Los Angeles, California is a place many dream of visiting. As the entertainment capital of the United States, L.A. is home to major film studios like Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, and Universal Studios. It’s home to many eye-catching celebrities and some of the best beaches in America. Join in the fun of Venice with street performers, colorful buildings, and vibrant personalities, or take in the hustle and bustle of Pasadena by exploring the old town.
Every neighborhood brings a different scene, attitude, and list of things to do, so whether you’re looking for a beach vacation or a Hollywood tour, LA has it all.
1. Stargaze at Griffith Park and Observatory
At 4,310 acres, Griffith is one of the largest parks in North America. Most of the park consists of rugged hiking and horseback riding trails, but there are also groomed areas of the park for golfing, snack shops, and tennis courts. In the observatory itself, many space and science exhibits can be found along with a view of the legendary Hollywood sign.
2. See the World at LA County Museum of Art
Walking down Museum Row in Los Angeles will provide a large variety of museums to visit, but the Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA) is a must-see. Attracting more than a million visitors annually and holding more than 150,000 works, LACMA is the largest museum in the western United States. The content in the museum ranges from art pieces from all over the world to famed photography and film pieces.
3. Find the Magic at Disneyland
For LA visitors that have never been to Disneyland or Disney World, don’t miss the opportunity to pass up a day or two at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The park creates a magical experience for both children and adults, so time at Disneyland will be time well spent!
4. Tour Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios is one of the oldest Hollywood movie studios, as well as one of the most famous. Originally intended to give tourists an inside look of the studios, it now functions as a theme park and NBC operation base. Visitors can go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or see a variety of other exhibits from film works like Despicable Me, Shrek, and the Walking Dead.
5. Count Stars at the Hollywood Walk of Fame
A walk down Hollywood Boulevard is a Los Angles experience visitors can’t go home without having. Over 2,500 brass stars have been built into a 15 block stretch of sidewalk, and all serve as public honors of achievement to singers, actors, performers, fictional characters, and stars in the entertainment industry.
6. Play Volleyball at Hermosa Beach
Found in one of Los Angele’s three beach cities, Hermosa beach is a popular place to soak in the sun, play beach volleyball, or partake in water sports like paddle boarding and surfing. Running along Hermosa’s beach line is a paved path called The Strand, which is a great area to grab some food, go shopping, or party when the sun sets.
7. Kick Back at Zuma Beach
One of the largest beaches in LA County, Zuma Beach is found in beautiful Malibu, California. Dig your toes into the white sand or catch a wave with excellent surf conditions on one of the healthiest ranking beaches for clean water in LA County. Zumba beach hold several prefer surfing events every year, so if you time your visit right you can watch some amazing surf talent.
8. Get Lost in a Maze Room
If indoor activities are more your style, head to the Los Angeles Maze Room and choose a journey to escape from. Visitors are given a one hour experience locked in a room with their friends with the goal of accomplishing a mission and escaping the room.
9. Shop Til You Drop at Rodeo Drive
For a taste of luxury, go shopping on Rodeo Drive. The two mile stretch of designer stores with exorbitant price tags are a major draw for many visiting LA. There are several festivals throughout the year held here to showcase the luxury line of watches, cars, and jewelry. Whether you’re a window shopper or shop-tip-you-drop buyer, spending an afternoon in the “golden triangle” will feel just like the movies.
10. See a Concert at the Hollywood Bowl
For those who like concerts, be sure to catch a show at the Hollywood Bowl. Named after the domed hillside that the outdoor amphitheater is carved into, the Hollywood Bowl is nestled against a gorgeous backdrop of the Hollywood Hills and the Hollywood sign. In summer, see the Philharmonic play here along with hundreds of other music festival events.
11. Hike to the Top of Runyon Canyon Park
This 160-acre park is packed full of hiking trails that lead to stunning views of Los Angeles, and celebrity sightings are common due to the park’s proximity to the Hollywood Hills. Dogs are welcome in more than half of the park, and avid hikers can trek to the summit, at 1,320 feet.
12. Watch the Sunset at Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is a hundred year old landmark popular with visitors and locals alike. With stunning sunsets, endless photo opportunities, live music, and a ferries wheel, there isn’t much left to be desired. Grab a bite to eat a Bubba Gump and hang by the beach at night for a variety of outdoor concerts and movies.
13. Try to Reach the Hollywood Sign
A feat many have tried but only the elite few have achieved, taking a photo with the Hollywood sign isn't as easy as it seems. A large gate with cameras, police, and Park Rangers block the entrance 24/7, so your best bet is to hike to the sign via the Canyon Blvd trail or take an organized shuttle to the viewing area. You won’t get right next to the Hollywood sign, but there are a number of spots to view it from and still get a nice photo souvenir.
