Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in LA – Top Picks

things to do la

Greetings! If you’re planning a trip to Los Angeles, you’re in for a treat. The City of Angels is bustling with endless possibilities for fun and adventure. Whether you’re a fan of cultural experiences, outdoor activities, or simply exploring a new place, LA has it all. In this ultimate guide, I’ll share with you the top picks for an unforgettable experience in the City of Angels.

Los Angeles is known for its glamorous reputation, vibrant and diverse communities, and world-famous attractions. From the iconic Hollywood sign to the stunning beaches, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in this urban paradise. So, let’s dive in and discover the best of what LA has to offer!

Key Takeaways:

  • Los Angeles offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
  • From exploring iconic landmarks to immersing yourself in the thriving art scene, there’s something for everyone in LA.
  • Whether you’re a culture vulture, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking to experience the unique magic of the city, LA is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories.
  • Don’t miss out on the top picks mentioned in this ultimate guide to things to do in LA.
  • Plan your trip to Los Angeles and get ready for an adventure like no other!

Stroll through the stunning gardens at the Huntington Library

If you’re looking for an enchanting outdoor activity in Los Angeles, a visit to the Huntington Library is a must. This historic attraction offers not only a world-class library and museum but also sprawling gardens that will leave you in awe. Originally established as the bequest of entrepreneur Henry E. Huntington, the gardens at the Huntington are renowned for their stunning beauty.

One of the highlights of the Huntington gardens is the recently expanded Chinese garden. This oasis within Los Angeles features breathtaking landscapes, peaceful pavilions, and serene ponds. It’s the perfect place to wander and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature.

Aside from the gardens, the Huntington Library and museum are home to impressive collections and exhibits. You’ll have the opportunity to explore rare books, manuscripts, and art that span centuries of human history. Be sure not to miss the 320-year-old house from Japan, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the country’s architectural heritage.

During your visit, take a moment to relax and rejuvenate at the recently renovated tea room. Treat yourself to a traditional tea ceremony or enjoy a delightful selection of teas and snacks.

For nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and art lovers alike, a stroll through the stunning gardens at the Huntington Library is an experience not to be missed. Take a moment to bask in the beauty of nature and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Los Angeles.

Huntington Library Gardens

See LA from above at Griffith Park

Griffith Park, located in the heart of Los Angeles, is a sprawling 4,000-plus-acre park that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Its rugged terrain, diverse trails, and stunning flora make it a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

When you visit Griffith Park, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring vistas of Los Angeles and its iconic landmarks. Whether you’re taking in the sweeping views during the day or basking in the twinkling lights of downtown at night, the panoramic vistas from Griffith Park are sure to leave you speechless.

One of the highlights of Griffith Park is the Griffith Observatory, perched atop the park’s hills. This iconic landmark not only offers unparalleled views of Los Angeles, but it also provides a unique experience with its location-based musical composition. As you explore the park, the composition transforms, immersing you in the harmony of nature and the city.

panoramic views of LA

Whether you’re hiking through the trails, enjoying a picnic among the lush greenery, or simply taking in the sweeping vistas, a visit to Griffith Park is an absolute must when exploring Los Angeles. Soak in the beauty of the city from above and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Practice your acceptance speech at the Academy Museum

The Academy Museum is a permanent home for the history of moviemaking. Located in the heart of Hollywood, this museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the film industry. Step inside and immerse yourself in the world of movies, exploring the fascinating journey of how films are made.

The Academy Museum’s collection is a treasure trove of cinematic artifacts and memorabilia. From iconic props to costumes worn by famous actors, you’ll get a chance to see up-close and personal the magic that goes into creating these beloved films. Marvel at the lightsaber wielded by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars or the terrifying jaws of the shark from Jaws.

But it’s not just about the past. The museum also hosts rotating exhibitions that celebrate the work of iconic directors and filmmakers, providing insights into their creative processes and the impact they’ve had on the industry. One such exhibition is the John Waters exhibit, which pays homage to the career and legacy of the iconic director known for his cult films.

Whether you’re a film buff, an aspiring filmmaker, or simply curious about the history and art of moviemaking, the Academy Museum is the perfect destination for you. It’s a place where movie history comes alive, offering a deep dive into the rich heritage of Hollywood and the film industry.

Academy Museum

Why Visit the Academy Museum?

  • Discover the history of moviemaking through a vast collection of cinematic artifacts and memorabilia.
  • Get up-close and personal with props from famous movies like Star Wars and Jaws.
  • Explore rotating exhibitions that highlight the work of iconic directors and filmmakers.
  • Learn about the creative processes behind some of your favorite films.
  • Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Hollywood and the film industry.

Have Tacos and Egg Sandwiches from Grand Central Market

If you’re a foodie exploring Los Angeles, a visit to Grand Central Market is a must. Established in Downtown LA in 1917, this European-style food hall has become a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. With its diverse food options and vibrant atmosphere, Grand Central Market offers an unforgettable culinary experience.

