Things to See and Do in Los Angeles

Tom
Things to See and Do in Los Angeles

Things to Do

Universal Studios Hollywood is the only working movie studio and theme park in the world. Their Studio Tour lasts one hour and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood, including a visit to the plane crash scene from War of the Worlds, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, the Bates Hotel from Psycho, and cars from Fast & Furious (the tour is hosted by Jimmy Fallon on video). The theme park is home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic World, The Simpsons ride, special effects shows, and more. A one-day ticket costs $109 USD while a two-day pass starts at $149 USD. If you don’t want to pay to go into the parks, you can also enjoy shops, restaurants, and atmosphere at Universal’s City Walk (though with so much to do in LA, I’m not sure going here just for this is worth it).
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Юніверсал студіос Голлівуд
100 Universal City Plaza
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Universal Studios Hollywood is the only working movie studio and theme park in the world. Their Studio Tour lasts one hour and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood, including a visit to the plane crash scene from War of the Worlds, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, the Bates Hotel from Psycho, and cars from Fast & Furious (the tour is hosted by Jimmy Fallon on video). The theme park is home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic World, The Simpsons ride, special effects shows, and more. A one-day ticket costs $109 USD while a two-day pass starts at $149 USD. If you don’t want to pay to go into the parks, you can also enjoy shops, restaurants, and atmosphere at Universal’s City Walk (though with so much to do in LA, I’m not sure going here just for this is worth it).
Perhaps one of the world’s most famous streets in the world, Sunset Blvd began as a route between the stars’ posh neighborhoods and the Hollywood studios. It runs from downtown to the ocean, passing through the “Sunset Strip” with its beaches and movie studios on its way. Spend some time cruising the street and see if you can spot any celebs!
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Sunset Boulevard
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Perhaps one of the world’s most famous streets in the world, Sunset Blvd began as a route between the stars’ posh neighborhoods and the Hollywood studios. It runs from downtown to the ocean, passing through the “Sunset Strip” with its beaches and movie studios on its way. Spend some time cruising the street and see if you can spot any celebs!
Historic downtown Pasadena is located just ten minutes from Los Angeles. Its pedestrian-friendly zone is designated as a National Register Historic District and stretches for twenty-two blocks. It’s filled with boutique shops and restaurants and is also a popular nightspot for all of you party animals out there. It’s an eclectic area where people of all ages come to hang out.
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Old Pasadena
23 East Colorado Boulevard
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Historic downtown Pasadena is located just ten minutes from Los Angeles. Its pedestrian-friendly zone is designated as a National Register Historic District and stretches for twenty-two blocks. It’s filled with boutique shops and restaurants and is also a popular nightspot for all of you party animals out there. It’s an eclectic area where people of all ages come to hang out.
There’s a great farmer’s market here with loads of fresh bread, fruit, veggies, and a delicious food court. Nearby is an outdoor shopping area featuring all the major brands as well as a movie theater. It’s a nice place to spend an afternoon. You can also learn the history of the farmers market while sampling some of its food with Melting Pot Tours (tours are $85 USD).
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The Grove
189 The Grove Drive
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There’s a great farmer’s market here with loads of fresh bread, fruit, veggies, and a delicious food court. Nearby is an outdoor shopping area featuring all the major brands as well as a movie theater. It’s a nice place to spend an afternoon. You can also learn the history of the farmers market while sampling some of its food with Melting Pot Tours (tours are $85 USD).
Los Angeles beaches are a great place to go for a walk, people-watch, or just lounge in the sun. Venice Beach and Santa Monica are two of the most famous beaches. The Santa Monica Pier, built in 1909, is also a fun way to spend an afternoon thanks to its carnival-like atmosphere right on the beach (it has several rides, greasy food stalls, and carnival games). Huntington Beach, Redondo Beach, and Playa del Rey are some of the other popular beaches around the city as well.
