Los Angeles is one of the world’s most iconic cities, for good reason. With its stunning beaches, beautiful mountains, and vibrant nightlife, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back beach day or a night out on the town, you can find it all in L.A. Here are some of the best things to do in Los Angeles.
Things to Do in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, the vibrant city of dreams and endless possibilities, offers exciting activities and attractions for visitors and locals alike. From world-class museums to beautiful parks and lively beach-side neighborhoods, this city has options for various interests. People worldwide flock to this iconic destination to experience the diverse culture and enjoy the vast array of things to do.
One must-visit attraction is the Griffith Observatory, a hilltop landmark that offers stunning city views, especially at night when the entire landscape twinkles below. Venture inside to explore captivating exhibits and expand your knowledge of the cosmos. Another must-see destination is the La Brea Tar Pits, a family-friendly locale where prehistoric discoveries continue to be unearthed. Adjacent to the tar pits is the Natural History Museum, showcasing fascinating exhibitions and offering an educational experience for visitors.
For those interested in the arts, a visit to the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is highly recommended. Beautiful gardens await exploration, while the library and museum hold impressive treasures. Of course, one cannot forget about the popular and world-renowned experience of behind-the-scenes studio tours at Universal Studios, where visitors can witness the magic of Hollywood firsthand. Los Angeles is a city brimming with incredible experiences, making it a must-visit destination for all.
Los Angeles is home to a variety of popular attractions that offer something for everyone. From art museums to outdoor venues, there is no shortage of things to see and do in the city.
The Griffith Observatory is one of the most popular attractions in Los Angeles and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in science and astronomy. Situated in Griffith Park, this iconic landmark offers breathtaking views of the city and fascinating exhibits and displays. The observatory is also a great place to glimpse the famous Hollywood sign.
The Broad Museum
Located in Downtown Los Angeles, The Broad is a contemporary art museum featuring works by some of the most influential artists of the past century. The museum offers free admission, making it an accessible and budget-friendly option for art enthusiasts.
See Related: 24 Top Tourist Attractions in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest art museum in the western United States. It houses over 150,000 works of art, ranging from ancient artifacts to modern masterpieces. The museum’s impressive collection and rotating exhibitions make it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Los Angeles.
Perched atop a hill in the Brentwood neighborhood, the Getty Center is a cultural and architectural marvel. It features the J. Paul Getty Museum, which houses an extensive collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. In addition to its world-renowned art, the Getty Center offers stunning gardens and panoramic views of the city.
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a unique cultural destination that combines art, history, and nature. With its vast collection of rare books, manuscripts, and artwork, visitors can spend hours exploring this beautiful estate in San Marino.
See Related: Best Things To Do in Huntington Beach, California
For a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience, look no further than the Hollywood Bowl. This historic open-air amphitheater hosts concerts, movie screenings, and other events throughout the summer months. The iconic venue offers a picturesque setting and a memorable atmosphere for enjoying live performances under the stars.
Explore The Hollywood Sign
The iconic Hollywood sign stands tall over the hills of Los Angeles, making it one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. You can explore the grounds around it or even go on a guided tour to learn more about its history.
Experience Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is an exciting theme park that offers visitors thrilling rides, interactive shows, and great entertainment options. Explore film sets from some of your favorite movies and get an up-close look at some of Hollywood’s most famous attractions.
Hike Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon Park is one of Los Angeles’s most beloved hiking spots. Enjoy breathtaking views from this popular spot as you walk through trails ranging from easy to moderate difficulty.
Take A Trip To Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is an excellent destination for both locals and tourists alike. From delicious seafood restaurants to carnival rides and arcades, there’s something fun here for everyone to enjoy! Plus, it’s located next to one of California’s most famous beaches – Santa Monica Beach – so don’t forget your towel if you plan on swimming!
Downtown Los Angeles offers a mix of the old and the new for visitors to explore. The Arts District, located near downtown, boasts a collection of historical buildings, graffiti-ridden warehouses, and exciting art installations. While you’re here, take the time to visit some of the city’s best muralists and artist studios for an inspiring experience.
Hollywood is a must-visit neighborhood for any first-time visitor to Los Angeles. Walk along the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, where you’ll find the iconic stars of past and present embedded in the sidewalk. For a more immersive experience, visit the TCL Chinese Theatre, where you can enjoy premieres and special events, or take a tour of the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards.
Santa Monica, a coastal city in Los Angeles, is well known for its picturesque coastline and vibrant atmosphere. The Santa Monica Pier offers a variety of activities for tourists to enjoy, from amusement park rides to aquarium visits. The lively Third Street Promenade provides an excellent shopping and dining experience, and you will also find ample opportunities to explore the city’s art scene and witness the creative works of local artists.
