50 awesome things to do in los angeles

Let me clue you into a not-so-secret secret: I love living in Los Angeles.

There’s an air of optimism that permeates this city as people work to achieve their dreams. And, when coupled with the sunshine, ocean breezes and endless places to visit, it’s easy to find happiness here.

If all you have to say after your visit to Los Angeles is that the traffic was bad, bluntly put, you did it wrong. Give these 50 things to do in Los Angeles a try, and you might just fall in love with my home city as deeply as I have.

 

Typical Tourist Circuit

(but totally worth it)

 

1. Take in the views from the Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory Los AngelesPixabay

For the best views of Los Angeles, head to the Griffith Observatory, an Art Deco planetarium on the Hollywood Hills in Griffith Park. By day, visitors can walk the grounds to take in the cityscape of downtown Los Angeles (DTLA). After dark, join a star party and gaze up at the constellations through a telescope. Admission is free.

Bloggers who have lived the experience:

Lauren from SomethingInHerRamblings.com
Tom of TravelCaffeine.com
Lauren from BonVoyageLauren.com

2. Ride the Ferris wheel:

Sunset at Santa Monica Pier

santa monica pierAdobephotostock/OneInchPunch

For a front-seat view of the sun sinking into the Pacific, there’s no better spot to be than the Santa Monica Pier.

This is one of the most iconic piers in the state, epitomizing SoCal beach life. It features a wooden boardwalk that leads out into the ocean, filled with good eats, cheery carnival games and a giant Ferris wheel.

Bloggers who have lived the experience:

Megan from BloggerAtLargeTravel.com
Colleen from TravelMamas.com
Christina from HappyToWander.com

3. Stroll through “Urban Light” at LACMA

Urban Light at LACMA©2008 Weldon Brewster Photography

Stroll through rows of “Urban Light”, an art installation consisting of more than 200 old-fashioned street lamps that photograph best at night. This installation stands in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which houses works by revered artists such as Diego Rivera and Henri Matisse. Also on site are explorations of artistic representations of California throughout the years.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Kelly from KMTWanderlust.com
Nicole from JetsetFam.com
Trisha from ThreeThousandMilesBlog.com

 

4. Lend a hand at TCL Chinese Theatre

Grauman’s Chinese TheatrePixabay

Set along Hollywood Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre harkens back to the days of Old Hollywood with its over-the-top façade inspired by dragons of Chinese folklore and handprints of some of cinema’s biggest stars. See how your hands measure up to paws of big names like Joan Crawford, Clarke Gable and John Travolta. Afterwards, see if you can spot the names of your favorite celebrities in the stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 

5. Feel the thrills at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios HollywoodDan MacMedan

In a city known for cinema, you need to get into the movies. At Universal Studios Hollywood, you can go behind-the-scenes of a real working movie studio. Immerse yourself into some of your favorites scenes in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and King Kong 360 3D. 

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Christina from HappyToWander.com
Naz from OCMomBlog.com
Hilary from PullingCurls.com

 

6. (Window) Shop along Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive luxury shopping Los AngelesPixabay

To follow the footsteps of the rich and the famous, head to Rodeo Drive, a two-mile stretch of high-end shops. With shops like House of Bijan, the most expensive store in the world, your budget might only allow for window shopping and selfie-snapping.

Blogger who has lived the experience

Amy from WhereverWriter.com
Lilly from HashtagByLily.com
Mary from MaryHop.com

 

7. Find your vibe on Venice Beach

Venice Beach Los AngelesUnsplash/Ellie Pritts

No matter what your vibe is, chances are you’ll find it as you walk the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Shop, people-watch and dodge skateboarders all while soaking up the sunshine with vibrant blue ocean waves by your side.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Caroline of CarolineInTheCityBlog.com
Kiersten from TheBlondeAbroad.com
Elaine and Taylor from LocalWanderer.com

 

8. Cruise the Sunset Strip

If you’re visiting Los Angeles and want to see the city most efficiently, you’ll need a rental car. (LA is notorious for its poor public transportation.)

