Planning a journey to Los Angeles however don’t know the place to begin? Discover LA’s greatest hotspots with this checklist of one of the best issues to do in Los Angeles. Our buddy Jeremy of Travel Freak lives in Los Angeles and has rounded up one of the best issues to do in LA from a native’s viewpoint. We combined in a few of the highest sights and vacationer locations and you’ve got your self a full Los Angeles information.
Top Things to Do in Los Angeles
Like with different huge cities in the US, planning a journey to Los Angeles is difficult exactly as a result of there may be simply a lot to see and expertise. In this checklist, you’ll discover a vary of locations to go and issues to do in Los Angeles, from the same old vacationer jaunts to a few of LA’s best-kept secrets and techniques. Updated by The Planet D group for 2023.
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Below are a few of the prime excursions in Los Angeles. Don’t neglect to plan forward when visiting LA!
Top Activities and Tours in Los Angeles:
Whatever you’re into and irrespective of the place you’re staying, no less than one in every of these choices ought to pique your curiosity.
Brimming with tradition, historical past, and inventive power, you may’t go to the West Coast of the United States with out stopping in Los Angeles. And it’s not only for tradition vultures—Los Angeles County’s sprawling 4,000 sq. miles is teeming with hikes, seashores, and all kinds of out of doors adventures!
Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, and the sandy shores of Southern California – these are the spots each first-timer ought to see. Let’s begin with probably the most iconic locations in Los Angeles and proceed to some lesser-known locations. Are you prepared?
1. Snap A Photo with The Famous Hollywood Sign
No journey to Los Angeles is full with out a sighting of LA’s most iconic landmark: the Hollywood signal. Sitting atop Mount Lee in the Santa Monica mountains, this well-known attraction has a ton of viewing choices with various ranges of issue.
If you don’t need to break a sweat, you may all the time simply view it from afar driving down Beverly Drive. For a nearer look, you may head up the Hollywood Hills to the family-friendly Lake Hollywood Park. And should you’re raring to do some climbing, you may take a ride-hailing service to the tip of Deronda Drive. From the cul-de-sac, search for the white archway with the inexperienced gate and hike up the path to the highest of Mt. Lee.
Insider Tip: Consider climbing up to the Griffith Observatory for sundown as an alternative. The Observatory boasts a variety of fascinating artifacts and displays, from the 12-inch Zeiss telescope to the Rebel Without a Cause monument. However, its largest draw is the astonishing view – right here, you get a clear photograph of the signal, in addition to front-row seats to the town skyline.
No Los Angeles journey can be full with out no less than driving via Rodeo Drive. A two-mile stretch lined with high-end designer manufacturers like Saint Laurent, Gucci, Prada, Versace, and Chanel, Rodeo Drive is the epitome of favor and luxurious.
While it’s now not the celeb haunt spot it used to be, it can ceaselessly be etched into popular culture thanks to that notorious purchasing scene in “Pretty Women”. And when you’re in Beverly Hills, don’t neglect to take a look at different glitzy locations just like the Greystone Mansion Gardens and the Beverly Hills Hotel.
If you need to spot celebrities, e-book a guided tour to see the Beverly Hills mansions the place you’ll additionally hit Rodeo Drive and Hollywood movie studios.
3. Drive Down Sunset Strip
There is nothing extra quintessentially LA than driving via Sunset Boulevard because the solar goes down. And when the day bleeds into night time, Sunset Strip – or the 1.5-mile-long stretch in West Hollywood from Doheny to North Crescent Heights – turns into abuzz with music and nightlife.
When the solar goes down, the town lights go up at The Roxy Theatre, Whisky A Go Go, and the Viper Room have housed a few of the largest names in music. Meanwhile, the Comedy Store and the Laugh Factory boast stand-up alumni like Eddie Murphy, George Carlin, and Chris Rock.
Book this full-day tour that features Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica. You’ll see iconic locations just like the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Farmers Market, and the Griffith Observatory.
