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The city can be a headache to get around due to its lack of efficient public transit and notorious traffic jams but the City of Stars is magical in its own right. Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips. Looking for the best place to stay in Los Angeles? Check out this post! This is where you can see Hogwarts come to life and sip on butterbeer in Hogsmeade , take a tour of famous movie sets, and witness live-action over-the-top performances that will blow your mind.
Local tip : Download the Universal Studios App ahead of time for a full list of maps, wait times, and showtimes on your phone and grab your admission ticket ahead of time here so you can bypass the line. Venice is a mix of skateboarders, hippies, drum circles, local arts and crafts, hipster cafes, and a lot of people smoking cannabis.
You can watch the impressive skateboarders at the skate park, maybe enjoy an impromptu dance performance, enjoy a healthy vegan lunch, or buy some local handicrafts at the pop-up outdoor markets. As you might already know, Beverly Hills aka , has been a historically upper-class city in Los Angeles for years. This is where you can try the best cupcakes of your life. Similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Madame Tussauds is one of the most popular Hollywood tourist attractions to experience.
Local tip: Grab your admission ticket ahead of time here to avoid having to wait in line. The concert hall is most famous for its modern and unique architecture deed by Frank Gehry, which has made it a great place for photography in Los Angeles. This is where you can see a performance by the talented Los Angeles Philharmonic in the winter or simply take a ton of photos from the outside. One of the best things to do near Universal Studios Hollywood, whether you decide to go to the park or not, is exploring Universal CityWalk. Universal CityWalk is an outdoor playground for those interested in shopping and a variety of dining options.
To me, this is when you can really feel the energy of the place and enjoy a happy hour or the dueling pianos at Howl at the Moon. The pier is over years old and the official endpoint of the famous and historic Route 66 in the US. More than that, it provides stunning views looking out over the ocean and classic amusement park rides for the whole family or a fun date night. You can choose from fast food eateries, fresh popcorn, an arcade, a rickety roller coaster, a giant Ferris wheel, and a merry-go-round that has been in operation since This 6.
This is the perfect place to take a break from the city and maybe bring a good book to read on a nice day. A must-see in California, cruising the iconic 1. The Strip is part of the much larger Sunset Boulevard that stretches for 22 miles, all the way from Hollywood through Beverly Hills and some of the best Malibu attractions.
Founded in , the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a acre complex that features different animal species and over different plant species in the gardens. Besides the usual zoo attractions, at the LA Zoo you can experience behind-the-scenes tours with animals and the young ones can attend zoo camp.
This is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles with kids because the zoo offers so many interactive experiences for children. For those 21 and up, check out Roaring Nights in the summer to party and dance the night away at the zoo. There are also a variety of upscale eateries, a screen art deco-themed movie theater, and they feature fashion shows and a summer concert series every year.
You can visit the Japanese American National Museum, try some delicious Japanese hotpot or ramen, and shop in the Japanese-owned shops that line the streets. One of the best things to do in Burbank is to see where all the movie magic happens at Warner Bros. Unlike Universal Studios, which is a part amusement park as well as a movie studio, Warner Bros.
At Warner Bros. Studio, you can tour some of the most popular and oldest movie studios in Los Angeles. Tours last anywhere from two to six hours and give you a good glimpse of the movie business, TV and movie sets, backlots and sound stages, and a whole lot of memorabilia. Grab your tickets ahead of time for the original studio tour here. Foodies unite!
This historic Los Angeles landmark has been around since and offers everything food-related — from food stalls to delicious sit-down eateries, and local produce. There are over gourmet grocers and restaurants to choose from at The Original Farmers Market so you should definitely come hungry. Local tip: This is also the perfect place to take a food tour in Los Angeles.
You might choose to visit the Griffith Observatory if you plan to hike to the Hollywood from there. One of the top places to visit in California. The Hollywood is one of the most famous Los Angeles landmarks and an attraction that most people want to see when they visit LA. A common misconception, that I had too before I visited for the first time, is that you can easily drive up to the and snap a few quick pictures and peace out.
Let me be the one to break it to you that seeing the Hollywood up close is an ordeal and will probably take you a good half-day workout to do. This is because you actually have to hike up to the Hollywood . However, this is also the most popular way to get up to the Hollywood so parking can be difficult and the trail is usually crowded.
Alternatively, you can do the hike that starts from Griffith Observatory, which is six miles round trip. The same can be said for the Canyon Drive Trail. There are now more than 2, terrazzo and brass stars that line this famous walkway, taking up 18 blocks in total. When it opened in , it was the most ornate and impressive theater in the world.
You can still watch movies at the theater today and the interior is beautiful and historic. You can also take a stroll through the elaborate gardens, which include a cactus garden and sculpture garden. Lastly, make sure to admire the famous architecture of the Getty Center with a free minute architecture tour. The Getty Center provides some of the best views in Los Angeles from the perch of the Santa Monica Mountains and there are a few Getty Center restaurants on the property if you get hungry.
These include two cafes, a couple of coffee carts, and one sit-down restaurant reservations recommended. The Getty Villa is part of the same museum as the Getty Center but a completely different experience and location.
The Getty Villa is situated on the eastern side of the Malibu Coast and is a massive and ornate sight to behold. Read my guide to the top things to do in Malibu. Although not as well known and popular as the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Central California, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is a popular thing to do with kids in Los Angeles or for any marine life enthusiast.
