Things to do in Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, is much more than just Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Beyond the movie stars, LA has entertainment options for just about anyone's taste, so if you're looking for things to do in Los Angeles this weekend, we've got you covered. From family-friendly fun to adult nightlife to outdoor recreation, there's lots to do in the City of Angels!
Top Attractions in Los Angeles, CA
One of the best things to do in Los Angeles is, naturally, a trip to Hollywood. While the neighborhood is a beacon for tourists, even longtime residents of Los Angeles who have not properly explored Hollywood ought to do so at least once. Take a must-have photo of yourself and your family in front of the famous Hollywood sign; you'll get the closest on Canyon Lake Drive, or visit Jerome C. Daniel Overlook. Then, take a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and view the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame. Along the boulevard, visit iconic Hollywood theaters like Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, Hollywood Pantages Theatre, Fonda Theatre, and Dolby Theatre. Some of our favorite things to do with teenagers and kids along the boulevard include Madame Tussaud's, the Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not, and the unique and macabre Museum of Death. Music fans will want to check out live performances at the famous Hollywood Bowl or pay a visit to the headquarters of Capitol Records.
While Los Angeles is most famous for its entertainment industry and relationship to the arts, it's also an excellent destination for sports. Los Angeles matches New York City for the most professional teams in one metro area: 11! Seven of the 11 teams are located in or near downtown, with two more in the suburb of Carson, California, and two in the neighboring city of Anaheim. In Major League Baseball, the LA region has two teams: the Los Angeles Dodgers, who play at Dodger Stadium just north of downtown and Chinatown, and the Los Angeles Angels (formerly known as the Anaheim Angels), who play at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. At Staples Center right downtown, you'll find four of Los Angeles's professional teams all in one spot. The NHL's Los Angeles Kings take to the ice here, while the city's three professional basketball teams also call Staples Center home. The WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks are headquartered here, and you can watch the famous NBA rivalry between the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. The area's second NHL team, the Anaheim Ducks, plays at Anaheim's Honda Center. In LA's South Figueroa neighborhood, watch Major League Soccer's Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium, and right next door, catch the NFL's Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In the southerly suburb of Carson sits StubHub Center; here, you'll find both Major League Soccer's LA Galaxy and the NFL's Los Angeles Chargers, newly relocated from San Diego.
Downtown This Weekend
Beyond Hollywood Boulevard, there are lots more things to do in downtown Los Angeles. Shoppers can browse the world-class Fashion District, Grand Central Market, historic Olvera Street, Weller Court, Los Angeles Mall, and FIGat7th. As far as single shops go, The Last Bookstore is an LA icon that is sure to be worth a browse. Head to nearby Chinatown, Little Tokyo, or Koreatown to soak up beautiful Asian architecture, get a taste of the local culture, browse gift shops, and chow down on authentic Eastern cuisine. A few of our top recommendations include Yang Chow, Plum Tree Inn, and East Garden Restaurant for Chinese food. Head to Daikokuya, Shojin, or Sushi Gen for sushi and other Japanese fare. And for excellent Korean cuisine, try Genwa, Sun Nong Dan, or Ham Ji Park.
Museums offer some of the top things to do in Los Angeles, and many of the city's best museums are located right downtown. Art museums and galleries in the neighborhood include the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), MOCA's Geffen Contemporary secondary museum, The Broad, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Main Museum of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, A+D Museum, and the fashion-based FIDM Museum & Galleries. For museums based on history and culture, try the Grammy Museum, Japanese-American National Museum, Wells Fargo History Museum, and Chinese-American Museum.
Family-Friendly Fun for Kids and Teens
Looking for things to do in Los Angeles with kids? LA is a great city for family-friendly fun with all age groups. The two premier destinations for families with kids in the greater Los Angeles area are, of course, Disneyland and Universal Studios. Disneyland resort, located in Anaheim, is comprised of two separate parks: the original Disneyland Park and the Disney California Adventure Park. The parks are divided into themed areas, with rides, entertainment, dining locations, shops, and costumed characters representing various Walt Disney, Marvel Comics, and Star Wars films. Universal Studios, located near Hollywood, is a similar experience, featuring rides, live shows, and theaters as well as shopping and dining locations along Universal CityWalk. Various themed areas of the park are related to film and television properties produced by Universal. Popular franchises represented include the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, The Fast and the Furious, The Simpsons, The Walking Dead, Transformers, and Dreamworks animation.
