The 13 scariest places in L.A. to be when you’re high
There’s nothing as scary as being high and finding yourself in a place with absolutely terrible vibes. Perhaps you’ve experienced this at an overwhelming grocery store or a very crowded event. Or maybe you have a friend who stopped taking edibles after they went to Chipotle and felt like they were trapped in a fish bowl filled with steak and barbacoa.
Because it’s Halloween season, we set out on a quest to find the scariest places to be in Los Angeles while high. We skipped haunted houses and other obviously terrifying destinations — we wanted to be hilariously spooked, not forever traumatized — and visited sites around the city that you can check out well beyond October, even if you’re totally sober.
Visiting an L.A. cannabis dispensary for the first time can feel intimidating. This beginner’s guide explains everything you need to know to be prepared.
We humbly invite you to join us on a jaunt through the list of 13 spots. A few things to note before we blast off: First, many of the places we thought might be total buzzkills (Ikea, we’re lookin’ at you) turned out to be surprisingly fun while high. Second, we embarked on this adventure as a duo not just for creative reasons but safety reasons too; there was always one sober reporter behind the wheel while the other was behind the vape pen. And we recommend you take the same approach (or, better yet, call a rideshare so all parties can get stoned).
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And finally, despite what felt like Herculean efforts, we didn’t make it to everything on our wish list (shoutout to the Bloc’s corkscrew parking ramps and the slate of amateur improv shows in an East Hollywood strip mall that failed to materialize — improvisation at its finest). Still, we hope you enjoy these spooky and haunting thrills.
Hollywood Wax Museum
Wandering through the labyrinth, you’ll find a Ken-dollish version of Nicolas Cage; a Marilyn Monroe with botched makeup and lifeless eyes; and a Selena absolutely unrecognizable except for her iconic purple jumpsuit. Yet the most overwhelming and disturbing part of the museum is undoubtedly the fuchsia- and purple-lighted hall of mirrors, where you’ll find off-kilter renderings of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Pink (but a pretty decent Prince).
Entering the Burbank Ikea — the largest in North America — you’ll pass a dizzying map that links certain types of furniture to 27 numbered departments. I’m confident that no one has ever actually used it. Though the cafeteria may lure you into a false sense of safety, the winding maze that lies ahead will make you question everything you know about your own home. What’s alarming to those who boldly hit a vape pen in the parking lot is that at its most granular level, everything in Ikea is a sham. Sure, you expect the rooms to be oddly hollow re-creations of a Hot Topic-loving teenager or a grad student who exclusively reads terrible romance novels, but the lies go deeper than that.
My most alarming discovery was that the arrows that guide you through the showroom aren’t actually painted on the floor — they’re shaky light projections that could be changed at any minute. There are also inexplicable cat silhouettes on various shelves, fake pizza boxes that are taped shut, disembodied wooden hands hovering above model couches and gnome-ish beings called VINTERFINTs. By the time you make it out of the showrooms and into the marketplace, it starts to feel like déjà vu. Did you already grab that hand towel upstairs? Do you need another desk lamp? You’ll pass sections that have things you need, looping back over and over to find the short list of items you actually came here for.
Yet the worst part is still to come: the self-serve section. This, I believe, is where relationships go to die. Even if you’ve successfully agreed on a bed frame or desk, this is where you’ll be expected to look up those items and locate their boxes. Though I have no tangible proof, I believe this self-serve area has a sort of curse on it that ensures that the item you’ve worked so hard to agree upon will already be sold out. You’ll walk out defeated, lacking the things you need yet somehow still toting hundreds of dollars’ worth of candles, picture frames and assorted knickknacks.
Old Los Angeles Zoo
Pro tip: For an added level of uneasiness, step into the enclosures themselves to get the former animal residents’ POV.
Forneris Farms Corn Maze
Although all you’ll get for navigating your way out is bragging rights (especially if you master it in a cool 20 minutes, as a certain weed-addled trio did recently), if you locate, solve and log the 12 “CORNundrums” (visual puns) scattered throughout the maze, your name will be entered into a $100 grand prize drawing at the end of October.