While you’re in that rental car, cruise the Sunset Strip, a section of Sunset Boulevard that runs between Hollywood and Beverley Hills. You’ll drive past a plethora of clubs and hotels that have impacted the evolution of pop culture, from Chateau Marmont, a popular hotel escape for celebrities, to The Roxy, a rock club, to the Viper Room, where River Phoenix died of an overdose.

 

The Great (Urban) Outdoors:

8 fresh-air activities in Los Angeles

 

9. Bike along the Strand

With eons of sunshine, those of us lucky enough to reside in Los Angeles love being outside. A classic local favourite is biking along The Strand, a paved bike path that runs along the Pacific Ocean from Pacific Palisades in the North to Torrance in the South. Rent a bike in Santa Monica or Venice Beach and pedal until you feel like cooling off by taking a dip in the ocean.

Blogger who has lived the experience

Maddie of Maddily.com

 

10. Hike up the hills in Runyon Canyon

Hiking is another popular activity in Los Angeles. For the best city views, hike up the Hollywood Hills through Runyon Canyon Park, an Urban Wilderness filled with steep inclines that rewards hikers with a stunning panorama of the city skyline.

Bloggers who have lived the experience:

Denise of TravelWithDenise.net
Shannon of ALittleAdrift.com

 

11. Spot the ocean from Skull Rock

For splendid views of the Pacific Ocean, take a hike on the Temescal Canyon Trail in Pacific Palisades. A steep 4.6-mile round-trip hike leads up through the Santa Monica Mountains to Skull Rock, a large rock that resembles a skull. Take the final ascent up the rock for views of the Pacific Ocean.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Casey of ModernHiker.com
Jeff of SoCalHiker.net

 

12. Stroll the beach in Malibu

Point Dume Malibu CaliforniaPoint Dume, Malibu by Unsplash/Emanual Hahn

Malibu is so much more than just a song by Miley Cyrus. Stretching more than 32 miles, Malibu offers plenty of space for a sandy stroll. Zuma Beach is best for sunbathing while Surfrider Beach is known for its waves.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Ashley of TravelLushes.com
Anna of GlobalGallivanting.com

 

13. Light a fire at the Dockweiler Beach Fire Pits

An iconic LA image is hanging out on the beach with friends as you huddle for warmth around a fire. However, only select beaches permit fires. At Dockweiler Beach near LAX, there are 40 fire pits available to members of the public on a first-served basis. Arrive before sunset to snag your spot. Bring along hot dogs or s’mores to make it a picnic.

Blogger who has lived the experience

Michelle from MyBelleElle.com

 

14. Set sail from Marina del Rey

Hundreds of boats dock at Marina del Rey, the departure point for many seaside recreation activities. Rent a boat for a sunset sail or take a class at one of the Marina’s sailing schools.

 

15. Learn to surf

Manhattan Beach Los Angeles CaliforniaUnsplash/Jacob Repko

Southern California has built a worldwide reputation for amazing surfing. Experience the thrill of riding the waves for yourself as you learn to surf in Santa Monica, Venice or Manhattan Beach.

 

16. Get lost in hidden stairs

When it comes to top work outs, Angelinos know all the tricks, and many involve stairs. It’s a common sight to see groups of runners gathered near outdoor stairwells getting their fitness on. While some stairs are more obvious (like the Santa Monica stairs), others are more hidden, like the Baldwin Hill Steps (DTLA), Castellammarre Stairs (Pacific Palisades) and Baxter Street Stairs (Echo Park).

Find them herediscoverlosangeles.com/discover-hidden-stairs-los-angeles

 

Experience Movie Magic: 

 

17. Tour Warner Brothers Studio

warner brother studios water towerCourtesy of Discover Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, you can go behind the scenes to learn how some of your favourite movies were made. The Warner Brothers VIP Studio is one of the most thorough of all the studio tours in the city. Sit on the couch seen in Friends, walk the streets of New York as seen in Spiderman and Sex in the City, and pay a visit to the town of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls.

