12 Things To Do In Los Angeles, California

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Los Angeles is one of the top tourist destinations in the United States, offering an abundance of things to see and do. From iconic landmarks like the Hollywood Sign and Venice Beach to world-class museums and endless entertainment options, LA has something for everyone.

With so many attractions and activities to choose from, planning the perfect LA itinerary can be overwhelming. To help narrow down the options, here are 12 can’t-miss things to do in Los Angeles, California to make the most out of your visit.

The Staples Center


The Staples Center is one of Los Angeles’ most famous sporting and entertainment venues. As home to professional basketball, hockey and indoor football teams, like the LA Lakers, LA Kings, LA Clippers and LA Sparks, the arena regularly hosts games in each season.

Concerts also take place at the Staples Center, so check ahead to see if any of your favorite music artists will perform during your stay. Watching exciting live entertainment with legions of spirited LA fans in this modern facility is an energetic way to experience some local culture.

The Hollywood Sign

No trip to Los Angeles is complete without seeing the world-famous Hollywood Sign in person. Located in Griffith Park overlooking the Hollywood Hills and Los Angeles basin, this iconic landmark spells out the name of the neighborhood that epitomizes the entertainment industry.

There are several vantage points around the city to get that quintessential photo of the sign. For a panoramic view, head to the Griffith Observatory or hike along the Hollywood Sign Trail. Keep an eye out for celebrities’ homes as you admire this iconic symbol of Tinseltown from various angles around town.

TCL Chinese Theatre

With more than 2,700 bronze stars embedded in its sidewalks to honor luminaries in the entertainment industry, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a must-see attraction. Check out the names of your favorite actors, musicians, directors and fictional characters immortalized in the pavement along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

Snap photos with celebrities’ stars and look for your favorites. Nearby is the TCL Chinese Theatre, site of many movie premieres, with its exotic pagoda-style façade and courtyard of cement hand and footprints of the stars. Join the crowds and try spotting some familiar names and signatures as you take in the theater’s unique décor.

The Getty Center

As one of Los Angeles’ preeminent cultural venues, the Getty Center’s distinctive architecture and hilltop gardens match its world-renowned art collections. Designed by Richard Meier, the travertine and glass buildings blend organically into the Santa Monica Mountains backdrop for breathtaking views of LA and the Pacific Ocean.

Wander the Central Garden’s maze of trees, flowers and fountains for more stunning vistas of the city below. Inside the galleries of the Getty Museum, view European artworks dating back to medieval times along with a great collection of American and European photographs. Absorb the beauty of the center’s design and location as much as its extensive art collections.

Griffith Observatory

One of the best places to take in panoramic views of the Los Angeles basin and Hollywood Sign is from the Griffith Observatory terraces and front lawn. Perched 800 feet above sea level on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, the art deco observatory opened in 1935.

Now a Los Angeles historic-cultural monument, Griffith Observatory’s free admission and stellar city vistas continue drawing crowds. Peer through telescopes at celestial objects in the sky. Explore exhibits like the Foucault pendulum in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium for hands-on science displays. The Greek Revival exterior and Copernican orrery sculpture make memorable backdrops for photos with the Sign before grabbing a stellar view of the sunset.

Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier has been a popular seaside amusement park since 1909. This icon of the city extends 300 yards over the Pacific Ocean with playful rides, games, eateries and entertainment at Pacific Park. Thrill seekers will love riding the solar-powered Ferris wheel for spectacular views of the coastline and spinning rides like The Scrambler and Sea Dragon for adrenaline rushes.

Test your skills knocking over milk bottles or winning stuffed animals at an old-fashioned carnival game. Kick back with snacks as talented street performers impress crowds along the pier. Check the park’s event schedule for concerts or movies under the stars during your visit to fully embrace the quintessential California beach scene.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Abbot Kinney Boulevard has developed into one of the trendiest shopping, dining and entertainment districts in Los Angeles. This commercial strip in the heart of Venice Beach oozes counterculture vibes thanks to its collection of restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and independent shops. Spend an afternoon strolling down the mile-long block for unique fashion finds, handcrafted jewelry, eclectic furnishings and artwork.

