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The 7 Best Places To Cry In Public In Los Angeles

A woman in white face paint with black lips and exaggerated black mime eyes rests her head on the keys of a piano while looking sad.
A woman cries while playing piano.
(Hamid Tajik/Unsplash)
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Whether it's the delta variant, the climate crisis, the loss of reproductive rights or some other fresh horror, 2021 feels like living in Choose Your Own Adventure: Apocalypse Edition. In short, most of us have a lot to cry about these days.

I have cried in my apartment. I've cried in Zoom therapy. I've cried into my sister's extremely fluffy cat (10/10 would recommend). All of those decisions were great but I get tired crying alone. Sometimes, I need the catharsis of crying in public, around other people (masked, of course). It makes me feel less alone, like we're all in this mess together. The people around me are holding my feelings (without their knowledge) and keeping me company (at a safe distance). Are some people going to judge? Of course. But crying in public is a good reminder that Big Feelings are a universal human experience.

A woman with long black hair and wearing a beige shirt holds her face in her hands as she cries. She is inside a store.
A woman is in tears in a store.
(Thought Catalog/Unsplash)

If you're brave, you can cry anywhere. Some places, however, are better suited for dramatic emotional outbursts than other. And we're not talking about sitting in your car during rush hour traffic on the 101 (or the 110 or the 405 or the…) you get the gist. Just make sure to hydrate.

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Red, velvety movie theater seats. The one closest to us is numbered 23.
A darkened movie theater is a good place to shed some discreet tears.
(Kilyan Sockalingum/Unsplash)

Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15

If you've ever ugly-cried multiple times through a Matthew McConaughey performance (looking at you Interstellar), you already know movie theaters are a great place to cry. They're dark. They offer napkins. They have snacks. No one's gonna shush you if you sniffle through a heartbreaking third act reveal or side-eye you as you wipe away your snot with the sleeve of your hoodie. No one can see your shoulders heaving as you blubber into your peanut M&Ms. The Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza 15 is perfect because it's off the beaten path of your typical L.A. movie nerd. (Who needs the specter of Quentin Tarantino hanging over you during a sob session?). Also, there's a Krispy Kreme across the street so you can refuel your tear ducts.

A man stands alone in front of a large blue aquarium window, watching a spotted shark and fishes swim past.
Underwater, no one can hear you cry. At least we think that's true.
(Susann Schuster/Unsplash)

Aquarium of the Pacific

Jellyfish do not judge. Sharks are not shaken. Otters are not oppressed by your tears. They just keep swimming. Soothe your emotions and release your pathos at this Long Beach oasis where you can weep with the fishes. Pet a bamboo shark or a fiddle ray at the Shark and Ray Touch Pool. Watch the sea otters frolic at the Sea Otter Habitat. Observe clownfish communing with sea anemones. Contemplate your place in the universe and how we are all just swimming around trying not to lose a fin. The soft, undulating glow of the fish tanks might be some of the most flattering lighting available, in case you want to take a sad selfie. Show up when they open at 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m. to avoid the hordes.

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A black and white photo of two women sitting on a lawn in front of a large, one-story stone chapel. They are looking at what appears to be a book. In the background on a hill in the distance, is a large white tower.
Two women sit on the lawn in front of the Wee Kirk o' the Heather Chapel at Forest Lawn in Glendale, date unknown. In the upper right is the Tower of Legends, which was demolished in 1948.
(Security Pacific National Bank Collection/Los Angeles Public Library Collection)

Wee Kirk O'the Heather, Forest Lawn Glendale

A cemetery may seem like an on-the-nose choice. You're already surrounded by people mourning their loved ones. No one will think twice about a lone weirdo weeping over a headstone. This is more than a place to ogle the tombs of dearly departed movie stars like Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart and Humphrey Bogart. Cemeteries offer a rare public space intended for private grief, and Forest Lawn Glendale is one of the best. Nestled in the hills of Glendale, the place is huge with rolling hills, stunning views and the three Ms: mausoleums, museums and murals. There's a wee kirk (aka a tiny church) with a tranquil garden set aside for "you who desire to draw apart and rest awhile in silent meditation and prayer,” according to a helpful plaque. If you're not into solitary contemplation and awkward sentence construction, the plaque invites you to "please not enter this garden but retrace your steps and view the garden from the vestry walk." Not grieving? You best be leaving. You'll find greenery, fountains and benches where you can cry for as long as you like. We urge you not to crash any funerals but if you do, we won't judge. Extraordinary times and all.