4. Hit the Beach
From Baywatch to The OC, the seashores of Southern California have served as a backdrop for numerous well-known films and tv reveals. And should you’re a surfer, Los Angeles is paradise. From the town, you’ve acquired easy accessibility to a few of SoCal’s main surf spots like El Porto, Zuma, Topanga, and Huntington Beach – the world’s browsing capital!
5. Venice Beach Boardwalk
Venice Beach is one in every of Los Angeles’ most iconic and vigorous locations and for good purpose. It’s a place the place the town’s numerous tradition, scenic magnificence, and eccentricity converge, making it an unforgettable expertise for guests.
Venice Beach is understood for its boardwalk that runs to Santa Monica Beach simply as a lot as its sick waves. The Venice Boardwalk, or Ocean Front Walk is like a microcosm of all issues LA, from surfers to avenue performers, distributors, buskers, skaters, and brawny dudes figuring out at Muscle Beach.
For health fanatics or those that simply need to witness the spectacle, Muscle Beach is a historic outside health club the place bodybuilders showcase their abilities. You’ll additionally discover probably the most well-known skateparks in the world, the Venice Skate Park.
Inspired by Venice, Italy, the Venice Canals provide a extra tranquil expertise. The picturesque walkways alongside the canals are excellent for a leisurely stroll amidst charming homes and arched bridges, transporting you to a European-esque setting.
From purchasing and eating to the seaside and browsing, there’s one thing for everybody. Venice Beach isn’t just a seaside, however a vacation spot with a soul, the place each go to appears like a new journey.
6. Santa Monica Pier
For family-friendly enjoyable, Santa Monica Pier is the place to be. It’s acquired a seaside amusement park, stay music, an arcade, and loads of eating places and retailers for all ages.
Start your go to by exploring Pacific Park, the amusement park positioned on the pier. Ride the well-known Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel, often known as the Pacific Wheel, which gives panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and shoreline. Don’t miss different thrilling rides just like the West Coaster curler coaster.
7. Other Los Angeles Beaches
Understandably, should you’re cautious of crowds, you may head for Will Rogers State Beach as an alternative. Situated between Topanga and Santa Monica in the Pacific Palisades, this three-mile stretch of seaside doesn’t see as many guests because the others on this checklist.
And should you’re searching for a little bit of journey, there’s Point Dume State Beach, which sits on the finish of Malibu on a bluff that juts out into the Pacific. Here, you may both take a dip in the clear blue waters, scuba dive subsequent to sea lions, and even attempt your hand at mountaineering.
Insider Tip: Los Angeles’ Mediterranean local weather doesn’t change very a lot, so any day is a seaside day, actually. But in order for you to keep away from summertime crowds, take into account visiting from September to November.
8. Stroll Down Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Blvd is considerably Los Angeles’ equal to New York’s Times Square. Getting tens of hundreds of tourists daily, it’s the last word vacationer lure. But it’s iconic sufficient to advantage a go to!
This is the place you’ll discover the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a 1.3-mile walkway bearing the names of lots of of movie and TV stars, administrators, and producers. If you’ve children in tow, make a sport of who can spot their favourite celebrities first.
Apart from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Boulevard’s acquired different well-liked vacationer sights – from the TCL Chinese Theatre (initially Grauman’s Chinese Theatre) and the Dolby Theatre to historic film theaters just like the Vista Theatre and the American Cinematheque.
9. Grand Avenue
Grand Avenue is usually thought of the town’s cultural heartbeat. With its amalgamation of arts, structure, and leisure, the avenue is a necessary vacation spot for anybody visiting Los Angeles. Don’t miss the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry the place you may attend a live performance carried out by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
The Broad Museum is a Contemporary Art Museum that homes one of many extra well-liked displays in the town, the Infinity Mirror Rooms by Yayoi Kusama. Or you may go throughout the road to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Be certain to e-book reservations in advance.
And be certain that to cease on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion which hosted many occasions together with the Acadamy Awards and is now residence to the LA Opera.