14. Catch a Game at Dodger Stadium
Dodger stadium is one of the oldest baseball parks in MLB and is the largest stadium. It is often referred to as “pitcher’s ballpark” because there have been 12 no-hitter games in the stadium, two of which were perfect games. Get your tickets, some fries, and a ‘Dodger dog’ and get ready for a ball game!
15. Indulge Your Senses at Grand Central Market
It’s worth spending a morning inside the Home Laughlin Building to experience the Grand Central Market. L.A.’s oldest and largest public market has been open since 1917 and has some of the freshest produce in LA. Whether you're shopping for groceries or dining at one of the many food stalls, this market is not to be missed.
16. Drive Pacific Coast Highway
One of the most scenic drives of all time is along California’s golden coast, and LA falls right along the path. Stretching from San Francisco to San Diego are winding roads, incredible views, and countless beaches. Hop in the car for a day and see how far you can get, or make it a road trip and drive all the way to the state line, camera in hand. Don’t forget a pair of flip flops and a beach towel for all the spontaneous beach gems you’ll find along the way!
17. Sunset Boulevard
Sunset boulevard is the typical LA scene. Huge houses, booming clubs, and amazing food await travelers who visit this street. Walk down the boulevard for a day out or cruise by car in the evening for a leisurely drive and some great sight-seeing.
18. Venice Beach
Venice is the hangout spot for creators and innovators, and Venice Beach is where everyone comes together. The beach contains a long promenade, handball courts, a dancing plaza, bike trail, outdoor volleyball courts and more. The basketball courts along the beach are where many of the current NBA players started out and are still a place to play a quality game of basketball.
19. Museum of Jurassic Tech
If you enjoyed Jurassic Park, the Jurassic Technology Museum will be a blast right into Crichton’s novel. The museum is full of artistic, scientific, and historic exhibits that have sparked so much conversation that books have been written about the content of the museums. Though the artifacts at the Jurassic Technology Museum vary in their degrees of authenticity, it is certainly an interesting place to explore.
20. Watch a Live Show at Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Walt Disney Concert Hall acts as a home base to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Seating over 2,200 people, the concert hall was a gift to the people of Los Angeles from Lilian Disney, Walt Disney’s late wife. The hall has been praised many times for the quality of the building and the acoustic sound during performances.
21. Curl Up With A Book at Last Bookstore
When you think of bookstores, Barnes and Noble usually comes to mind. At Last Bookstore, a spunky and thoughtfully designed book shop, things are a bit different. Walking into the multilevel shop, visitors are greeted with spiral staircases and wall-covered art. There are couches throughout the store and books of all categories. With both a used and new section, any book lover will call Last Bookstore paradise.
22. Hike the Trail to Eaton Canyon Waterfall
Eaton Canyon is located in the Angeles National Forest in Pasadena. There are hiking trails throughout the canyon, one of which leads to a 44-foot waterfall with a wading pool underneath. The hike is a nice way to spend an afternoon and offers many photo opportunities, but don’t try to climb the waterfall itself - it recently became illegal due to safety reasons.
23. Catch a Film at Vineland Drive-In Movie Theatre
The Vine land Drive-in theater is a drive-in movie experience you won’t forget. The drive-in has multiple screens so movie-goers have a choice of film, and it is open 7 days a week. Bring your own snacks or purchase them from the concession stand, and make sure your car has a working radio for the sound. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy the show with the LA lights in the background.
24. Explore the Sunken City
In the 1920’s, there was a landslide that caused all of the houses on the San Pedro cliff to fall into the ocean. All that is left now are the ruins of roads, pipes, and beautiful graffiti art. Though the ruins themselves are still not open to the public, the rocks along the shore act as a gathering place and offers great views of the ocean and Catalina island.
25. iO West Theatre
In Los Angeles, everyone comes with a dream. At iO West Theatre, aspiring comedian’s can start to live out their dreams. This premier comedy club contains an improvise comedy session every night, and visitors say that it has the largest variety of improvise comedy shows. There is a bar with decently priced drinks and the club often has two for one specials to keep the costs down on shows. The theatre is a great place to get some laughs in while scoping out the next great comedian.
26. El Capitan Theatre
The El Capitan Theater is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, and serves as a major venue for new releases of Disney movies. It is a fully restored movie theatre, having been previously used to present live plays before being purchased by Disney. Below the theater is a small exhibit space that displays costumes, props and set pieces.
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