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Гантінґтон-Біч
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Los Angeles beaches are a great place to go for a walk, people-watch, or just lounge in the sun. Venice Beach and Santa Monica are two of the most famous beaches. The Santa Monica Pier, built in 1909, is also a fun way to spend an afternoon thanks to its carnival-like atmosphere right on the beach (it has several rides, greasy food stalls, and carnival games). Huntington Beach, Redondo Beach, and Playa del Rey are some of the other popular beaches around the city as well.
This beautifully-designed library in nearby Pasadena includes a Chinese and Japanese garden. Additionally, the library has some incredibly rare and valuable books, including a copy of The Canterbury Tales from the 15th century and a 14th-century Gutenberg Bible (which you can see on display in the Main Exhibition Hall). It’s open 10am-5pm Wednesday-Monday (closed Tuesdays) and tickets are $25 USD during the week and $29 USD on weekends.
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Гантінгтонська бібліотека
1151 Oxford Road
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This beautifully-designed library in nearby Pasadena includes a Chinese and Japanese garden. Additionally, the library has some incredibly rare and valuable books, including a copy of The Canterbury Tales from the 15th century and a 14th-century Gutenberg Bible (which you can see on display in the Main Exhibition Hall). It’s open 10am-5pm Wednesday-Monday (closed Tuesdays) and tickets are $25 USD during the week and $29 USD on weekends.
This kid-friendly attraction has a variety of educational exhibits on topics ranging from ecosystems (complete with forest, river, and island habitats) to space and aviation. The biggest highlight is the American space shuttle, Endeavor, which ran 25 space missions between 1992-2011 for NASA. It’s free to visit but parking costs $15-18 USD and you have to pay extra for special exhibits and IMAX movies (usually $10-20 USD).
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California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr
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This kid-friendly attraction has a variety of educational exhibits on topics ranging from ecosystems (complete with forest, river, and island habitats) to space and aviation. The biggest highlight is the American space shuttle, Endeavor, which ran 25 space missions between 1992-2011 for NASA. It’s free to visit but parking costs $15-18 USD and you have to pay extra for special exhibits and IMAX movies (usually $10-20 USD).
Los Angeles has a lot of wonderful hiking and running trails, the most famous being Runyon Canyon. There are some well-marked routes, including a 1.9-mile (3-kilometer) loop and a 2.6-mile (4-kilometer) loop (with higher elevation gain). There’s also a more strenuous 3.3-mile (5-kilometer) hike to the top of the park too. Caballero Canyon (3.4 miles), Fryman Canyon Park (2.5 miles), and Los Liones Trail (3.5 miles) are three other easy trails around the city you can hike too.
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Runyon Canyon Park
2000 N Fuller Ave
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Los Angeles has a lot of wonderful hiking and running trails, the most famous being Runyon Canyon. There are some well-marked routes, including a 1.9-mile (3-kilometer) loop and a 2.6-mile (4-kilometer) loop (with higher elevation gain). There’s also a more strenuous 3.3-mile (5-kilometer) hike to the top of the park too. Caballero Canyon (3.4 miles), Fryman Canyon Park (2.5 miles), and Los Liones Trail (3.5 miles) are three other easy trails around the city you can hike too.
With exhibits, interactive experiences, artifacts and costumes, and numerous films, this museum walks you through the entire music industry and its history as well as the careers of previous Grammy winners. It’s not a highlight of the city, but if you’re a music aficionado, it’s one of the best things to do. Admission is $18 USD.
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GRAMMY Museum L.A. Live
800 W Olympic Blvd
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With exhibits, interactive experiences, artifacts and costumes, and numerous films, this museum walks you through the entire music industry and its history as well as the careers of previous Grammy winners. It’s not a highlight of the city, but if you’re a music aficionado, it’s one of the best things to do. Admission is $18 USD.