10. Go Celeb Spotting at The Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Less than 10 minutes away from Hollywood Boulevard is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the ultimate resting place for a few of the largest names of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Think of it as a extra peaceable – albeit macabre – different to the busy Walk of Fame. Here, you’ll discover the graves of Mel Blanc, Jayne Mansfield, Cecille B. DeMille, Dee Dee, and Johnny Ramone.
11. Get Some Grub at The Original Farmers Market
Once you’re all tuckered out attempting to find celebs, make your method to Fairfax and third Street for the OG Los Angeles eating expertise.
This historic market has been round since 1934 and has developed into a multicultural hub for foodies. This spot is beloved by each vacationers and locals alike and has been visited by numerous celebrities, from The Beatles to James Dean.
12. Visit the Sound Stages of Your Favorite Films and TV Shows
Film and TV buffs will get pleasure from a tour of a few of Hollywood’s largest studios. At the Warner Bros studio, “Friends” followers can stay out their final fantasy with a go to to the Stage 48: Script to Screen soundstage, the place a reproduction of the Central Perk Cafe completely resides.
Meanwhile, at Paramount Studios, you may find out about its legacy because the longest working studio in Hollywood and marvel at its large New York Street backlot. And for a actual blast from the previous, you may head to Sony Pictures, which nonetheless homes the previous Art Deco buildings of the previous MGM studio that when stood on the lot.
If you might be a movie buff, you can too take a self-guided tour of your favourite filming places round Los Angeles. Download this app for a GPS-guided app from Downtown LA to Griffith Park as you study of Hollywood historical past and see well-known capturing places.
13. Visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
LACMA is the biggest artwork museum on the West Coast. Their artwork galleries embody works by the likes of Henri Matisse, Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso, and Rene Magritte.
Outside, you may snap a photograph subsequent to two epic installations: “Urban Light”, which consists of 202 restored streetlamps from the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties; and “Levitated Mass” a 340-ton environmental sculpture.
14. Take an Architectural Tour
Los Angeles has a few of the most unusual and acclaimed homes, buildings, and museums in the world. Book a tour and study concerning the historical past behind a few of the most celebrated architectural sights in the town, like:
Richard Neutra’s Lovell Health House Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House The Walt Disney Concert Hall The Broad Museum The Richard Meier-designed Getty Center (residence of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Villa, and, the Getty Research Institute)
15. Visit the Getty Center
The Getty Center is one in every of Los Angeles’ most iconic cultural locations, famend for its intensive artwork assortment, superbly landscaped gardens, and breathtaking views of the town.
Located in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Getty Center options the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrandt.
Admission to the Getty Center is free, however parking is $20 ($15 after 3 p.m.). It’s beneficial to test the official web site for the newest visiting hours and any particular exhibitions or occasions that may be going down. The Getty Center is well-regarded for being family-friendly and providing a number of programming for all ages.
16. Explore LA’s Secret Stairs
During the mid-1900s, Los Angeles had a fairly intensive trolley system, protecting over 1,100 miles of observe. Though the trolleys are actually lengthy gone, you’ll discover remnants of them in the community of steep stairs that run via locations like Silver Lake, Echo Park Lake, Pacific Palisades, and Beachwood Canyon.
The latter is a quaint residential neighborhood that a vary of A-listers and former stars name residence. So should you’re a kind of vacationers who likes attempting to find attractive homes, this one’s for you. Plus, you get in a good cardio exercise too!
17. Echo Park
While in the world, spend a while at Echo Park Lake, the neighborhood’s crown jewel. You can lease paddle boats or simply take a leisurely stroll across the lake. Rent a swan boat in advance to get pleasure from a quieter aspect of Los Angeles
This space is understood for its vibrant avenue artwork and murals. Take a stroll via the neighborhood and uncover the colourful and sometimes thought-provoking up to date artwork adorning the partitions and buildings.
18. Griffith Park
Angelenos know one of the best a part of LA is its abundance of climbing trails, parks, and a ton of different outside journey choices.