Venice Boardwalk, also known as the OceanFront Walk, is a lively destination with unique shops, street performers, and delicious food options. If you’re a fan of outdoor activity, you can rent a bike or rollerblade and take a leisurely ride along the beach. For a glimpse into the local culture, check out the world-famous Muscle Beach Venice, where the fitness-conscious crowd gathers to work out in the open-air gym or relax on the sandy shores and soak up the sun.
Beaches and Coastline
Los Angeles is home to some of Southern California’s most picturesque beaches and coastlines. Enjoy golden sands and stunning views while you unwind and participate in various recreational activities. This section covers Santa Monica Beach, Venice Beach, and Malibu, highlighting their unique features and attractions.
Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Beach is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, stretching over 3.5 miles of soft sand and clear waters. The beach offers many activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, volleyball, and bike riding. A short walk away, you can explore the iconic Santa Monica Pier featuring amusement park rides, an aquarium, and a variety of dining options.
The beach’s scenic backdrop is ideal for photography enthusiasts and especially picturesque at sunset. Numerous beachside services like bike rentals, public restrooms, and picnic facilities ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all visitors.
Venice Beach is famous for its vibrant boardwalk, where visitors can witness diverse street performers, artists, and local vendors selling unique crafts. The area is perfect for people-watching, with its lively atmosphere and eclectic mix of characters.
Aside from the boardwalk, the beach boasts soft sand and postcard-worthy views of the mountainous coastline. Visitors can participate in beach sports, swim in the clear waters, or relax under the sun. The nearby Abbot Kinney Boulevard is also worth exploring for its trendy boutiques, hip eateries, and world-class art galleries.
Malibu has several stunning beaches, such as Leo Carrillo State Beach, Zuma Beach, and Point Dume State Beach. These beaches offer more secluded spots surrounded by towering cliffs, making them perfect for those seeking picturesque landscapes and natural beauty.
Leo Carrillo State Beach, in particular, stretches over a mile and is dotted with sea caves and tide pools, inviting visitors to explore and observe the fascinating marine life. Other activities in Malibu’s beaches include swimming, surfing, and beachcombing. While in the area, don’t forget to check out the Getty Villa Museum for art, culture, and history.
Museums and Art Collections
Los Angeles is a city where art and culture thrive, with a range of museums and art collections to explore. This section will discuss a few highlights you won’t want to miss.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a must-visit for film enthusiasts in Los Angeles. Dedicated to the art and science of movies, this museum gives visitors a glimpse of Hollywood’s history and the opportunity to explore the creative process behind some of the most iconic films.
Located right next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Museum Row, it’s easy to visit both in one stop. Remember that tickets range from $15 to $25 and require an advanced reservation. However, for those traveling with children, all visitors under 17 are granted free admission.
Moving on to fine art, the city boasts two impressive Getty Center locations. The Getty Center in Brentwood houses the J. Paul Getty Museum’s exquisite fine art and photography collection, while the Getty Villa in Malibu is home to the antiquities collection.
Both venues allow art enthusiasts to marvel at an extensive array of modernist masterpieces while also enjoying the architectural design, picturesque gardens, and breathtaking views of these unique institutions.
A visit to Los Angeles would be incomplete without experiencing contemporary art. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) offers diverse exhibitions showcasing artists pushing boundaries in various mediums. From Downtown’s MOCA location to Westside’s Hammer Museum, opportunities to explore captivating and thought-provoking contemporary works are vast in Los Angeles.
Another notable contemporary art museum is The Broad, located in Downtown LA. The Broad features over 2,000 works in its collection, representing more than 200 contemporary artists worldwide, which makes it an essential visit for those seeking to engage with the latest contemporary art trends.
Picnics and Boardwalks
Los Angeles offers many picturesque spots for picnics and relaxing strolls along boardwalks. The city’s pleasant Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for outdoor activities throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely lunch in one of the many parks or pack a meal at popular beaches.
Venice Beach Boardwalk is a must-visit destination, offering a vibrant atmosphere filled with street performers, artists, and various shops and restaurants. The Santa Monica Pier is another favorite spot with its iconic Ferris wheel, amusement park, and nearby Palisades Park, perfect for picnics overlooking the ocean.
Springtime in Los Angeles brings an explosion of colorful wildflowers to the nearby hills and parks. Nature enthusiasts can surround themselves with vibrant blossoms and enjoy Southern California’s natural beauty.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is a popular destination from mid-March through mid-May, showcasing acres of golden poppies and a variety of other wildflowers. Another option for wildflower viewing is Cheseboro Canyon Park, where visitors can take a leisurely hike or horseback ride amidst the blossoming landscape.
