area?  It was so great because I traveled to places that I hadn’t visited in five or six years. While visiting I was asking myself why I had stayed away for so long. The history provided in the book also gave me a new appreciation for these areas. I realized why certain landmarks are regarded as must-see spots. There are tons of really spectacular places in LA, and they are all covered in the book.

Did you find anything new or inspiring about your area in the book? I did! Specifically a building downtown called the Bradbury Building. I’ve walked past it hundreds of times and never knew it was a historic landmark that was open to the public. They filmed an iconic scene from Bladerunner inside the beautiful building. Now it houses the LA police department internal affairs division, which basically makes it look like something from a real life Spiderman comic book. I have now shown many of my friends this spot because they too had no idea it existed.

How did the guidebook influence the photos you took of your hometown? The book served as a great jumping off point for each area. The photographs in the book are beautiful. I also wanted to try and capture some more uncommon angles that people aren’t used to seeing. I would seek out where certain photographs were taken and then see what else I could find.


Occupation: Freelance photographer.

Describe a perfect day in Los Angeles. The best days for me are the ones full of surprises. What’s great about LA is that surprises happen all of the time. You never know what you’ll stumble upon or whom you’ll run into: film sets, celebrities, events, street art, pop up markets, or just occurrences of complete randomness.

What do you love about your city? I love that it provides me with never-ending inspiration. I can go for a drive every day and turn down a street that gives me the feeling of being somewhere completely new. I also love how supportive everyone is in this city. Many people here are highly driven and they moved here to work hard. I find that being surrounded by these folks keeps me very motivated. This isn’t a sleepy city; stuff is always happening.

What do you dislike? Really it comes down to one thing: traffic. Living here you can learn how to work around it or simply live with it. I’m lucky in that I can create my own schedule so it really isn’t much of an issue. When visiting you should definitely take that into account.

What would be surprising about LA to an outsider? I think the sprawl of Los Angeles is something to remember when visiting. You have to take the time to travel between areas. I always make sure I do my traveling between the late morning and early afternoon. Keep that in mind and you can avoid all the traffic.

If LA was a person or character who would it be? A David Lynch and Frank Ocean hybrid.

What was your impression of the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide? What did you like about it? What stood out? There is something really fun about the book’s layout. It’s sort of like looking at a treasure map. The print is large and all the extra details and history are very cool and easy to follow. The tips are great and quite relevant.

We have teamed up with our friends at DK Eyewitness Travel to bring you a VERY exciting giveaway. 20 DK Eyewitness Travel Guides and two big Global Yodel prints are up for grabs! Who wants them? Follow instructions in the widget below! 





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Name:Jonpaul Douglass

Best place to eat?

Bäco Mercat

Best place to drink?

Cafe Stella

Best place to shop?

Rose Bowl Flea Market

Best outdoor activity?

Hiking and riding in the Ciclavia.

Local tip?

Plan around the traffic but keep your plans loose. No matter where you go, feel free to wander and blend in.

If someone was visiting what must they do? 

See an event at Hollywood Bowl or the Greek Theatre. A show at UCB is always fun. If those don’t work out, a Griffith Park hike is also a must-do.