10 Awesome Hidden Gems in Southern California

Home to world-class cities like Los Angeles (the country’s second-most populous city) and San Diego (eighth on that list), sunny Southern California — otherwise known as SoCal — is an enormously bustling go-to destination. And for good reasons. Among the popular attractions and hidden gems in Southern California, you’ll find fabulous beaches galore in addition to unbelievably warm weather.

Besides their SoCal settings, you may notice a theme for several of these hidden gems — you can book them through Peerspace! That’s right, fall in love with any (or all) of these venues and you’re just a couple of clicks away from booking it by the hour for a photoshoot all your own.

As you imagine, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Peerspace has available in Southern California, so look around and see what spaces speak to you the most.

1. A mountain estate with sweeping views

hidden gems in southern california
Source: Peerspace

This El Cajon estate is a magical hidden gem in every sense of the word! Above all, what sets apart this standout among hidden gems in Southern California is its view. When you’re standing on its oversized deck, you’ll feel as though you’re perched in a treehouse.

You can gaze out at the city lights of El Cajon, which is close to San Diego, to your heart’s content. But in addition to the view, this space is also decorated in a unique yet classically SoCal fashion, with lots of beautiful earth tones and wood that perfectly complement the natural surroundings.

2. A Yucca Valley desert stunner

Casa Blanca by Fieldtrip
Source: Peerspace

Speaking of amazing views, this funky Casa Blanca stunner in Joshua Tree has them in spades. It’s a custom-built home perched above boulders and a cacti garden for gorgeous mountain, boulder, and valley views as far as the eyes can see.

This six-bedroom mansion was professionally designed and managed by Fieldtrip and is an exclusive property that’s also pet-friendly. While it is jaw-dropping gorgeous indoors, the exterior design doesn’t hurt either. Take a soak in the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi and relax by the firepit under a blanket of stars at the end of the day.

3. UCR Botanic Gardens

These gardens are part of the campus of UC Riverside, but anyone can come to visit them. This 40-acre gathering of plants contains over 3,500 plant species, including those from dry, Mediterranean-type climates like those of California and the neighboring desert in the Southwest. In addition to the more manicured plant collections, there are more than 10 acres of native plant communities, such as annual grassland and coastal sage scrub.

With so many diverse plants to be seen, this spot is worth a visit for those who appreciate nature and all its botanical wonders. These paradisical gardens will make a dreamy photoshoot backdrop. Your only problem may be leaving because you surely won’t want to!

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4. A quaint Topanga fairytale cottage

Can You Get Married At Disneyland
Source: Peerspace

Our absolute favorite thing about this cozy, inviting cottage is its charming, pristine, fairytale-reminiscent furnishings and decor. But beyond these unique features, there’s so much more to love about this home.

While the cottage itself is 100 years old, it has been given a modern upgrade that makes it suitable for photoshoots, productions, and events alike. Outside, enjoy the 5,000-square-foot garden that’s home to mini pigs, chickens, a hot tub, a bed, and a dining area. This oasis with modern and retro vibes is by far one of our top hidden gems in Southern California.

And check out what a photographer shared in their Peerspace review after shooting here: “The Shabby Chic cottage of your dreams!! This location is beyond unique and has tons of possibilities in every nook and cranny of the huge hill valley location in the heart of the coveted Topanga Canyon.”

5. A spiritual outdoor space in Sherman Oaks

Sherman Oaks Spiritual Outdoor Event Space
Source: Peerspace

We’ve shared quite a few spaces with gorgeous, private outdoor garden features that give the feel of an oasis in the city — are you noticing a SoCal trend yet? This Sherman Oaks outdoor venue is similar yet totally different.

It’s a spacious event venue with a covered stone courtyard, string lights, a bar, and a stage. But its best feature is its colorful wall mural that pays homage to the Hindu Tridevi. Come here for a photoshoot, a private event, a yoga retreat, you name it, and you’ll no doubt be surrounded by peaceful vibes that you can take home with you.

6. Redwood Grove in Carbon Canyon Regional Park

Most people associate enormous redwood trees with Northern California, but there are also redwoods to be found in Southern California! Take a trip to Carbon Canyon Regional Park in the city of Brea, CA, to visit this true hidden gem: a 10-acre grove of coastal redwoods.

