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Best things to do in Los Angeles

Its mild climate, thousands of palm trees, beaches and nightlife will captivate you, so don't miss the must-see places in the city of stars!

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

Sep 21, 2021 • 9 min read

Best things to do in Los Angeles

Palm trees of Los Angeles | ©Joseph Ngabo

Los Angeles is a cosmopolitan and dynamic city where every year thousands of people land, ready to pursue their dreams in the mecca of cinema or with the idea of exploring the most iconic corners that they have already seen on multiple occasions in their favorite movies and dreamed of seeing in situ one day.

1. Take a tour of Hollywood with an expert guide

Hollywood Sign | ©Florian Lidin
Hollywood Sign | ©Florian Lidin

Los Angeles is a huge city full of nooks and crannies and neighborhoods to discover. If you want to make sure you don't miss anything, I recommend you book a tour to discover the city and its surroundings. I have written a guide where I summarize the best ones for you to choose from: Book a tour of Hollywood.

Walk of Fame

The first place any traveler wants to see when they set foot in Los Angeles is Hollywood, the dream factory. Head to Hollywood Boulevard to see the popular Walk of Fame with its more than 2,000 stars dedicated to the great artists of the entertainment industry and enjoy the movie-loving atmosphere.

Here you can also photograph the Chinese Theater where the most important movies are premiered and on the sidewalk in front of it are on the cement signatures and footprints of the most popular actors of all time.

If you have the opportunity, we recommend that you visit the Dolby Theatre not only from the outside but also from the inside. This is where the Oscar ceremony takes place and to see in person the staircase where the celebrities parade, the stalls, the stage, and the photos of the winners and their statuettes is a magical experience.

Hollywood Sign

During your trip to Los Angeles you will probably want to keep your picture of the famous Hollywood Sign, the gigantic white letter sign that has become one of the emblems of Los Angeles since 1923. To do so, you can go to the Dolby Theatre Mall observation deck and see it from afar or you can approach Mount Lee Hill to get the best location of the Hollywood Sign for the photo.

Capitol Records Tower

Also in Hollywood you can visit the Capitol Records Tower, an icon of modern architecture and living history of music where its recording studios have given birth to hundreds of albums of the greats of the song.

2. Visit the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles

Enjoy the food at the Farmer's Market | ©Sharon VanderKaay
Enjoy the food at the Farmer's Market | ©Sharon VanderKaay

A visit to the epicenter of Hollywood will work up an appetite. Stop by the Farmer's Market, a unique place where you can sample dishes from around the world in its food court and food stalls.

This place is very popular with the locals so you'll feel like an Angeleno. Originally, Farmer's Market was an old market where farmers sold their fresh produce to the locals. To keep the spirit of this space alive, the 1941 clock tower, an old gas station, and the entrance and old signs are still preserved.

It is now part of a larger open-air shopping complex called The Grove, which is often visited by celebrities living in Los Angeles. If you are planning a trip to Los Angeles for Christmas, head to the Farmer's Market, as you will be fascinated by the typical American-style decorations and the huge Christmas tree.

3. Go shopping in the most emblematic places of Los Angeles

Rodeo Drive | ©Frankenmedia
Rodeo Drive | ©Frankenmedia

Rodeo Drive

Shopping during your vacation is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles. New York has Fifth Avenue and Los Angeles, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. This street is known worldwide for being one of the most fancy and luxurious areas in the United States where brands such as Prada, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, or Valentino have their boutiques. Although the prices are not suitable for all budgets, it is worth knowing the golden mile of Angelina.

Sunset Strip

Located between Hollywood and West Hollywood, in the early twentieth century Sunset Strip was a hotbed of casinos and illegal activities. It wasn't until the 1940s that the area began its transformation and attracted numerous artists and wealthy people. Today, the Sunset Strip is home to a myriad of bars, restaurants, and trendy stores where you can spend a fun day of shopping while learning about the amazing stories that this place holds.

In addition, the Sunset Strip has lively nightlife. It is home to such popular music venues as The House of Blues and The Rainbow Room and comedy clubs The Comedy Store and The Laugh Factory, among others.

Melrose Avenue

Another popular shopping spot in Los Angeles is Melrose Avenue, an area that has some of the city's best urban boutiques for young people as well as several healthy and vegan dining venues.

Beverly Center

Finally, in Beverly Hills we find the Beverly Center one of the main shopping destinations in Los Angeles that is known for its select clientele. In the surrounding area, there is a great gastronomic offer to refuel after a long day of shopping.

4. Discover the Beverly Hills Mansions

Beverly Hills Mansion | ©Alan Light
Beverly Hills Mansion | ©Alan Light

Beverly Hills Tour

Being so close to downtown Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is often considered to be just another neighborhood, but in reality, it is a city of luxurious mansions for many of Los Angeles' elite and celebrities.

Most of them are surrounded by ** high-security measures** and wrapped in lush vegetation for privacy, which does not prevent that one of the favorite activities of visitors is to tour the homes of celebrities excited about the possibility of seeing their idols up close.

Museums in Los Angeles

But Beverly Hills is not all villas and opulent residences, there are also other places of great tourist attraction related to culture as the Getty Center, an artistic space created with the private art collection of the philanthropist J. Paul Getty that has spectacular views.