Bloggers who have lived the experience: 

Lauren of SomethingInHerRamblings.com
Christina from HappyToWander.com
Raymond from TravellingFoodie.net

 

18. Tour Paramount Studios

Paramount Studios also provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes experience on their tour. Explore their soundstages and backlots used to shoot current series such as Hawaii Five-O, Dr. Phil and Scream Queens as you ride around the lot on a golf cart.

Blogger who has lived the experience:

Jade from Vagabond3.com 

 

19. Catch a flick at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Located next to Paramount Studios is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the final resting place for many of Hollywood’s biggest stars including Mickey Rooney, Douglas Fairbanks and Toto from Wizard of Oz. In the summer months, the cemetery screens films on their lawn. Arrive early and bring a blanket, picnic dinner and your favorite beverage.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Michelle from MyBelleElle.com 
Anisa and Katherine from TwoTravelingTexans.com 
Jade from Vagabond3.com

 

20. Speed past celebrity homes

To see where the stars live, head for the hills with Starline Tours on a Movie Stars’ Homes Tour. Drive through famous neighborhoods to spot current and former homes of celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez and Tom Cruise.

Blogger who has lived the experience

Meghan from BloggerAtLarge.com

 

21. Visit Will Rogers State Historic Park

A pioneer in the early days of film, Will Rogers’ long acting career spanned from cowboy rope tricks in Oklahoma to vaudeville acts in New York City and Los Angeles. A man who never lost touch with his country roots, he built a ranch house in Pacific Palisades that visitors can tour today to get an understanding of this man’s fascinating life and learn about the beginnings of Hollywood’s lore.

 

23. Unwind at the Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood bowl los angelesFlickr/MargaretNapier (CCbyND2.0)

For concerts under a blanket of stars, the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater serves up a host of events featuring musical genres ranging from classical and jazz to pop and rock. This venue has exceptional food and wine options, so arrive early to get your fill.

 

Entertainment

 

22. Sing and cheer at the Staples Center

staples center los angelesMatt Marriott / Discover LA

It should come as no surprise that Los Angeles, the capital of entertainment, is home to some of the world’s best entertainment venues. For starters, head to the Staples Center in DTLA to catch one of your favourite performers. If sports are more your thing, you won't be disappointed: the stadium is also home to the LA Kings hockey team and LA Lakers basketball team.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Kevin of KevinsTravelBlog.com
Lisa of WeSaidGoTravel.com

 

24. Refine your tastes at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles CaliforniaPixabay

For the sophisticated ear, the Walt Disney Concert Hall presents some of the finest sound quality in the world. With a façade of curving stainless steel, the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is also a visual delight.

 

25. Dive into music history at the GRAMMY Museum

Each year the Grammy Awards recognize outstanding achievements in the music industry. For aspiring musicians (or even just music lovers), the wide range of exhibits at the GRAMMY Museum celebrate the enduring legacies of all genres of music and offers insight into the creative, art and technical process behind many of the world’s greatest hits.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Lauren from SomethingInHerRamblings.com
Scott of QuirkyTravelGuy.com

 

26. Take me out to the ball game:

Dodger Stadium Tour

dodger stadium los angelesAlbert Valles

No matter what team you root for, a visit to Dodger Stadium is well worth it for the historical value alone. Built in 1962, the park is the third oldest in Major League Baseball. On non-game days, visitors can get a behind-the-scenes peek at the upper deck, press box, a VIP suite, and even sit in the dugout. 

Bloggers who have lived the experience: 

Josh of CaliforniaThroughMyLens.com
Shannon of ShannonDidWhat.com

 

Where to admire Los Angeles' architecture

 

27. Take a walking tour of DTLA

bradburyAshim D’Silva 

There’s much history to be gleaned from the buildings that fill Downtown LA. Take a historic downtown walking tour with the Los Angeles Conservancy to learn the stories behind some of the city’s most beloved landmarks like the Central Library, U.S Bank Tower and the Bradbury Building.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Carlo from YoungOFW.com
Jade from Vagabond3.com

 

28. Ride the SkySlide

OUE Skyspace L.A.OUE Skyspace L.A.