The sky is purple and orange as the sun sets over the sand and Pacific Ocean.
Malibu at sunset.
(Andre Benz/Unsplash)

Metro Bus 534 to Malibu

L.A.'s Metro system is an underrated gem. Where else can you cruise along the PCH at 55 MPH while gazing at the vast Pacific without having to drive? Catch Metro bus 534 at 5th and Colorado near the Downtown Santa Monica station. Pop in your Airpods and crank up Taylor Swift's folklore, any of Frank Ocean's oeuvre or Olivia Rodrigo's Sour (did she have to go so hard on good 4 u?). If you're going to the end of the line (Trancas Canyon), you can probably listen to all of Sour. Twice. Or get off at the Pacific Coast Highway/Busch stop and head down to Zuma Beach for a sob on the sand. Hot Tip: Rides on Metro buses are currently free. Wear a mask and thank your driver.

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A woman sits outdoors, on the stone steps of a building with her head in her knees, crying. Her backpack is next to her.
A woman cries while playing piano.
(Zhivko Minkov/Unsplash)

The Business & Economics Stacks at the Los Angeles Central Library 

If you're looking for a quiet corner to do some crying... er, reading... the Los Angeles Central Library offers impressive architecture and lots of nooks and crannies. Head to the business and economics stacks located on Lower Level One (LL1) of the Tom Bradley Wing. You'll find peace, quiet and advice on how to manage your stock portfolio. I recommend the copywriting and advertising aisle (Dewey Decimal 659.111-659.979317). Go past the reference desk, take a left and it's the last row before the filing cabinets of companies' annual reports (here's a map). When someone stumbles on your wretched form, pretend to be moved to tears by the death of print media. Sample title: How to Create Small-Space Newspaper Advertising That Works. Read it and weep.

A bald man in swim trunks and goggles swims laps in a dark blue swimming pool.
An early morning swimmer.
(Artem Verbo/Unsplash)

The Culver City Municipal Plunge

A swimming pool is another ideal spot to drown your sorrows. You're in so much water, no one will notice if some of it is leaking from your eyes. A neighborhood institution since 1949, the Culver City plunge offers lap swimming reservations seven days a week. Less expensive and much healthier than the price of a double double meal at In-N-Out, you'll get 50 minutes of quality cry time as you work on your breaststroke. Put on your goggles and your swim cap, insert your waterproof earbuds and dive into the deep end of your feelings. Lap cry-swimming is currently by reservation only, so make sure to book your spot in advance.

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A man is silhouetted as he sits on a bench, looking down and dejected.
Men can cry too! It's totally okay!
(Gadiel Lazcano/Unsplash)

The Public Restrooms at the Grove

As someone who has cried in more public bathrooms than I care to admit, it's nice to find one where I feel instantly at home. The loo at the Grove is hotel fancy and practically invites guests to curl up in one of the comfy chairs in its lounge for a good sobfest. Since crying in public restrooms is something of a universal experience, you're likely to find a certain level of solidarity. It's 2021, no one needs to ask what has upset you. Did you just get dumped by BJ Novak? Was your great aunt Barbara killed by murder hornets? Who's to say? The Grove's restrooms don't radiate Emo Nite at the Echoplex vibes but with the right combo of luck and timing, you might get a few encouraging murmurs or a hug from a Swedish tourist. Warning: A stranger asking, "Are you okay?" with real empathy in their voice might make you cry harder.

Next Up: The 18 Best Places to Primal Scream in Los Angeles.