For a fast city hike, there’s Griffith Park. Griffith Park is about six instances the scale of New York’s Central Park and is residence to the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory, the Bronson Canyon Caves, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Greek Theatre, and a 53-mile community of trails and paths.
Then there’s the Runyon Canyon hike, which is a 3.5-mile climbing path up in the Santa Monica Mountains. Runyon Canyon is the one park that permits canine to run off-leash, so should you’re touring together with your pup, don’t miss out on this path.
If you’re wanting to plan out extra intense day journeys, there isn’t any scarcity of choices both – California has 300 state parks! And whereas tenting remains to be at the moment off the desk, there are nonetheless loads of enjoyable issues to do, like.
19. Dodgers Stadium
If you’re a sports activities fan, head to the close by Dodger Stadium, residence of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Try to catch a baseball sport or take a tour of the stadium.
20. Silver Lake
Silver Lake is one other vibrant neighborhood positioned in the central area of Los Angeles that’s identified for its eclectic environment, fashionable retailers, eating places, and inventive neighborhood.
The neighborhood is called after the Silver Lake Reservoir, a giant physique of water that serves as a picturesque centerpiece. The reservoir is surrounded by a strolling path well-liked amongst residents for jogging, strolling canine, and having fun with scenic views.
21. Cycle the Strand
The Strand, also referred to as the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, is a 22-mile bike path that begins at Will Rogers State Beach and passes via the Pacific Palisades and down to Santa Monica, Redondo, Manhattan, Venice Beach, and Torrance County Beach.
Take a bike experience alongside this stunning path. Bear in thoughts that it’s a laid-back path that sees vacationers of all ages and ranges. So, should you’re wanting to do some sprints, this is probably not the path for you.
22. Immerse in Japanese Culture in Little Tokyo
Home to the US leisure trade, Los Angeles is a melting pot of artwork, expertise, and tradition.
Little Tokyo is a 135-year-old neighborhood positioned in Downtown Los Angeles. As the second oldest neighborhood in the town of LA and one in every of solely three official Japantowns in the US, Little Tokyo is a historic, cultural landmark.
You can study concerning the experiences of Japanese Americans all through historical past on the Japanese American National Museum, discover distinctive items for mates at residence on the Bunkado store, or have homestyle Japanese meals on 1st Street. Read extra about Tokyo The Best Things to do in Tokyo, Japan
23. Feast at The Grand Central Market
Another must-see in Downtown LA, Grand Central Market is a foodie’s heaven. Come on an empty abdomen as a result of Grand Central is brimming with good grub.
Must-tries embody Villa Moreliana’s tacos, Belcampo Meat Co.’s dry-aged beef burger, and Eggslut’s notorious egg sandwiches. For dessert, McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream is the best way to go.
To take a look at extra of the Los Angeles meals scene, e-book this downtown meals tour that begins at Pershing Square. Sample meals from the rising LA meals scene as you hear about Hollywood historical past.
24. Catch A Concert at The Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is the premier venue for stay music in Los Angeles. The large amphitheater has hosted all types of musicians – from Hall and Oates to Lady Gaga – but it surely’s the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra that will get to name it residence.
The park space used to be open to the general public in the course of the day, and guests may watch rehearsals without cost.
25. Explore Exposition Park
When touring together with your children, it’s necessary to discover locations that may be loved by the entire household. Here are our prime 5 family-friendly issues to do in Los Angeles.
If you and your children are up for a subject journey, head over to Exposition Park. The sprawling city park homes sights just like the Banc of California soccer stadium, the Rose Garden, the California African American Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the California Science Center.
The Science Center is especially attention-grabbing as a result of it serves as the ultimate resting place for the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the final operational shuttle constructed for NASA.
26. Enjoy the Petersen Automotive Museum
If you and your children share a ardour for vehicles, drive up Wilshire Boulevard and make a pit cease at Petersen Museum. As one of many largest automotive museums in the world, this museum showcases over a hundred autos in 25 galleries.
If you’re a huge gearhead, you may pay an additional $20 to get into “The Vault”, an underground parking area the place the museum retains autos which have been rotated out of the exhibitions, in addition to vehicles which have by no means been displayed to the general public but.