Stop for a bite or cocktail at an upscale eatery’s sidewalk seating to watch the funky locals and street performers pass by. Don’t miss grabbing dessert at Salt & Straw’s artisanal ice cream shop, try latest board or gear at Planet Blue, sample wines at Cádiz Wine & Spirits Boutique or catch live music at The Townhouse & Del Monte Speakeasy for the true Abbot Kinney scene.

The Grove and The Original Farmers Market

This popular retail and entertainment complex combines an outdoor shopping mall with historic farmers market for visitors to shop, dine and relax in style. The Grove provides a sophisticated modern shopping experience, housing Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s department stores among 50 other retailers and restaurants like Sprinkles Cupcakes and Cheesecake Factory.

Right next door is the iconic Original Farmers Market operating since 1934, with over 100 grocers, eateries and shops in a charming outdoor village setup. Peruse the international food stalls, bakeries, candy shops and gourmet markets. Bring home specialty treats like smoked salmon, fresh produce, pressed juices or sweet crepes. Catch a cooking demo, live music or dance performance while you relax with a meal showcasing the best of LA’s food scene in one vibrant location.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

With two landmark Downtown locations, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) gives visitors insight into thought-provoking works by innovative modern artists. Focused on artwork created after 1940, MOCA’s Grand Avenue building impresses with its striking red sandstone architecture and vast gallery space to showcase installations, paintings, sculptures, photographs and more spanning from the 1950s to today.

Check the schedule for film screenings or conversations with contemporary artists too. The multilevel Geffen Contemporary at MOCA building focuses more on large-scale and experimental installations in a converted warehouse full of vast industrial halls. For a dose of LA’s thriving contemporary art scene, make time for MOCA to appreciate the creativity on display at both venues in person.

Venice Beach Oceanfront Walk

Venice Beach embodies the quintessential California lifestyle with vibrant street performers, unique boutiques, and a bustling oceanfront pedestrian path. Bring your camera and walking shoes to soak in the scene along the Venice Beach Oceanfront Walk or Venice Boardwalk.

With its mix of street artists, fortune tellers, skateboarders and fitness fanatics against a backdrop of streetball courts, Muscle Beach outdoor gym and the wide sandy beach’s volleyball nets, this paved route offers prime people watching. Find your own inner peace gazing out over the ocean horizon or stop inside one of the many shops selling fashion, gifts and arts & crafts along this iconic promenade.

Dodgers Game at Dodger Stadium

As one of baseball’s classic ballparks since 1962, Dodger Stadium hosts LA’s beloved Dodgers with picturesque views of downtown and the San Gabriel Mountains from many seats. If visiting during baseball season from April to September, catch an MLB matchup to immerse yourself in this great American pastime with Dodger Dogs and cold beer in hand.

Walk the stadium to admire game action from multiple angles, from behind home plate to the upper deck infield pavilion overlooking the palm tree-dotted landscape beyond the outfield fences. Check out statues of sports heroes Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax, plus memorabilia exhibits on past Dodger greats. With the enthusiastic cheers of LA’s blue-clad fans reverberating around you, Dodger Stadium offers a fun, lively sports environment you’ll want to experience firsthand.

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore has become a popular Downtown LA attraction and heaven for book lovers since opening in 2005. The two-level former bank building houses over 250,000 new and used books organized by genres into elaborately designed display spaces, eye-catching art installations and reading nooks. Browse titles on every topic stacked floor to ceiling, overflowing from the Fantasy and Horror Vault or alongside the works of Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe.

The arched tunnel of books at the Spring Arts Tower, walls of novels forming a maze, graphic novels embedded in faux grass and book sculptures are creative flourishes made for Instagrammable backdrops. Bibliophiles should schedule time to lose themselves in The Last Bookstore’s literary wanderings while discovering their next great read.

Conclusion

With world-renowned museums, vibrant beaches, historic landmarks, and endless entertainment options, Los Angeles offers something exciting for every type of traveler. From the Hollywood Hills to the shores of Santa Monica, LA’s diverse neighborhoods showcase Southern California culture through iconic attractions.

Utilize the extensive public transportation system to maximize your time exploring LA’s dynamic art and food scenes, appreciate the region’s Spanish influence at historic sites, or admire sweeping city views from a rooftop bar. Whether planning a jam-packed itinerary or relaxing beach weekend, these 12 activities provide a memorable sampler of quintessential things to do in Los Angeles, California.

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