For educational things to do in Los Angeles with family, try some of the area's most kid-friendly museums and exhibits. Kids love the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens in the Griffith Park neighborhood. And after seeing the plants and animals, take a trip to the nearby Autry Museum of the American West. In Exposition Park, the location of the aforementioned Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Banc of California Stadium, you'll find a number of family-friendly attractions ready to explore. Take a stroll through the beautiful Exposition Park Rose Garden, and stop by the historical marker signifying LA's oldest palm tree. Then, explore three LA museums with your family: the California African-American Museum, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and California Science Center. Kids especially love to see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum and visit the IMAX theater and Space Shuttle Endeavour at the Science Center. La Brea, located west of downtown, is another neighborhood with a cluster of museums ready to keep families busy. First, visit the world-famous La Brea Tar Pits archaeological site, along with its accompanying museum of fascinating fossils. Within the same city block, you can visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and its associated Art of the Americas Building and Pavilion for Japanese Art, the Craft & Folk Art Museum, preserved segments of the Berlin Wall, the "Urban Light" art installation, and Petersen Automotive Museum.
Nightlife for Couples
Couples looking for fun things to do in Los Angeles at night will find a thriving nightlife, including trendy restaurants, hip bars, the hottest nightclubs, and numerous choices for live music or theater. For a sophisticated fine-dining experience sure to impress your date, try Providence, n/Naka, or Carlitos Gardel. For more moderately priced options, check out Raffaello Ristorante, Brent's Deli, Angelini Osteria, or Langer's. Top-rated "cheap eats" restaurants around the city include Tocaya Organica, Pampas Grill, and Philippe the Original. If you're ready to hit the bar, we can confidently recommend The Mixing Room, Perch, The Reserve, The Rooftop, The Varnish, and La Descarga.
A night out at the theater is one of our favorite romantic things to do in Los Angeles. LA has a plethora of options for movies, plays, concerts, and comedy. Some top-rated venues worth considering include Geffen Playhouse, Bootleg Theater, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Upright Citizens Brigade, Laugh Factory, and the Hollywood Palladium. Los Angeles is also home to the world-class Los Angeles Opera and Los Angeles Philharmonic, which alternates between Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. Those who want to get a little closer to the music at a dance club will enjoy Sound Nightclub, The Mayan, or Avalon Hollywood.
Free Things to Do
Looking for free things to do in Los Angeles? We've got some ideas. Visiting the iconic Griffith Observatory is one of the most fun things to do in Los Angeles, and it's absolutely free! Look through spectacular telescopes, experience the planetarium, and take in excellent views of the Hollywood sign from the grounds. Heading north from the observatory, you can enjoy beautiful hiking and biking trails throughout Griffith Park. Kids can enjoy the park's classic merry-go-round and cheap miniature railroad rides. While the railroad isn't free, it's only $2.75 a rider! Other free locations in LA worth a visit include Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where you can view the resting places of famous entertainers, iconic Sunset Boulevard, taking in views of the city from City Hall's Observation Deck, or a visit to the Getty Center museum of art and architecture and its accompanying Getty Villa museum.
Ideas for Your Birthday
There are lots of cool and unique options in store when you're looking for fun things to do for your birthday in Los Angeles. One local favorite is Battle For L.A., an adventure that combines elements of a bar crawl, murder mystery, and scavenger hunt. Love magicians? Grab dinner and a magic show at the Magic Castle. Play classic arcade games and pinball to your heart's content at Button Mash. Or try a hot new VR experience at Virtual Reality Games. Fans of escape-room games will find many options in the area. We recommend Escape Room L.A., Fox in a Box Room Escape, 60Out Escape Rooms, and Maze Rooms. For a classic game of bowling, try XLanes or Highland Park Bowl.
Looking for adventurous things to do in Los Angeles in the great outdoors? LA has many opportunities to explore beautiful parks and nature areas. Popular parks for hiking, picnicking, and fitness include Elysian Park, Runyon Canyon, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, and Getty View Park. Larger nature areas easily accessible a short drive from Downtown include Topanga State Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park, Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park, and the enormous Angeles National Forest.
Silver Lake, spanning the eastern stretch of Sunset Boulevard, is one of LA's trendiest up-and-coming neighborhoods. The largely residential neighborhood is known for its hip restaurants and coffee shops. Some of our top recommendations include Alimento, Mh Zh, Tintorera, La Colombe, Millie's Cafe, and Silverlake Ramen. It's also the hottest scene for indie music in Los Angeles, with "hipster" acts performing at venues all around the neighborhood, most prominently at The Satellite. Check out the shopping district at Sunset Junction, get some exercise up and down the infamous Silver Lake Stairs, and have some outdoor fun at Echo Park Lake or the Silver Lake Reservoirs.
Around the Area
There are many more things to do outside Los Angeles, including in the populous suburbs and sister cities of the greater Los Angeles region. Cities to check out around the area include Long Beach, Anaheim, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Pasadena, Inglewood, Burbank, and Santa Ana. Popular coastal cities in the area include Santa Monica, with its famous pier, and the world-famous beaches of Malibu. For day trips into the beautiful nature areas of Southern California within a 2.5-hour radius, consider Los Padres National Forest, Channel Islands National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and Joshua Tree National Park.