Runyon Canyon Park is a acre park in the Santa Monica Mountains that is a popular hiking and running spot for locals. This is where one of the hikes to the Hollywood is located but, even more than that, the hikes here provide stunning views over Hollywood and Los Angeles as a whole. There are a few different hikes to tackle at Runyon Canyon Park, most are a few miles roundtrip with various elevations — perfect for an outdoorsy start to your day.
One of those not-so-secret LA attractions anymore with its popularity on Instagram, the Venice Canals Historic District is still a fun spot to explore in Venice. Rent bikes and ride along the beautiful canals on a nice day for the best kind of Los Angeles vibes. The man-made canals were built in by developer Abbot Kinney and still attract tons of Los Angeles locals and visitors alike every day. If you want to lean into your musical side for the afternoon, head over to Venice Beach on Saturday or Sunday and follow the beat of the drums to find the circle.
The drum circle usually happens from noon and lasts well after sunset with plenty of dancing and percussion for hours on end. Built in , this five-story office building is most famously known for its unique ironwork and naturally lit atrium of walkways and stairs. Just grab a gallery guide at one of the participating art galleries check their website for a self-guided tour of local galleries, artist studios, and cultural events.
The highway is a two-lane road that goes for 66 miles and curves around rocky landscapes, reaching 7, feet in elevation at its highest point. This is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world and one of the best free things to do in Hollywood. Hollywood Forever Cemetery was founded in and is the final resting place for a of famous Hollywood stars. The cemetery has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers 50 acres of peaceful greenery to walk around and pay your respects to those who have passed.
Maybe this is a weird thing to admit but I actually enjoy walking through cemeteries. I find them peaceful and meditative places. One unique aspect of the cemetery is that they host regular events and movie nights. Check out their events calendar for a full list of upcoming events.
And Los Angeles does not disappoint with The Last Bookstore, known as one of the coolest bookstores in the world and one of the more quirky things to do in downtown Los Angeles. This bookstore sells new and used books and records and showcases local art in a multilevel space that used to be a bank. The mansion is 6, square feet, located in the heart of Hollywood, and has been featured in numerous films and TV shows over the years.
The house has been shrouded in mystery for a long time, with its most notable mystery being its potential ties to the Black Dahlia murder. They have offered public tours in the past but the John Sowden House changed hands again recently so they may have stopped those for the time being.
Built in , the Eames House is a famous property in LA and a testament to modern midth century architecture. El Pueblo de Los Angeles is a historical monument built in marking where the city of Los Angeles was first founded. Over the course of two decades, it was transformed from a traditional s house, complete with a white picket fence, to a piece of modern art by Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran.
The Watts Towers Arts Center is the masterpiece of Sabato Rodia, who spent 33 years creating the 17 interconnected sculptural towers that still exist at the center today. Public guided tours of the towers happen on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from am to 3 pm and Sunday from pm to 3 pm.
Located in the historic Rose Bowl Stadium, the Rose Bowl Flea Market is one of the best places to shop in Los Angeles for an eclectic mix of antiques, apparel, crafts, and other random items. There was even a more recent movie made about Tommy Wiseau the creator and star of The Room and starring James Franco. The film plays regularly in LA because it is still so popular.
Located in the Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood Bowl has been a performance venue since and one of the top 10 live music venues in the US. First Fridays are art, food, or community events that happen all over the US on the first Friday of every month and the ones in Los Angeles are particularly fun and immersive. There are numerous First Fridays that happen around the city every month but Abbot Kinney is a good First Friday to start with. Echo Park has become a trendy neighborhood in recent years with colorful street murals, hipster bars, vegan eateries, indie live music venues, and a bustling nightlife scene.
For a more local perspective of Los Angeles, experience one of the many things to do in Echo Park. Once known for its dive bars and sloppy-ish nights out, Highland Park has quickly become a trendsetter in the LA nightlife scene these days. This makes it a great neighborhood for bar hopping. Marina del Rey is the largest man-made small-craft harbor in North America, home to around 5, boats and absolutely stunning. You can choose to go with a guided tour if stand-up paddleboarding is a new activity for you or simply rent a SUP by the hour.
However you want to go about it, SUPing is the perfect way to explore the harbor and that LA sunshine. It has become a favorite pastime for many a Los Angeles local to go on a vinyl hunt on the weekends for new records to add to their collection. If you want to buy a new vinyl or you simply enjoy walking through record stores like me, check out Freakbeat Records or Amoeba Music for your local vinyl fix in LA.
The Moonlight Rollerway has been open since the s and it still has the feel of that decade when you walk in. Probably the most famous beach in the greater LA area, Santa Monica Beach has been bringing visitors to its beautiful shores for years. If you want to make a day of it and explore one of the most popular attractions near Los Angeles, there are plenty of fun things to do in Santa Monica beside the beach.
One of my favorite experiences? Once the sun sets, enjoy the beauty of the Santa Monica Pier at night. Zuma Beach is particularly known for its great surfing and pristine long stretches of sand, perfect for sunbathing and chilling out for an afternoon. Another good aspect about Zuma Beach is the amount of parking. There are eight parking lots with around 2, parking spaces. Read my full guide to the best Malibu beaches. Make sure to walk by the skate park and the nearby outdoor gym called Muscle Beach before finding a good place to lay out on the sand.Things to do while in la
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The 39 best things to do in Los Angeles