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Los Angeles, California has no shortage of amazing activities. From surfing to world-class museums, here is the ultimate guide of things to do in Los Angeles.
LA attracts millions of tourists a year and for a good reason: from mountains to beaches, from museums to Hollywood, Los Angeles, California has a little bit for everyone to love. I’ve lived in LA for a year and LOVE it. Some of the most popular tourist attractions can be disappointing or underwhelming. (I’m looking at you, Walk of Fame.)
Instead, I’ve compiled a list of things popular around SoCal. LA is a mix of locals and transplants from all over the world. More than the “influencer” and “fake” stereotypes LA brings, enjoy the best and the beautiful that Los Angeles has to offer.
50 Things To Do in Los Angeles (from a local)
1. Paddleboard in Marina Del Rey
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) was a lot easier than I expected! When I went out, we rented from Paddle Surf LA and saw several sting rays and sea lions. (The “sting ray shuffle” ensures you don’t get any toes bitten!)
2. Eat in Koreatown
Koreatown (Ktown) in LA is only about 3 miles long, but this neighborhood has fantastic nightlife and eateries – you can’t go wrong with a meal here. Some of my favorite restaurants include Dan Sung Sa and Toe Bang. Quarters is also incredibly popular for Korean BBQ, but be prepared for a long wait time.
3. Take a surfing lesson
Take a surfing lesson, rent a board, and hit the waves. A few popular spots include Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach. My favorite beach is Manhattan Beach. Venice Beach is popular with tourists and locals alike, but it has a large homeless population.
4. Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach)
5. Rent a bike at Redondo Beach
Enjoy the ocean views with a bike rental in Redondo Beach.
6. Stroll down the Venice Canals
The Venice Canals feel a bit like Europe in SoCal. Parking is free, but can be difficult to find.
7. Visit the Los Angeles Zoo
8. Visit Rodeo Drive
Located in Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive (pronounced row-DAY-oh) is home to over 100 high-end, luxury stores and boutiques. It’s been featured in various movies (Pretty Woman) and television shows. It might be a skip unless you’re wanting to spend some serious cash, but it can be fun to check off your bucket list. At night, the city has lights everywhere and it feels magical.
9. Ride the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is free, but parking can be expensive!
10. Drive along Sunset Boulevard/Sunset Strip
11. Eat at a Michelin star restaurant
12. Look at multimillion-dollar houses at Manhattan Beach
I love taking out-of-state friends to Manhattan Beach and looking at the beautiful beach houses, grabbing a bite to eat, and snapping some photos underneath the pier. Sunset at Manhattan Beach Pier is breathtaking.
13. Shop at the Grove
The Grove is a popular shopping center in LA. There are beautiful fountains, a farmer’s market, dozens of shops, and more.
14. Party in WeHo
West Hollywood is known for a variety of bustling LGBT nightlife.
15. Watch a movie at the drive-in at Paramount Drive-In Theatres
16. See the lighthouse at Rancho Palos Verde
17. Visit Rosie’s Dog Beach
Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, CA is the only beach in LA where dogs are allowed. Nearby is downtown Long Beach, which has several great restaurants and a nice vibe.
18. Rent ATVs in the Angeles Forest
19. Take a ferry and spend the day on Catalina Island
20. Visit Olvera Street, a historic Mexican marketplace
21. Eat at Grand Central Market, a popular landmark that has been around for nearly a century
22. Walk around Grand Park (after grabbing lunch at Grand Central Market)
23. Visit Little Tokyo, one of three Japantowns in the US
24. Grab flowers at the LA Flower Market
25. Take a $1 trip at Angels Flight Railway
26. Visit the LA Central Library
27. Take photos at The Last Bookstore
Located in DTLA, this famous local bookstore has several great photo opportunities.
Hiking in LA
28. See the Hollywood Sign at Griffith Park
Although you can’t get close to the famous Hollywood sign, visit Griffith Park to catch great views of it. It will seem a lot smaller in person, but this sign screams classic California.
29. Runyon Canyon Park
This dog-friendly 2.7 mile loop trail in West Hollywood has gorgeous views of LA at the end.
30. Eaton Canyon
Located in east LA near Pasadena, Eaton Canyon is a popular trail.
31. Angeles National Forest
Located in eastern LA, the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains covers 700,000 acres.
Museums in LA
32. The Getty
The Getty has two locations in LA that are continually bringing in new exhibits. This art museum houses a variety of art from ancient to contemporary. Grab free timed tickets in advance.
33. LACMA – LA County Museum of Art
The famous light posts are at LACMA, the largest art museum in the west. Tickets are around $25 but they have a variety of free days. (ie the second Tuesday of every month, Bank of America cardholders on the first weekend of the month, etc.)
34. The Broad
This free contemporary art museum has a variety of popular exhibits including the stunning infinity mirror rooms.
35. MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art
MOCA is artist-founded and has over 7,000 pieces in its vast collection. Grab free timed tickets in advance.
36. Huntington Gardens
The Huntington is one of the largest research libraries in the world and has 11 million items. The Huntington includes a library, museum, and garden. Tickets are $25+ per person and reservations are required for weekends.
37. Museum of Tolerance
Founded by Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, the Museum of Tolerance is dedicated to survivors and victims of the Holocaust. Adult tickets are $16, but note hours are limited – the museum is not open on Friday or Saturday.
38. GRAMMY Museum
The GRAMMY Museum in DTLA is a must for all music lovers. Tickets are $18 each and the hours are around 11-5pm.
Entertainment in LA
LA is home to a variety of popular sports and concert venues that are worth catching a show at if you have the time. Here are some popular stadiums/arenas.
39. Hollywood Bowl
40. Crypto.com Arena
41. SoFi Stadium
42. Banc of California
43. The Forum
44. Rose Bowl Stadium
Smaller venues include:
45. The Wiltern
46. El Rey Theatre
47. YouTube Theatre
48. Watch a show at LA Opera
LA Opera is the fourth-largest opera company in North America.
49. Tour Universal Studios
50. Watch Jimmy Kimmel Live
Tickets to Jimmy Kimmel Live are free, but the process is competitive.
51. Visit Disneyland
Disneyland is in Anaheim, right outside of LA county. There are two parts to the park: the regular park and the California Adventure Park.