Slide through the skies 1,000 feet above LA at OUE Skyspace L.A. , located in the U.S. Bank Tower. The thrilling SkySlide is a glass slide built outside of a skyscraper that allows you to glide down for 45 feet over the city below. Make a stop on the 54th floor where L.A. native and Hollywood star George Lopez serves as a virtual guide and trivia host throughout the space’s interactive exhibits celebrating L.A.’s culture and history. 

Bloggers who have lived the experience:

Marianne of WanderlustMamas.com
Justin of AroundtheWorldWithJustin.com

 

29. Hobnob with academics at USC

The University of Southern California isn’t just one of the best universities in the country, it's also renowned for its architecture. Get lost in Romanesque architecture as you wander campus and take a snap in front of Tommy Trojan, a statue and shrine dedicated to the USC mascot.

Insider tip: greet students with their cheer “fight on!” and you’ll blend in immediately.

 

30. Appreciate art at the Getty Center

getty museum los angelesKimon Maritz

There’s no need to go to Europe for a Roman escape. The Getty Center is an opulent museum famous for its architecture, gardens and city views. With works by Van Goh and Rembrant, the Getty Center provides a glimpse into some of the most important works of European art.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Shannon of ALittleAdrift.com
Larissa of StopHavingaBoringLife.com

 

31. Adore architecture at the Getty Villa

The Getty Center’s sister property the Getty Villa is set in a stunning Italian-style villa. With great views of Malibu, the museum showcases a large collection of works from ancient Rome and Greece.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Lisa of ThisBeautifulDayBlog.com
Crystal of TravelPockets.com

 

Offbeat Los Angeles Attractions

(Because... Hollyweird)

 

32. Wallow in the Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken RelationshipsMare Milin (Zagreb location pictured)

Still mourning your ex? You’re not alone. The Museum of Broken Relationships explores broken love and other human relationships with unique exhibits and stories. Exhibits range from odd – a wedding dress stuffed into a pickle jar by a woman whose husband left her – to touching – a key left behind for a friend by a victim of AIDS.

Blogger who has lived the experience

Kana from LifeInWanderlust.com

 

33. Get lost in The Last Bookstore

the last bookstore los angelesDale Zapata 

Los Angeles loves its stories. The Last Bookstore is California’s largest used and new book and record store. Built in an abandoned loft, the store is adorned with walls of books, book frames and books arranged by colour.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Lauren of BonVoyageLauren.com
Sarah of GreenAftertheRain

 

34. Live the artist’s life in the Arts District

Arts DistrictMatt Marriott / Discover LA

Walls are full of colourful paintings and fashion is on fleek in the Arts District, a great place to snap, shop and eat the afternoon away. Don’t leave without posing as an angel in front of the Global Angel Wings Project Wall near St. Regis Wine & Liquor.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Tasha from LocalWanderer.com
Athena of My PassengerDiaries.com
Kristina of 2GirlsTrippin.com

 

35. Zen out at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

You don’t have to follow the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda to zen out in LA. A quiet oasis for meditation and prayer, the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine provides quiet gardens and spaces for self-reflection.

 

36. Step back in time at Time Travel Mart

Wherever you are, the Time Travel Mart is already there. Yes, it's trippy, but this eclectic convenience store in Echo Park sells goods from the past and future, letting you travel through time.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Josh of CaliforniaThroughMyLens.com
Scott of LaughingSquid.com

 

37. Be an outsider at the Watts Towers

watt towersFlickr/Isabelle Acatauassú Alves Almeida Follow (CCby2.0)

Seventeen unique steel sculptures wind skyward forming the Watts Towers, an iconic example of outsider art built over a period of 33 years. These sculptures were most recently seen on screen in the Oscar winning film La La Land during the summer montage.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Jordan of DetourLA.com
Karilyn of NoBackHome.com

 

Where to nosh in Los Angeles

For the Foodies and Night Owls

 

38. Eat street tacos

mexicali taco

Mexicali Taco & Co./Paul Yoo

Tacos are an essential part of an Angelinos diet. Luckily, the city is home to taco trucks galore, so you’ll never be too far away from good eats no matter where you’re exploring. You can’t really go wrong no matter where you go, but Mexicali Taco & Co is a classic choice.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Jim of WorldHum.com
Joanna of ACupOfJo.com

 

39. Eat Mexican food on Olvera Street

Angelinos love of Mexican food stretches far beyond tacos. On Olvera Street, the “first Street in Los Angeles,” you can enjoy an authentic meal and get your fill of history as you get a feel for how Los Angeles was in its early days.