Los Angeles is a city rich in culture and culinary delights. Explore multiple food experiences, from street food at Grand Central Market to popular restaurants around the city.
Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market is a must-visit foodie destination in Downtown Los Angeles. Established in 1917, the market offers a variety of cuisines and tastes for locals and visitors alike. With over 30 food vendors, there’s something for everyone.
- Pupusas: Enjoy delicious Salvadoran pupusas, made from cornmeal dough filled with various ingredients such as cheese, beans, and pork.
- Carnitas Tacos: Savor mouth-watering carnitas tacos, filled with slow-cooked Mexican pork.
- Aguas Frescas: Refresh with aguas frescas, traditional Mexican fruit-infused drinks available in a variety of flavors.
- Shiku: Sample Korean homestyle dishes at Shiku, offering rice bowls, stews, and more.
- Sticky Rice: Treat yourself to authentic Thai comfort food at Sticky Rice, known for its flavorful dishes made with high-quality ingredients.
- Sari Sari: Indulge in Filipino fare at Sari Sari, with a menu that includes savory adobo bowls and sweet ube desserts.
- Horse Thief BBQ: Experience Texas-style BBQ at Horse Thief, serving up smoked meats, delicious sides, and refreshing beverages.
- Eggslut: Discover how eggs can be a beloved gourmet ingredient at Eggslut, famous for its unique and delectable egg-based sandwiches.
- G&B Coffee: Recharge with a cup of expertly crafted coffee from G&B Coffee, offering single-origin beans and creative espresso-based drinks.
Los Angeles’ thriving culinary scene extends beyond the historic Grand Central Market. The city boasts an impressive list of popular restaurants, many frequented by locals and tourists alike. These esteemed establishments offer unforgettable dining experiences, with each restaurant catering to diverse preferences and tastes.
Cultural and Artistic Scenes
Los Angeles is a city brimming with diverse cultural and artistic scenes, offering numerous opportunities for exploration and enjoyment for visitors and residents alike. This section highlights some of the standout elements of LA’s cultural landscape, focusing on street art and fashion.
The City of Angels is home to some of the world’s most stunning and captivating street art. Renowned for its vibrant murals, the city’s streets have become open-air galleries. Estimates indicate that more than a thousand murals are scattered throughout Los Angeles, with various neighborhoods showcasing different styles and themes.
In the Downtown LA’s Arts District, guided walks regularly reveal hidden gems of street art, and shed light on the history and techniques behind the creations. The Graffiti and Mural Tour is worth noting for its blend of homespun and professional routes covering popular murals and lesser-known works.
- Culture Vulture Tip: Look for street art from popular artists like Dr. Woo, whose LA-inspired tattoos have garnered international attention
Los Angeles’ fashion industry is as diverse as its people, with resident designers and up-and-coming talent contributing to the city’s distinct style. From local labels to luxury designer brands, there is something for all tastes and budgets in the countless boutiques and shopping centers.
Designers and artists are influenced by the city’s cultural wealth, with many incorporating aspects of LA’s diverse heritage into their collections’ colors, materials, prints, and styles. This distinct design sensibility is palpable throughout the city, from downtown to the beach communities and beyond.
|Trendy shops and upscale boutiques
|Luxury fashion and designer labels
|Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Soaking in the city’s cultural and artistic scenes through street art and fashion is an essential LA experience. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore these vibrant aspects of the city during your visit.
When visiting Los Angeles, finding suitable accommodations is essential to enjoy everything the city has to offer. This section will focus on notable hotels in the area.
Los Angeles is home to a variety of hotels, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly options. Some popular options include:
- The Beverly Hills Hotel: This iconic hotel offers luxury accommodations and is located in the heart of Beverly Hills. Its distinctive pink facade and lush gardens have been popular among celebrities and tourists for many years.
- The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles: Situated in downtown Los Angeles, The Ritz-Carlton offers top-notch amenities and luxurious rooms. Guests can enjoy a spectacular view of the city from the rooftop pool, fine dining options and a spa.
- Kimpton Hotel Wilshire: This boutique hotel is near popular attractions like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Grove shopping center. It offers stylish rooms, a rooftop pool, and an on-site restaurant.
- Freehand Los Angeles: A trendy option for travelers on a budget, Freehand Los Angeles is a hostel with a twist. This stylish accommodation offers shared rooms, private rooms, suites, a rooftop pool and bar, and a popular on-site restaurant.
Consider one of these hotels as a base for exploring the many attractions and activities Los Angeles offers. With various options to suit varying budgets and preferences, you can find the perfect place to rest and recharge during your visit.