Here, you’ll discover gems like Steve McQueen’s 1957 Jaguar and a 1998 open-top Cadillac Popemobile. Kids beneath 10 should not allowed in this space.
27. Learn About the Ice Age at The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
What makes pits of tar one in every of LA’s hottest sights? The La Brea Tar Pits is the one lively Ice Age fossil web site that’s positioned in an city setting. Scientists have been digging up fossils from this space for over a hundred years, and all of the artifacts from these excavations are displayed on the La Brea Museum.
Here, children can find out about prehistory, archaeology, biology, and local weather change. Overall, it’s a excellent place to interact your children in a enjoyable, interactive, and academic exercise!
28. Experience the Thrills of Movie Magic at Universal Studios Hollywood
There is unquestionably no scarcity of theme parks in California. You’ve acquired Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags, and Legoland, simply to title a few.
But should you and your children are popular culture nerds, Universal Studios Hollywood may be one of many solely theme parks that actually brings the magic of films to life. Some of the park’s major sights embody the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Jurassic World experience, and the World-Famous Studio tour. Book your Skip the road Tickets for Universal Studios in advance to maximize your enjoyment.
29. Mulholland Drive
Another epic drive can be Mulholland Drive, which Jay Leno as soon as described because the “spine of Los Angeles”. With the San Fernando Valley on one aspect and Beverly Hills on the opposite, the drive gives spectacular views of the Los Angeles Basin.
“The Snake”, a twisty section stuffed with sharp turns, can be a favourite amongst bikers and automobile fanatics. Unfortunately, a lot of Mulholland Drive has been closed for the reason that Woolsey hearth ravaged the world.
Best Day Trips from Los Angeles
The larger Los Angeles space is large and when you have a automobile and a few further days, you must make your method to a few of those places which might be inside driving distance from downtown. Some require a few days, and others may be completed in a simple day journey.
30. Historic Battleship USS Iowa Museum
One of probably the most notable sights is the historic Battleship USS Iowa Museum. Moored on the LA Waterfront in San Pedro, this iconic World War II battleship invitations guests to immerse themselves in American naval historical past via its intricate displays and guided excursions.
A stone’s throw away is the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, which additional chronicles the wealthy maritime heritage of the area.
31. Long Beach
Long Beach is one other Southern California, coastal metropolis positioned inside the larger Los Angeles metropolitan space. One of Long Beach’s most well-known sights is the Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner that has been completely docked in the harbor since 1967. It now serves as a resort, museum, and occasions venue. The ship can be identified for its alleged hauntings and gives ghost excursions.
The waterfront space of Long Beach is a bustling spot with a number of eating places, retailers, and sights. The Rainbow Harbor and Shoreline Village are significantly well-liked areas to stroll round, dine, and revel in views of the water.
It additionally naturally has a number of miles of seashores, that are nice for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports activities. Belmont Shore is a well-liked seaside neighborhood identified for its laid-back vibe, and Alamitos Beach is understood for being LGBTQ2s+ pleasant
32. Summit Mt. Baldy
Standing at 10,066 ft or 3,068 meters above sea degree, Mount Baldy (also referred to as Mt. San Antonio) is taken into account the very best peak in Los Angeles County.
There are quite a few trails all around the mountain, from the brief and candy Mt. Baldy Notch path, which is about 3.5 miles a technique, to the Mt. Baldy path, the longest (6.5 miles a technique) and the oldest path that takes you all the best way to the summit. From the highest, you get attractive views of LA. On a good day, you may even see Catalina Island.
In the winter, Mt. Baldy turns into a well-liked snowboarding vacation spot as nicely.
33. Bungee Jump Off the Bridge to Nowhere
The Angeles National Forest covers over 700,000 acres of land, together with the San Gabriel and Sierra Pelona Mountains. One of probably the most thrilling issues to do right here is the Bridge to Nowhere hike in the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s a 10-mile hike that includes river crossings, tunnels, and an awe-inspiring 120-foot-high concrete bridge that leads, nicely, nowhere, because it’s wedged into the canyon.
