18 Of The Best Things To See And Do In Los Angeles

Ashley Akridge - Freelance Writer

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For a city of almost four million people, Los Angeles is vast, diverse and packed with enough attractions to fill your holiday itinerary for years. However, it can be hard to navigate so many offerings – so we're here to help.

The LA weather is one of the best things about visiting Southern California. It's typically sunny, warm and dry all year round, so you can enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about rain or heat.

Whether you're a local or a traveler, you want to relax, play or discover, Los Angeles is brimming with things to do. From visits to the city's many museums to playing at the beach between signature LA hikes, this list of attractions covers it all. We've picked 18 of the best things to do and see, including beaches, theme parks, museums, and more.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is located in Hollywood and offers a combination of theme park rides, live entertainment, and some thrilling rides. The park has many rides, shows, and attractions that bring many visitors worldwide. Some of the most popular rides and shows include Revenge of the Mummy, Men In Black, E.T. Adventure, etc. There are many places to walk around and to sit as well. There's even a Jurassic Park ride with a water rafting. Some popular rides include:

Grizzly River Run
Bearadise Bay
Shrek 4-D
Terminator 2: 3-D
Jurassic Park
Transformers: The Ride-3D
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem


See the Majestic Waterfalls

Eaton Canyon Waterfall San Gabriel Mountains California

Next, the majestic waterfalls in Los Angeles are a sight to behold as they provide a breathtaking view of nature at its finest. These impressive waterfalls are sure to leave you mesmerized, and you're sure to want to visit them again and again. There are many waterfalls throughout the city, but one of the top-rated waterfalls is the Eaton Canyon Falls in Pasadena. A cab can bring you to the hiking trail that leads up to the falls (1750 N Altadena Dr, Altadena, CA 91001), remember to bring lots of water to drink!


Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood sign is one of the most famous landmarks in Los Angeles. However, Hollywood is so much more than just one sign. Hollywood is one of the most popular destinations in Los Angeles. Its fame as the home of the movie industry is well deserved. So easy to see why so many famous films have been produced here.

The Walk of Fame is a Hollywood landmark that celebrates great actors, directors and performers from the past. A stroll down the sidewalk alongside Hollywood Boulevard is a walk through the history of cinema! The stars are embedded in the pavement to mark the achievements of everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Alfred Hitchcock.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre

The iconic stars aren't just on Hollywood Boulevard though, they're all over Los Angeles, and you'll find them in some unusual places too. Take a trip to Grauman's Chinese Theatre and look at the handprints, footprints and autographs left by legends including Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart.

Microsoft Theater

The Microsoft Square in the downtown, Los Angeles (Microsoft Theater)

In downtown LA is the Microsoft Theater, which hosts various events throughout the week and often hosts major events. If you're planning your trip to LA ahead of time, it doesn't hurt to check online and see if there are any events you're interested in going on at the same time as your trip.

The Getty Center

J. Paul Getty Museum Central Garden

The Getty Center is a beautiful museum with a stunning location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The art collection at the Getty is world-class and includes pieces from Monet, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and DaVinci. What makes this museum so unique is that you can enjoy a stunning view of the ocean while surrounded by an expansive art collection. If you want to plan ahead and make sure you get a spot at one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, try dining at the Getty Villa before visiting the Getty Center.

Walk Around Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills mansions landscape aerial view -Los Angeles California

Beverly Hills is one of those celebrity-centric places everyone wants to live or visit. If you stay at one of the most luxurious hotels in Beverly Hills, like the Four Seasons Hotel or Hotel Bel-Air, you might find yourself rubbing elbows with A-list celebrities. Beverly Hills has some of the finest shopping in Los Angeles. Even if you're not a celebrity or a shopping enthusiast, you can still enjoy a relaxing day exploring Beverly Hills and taking in the sights.

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills

While there are plenty of places to eat in Beverly Hills, you can't leave the area without indulging in some gelato from The Gelato Bar. This local favorite is made from fresh ingredients and comes in all the flavors you'd expect from a high-end gelateria.

If you prefer driving and getting a tour around Beverly Hills then there are great tours to check out too!

Go Shopping on Rodeo Drive

Stores on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills Los Angeles California

Elliot Hulse built the first Rodeo Drive in 1936. It is visited by numerous celebrities and boasts many prestigious stores such as Gucci, Prada, and Tiffany & Co. The area has become the epitome of luxury shopping in Los Angeles; therefore, if you are looking for high-end brands, don't miss out on this experience!

Walk Through Olvera Street

Los Angeles Old Town Olvera Street Market

One of the most popular attractions in Los Angeles is Olvera Street, which is the oldest part of the city, developed in the early 19th century. Olvera Street is where the famous Alta California became Los Angeles when the city was officially founded. This is a great place to visit if you are looking for historical monuments, beautiful buildings and unique Mexican-style architecture. The atmosphere here is very laid back and unique, making it a popular place for people to visit and enjoy the scenery. Olvera Street is completely closed off to the vehicles, so you can easily wade through the crowd, enjoy the beautiful architecture and taste some of the best food in the city.