Another very interesting cultural center is the Hammer Museum, which houses works by the great painters of the 20th century, or the Revolver Gallery, a Pop Art fan's paradise that houses the largest Andy Warhol collection on the planet. Want more art? At the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation you can contemplate the work of famous painters such as Picasso, Warhol, or Kandinsky. If you feel like it, you can book a half-day tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

5. Walk up to the Griffith Observatory at sunset

Views of the Griffith Observatory with Los Angeles in the background | ©Cameron Venti
Views of the Griffith Observatory with Los Angeles in the background | ©Cameron Venti

Opened in 1935, the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is one of the **most famous astronomical observatories on the planet. A window to see the stars completely free of charge because that's how its benefactor Griffith J. Griffith wanted it and also to the skyline of the city since it is the site from which you have the best views of both Downtown, like the Hollywood Sign and even the Pacific Ocean.

Do not be surprised if you end up humming the melody of La La Land at the Griffith Observatory because, indeed, the panoramic view from this viewpoint acquires a magical glow typical of a movie story. An unforgettable memory of your trip to Los Angeles.

We have already mentioned that the views of the city from this space are magnificent but you can't miss everything it has to offer inside: its history, the planetarium, telescopes, exhibition halls and everything you need to know about the universe.

Don't leave the Griffith Observatory without taking a stroll through its park to enjoy nature and get away from the hustle and bustle of L.A. Did you know that there is a bust here in honor of actor James Dean so his fans can pay tribute to him? After all, this park was one of the locations where many scenes from the movie Rebel Without a Cause were filmed.

6. Have fun like a kid at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood | ©Mathieu Marquer
Universal Studios Hollywood | ©Mathieu Marquer

If you are passionate about movies and series or you are traveling to Los Angeles with children, you have an appointment with Universal Studios Hollywood, the perfect combination between film studio and theme park where you can learn the ins and outs of the seventh art and the magic of your favorite movies through this mixture of an amusement park with film sets and themed restaurants.

Universal Studios opened in 1964 and since then has been the setting for such legendary films as Back to the Future and King Kong. In addition, a tour of the film studios will take you to the actual sets where scenes from Psycho, Jaws, and War of the Worlds were filmed.

As for the attractions, Universal Studios Hollywood has several themed areas inspired by movies and series such as The Simpsons, The Minions, or Harry Potter, among others.

Finally, those looking for fun and adrenaline in the attractions of the theme park can ride the roller coaster based on the movie The Mummy Returns, the Simpsons simulator, or the boats that take us into the world of Jurassic Park, to mention a few examples.

7. The Warner Bros. Tour, for movie lovers

Friends film set, Warner Bros Tour | ©William Warby
Friends film set, Warner Bros Tour | ©William Warby

Want more cinema? Warner Bros Tour is another of the things to do in Los Angeles during your stay in California. This is one of the most popular studios still in operation in Hollywood where several of your favorite series and movies have been created.

Through the Warner Bros Tour you will get to know the film sets of shows like Gilmore Girls, Friends, Batman, and more. Plus, if you've always wondered what the filmmaking process is like, on the Stage 48 experience you'll learn all the secrets of the pre-production, production, and post-production phases, from casting the cast to the red carpet!

During this tour, you can also get close to the DC universe and Harry Potter to see the costumes and other objects related to both film sagas, as well as visit the Central Perk cafeteria from Friends or Sheldon Cooper's apartment from The Big Bang Theory.

Also, don't miss the Warner Bros. props department tour, which has one of the largest collections of props used in the best films of Hollywood's golden years. Amazing!

8. Stroll along the best beaches in Los Angeles

Santa Monica Beach | ©David Vives
Santa Monica Beach | ©David Vives

The pleasant Californian climate invites you to travel during any season to enjoy a few days of fun and relaxation, which is quite an advantage if we want to go to the beach in Los Angeles.

Santa Monica

The California coast has some of the most popular beaches in the world. Santa Monica is one of them and an icon of the city. Its famous pier is located in the middle of Santa Monica Beach and offers different leisure options to visitors such as its amusement park, several food stands, the aquarium, and privileged views of the West Coast. In addition, as a curiosity, Santa Monica Beach marks the end of the mythical Route 66 that connects Los Angeles with Chicago.

Venice Beach

Another of the best beaches in Los Angeles is Venice Beach known mainly for its boardwalk, which is crowded with food stalls, souvenir stores, and bike or skate rental stands where you can rent one to explore this bohemian beach on wheels and take a different experience of the visit.

One of the most peculiar areas of Venice Beach that attracts many curious visitors is Muscle Beach, an outdoor gym where the most peculiar strongmen compete to demonstrate their strength under the Californian sun. Next to this space, there is a large sports area where Angelenos gather to ride bikes, practice volleyball or basketball. Did you know that several NBA players were signed on the Venice Beach courts?

Zuma Beach, Malibu

Now, local surfers head to Zuma Beach in Malibu to catch the best waves. Unlike other beaches in Los Angeles, it's not as crowded and is one of the longest beaches with big waves, crystal clear water, and white sand - perfect for water sports!

Hermosa Beach, Malibu

Of the beaches of Los Angeles, Hermosa Beach is the one with the most peculiar style. It is a quiet place south of the city surrounded by nice restaurants and small stores where visitors and locals mingle. Lying on its fine sand you can sunbathe and swim in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Paradise Cove, Malibu

Also to the south in Malibu is located Paradise Cove. Its postcard scenery makes this beach in Los Angeles the ideal place for a couple's getaway. It is a beach with lots of charm but private so you will have to pay an entrance fee to access it, although it is worth it.

Los Angeles is the dream destination for many travelers. Whether it is the first time you visit or if you have been there before, you will always find a perfect plan to enjoy your stay.

Things to do in Los Angeles