 

40. Get your sushi on

sushiEpicurrence

If you’re making new friends in LA, chances are they’ll ask you to grab sushi soon into the relationship. Stroll through Little Tokyo and order delicious dishes at places like Sushi Gen

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Shannon of Eurolonguiste.com
Maddie of Maddily.com

 

41. Go vegan

vegan

You don’t have to go vegan permanently, but you should give it a chance. LA is a place that takes vegan cuisine to the next level. For a great scene and a flavorful menu, head to one of the Urth Caffee locations. 

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Kaila from UrbanTravelBlog.com
Jordan from TheBalancedBlonde.com
Debi from Debiflue.com

 

42. Pick your flavour at Grand Central Market

grand central market food los angelesMatt Marriott / Discover LA

No matter what your flavour, you’ll find it at the Grand Central Market, an eclectic swirl of good eats. The market is a great place to visualize the diversity of cultures that have shaped LA’s identity (and taste buds).

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Taylor and Elaine from LocalWanderer.com
Tai Smiley of TaiSimley.com
Ruth of TanamaTales.com

 

43. Stuff your face with Korean Barbecue

Another not-to-miss cuisine in LA is Korean Barbecue. Stuff your face with all the meat, veggies and spice your stomach desires at Hae Jang Chon in Koreatown.

 

44. Sip wine on a rooftop

Unwind after a day of sightseeing on one of the many breezy rooftop bars that fill the city. Newly opened Filifera offers fresh-air views of Hollywood and a buzz that will have you feeling so LA.

 

45. Visit the San Antonio Winery

There’s no need to leave town to visit a winery. San Antonio is an urban winery right in the heart of DTLA that offers wine tastings, tours and dining events.

 

46. Club with celebs at 10ak

It seems like every night another celebrity is spotted leaving 10ak by the paparazzi. There’s no telling what celebs you’ll spot yourself as you party in one of the city’s flashiest clubs.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Alyssa of My LifesAMovie.com

 

Day trip: 

4 out-of-town adventures

 

47. Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Ronald Reagan Presidential LibraryRonald Reagan Presidential Library

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library celebrates the life and career of America’s 40th President. Reagan has unique ties to California – he began his career as an actor staring in many B-movies. The library is located in Simi Valley, 50 miles outside of LA.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Melody of WhereverIMayRoam.com
Ashley of WanderlustInTheCity.com

 

48. Lay in a field of poppies

(Go in spring)

poppies antelope valley californiaPixabay

Each spring, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, a 45-minute drive north of the city, blooms with golden poppies, the official state flower of California. Instagrammers swarm the parklands to fill up their feeds with colorful snaps, but the miles of hiking trails make it easy to find tranquility in every season.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Jess of Jesslizama.com
Alma of FieldTripMom.com

 

49. Take the ferry to Catalina Island

Catalina IslandPixabay

Just a one-hour ferry trip from LA lies Catalina Island, an island resort with a Mediterranean vibe. Once you arrive, take a hike for sea views, kayak around the perimeter or go wildlife spotting. 

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Christy of OrdinaryTraveler.com
Morgan of PepperDesignBlog.com

 

50. Feel the magic at Disneyland

disneyland anaheim californiaUnsplash/Travis Gergen

No visit to southern California is complete without visiting the 'Happiest Place on Earth': Disneyland. Go ahead and give into your inner child as you spin on a teacup, travel to outer space and journey down jungle rivers.

Bloggers who have lived the experience

Melissa of Number-2-Pencil.com
Lauren of SomethingInHerRamblings.com

 


Have you visited Los Angeles? 
What would you recommend
first-time visitors do?

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