Explore the Venice Canal Historic Distrtict

Venice Beach Canals in Los Angeles, California, USA

This part of Venice, not to be confused with Venice, Italy, is essentially a living museum—a network of narrow, landscaped canals (complete with wooden bridges). Strolling along the canals is a great way to take in the architecture, see local life, and admire the intact historic homes and gardens you'd never be able to see otherwise. Of course, there's one big caveat: You can't walk on the canals, and you can't bike on them either. Instead, you have to rent a boat with a gondolier to steer it.

Soak in the Sunshine on Venice Beach

Tourists walking on footpath by beach during sunset in Venice, California, USA

After sightseeing, it's time to relax and soak up the sun on Venice Beach. Venice Beach is a 5 miles long beach on the Pacific Coast Highway. It's one of the most popular beaches in Los Angeles. Venice Beach is also a great place to buy a piece of art. In addition, there are lots of places to shop as you walk along the Palisades Walkway, which is the main street on the boardwalk. There are also great bike tours along Venice Beach to get a broader experience in a faster timeline.

The California Science Center

California Science Center

Whether you're a science buff or just looking to spend some quality time with your kids, the Los Angeles Science Center is a great place to go. The museum includes over 250 hands-on exhibits and is the perfect destination for families. There are great learning opportunities for kids and parents alike to do hands-on learning about science. They have exhibits about energy, sound, light, sight, space, and more.

The Natural History Museum

Aerial View Natural History Museum in Los Angeles USA

The museum is home to a great skeleton of an adult Tyrannosaurus Rex, a giant blue whale, and an impressive life-sized dinosaur that you can walk into and explore. The butterfly exhibit is one of the most popular exhibits at the museum. From priceless dinosaur skeletons to detailed insect houses, the museum is sure to entertain and delight travelers worldwide.

Go Hiking in the Runyon Canyon Park

view of Runyon Canyon with the Hollywood Sign in the distance

Runyon Canyon Park is a fantastic place to get in touch with nature and to see the sights of Hollywood at the same time. It's the perfect place for hiking. This park is within walking distance of many local attractions, so it's easy to pack in a day trip here after spending the morning seeing famous landmarks like the Hollywood sign and Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Sunset in Runyon Canyon Park with view of downtown Los Angeles in the distance

Even if you don't have time for an entire hike, it's fun to walk around and take in the Hollywood Hills and downtown Los Angeles views. In addition, there are plenty of great picnic spots, so consider bringing some food with you and making a day of it. Then, once you've taken in all that Runyon Canyon Park has to offer, you can head back home happy knowing that you've had a relaxing afternoon outdoors enjoying beautiful California weather.

Visit the Museum Row

The Broad, a contemporary art museum in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, one of the best things to see is Museum Row, a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, where you'll find the biggest and best museums in the city—LACMA, MOCA, The Broad and The Petersen Automotive Museum. Nestled between them all is LACMA, which features impressive collections from artists like Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso.
Other displays include the most extensive Roman art collection outside of Italy, a large and well-curated Chinese art collection and a stellar Ancient Egyptian Art collection. Especially if you're travelling with kids, check out the special exhibits at LACMA and MOCA, which feature interactive and creative art for all ages.

See the Famous Warner Bros Studio

Warner Bros Studio in Los Angeles USA

You can get a tour of the studio and see spots you may recognize from tv like the Central Perk cafe from "Friends," learn about green-screen technology, and even become a part of your favorite DC Universe and Harry Potter movies on recreated sets! Plus, shopping for merchandise from your favorite TV shows and movies is a great way to take a little bit of the magic home with you. With a small group size, you'll get more attention from your tour guide and discover movie-making secrets as you explore the studio.

The Chinese American Museum

Chinese American Museum - Los Angeles

The Chinese American Museum is a project that was designed as a way to preserve and teach the history of Chinese Americans. The building was originally built to house the Chinese Public School, which was a part of the growing Chinese American community in Los Angeles. The building was designed by the architect of the famous Griffith Observatory, John C. Austin. It opened in 1914, and at its peak, it served over 1,500 students. So if you love history, The Chinese American Museum is definitely for you!

Travel Town Railroad

The No. 1 Mariposa Steam Locomotive at Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Travel Town Railroad is a must-see for any train enthusiast. This miniature railroad, open and free to the public, is located in Griffith Park. Visitors can ride on classic, authentic steam engine trains as they wind their way through the park. Travel Town is also a great place to bring the kids, and there are several children's rides as well. The park has picnic areas with shaded tables and barbecue grills, and there is also an old-fashioned playground area where children can play.

Griffith Observatory

Aerial view Griffith Observatory, Mount Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Lastly, go to the Griffith Observatory and explore this iconic landmark. You will get stunning views over Central LA and bask in the historical significance of this building, which was once used as a fire lookout tower by the City Fire Department.

Next, head up to the Observation Deck on the third floor. You will find The Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater and the Astronomical Observatory there. On clear days, the views are nothing short of breathtaking. Glowing LA doesn't get more interesting than this!

In Conclusion

Downtown Los Angeles skyline at sunset

Los Angeles is a city that's big on attractions. You could spend months there and still not see everything it has to offer. If you're planning a trip, use this guide to help you decide on what places to visit. There are many fun things to do in Los Angeles — if you want to relax, you can enjoy the nearby beaches or take a stroll along the Venice Beach boardwalk. If you're going to do some shopping, then Rodeo Drive is the place for you. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is home to some of the entertainment industry's biggest stars. Regardless of which activities interest you, there's an exciting visit in store for you when you travel to Los Angeles!

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