City Lights and Late Beach Nights
Los Angeles consistently ranks as one of the top destinations to visit in the United States. As big cities go, it’s a lot larger and spread out, which gives it a bit of an advantage over locations like New York or Chicago.
Because of the sprawl, there are a variety of Los Angeles points of interest ranging from beaches, to museums, to shopping areas and outdoor concert venues. For anyone interested in the entertainment industry, the lure of Hollywood still dominates the landscape of the city and its attractions.
The weather is always beautiful, meaning the city is not only a great summer vacation destination in the USA, but any time of the year. It can also be enjoyed on any budget, as there are plenty of affordable accommodations in LA to choose from.
Knowing what to do in Los Angeles is sometimes as simple as taking a walk around. However, if you’re planning a trip to the area or are just fantasizing about someday visiting, make sure to check these Los Angeles attractions off your bucket list.
No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to the Griffith Observatory. Located inside the sprawling Griffith Park in Hollywood, you may recognize its golden dome from the James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause.
Kids will love their onsite planetarium, camera obscura and interactive space and science exhibits. On certain nights, they even hold Star Parties where visitors can look through provided telescopes at the moon, stars and planets.
Since the observatory and museum are free of charge it’s a popular spot for budget-savvy individuals who are looking for cheap things to do in LA. Just be aware that parking onsite is limited.
Santa Monica Pier
One of the highlights of Santa Monica Beach is its historic fishing pier. For over 100 years, the pier has been a source of leisure and entertainment for residents and tourists in the area.
Aside from fishing accessibility, the pier also features its own amusement park, arcade, eateries and souvenir kiosks. On any given day, especially during the summer, you’ll find spontaneous concerts from local musicians, outdoor movie screenings, festivals and Pokemon Go meetups.
Santa Monica Pier is definitely one of the best places to visit in Los Angeles when it comes to family outings.
Muscle Beach has been credited with starting the physical fitness craze that’s so much a part of America’s culture. While the original Muscle Beach was located in Santa Monica, its current incarnation is just south in Venice.
The beach is set up with various exercise equipment and has been attracting gymnasts, acrobats, bodybuilders and athletes since the 1930’s, but gained much of its popularity in the 1950’s.
Many famous actors and bodybuilders have and continue to train there, including Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A relic from another time, Clifton’s is a 1930’s style cafeteria eatery that’s recently undergone an astounding renovation. Keeping with the California themed vibe, the building is full of outdoorsy murals and even a giant faux redwood that seemingly grows out of the middle of the floor.
There’s the woodsy main cafeteria area, an Art Deco soda fountain, an elegant dining room complete with taxidermy, plenty of bars with specialty cocktails, and a hidden Tiki room featuring a restored wood-paneled speedboat.
Whether you’re looking for a unique LA experience or just want to explore the five stories of themed rooms, Clifton’s is truly a blast from the past.
As Los Angeles museums go, the Getty Center consistently comes out on top for both the beauty of its grounds and its impressive collection. Set on top of an 110 acre hillside in the Santa Monica Mountains, the museum and surrounding property is a landmark to the artistic spirit of Los Angeles.
Its permanent collection includes hundreds of classic European paintings, sculptures and decorative pieces in addition to rotating photography exhibitions and temporary modern art exhibits. Even just walking around the gardens, admiring the architecture or enjoying the view of the city warrants a trip, especially because admission is free.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
A must do in Hollywood is of course the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s here that actors, musicians, comedians and performers of every variety are honored with their very own star-shaped landmark.
Aside from finding your favorite performer’s star, there are a number of other places of interest along the way. Perhaps the most well known is the Grauman’s Chinese Theater where you can also find the foot and hand prints of stars like Johnny Depp and Marilyn Monroe.
For a taste of how the rich and famous live, nothing rivals a shopping trip to Rodeo Drive. Set in the heart of Beverly Hills, the 100 plus shops represent some of the most high-end, luxurious brands in the world.
For three blocks surrounding the street, the area resembles a series of European-style cobblestone alleyways that make it more Disneyland than shopping mall. Rodeo Drive also plays host to a series of events during the year including a rare car show and it even has its own “Walk of Style” honoring those who have contributed to the fashion industry.
Nothing’s more iconically Los Angeles than the Hollywood sign. Originally built to advertise a real estate complex in the area, the sign has endured for over 90 years.
Its massive 45 foot letters can be seen for miles and serves as a beacon of hope for those seeking fame and fortune in the City of Angels. While it’s not accessible to the public anymore, there are prime viewing areas off Mulholland Drive at the Griffith Park Observatory along with a few hiking trails that come relatively close to the sign itself.
Some of the most famous performers in the world have graced the stage of the Hollywood Bowl since its 1922 opening. As home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it’s one of the best places to see classical music in the city (in addition to the Walt Disney Concert Hall downtown).
However, as it’s the largest natural outdoor amphitheater in the country, the Hollywood Bowl also plays host to a spectacular summer concert series — featuring some of the best musical acts around — in addition to live scores of famous movies.
Best of all, the Bowl has a number of food and drink options and even encourages concertgoers to bring their own picnics.
Aside from Hollywood Boulevard, no other street in Los Angeles has as much cultural relevance as Sunset Boulevard. In the early days of filmmaking, stars built their luxurious homes along Sunset on the west side of the city.
Several of these houses still remain including the Minnelli Mansion, although it’s currently abandoned. In addition to opulent housing, Sunset also boasts some of the most famous music venues from the 70’s and 80’s including the Whiskey-a-Go-Go, the Roxy Theatre and the Viper Room.
It’s also home to the celebrity hangout Chateau Marmont, a hotel with ritzy onsite bar and restaurant.
One of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles, Zuma has become synonymous with California’s surf culture. Located in Malibu, on the northwest side of the county, Zuma’s out of the way enough to be a lot less crowded in comparison to the Santa Monica and Venice beaches.
In fact, it’s somewhat of a hidden treasure that’s often frequented by actors and musicians. Zuma has also consistently been used as a film location over the years, most famously as the site of the disturbing final scene in Planet of the Apes with the sunken Statue of Liberty.