Grand Central Market is home to a wide variety of food stalls and eateries, catering to all taste buds and budgets. Whether you’re craving cheap and delicious tacos or gourmet coffee, you’ll find it all here. For some of the best tacos in the market, don’t miss Tacos Tumbras a Tomas.

Grand Central Market

Not only is the food at Grand Central Market a treat, but the location itself is worth exploring. Situated in the heart of Downtown LA, the market is surrounded by iconic landmarks and cultural attractions. So after enjoying your delicious meal, take a stroll and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this historic district.

Pose in front of streetlights at LACMA

LACMA, or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. Located in Los Angeles, this renowned museum showcases a diverse range of artwork, from modernist masterpieces to contemporary works. One of the most iconic installations at LACMA is Chris Burden’s Urban Light, which features 202 cast-iron street lamps. This illuminated exhibit has become a popular spot for photos, offering a unique and captivating backdrop.

While at LACMA, be sure to explore the museum’s extensive collection of art, which spans various genres and time periods. From ancient artifacts to cutting-edge installations, there is something for every art lover to appreciate. Additionally, LACMA frequently hosts special exhibitions and events, providing visitors with opportunities to engage with the art community and experience new forms of creative expression.

When visiting LACMA, make the most of your time by planning your visit around the museum’s schedule of exhibitions and events. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on any unique and immersive artistic experiences.

Urban Light installation at LACMA

Why Visit LACMA?

  • Explore a vast collection of art from various periods and genres
  • Experience the iconic Urban Light installation by Chris Burden
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant and diverse art scene of Los Angeles
  • Discover special exhibitions and events that showcase emerging and established artists

See the best of the season’s twinkly Christmas lights

If you’re visiting LA during the holiday season, you won’t want to miss out on the city’s dazzling Christmas lights. From enchanting botanical gardens to a floating parade and illuminated displays, there are plenty of holiday events to explore.

1. Botanical Gardens:

Visit the botanical gardens in Los Angeles and experience celestial-inspired displays that will transport you to a winter wonderland. The gardens come alive with twinkling lights, creating a magical atmosphere that’s perfect for a festive stroll.

2. Floating Parade in Marina Del Rey:

Head to Marina Del Rey to witness a spectacular floating parade. Decorated boats adorned with colorful Christmas lights sail through the marina, creating a whimsical sight that captures the holiday spirit. Don’t forget your camera!

3. Mile of Illuminated Cedars in Altadena:

Take a scenic drive to Altadena and be mesmerized by a mile-long stretch of illuminated cedars. Marvel at the twinkling lights as you walk or drive along the street, immersing yourself in the festive atmosphere of the holiday season.

While some holiday events in LA may have ticket prices, consider visiting during the week for discounted rates. Don’t miss the chance to experience the magical beauty of Christmas lights in LA.

These breathtaking displays add a touch of wonder to the holiday season, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Bike the Strand

If you’re looking for an exciting way to soak in the coastal beauty of Los Angeles, biking along the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, known as the Strand, is a must-do activity. This scenic 22-mile bike path stretches along the city’s westward-facing coastline, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

The Strand begins at Will Rogers State Beach in the north and winds its way southward, passing through iconic beach communities such as Santa Monica, Venice, and Manhattan Beach, before reaching its southern endpoint at Torrance County Beach. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, the Strand provides a safe and enjoyable route for riders of all levels.

As you pedal along the path, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the beach culture, feel the refreshing ocean breeze, and witness the picturesque coastal scenery that Los Angeles has to offer. Take a break at one of the many beachfront parks or grab a bite to eat at one of the local cafes along the way.

For those who prefer a leisurely stroll, the Strand also features pedestrian-friendly forks in Santa Monica, Venice, and Manhattan Beach, allowing you to explore the coastline at your own pace.

Whether you choose to bike or take a leisurely walk, the Marvin Braude Bike Trail is an excellent way to experience the beauty of Los Angeles’ coastal scenery. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the unforgettable moments along the way!

Marvin Braude Bike Trail

Step inside of a long-lost art carnival at Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy

Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Luna Luna, an immersive art experience that will transport you to a long-lost art carnival. Located near the scenic LA River, Luna Luna showcases the incredible works of renowned artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Salvador Dalí.

As you step into Luna Luna, you’ll be surrounded by a magical atmosphere that captivates the senses. While you won’t be able to ride the attractions like in a traditional carnival, the exhibition offers an immersive art experience that combines various disciplines and mediums.

From larger-than-life installations to interactive displays, Luna Luna pushes the boundaries of contemporary art in LA. Each piece tells a story and invites you to explore different themes and emotions. It’s truly a feast for the eyes and a journey through the depths of imagination and creativity.

To ensure you don’t miss out on this extraordinary art carnival, be sure to secure a timed ticket in advance. Luna Luna: Forgotten Fantasy is expected to be in high demand during its run, so booking early is highly recommended.