Planted as recently as the 1970s, they may not be as big as the ones you’ll find in the northern part of the state, but they’re still quite impressive. Take advantage of the opportunity to see a very special species of tree that you won’t find in many other parts of the world.

7. Hidden cactus sanctuary in Long Beach

Backyard Engagement Party Ideas
Source: Peerspace

This Long Beach garden space is a truly special place with an unbelievable variety of mature, 30-year-old cacti and tropical trees, as well as an array of flowering plants. We can’t think of a better place to gather with friends and family under cozy mood lighting and connect with one another next to the vintage outdoor fireplace. The hosts also recommend it for daytime events like workshops. Either way, the overall vibe of the space lends itself perfectly to meaningful human interactions and connections. You can also take advantage of the on-site catering options, should you and your crew work up a hunger!

This is another space that’s popular with the Peerspace crowd! For instance, one reviewer booked the garden for their rehearsal dinner and shared the following. “Melissa is wonderful. She was amazing to work with and she worked hard to put my rehearsal dinner together with less than 48hrs notice. What seemed like a nightmare when needing to change all plans last minute, Melissa and her space were an incredible solution and the evening ended up being better than ever. We had a blast, the space was gorgeous and spacious for our 52 guests. Brooke the Chef was an all-star as well, turning out a delicious taco dinner in a day (you’re the best!). 10/10 on everything about our experience”

Check out these creative date ideas in San Diego for more unique venue discoveries!

8. Central LA’s secret garden loft

secret garden loft los angeles rental
Source: Peerspace

Here’s a quintessentially L.A. cool, two-story loft-penthouse smack dab in the middle of Hollywood. But it’s got a twist: greenery incorporated generously throughout that gives the feel of a lush garden.

It’s ideal for “classy gatherings,” as the hosts describe it, and that luxurious feel suffuses the entirety of the loft. Its prime location and lofty height mean you also enjoy incredible views of the Hollywood sign, lush, rolling hills, and more. A freight elevator makes it perfect for any type of production.

Some of its many happy reviewers comment that it’s “nothing short of beautiful,” “exquisite,” “incredible,” and “a dream come true.” It’s certainly worth taking a look at the listing photos, at the very least, to get a sense of what this loft really has to offer.

9. An enchanting indoor garden in Los Feliz

hidden gems in southern california
Source: Peerspace

Looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life without actually leaving L.A.? This 1,600-square-foot home will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the middle of the rainforest. It contains a full tree, lots of flowers, plant life, a kitchen, atmospheric lighting, an immersive sound system, and lots of photo equipment add-on options. If you’re looking to add a touch of fantasy to your Insta page or portfolio, this is the place to make it happen!

As one Peerspace reviewer notes: “Easily one of the coolest spaces in LA. The host was accomodating and kind. We had plenty of options for our photoshoot with how much this space has to offer. Thanks again!”

10. La Dolce Vita in Palm Springs

hidden gems in southern california
Source: Peerspace

We’re crazy about this lush slice of Tuscany tucked away in Palm Springs and rightfully dubbed Villa Toscana. It’s a 3,000-square-foot home on 15,000 square feet of gated grounds.

Enjoy a meal under the grapevine-strewn pergola, lounge poolside and gaze at the palm trees and mountains that surround you. There’s also a bocce ball court and stone pathways that take you around the gorgeous property. Who knew that hidden gems in Southern California could be so dreamy and transportive?

“This was the perfect place for us to host our engagement party,” shares a Peerspace reviewer. “Jennifer was very quick to respond, super helpful and was sure to meet our needs. The space is lovely, very charming, especially in the evening with all the string lights. Very convenient location as well. Highly recommend.”

Hidden gems in southern California come to life on Peerspace

Indoor Photoshoot Locations in San Diego
Source: Peerspace

Maybe you’re excited about the region’s deep roots in the entertainment industry. Or, perhaps you’re wild about its long-standing history of classic surfer culture. Either way, there’s truly so much to love about this part of the country.

Consider taking a drive along some of SoCal’s iconic coastal highways to catch amazing views of the stunning and varied landscape. And when you’re looking to venture off the beaten path, check out Peerspace for even more standout SoCal hidden gems.

Find more hidden gems in Southern California on Peerspace

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