Pro tip: Make sure to take the narrated tractor-pulled train ride to the pumpkin patch to fetch a free pumpkin to take home, a route that winds past scarecrows in rubbery presidential-candidate face masks and farm animals crafted à la “The Wicker Man” from dried branches, both unsettling visuals that’ll stay with you long after you’ve cleared the field. The cash-only corn maze and train ride cost $20 on top of a $5 fee for entering the pumpkin patch, which can be redeemed toward the purchase of a pumpkin costing $10 or more. (There is an on-site ATM.) The maze is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
World of Illusions
Among the illusory photo ops on offer: being encased in a giant soap bubble (not scary), almost being crushed by a massive doughnut against a postapocalyptic L.A. landscape (scary if you’re on keto), teetering on the narrow window ledge of a high-rise apartment building (fleetingly realistic from the photo taker’s POV, though not a bit scary for anyone) and getting in the boxing ring with a shirtless, pot-bellied Donald Trump (definitely six kinds of uncomfortable but not exactly scary). To be charitable, the experience could well sow the seeds for future freakiness in the appropriately fertile imagination. Case in point, the day after posing betwixt giant-size flowers under the watchful gaze of two massive hummingbirds, one of us had a vivid dream of thimble-size people flapping their arms like wings and drinking nectar from flowers.
Natural History Museum Spider Pavilion
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Escape Room
Jumanji isn’t actually the hardest room that 60out offers — our host told us that she finds Grandma’s Master Plan and Ghost Ship more difficult — but it was challenging enough that we made it out with only one minute to spare. I’d also note that the minimum number of people you can book for this room is four, so try to wrangle some friends for this one to bring the price per person down a bit.
The Museum of Jurassic Technology
Visit it high (especially if you’ve never been before), and the collections of decaying dice, folk remedies (involving bees, duck’s breath and mouse sandwiches, among other things) and unusual letters sent to Mt. Wilson Observatory become a whole different — and borderline terrifying — experience. Same with the displays of ornate smoking pipes, paintings featuring the dogs of the Soviet space program and sculptures tiny enough to fit inside the eye of a needle. When you notice the models of spiral staircases lining the staircase, you’ll realize you’re going to need to get some fresh air, which you can get in the tearoom on the screened-in roof, accompanied by the resident bird population.
Pro tip: If your preflight has left you with the munchies, there’s an In-N-Out a few steps away on Venice Boulevard.
The Grove Parking Garage
There’s hardly a parking structure taller than a single story across the Southland that isn’t a bummer to be high in. (This is where we point out — very clearly — that we’re talking about passengers only. No one under the influence of cannabis should ever be driving‚ or operating anything more complicated than a soup spoon, for that matter.) Many have narrow, corkscrewing ramps, poor lighting and available-parking-spot boards as cluttered and unhelpful as a randomly assembled Lite-Brite.
But the Grove shopping center’s massive eight-level parking garage, though wider-laned and more brightly lighted than many around town, is particularly terrifying thanks to whatever all-seeing-eye in the sky (or more likely license-plate reader) is running the show behind the scenes. Should you “accidentally” drive up to the employees-only rooftop level as we did recently (hey, the gate arm was up) — even for a hot second — big brother somehow magically messes with your ticket from afar and egress efforts back on the ground level will become an exasperating exercise in futility. Your only recourse then is to plead your case to the disembodied voice at the other end of the ”press for assistance” button. You’ve been warned.
Dodger Stadium (or any venue filled with 10,000 or more people)
The Venice ‘Ballerina Clown’
As a result, we were forced to make a pot-enhanced pilgrimage to the most reliable clown around: Jonathan Borofsky’s 30-foot-tall aluminum, painted fiberglass and steel “Ballerina Clown” sculpture, whose Emmett Kelly head married to a ballerina body has been giving passersby the willies at the corner of Main Street and Rose Avenue in Venice since it was installed on the front of the Venice Renaissance Building in 1989. The verdict? Look up at it through bloodshot eyes at your own risk, because we can’t guarantee the image of the saddest of sad clowns won’t glissade home with you.
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