Luna Luna art carnival

Stand underneath a space shuttle at the California Science Center

The California Science Center is a must-visit attraction for space enthusiasts and curious minds alike. One of its most remarkable exhibits is the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the final ship to be built in NASA’s space shuttle program. Standing underneath this impressive spacecraft, visitors can marvel at the engineering marvels and learn about the incredible achievements of space exploration.

At the California Science Center, the wonders of space come to life through hands-on exhibits, interactive displays, and educational programs. Visitors of all ages can engage with the exhibits, offering a unique and immersive learning experience. Whether you’re exploring the history of space travel or discovering cutting-edge innovations, the center offers a wealth of information and inspiration.

No visit to the California Science Center is complete without taking a moment to reflect on the incredible feats of human ingenuity and the limitless possibilities of space discovery. Standing underneath the Space Shuttle Endeavour, you’ll be reminded of the curious spirit that drives us to explore the unknown.

Hands-On Exhibits at the California Science Center

  • Experience a simulated spacewalk and feel what it’s like to be an astronaut.
  • Learn about the inner workings of rockets and spacecraft through interactive displays.
  • Explore the fascinating science behind space travel, from gravity to propulsion.
  • Discover the history of space exploration and the individuals who made it possible.

Visiting the California Science Center is an opportunity to be inspired, to imagine what lies beyond our planet, and to appreciate the incredible achievements of the scientific community. Make sure to plan your visit and witness the awe-inspiring Space Shuttle Endeavour before it goes off display for a few years.

Conclusion

Los Angeles, the city of dreams and endless possibilities, offers a wide array of attractions and activities that will cater to every visitor’s interests. Whether you’re a fan of iconic landmarks, a lover of art and culture, or seeking outdoor adventures, LA has it all.

Immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of the stunning gardens at the Huntington Library or hike through Griffith Park to witness breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Explore the rich history of the film industry at the Academy Museum or indulge in the diverse food options at Grand Central Market.

For art enthusiasts, a visit to LACMA is a must, where you can strike a pose in front of the famous Urban Light installation. And if you’re visiting during the holiday season, don’t miss the chance to experience LA’s twinkling Christmas lights, creating a magical atmosphere.

As your adventure in LA comes to an end, make sure to take home memories of standing underneath a space shuttle at the California Science Center and stepping into the enchanting world of Luna Luna’s Forgotten Fantasy art carnival.

With its numerous attractions and activities, LA truly offers something for everyone. So, don’t miss out on the best places to visit and the unforgettable vacation activities mentioned in this ultimate guide to things to do in Los Angeles. Your LA adventure awaits!

FAQ

What are the top things to do in Los Angeles?

Some of the top things to do in Los Angeles include visiting the Huntington Library, exploring Griffith Park, checking out the Academy Museum, experiencing the vibrant Grand Central Market, and immersing yourself in art at LACMA.

What can I see at the Huntington Library?

The Huntington Library offers a historic library, museum, and stunning gardens. You can explore the expansive gardens, including the recently expanded Chinese garden, as well as browse impressive collections and exhibits in the library and museum.

What can I do at Griffith Park?

At Griffith Park, you can enjoy various outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. The park offers stunning views of Los Angeles and is home to the renowned Griffith Observatory, where you can learn about astronomy and enjoy breathtaking views of the city.

What attractions can I find at the Academy Museum?

The Academy Museum is a must-visit attraction for film enthusiasts. It showcases cinematic treasures and props from famous movies, and also hosts rotating exhibitions that celebrate the work of iconic directors and filmmakers.

What should I try at Grand Central Market?

Grand Central Market is a food hall with a wide variety of food options. You can enjoy delicious tacos, pupusas, trendy eateries, and gourmet coffee. Don’t miss out on Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, which serves some of the best tacos in the market.

What can I see at LACMA?

At LACMA, you can see the iconic Urban Light installation consisting of 202 cast-iron street lamps. The museum also houses a diverse collection of artwork, including modernist masterpieces and contemporary works, and hosts special exhibitions and events.

What are some holiday attractions in LA?

During the holiday season, you can enjoy twinkling Christmas lights in Los Angeles. Highlights include celestial-inspired displays at botanical gardens, a floating parade in Marina Del Rey, and a mile of illuminated cedars in Altadena.

What is the Strand?

The Strand, also known as the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, is a scenic 22-mile bike path that runs along the Los Angeles coastline. It offers breathtaking views and a chance to explore the beautiful coastal scenery of LA.

What can I expect at Luna Luna art experience?

Luna Luna is an immersive art experience inspired by a long-lost art carnival. It features works by renowned artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Salvador Dalí. Although you can’t ride the attractions, the atmosphere is truly magical.

What can I see at the California Science Center?

The California Science Center is home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the final ship in NASA’s space shuttle program. It offers interactive exhibits, hands-on displays, and educational programs that provide insights into space exploration.

What are some must-see attractions in Los Angeles?

In addition to the mentioned attractions, other must-see attractions in Los Angeles include the iconic Hollywood sign, Universal Studios Hollywood, the Getty Center, and the Santa Monica Pier.

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