If the hike isn’t thrilling sufficient, you can too bungee leap off the bridge. And should you’re actually longing for some adrenaline, you may even prepare for a night time leap, the place you fall into a pitch-black abyss and lookup to a starry night time.
A phrase of warning, nonetheless: all the time test the climate earlier than embarking on this hike. In the moist season, the world is inclined to flash floods. In the summer season months, it may be an exhausting journey, as there may be nearly no shade on the market.
34. Go Bouldering in Joshua Tree National Park
If you solely have time for one or two day journeys, be certain that one in every of them is a go to to Joshua Tree National Park. It’s about a 2-hour-and-45-minute drive from Los Angeles, but it surely’s nicely definitely worth the go to.
Known because the place the place two deserts meet – the Colorado and the Mojave deserts – the park is residence to a few of the most attention-grabbing landscapes this aspect of the US. Some well-known sights embody the eerie Skull Rock formation and the 30-foot arch of Arch Rock.
Joshua Tree’s large rock formations make it a nice web site for bouldering and mountaineering too. Trashcan Rock, Lizard’s Hangout, and the Blob are a few of the greatest spots for inexperienced persons. Read More: 11 Best Hikes in Joshua Tree National Park
35. Go Off-Roading in The Mojave Desert
Mojave Road is a 150-mile historic grime highway that begins at Beale’s Crossing by the Colorado River and ends at Drum Barracks in Wilmington, LA.
You can traverse all the path in three days, however ensure you have loads of meals, water, and gasoline with you, as there are nearly no institutions out in the desert. Be certain to convey instruments, a spare tire, and emergency provides as nicely.
As it’s a tough and unmaintained desert highway, you will have to convey a 4×4 automobile with you.
36. Sail Off to Catalina Island
If you’re up for one thing a little extra laid again, you may e-book a personal constitution to Catalina Island. On the journey, you may anticipate to sail subsequent to dolphins, go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling in Catalina’s coral reefs.
Catalina Island is an hour-long boat experience from Newport Beach, Long Beach, or San Pedro Beach.
37. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
The metropolis of LA is as a lot the town of vehicles as it’s the metropolis of stars, with a automobile tradition so enduring that it has formed the best way the town – and its surrounding space – has been designed. As such, LA is likely one of the greatest locations for vacationers to embark on a highway journey.
One of one of the best routes you may take is the drive from Santa Monica to Zuma Beach in Malibu by way of the Pacific Coast Highway. The freeway runs alongside the Pacific shoreline of California, providing probably the most breathtaking views in the world. And when you’re in Malibu, be certain that to take a look at biker’s hangout Neptune’s Net, a world-famous seafood and beer restaurant that sits proper by the freeway. Read extra: The Ultimate Big Sur Road Trip Itinerary and The Best Viewpoints
About Los Angeles
Los Angeles is definitely a part of Los Angeles County, made up of 88 integrated cities all in all. LA—also referred to as the City of Angels—is California’s most populous metropolis, comprising some 80+ neighborhoods. The delineation of those neighborhoods can get fairly contentious, so don’t fear should you can’t discover what you’re searching for on a typical map. If you’re misplaced, it’s greatest to ask a native!
Your major gateway into Los Angeles is thru the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is located in the beachside neighborhood of Westchester. Head up northwest, and also you’ll hit different famed seaside cities like Venice, Santa Monica, the Pacific Palisades, and Malibu.
While LA has ample public transportation, one of the simplest ways to get round is by automobile. There’s a saying that “nobody walks in LA”—with the sheer dimension of the county and Los Angeles’ thriving automobile tradition, it’s just about true. No, I take it again—it’s 100% true. Compare automobile rental costs right here.
Whether you’re searching for fast city hikes, lazy seaside days, sick surf classes, or epic day journeys out in the desert, Los Angeles is a dream for many journey vacationers. You’ll by no means run out of issues to do in LA!
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