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8 Best Things to Do in Los Angeles

You’ve seen the highlights, now here’s the rest.
Last Updated
:
February 17, 2024
by
Editorial Staff
Cars driving on a freeway in Los Angeles during sunset
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Yeah yeah yeah, we get it – Los Angeles can seem intimidating. All glitter and glam, traffic jams full of fancy cars, super fit hikers and surfers…exactly how are you normal folk supposed to enjoy yourself here? Well turns out, beneath the shiny veneer of movie stars and influencers, LA is actually full of awesome stuff for us regular people too.

Sure you can hike up to the Hollywood sign and try to spot Celeb #572’s mansion in the hills, but we’d rather eat our weight in tacos on the cheap in Grand Central Market downtown. Get lost wandering the psychedelic maze of art galleries at the Hauser & Wirth in the Arts District, where the exhibits are often way too weird to fully “get.” And while shopping on Rodeo Drive would require us to sell a kidney, we can still sift through super unique vintage finds at the Melrose Trading Post.

The point is, LA has something for everyone…including those of us without movie star paychecks or personal trainers. So pack your least embarrassing swimsuit, rent a car, and come see our glorious mess of a city.

We promise between the beaches, museums, theme parks, killer food, and eternal sunshine, you’ll find plenty to do here that doesn’t require knowing George Clooney’s agent. Just don’t forget your sunglasses and flip-flops, please!

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Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park, Los Angeles skyline
Adobe Stock

If you are a fan of science, you may want to visit the Griffith Observatory. This scientific research facility houses a planetarium, which features a Zeiss star projector and a digital projection system. The theater also features theater lighting and offers three shows a night.

Located on the southern slope of Mt. Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory is one of the city’s most iconic attractions. Its planetarium boasts the world’s largest star projector and its astronomical touch displays explore the history of telescopes and x-ray and ultraviolet mapping techniques. Once you’ve explored the astronomical displays and the planetarium, head to the roof for an incredible view of LA.

There are also a variety of hiking trails, and visitors can take in a show in the theater. The Observatory also has a gift shop and cafe. The park itself is more than 4210 acres, and there are several hiking trails and horseback riding trails for kids. The park also has campgrounds, and many companies offer guided hikes.

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Getty Center

Aerial view of the Getty Center museum
Wikimedia Commons

The Getty Center is one of the world’s premier art museums. This stunning building designed by architect Richard Meier is not only an excellent place to see paintings, but it also offers spectacular views of downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. While visiting the Getty Center, you can take a guided tour to learn about the building’s architecture, collections, and special exhibitions.

The Getty Center’s collections include works by Monet, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It also has the most extensive collection of early Rembrandts in the U.S. The Getty Center also has a cactus garden and views of the city.

The Getty Center is an architectural masterpiece. The circular concrete and steel building was designed by architect Richard Meier and is home to some of the world’s best artwork. The Getty Center features paintings, sculptures, and drawings from various countries and eras. The permanent collection includes works by European and American artists, as well as contemporary artists.

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Santa Monica Pier and Beach

Pier and beach with amusement park, high angle, Santa Monica, California, USA
Envato Elements

The Santa Monica Pier and Beach are some of the most popular attractions in Los Angeles. They offer roller coasters, an aquarium, and a variety of activities for kids. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic on the beach or eat at a restaurant. The Santa Monica Pier is free to visit. But you’ll have to purchase a ticket to enter the amusement park or aquarium. Parking is located off Ocean Avenue. The pier is about five minutes walk from downtown Santa Monica.

Santa Monica’s 5.6-kilometer Pacific Ocean beachfront is perfect for waterside recreation. There are restaurants, a public aquarium, and street performers. Visitors can also watch the beautiful nighttime sunset from the Pier. Families can also visit the North Beach Playground and the Annenberg Community Beach House.

Santa Monica is also home to a world-class shopping mall. It is full of well-known brands, as well as a range of smaller boutiques and eateries. Many of the stores here offer unique twists on traditional items, like displaying over 100 works of local artwork. Other attractions in Santa Monica include the Santa Monica Farmers Market, which is open all year round.

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TCL Chinese Theatre

TCL Chinese Theatre exterior
Expedia

If you are looking for a quintessential Hollywood experience, the TCL Chinese Theatre is the place to go. It is a historic landmark and has the world’s largest IMAX(c) theater. It is also home to several movie premieres and has a beautiful exterior. This historic landmark also has over 200 handprints and footprints of movie stars.

When you visit the TCL Chinese Theatre, you’ll be amazed at the history of this historic landmark. It opened in 1927 as the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and has hosted countless movie premieres and Academy Award ceremonies. The theater has an iconic marquee and a grand staircase. You can take a VIP tour of the theater for an even more impressive experience.

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Hollywood Walk of Fame

A kid pointing at Michael Jackson's star at Hollywood Walk of Fame
Vecteezy

Near the theater, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a place to celebrate Hollywood legends. Famous actors and actresses are immortalized on the Walk of Fame, and you can see their stars on the streets of Hollywood. The Hollywood Walk of Fame has over 2,600 stars inscribed on it.

The most popular portion of the walk is between the 6800 and 6900 block of Hollywood Boulevard. You can browse your favorite stars on the Walk of Fame’s website, and you can also attend a star ceremony. Star ceremonies take place throughout the year and are free of charge. There is no fee to attend, no tickets, and no admission fees. You can check the schedule for each ceremony before going.

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Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach, California
Canva Photos

Zuma Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Los Angeles County. It is located just 10 miles north of Santa Monica and offers 1.8 miles of beachfront. The beach is lined with volleyball nets, beach umbrellas, and Los Angeles’ iconic light blue lifeguard stands. There are also a number of restaurants that overlook the sea and offer great views. The beach is also a great place to watch dolphins and seals.

The beach is easily accessible from PCH. There are eight parking lots available for vehicles. The two main entrances are located near the beach. One is on the west side of the beach, while the other is on the east side. There are additional parking lots on PCH, but Zuma Beach does have a fee for parking.

If you love the ocean, you’ll have a blast at Zuma Beach. Its wide sands are perfect for surfing. There are lifeguard stations on shore and the beach is nearly two miles long. However, you must be careful as there are strong rip currents here, so be aware of your surroundings.

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The Original Farmers Market and The Grove

If you love eating and shopping, don’t miss The Original Farmers Market. The historic indoor market opened in 1934 and now has over 30 vendors. It’s a great place to pick up fresh produce, try local wines, or enjoy a delicious meal. Visitors can also check out the adjacent Grove, a massive outdoor mall with restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

The Original Farmers Market: Located near the Grove, the Farmers Market has been in operation since 1934. Its eclectic mix of stalls offers everything from traditional produce to gourmet goods. Visitors can also find a diner as old as the market itself.

The Grove: This market is located next to The Grove, a large shopping complex that features upscale stores and a movie theater. The Grove is a great place to spend the day with family or friends. The Grove offers free parking, and some retailers and restaurants offer validations for two hours or more.

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art

If you’re looking for a museum that’s free to visit, you can’t beat the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This institution’s collections span the centuries and feature works by a range of contemporary artists. Its motto is “build a more just world.” The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, located right next to the La Brea Tar Pits, is the largest art museum in the western United States, with collections ranging from ancient Egyptian art to modern photography.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts special exhibitions, educational programs, and special events throughout the year. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is one of Los Angeles’ best museums. It’s located in the Wilshire district of west LA and is open every day from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except Wednesday. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $16 for parking, and you can buy tickets online or at the museum.

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