There’s a reason people yell out ‘la la land’ when talking about a surreal and dreamy place. Los Angeles, the nerve center of Hollywood, shopping starlets, beach bodies and mind boggling traffic, is as much a fantasy as it is a physical place.
It’s downright impossible to see it all in one trip. So I have handpicked the top 30 Things to do and see in LA. Now whether you cover them all in one infinitely long vacation or split your visit into 3, you are going to love every single one of it!
Let’s begin with the Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard is the legendary palm-lined thoroughfare that connects LA to Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Pacific Coast Highway. This place has managed to maintain its incredible cinematic appeal and is now home to many amazing nightclubs. Rainbow Bar and Grill and The Roxy theater pull in crowds 24/7!
Then comes the biggest Universal Studios on the planet
The biggest attraction of LA is Universal Studios, a world replete with amusement parks and rides. Take the epic tram through the Wisteria Lane. Kids would love to shake hands with Spongebob, Minions and Simpsons.
Explore the offbeat Getty Center
Perched on a hilltop, having bountiful endowments is this one of a kind Museum- The Getty Center. The collections may not be as rich as those old school galleries, but are impressive enough. Works of popular Impressionists along with several paintings of Rubens and a few French decorative arts are definitely worth a visit.
There’s County Museum of Art for all art buffs
LACMA is the keystone of LA’s museum scene. Showcasing thousands of artifacts from Islamic and European backgrounds, the museum appears most beautiful after dusk, when the Urban Lights Installation hit the building.
Go back in time at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Housing the largest collection of Ice Age Fossils is this kids’ favorite museum. The setting may seem a little cheesy with the pits and bubbling hot tar, but do kids really care!
Visit the historic Greystone Mansion and Park
This is one of the biggest mansions in Beverly Hills, where many popular movies like Ghostbusters and TV shows like Gilmore Girls have been shot. The interiors are closed, so save time and just take a walk around.
Bask in the Venice Sun
Venice beach is a simulation of the Italian city of romance. Albeit the experiment didn’t turn out as expected, the beach managed to turn into an offbeat, upscale, Californian beach destination. Surrounded by opulent restaurants, peppy boutiques and canal-side mansions, the beach owes its fame to the Boardwalk. Scarcely clad beach bodies gymming out at the open air Muscle Beach and party animals going crazy at Hotel Erwin’s Rooftop lounge impress many out-of-towners.
Walk through the Warner Bros. Studio
Just 5 miles south of Hollywood is this most iconic studio that gives you an insight into many TV show sets and props. Suit up in a Harry Potter costume or get a click with your besties in ‘Central Perk’.
Hike up in Griffith Observatory and Park
To the South of Hollywood mountain is this observatory overlooking the city’s basin. Besides offering great vistas from up there, the place hosts fascinating exhibits and a Planetarium.
To spend some time alone, away from the beach bustle, come to the Griffith Park. There are many hiking and biking trails along with wonderful waterfalls and lagoons.
Stroll (or shop) in the Rodeo Drive
If you’ve once been in love with the ‘pretty woman’ Julia Roberts, you’d immediately recognize this fancy European cobbled walkway in the posh areas of LA. Replete with top notch designer stores, Rodeo Drive is bustling with tourists and serious spenders alike.
Spend an evening at Santa Monica Pier and Beach
The most astounding beach scene of the States is here at Santa Monica, displaying plenteous restaurants and an excellent nightlife culture. You’d recognize it form Baywatch- Soft sands, weather to die for and such great urban vibe! In addition to all this is the classic Ferris wheel, a bunch of street performances, carnival games and many local street vendors.
Catch a gig at Hollywood Bowl
Showcasing an open amphitheater is this unique setting in the Hollywood Hills, almost a century old. Host to the greatest music honchos of all times, Hollywood Bowl has had The Beatles, Madonna, Rolling Stones and many such legends on the floor.
The sky’s so blue in Malibu
Despite the Malibu affluence, everyone is welcome here! There are ample opportunities for swimming and beach bathing in the cleanest shore setting in LA- Zuma Beach.
Hollywood Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theater cannot be missed!
Get some great clicks along the free-to-explore Hollywood Walk of Fame , where hundreds of Hollywood stars have their signatures and handprints along the sidewalk. Then there is the Chinese Theater that demands a guided tour to be explored properly. Make sure to register a seat online well before time, as the place is ghastly popular.
