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13 Best Things to Do in Los Angeles, California

The city of dreams for many, Los Angeles is a golden, palm tree-lined vacation destination packed with sunshine all year round. Aside from the abundance of celebrity sightings, Los Angeles boasts a long list of postcard-worthy beaches, thrilling amusement parks, world-renowned attractions, and recognizable movie locations that attract visitors from around the world. There are a lot of activities offered in the largest city in California, so before you head to the vibrant “Golden State” discover the top things to do in Los Angeles, California.

Admire Art at the Getty The Getty
Credit: The Getty by bigstock.com

Admire Art at the Getty

What Is It? Beautiful architecture, unmatched views of Los Angeles, and an impressive art collection, The Getty is filled with interesting exhibits and remarkable works of art. 

Why Do It? Here visitors can explore a variety of European and American paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs in addition to one of the best views of the city.

Good to Know: Make sure to check out the legendary paintings from the Renaissance, and conceptual artist Robert Irwin’s 134,000 square-foot-garden.

See the Hollywood Sign Hollywood Sign
Credit: Hollywood Sign by Gnaphron via Flickr

See the Hollywood Sign

What Is It? One cannot visit Los Angeles without seeing one of the most photographed icons in the world, the Hollywood sign. 

Why Do It? Visible throughout the city, locals suggest the best spot to grab a photo of the sign is at the nearby Highland shopping mall. 

Good to Know: Visitors might not know that originally the sign said “Hollywoodland” when it was originally erected back in 1923.

Hike Runyon Canyon Park Runyon Canyon Park
Credit: Runyon Canyon Park by Jeff Gunn via Flickr

Hike Runyon Canyon Park

What Is It? A 130-acre park two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard, Runyon Canyon Park is quintessential Los Angeles.

Why Do It? A great hike for people watching and for views of the Hollywood Hills, here visitors will find a gorgeous perspective of the city at the trail summit known as Cloud’s Rest. 

Good to Know: Perfect for getting acquainted with The City of Angels, visitors will be able to spot million-dollar mansions, the Sunset Strip, and the Hollywood Sign from here.

Admire City Skyline Views at Griffith Observatory Griffith Park and Observatory
Credit: Griffith Park and Observatory by bigstock.com

Admire City Skyline Views at Griffith Observatory

What Is It? The king of views, the Griffith Observatory is one of LA’s best. 

Why Do It? Great for astronomy lovers, visitors can take a peek into one of their impressive optical and solar telescopes, observe rotating exhibits, and watch a film on the Observatory from a 200-seat theater. 

Good to Know: A fantastic cultural attraction, it is equally loved for its sweeping views that reach across the Pacific Ocean to Downtown Los Angeles.

Take a Universal Studios Hollywood Tour Universal Studios Hollywood
Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood by Prayitn via Flickr

Take a Universal Studios Hollywood Tour

What Is It? Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, so it only makes sense that a visit to the city would include a studio tour. 

Why Do It? Here visitors will ride a tram through the world’s largest working movie studio and to some of the most popular TV and movie sets in Hollywood, learning behind the scenes information about special effects and other movie making practices.

Good to Know: Combine a trip to the theme park with a tour of the premises to get the most value out of your visit.

Walk with the Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Hollywood Walk of Fame
Credit: Hollywood Walk of Fame by bigstock.com

Walk with the Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

What Is It? One of the most famous attractions in Hollywood, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a must-see. 

Why Do It? Stretching across 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard, visitors can spot some of their favorite celebrities in the 2,500 set of brass stars and signatures that line the street. 

Good to Know: Pass by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where you can pose with dressed characters from popular Hollywood movies for a tip.

Enjoy the Sunshine at Santa Monica Pier Santa Monica Pier
Credit: Santa Monica Pier by Tony Hisgett via Flickr

Enjoy the Sunshine at Santa Monica Pier

What Is It? Iconic from the TV series “Baywatch,” take advantage of the year-round sunshine at this 3-mile beach at the Santa Monica Pier. 