Visit the beloved landmark of Farmer’s Market
Fresh produce and delicious ready-to-eat snacks pulls in both locals and tourists alike to the cream colored facility of Farmer’s market. The place is extremely crowded with fewer tables; so beware!
Explore the Runyon Canyon Park
Very close to the Sunset Boulevard is this often ignored urban park that offers fantastic vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the San Fernando Valley. You might get lucky seeing a celebrity practicing his daily workout regime here.
Gawk at the fantastic Walt Disney Concert Hall
It’s anything but cartoonish! This Concert Hall is the crown of LA Music Center displaying magnificent acoustics and an open amphitheater. The impeccable architecture has refurbished the mundane office culture of Downtown area and lackluster entertainment spots.
Take up Hollywood Home Tours if you are a true Hollywood fan
Take a ride around the homes of your favorite celebrities as Tom Cruise, Halle Berry and Bruno Mars. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to spot the stars themselves, get a click with the homes of these A-listers.
Splurge out at the Third Street Promenade
Similar to Santa Monica vibe is this hip locale featuring open air shopping malls and endless chain stores. The layout reminds you of Europe- sculptured shrubs and eclectic street artists decorating the street.
Play Mickey and Minnie in Disneyland
Technically, Disneyland falls in Orange County. But it’s still a top tourist spot for LA vacationers. You can never be too old for Disneyland. There are so many fun things to see and do here. Walk down the Mainstreet USA in this Anaheim based Theme Park, try Frontierland in the West and get some music on at New Orleans square. Don’t miss out the amazing Indiana Jones adventure and a Goosebumps-giving Space Mountain ride.
Show your guts at the Six Flags Magic Mountain
If you are a true adrenaline junkie, Magic Mountain is just the place for you! It is home to Tatsu- the tallest, fastest and longest flying roller coaster on the Earth as well as Riddler’s Revenge- world’s fastest stand-up coaster. With such world-famous rides comes long queues; you get the point!
Cruise along the Mulholland Drive
The Mulholland Drive, mentioned in a lot of popular songs and videos, is an absolute joyride. Make out points here are plenty, besides Hollywood chase scenes and a gorgeous view.
Tickle your funny bones at this Theater
Check out some cutting edge comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Do see their Asssscat Improv show; you would definitely encounter a bunch of familiar siticom faces. There are other iconic clubs too, like Laugh Factory and Comedy Store.
Go get Sandwiched
If you had the epic, juicy, beefy French Dip Sandwich on your gourmand bucket list, then the answer may well be Philippe the Original. Been around the block for more than a century, it serves the best sandwich ever! The wine is not bad either!
Walk your way through the cultural treasures
Culture Vultures must already be aware of the trio of culture at Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. This ingenious, multifaceted venue hosts an art gallery, a library and ceaseless botanical gardens. The hilly Japanese Garden here is a gorgeous place to relax. Just make sure you have great walking shoes! Continue reading for walking shoe ideas.
Time to booze!
West Hollywood houses Bar Marmont, an elegant and exquisite hangout that stands apart from the rest of the LA. If you are up for a fancy date, plan one here, under the gorgeous butterflies pinned on the ceiling. The Edison is another nightspot offering a stylish drinking experience and a classy Burlesque show.
Bike down The Strand
No matter how much the Angelenos love their wagons, they don’t mind abandoning the super cars every once in a while to rent a beach cruiser and ride down The Strand. This 22 mile stretch runs from Will Rogers State Beach in Santa Monica to Torrance County Beach in Redondo. If not biking, try some rollerblading or even walking!
Don’t miss out on a Taco Truck
Tacos are practically LA’s hometown cuisine. So every LA local has a personal favorite Taco Truck that he swears by. Doodle on a foodie website to know the best trucks and their regular corners and get set for a fair-priced, tasty taco ride!
Spot a celebrity at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Many Page 3 celebrities have rested in peace here at this cemetery. The area is well maintained, and a perfect haven for those seeking peace.
Grab a Baseball Game at the Dodger Stadium
For those travel-bugs who wish to explore a city like a local, there’s no better way than to surround yourself with locals, literally! Catch a Baseball game at the Dodger Stadium, while you devour on the legendary Dodger Burger. The tickets are easy to come by, except when some serious match is holding on.
This versatile city combines history, culture and great outdoors to explore while serving people from all age groups. So whether you plan to travel solo or with your family and friends, LA awaits you! Happy Travels!