Why Do It? In addition to the pier’s iconic red and yellow Ferris wheel, visitors can explore Pacific Park, an amusement park, and a handful of restaurants and souvenir shops that are sure to keep visitors of all ages entertained.

Good to Know: This spot is perfect for a day of surfing, biking, or strolling the beach.

Learn Something New at the California Science Center California Science Center
Credit: California Science Center by California Science Center

Learn Something New at the California Science Center

What Is It? Perfect for kids or kids at heart, the California Science Center boasts a variety of interesting exhibits.

Why Do It? Visitors can explore earthquake-resistance buildings, operate a crash-test dummy, and learn about aerodynamics in a fun environment where hands-on exploration is encouraged.

Good to Know: Browse the array of educational exhibits that cover a range of topics, from the ecosystem to aviation to the solar system.

Explore Beverly Hills & Rodeo Drive Rodeo Drive
Credit: Rodeo Drive by bigstockphoto.com

Explore Beverly Hills & Rodeo Drive

What Is It? If you’re in town to spot a celebrity, your best chance is to head straight to 90210 and explore the most famous zip code in the world. 

Why Do It? Considered the epicenter of fashion and luxury lifestyle, stroll down Rodeo Drive to window shop or rub shoulders with celebrities shopping for designer labels in high-end haute couture boutiques.

Good to Know: Located at the start of Rodeo Drive on Wilshire Boulevard you’ll find one of the oldest and most luxurious hotels in Beverly Hills, the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel.

People Watch at Venice Beach Venice Beach
Credit: Venice Beach by bigstockphoto.com

People Watch at Venice Beach

What Is It? People watching is practically a sport at Venice Beach, where visitors will see a vibrant range of activities and people alongside the famous Ocean Front Walk.

Why Do It? Stroll the boardwalk and you’ll find a variety of recreational fitness opportunities with beach volleyball courts, handball courts, and a Skate Dancing plaza among chainsaw jugglers, bodybuilders, and colorful artists.

Good to Know: Looking to surf? Venice Beach is one of the best beaches in Los Angeles, with the acclaimed Venice Breakwater a favorite local surf spot.

Visit the Happiest Place on Earth Disneyland
Credit: Disneyland by Sam Howzit via Flickr

Visit the Happiest Place on Earth

What Is It? With an abundance of rides, attractions, and special events, kids and thrill-seekers alike can enjoy a day visiting the “Happiest Place on Earth” in LA’s Disneyland. 

Why Do It? Meet some of your favorite Disney characters, watch a parade, or catch a glimpse of one of their show-stopping nightly fireworks on display for a memorable day of entertainment and fun.

Good to Know: If you want to stay overnight, choose one of the top hotels near Disneyland in California.

Party on Sunset Boulevard Sunset Blvd
Credit: Sunset Blvd by © Alkan2011 | Dreamstime.com

Party on Sunset Boulevard

What Is It? Arguably one of the most famous streets in the city, Sunset Boulevard is quintessential Los Angeles with a long and vibrant history littered with iconic landmarks. 

Why Do It? The Sunset Strip was the setting for counterculture protests in the ’60s, legendary rock and roll in the ’70s and ’80s, and now stands as a destination for live music with world-renowned venues such as the Whisky A Go-Go, Viper Room, and The Roxy.

Good to Know: Sunset Strip offers views of the Hollywood Hills, with hotels like Andaz Hotel, Mondrian Hotel and 1 Hotel boasting expansive vistas of Los Angeles.

Shop at the Original Farmers Market & The Grove The Grove
Credit: The Grove by The Grove

Shop at the Original Farmers Market & The Grove

What Is It? Fresh produce, local farmers, and yummy treats, LA’s famous original Farmer’s Market has been around since 1934. 

Why Do It? It’s an outdoor shopping area with hundreds of food vendors, where visitors will be overwhelmed with the sights and smells of freshly picked flowers, organic produce, meats, gourmet groceries, and bakery items. 

Good to Know: Adjacent to the market is The Grove, popular for its restaurants, shops, and old-fashioned trolley rides.

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