This is one of my favorite bookstores in the country (and one of the few remaining big independent ones). They sell books and music records, have art displays, and there’s a cool upstairs area too with books for as little as $1 USD. Located downtown, this space is huge, and you can get lost browsing the shelves for hours. Come here, get a coffee, and buy some books!
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The Last Bookstore
453 S Spring St
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This is one of my favorite bookstores in the country (and one of the few remaining big independent ones). They sell books and music records, have art displays, and there’s a cool upstairs area too with books for as little as $1 USD. Located downtown, this space is huge, and you can get lost browsing the shelves for hours. Come here, get a coffee, and buy some books!
This is one of my favorite bookstores in the country (and one of the few remaining big independent ones). They sell books and music records, have art displays, and there’s a cool upstairs area too with books for as little as $1 USD. Located downtown, this space is huge, and you can get lost browsing the shelves for hours. Come here, get a coffee, and buy some books!
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The Last Bookstore
453 S Spring St
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This is one of my favorite bookstores in the country (and one of the few remaining big independent ones). They sell books and music records, have art displays, and there’s a cool upstairs area too with books for as little as $1 USD. Located downtown, this space is huge, and you can get lost browsing the shelves for hours. Come here, get a coffee, and buy some books!
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest museum in the western United States. It boasts a massive collection of artwork including works by Rembrandt, Cézanne, Ansel Adams, and Magritte. There’s also ancient artwork from around the world, including Egyptian, Greek, and Roman sculptures. There’s modern art here too, including Michael Heizer’s 340-ton boulder which is wedged over a narrow walkway. Tickets are $25 USD.
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Музей мистецтв округу Лос-Анджелес
5905 Wilshire Blvd
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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest museum in the western United States. It boasts a massive collection of artwork including works by Rembrandt, Cézanne, Ansel Adams, and Magritte. There’s also ancient artwork from around the world, including Egyptian, Greek, and Roman sculptures. There’s modern art here too, including Michael Heizer’s 340-ton boulder which is wedged over a narrow walkway. Tickets are $25 USD.
These natural tar pits are in Hancock Park, where the tar has been trapping and fossilizing animals since the Ice Age. More than 3.5 million fossils have been found here, ranging from small honeybees to giant mammoths. This includes thousands of dire wolves! And scientists are still uncovering fossils here nearly every day of the year. It’s right next to LACMA too so you can do both together. Admission is $15 USD (closed Tuesdays).
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Ранчо Ла-Брея
5801 Wilshire Boulevard
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These natural tar pits are in Hancock Park, where the tar has been trapping and fossilizing animals since the Ice Age. More than 3.5 million fossils have been found here, ranging from small honeybees to giant mammoths. This includes thousands of dire wolves! And scientists are still uncovering fossils here nearly every day of the year. It’s right next to LACMA too so you can do both together. Admission is $15 USD (closed Tuesdays).
Downtown has experienced a complete revitalization in recent years, including a brand-new pedestrian center with museums, concert halls, theaters, and dining options. If you do just one thing here, visit the Grand Central Market. It’s home to 40+ of downtown’s best food vendors, including the original Eggslut. You can find literally any type of food here. I love it.
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Даунтаун Лос-Анджелеса
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Downtown has experienced a complete revitalization in recent years, including a brand-new pedestrian center with museums, concert halls, theaters, and dining options. If you do just one thing here, visit the Grand Central Market. It’s home to 40+ of downtown’s best food vendors, including the original Eggslut. You can find literally any type of food here. I love it.
Near Venice Beach, this boulevard is chock full of diverse shops, galleries, restaurants, and bars. There are all kinds of quirky businesses to pop into and on First Friday (the first Friday of each month), the street gets taken over by live music and food trucks.
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Abbot Kinney Boulevard
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Near Venice Beach, this boulevard is chock full of diverse shops, galleries, restaurants, and bars. There are all kinds of quirky businesses to pop into and on First Friday (the first Friday of each month), the street gets taken over by live music and food trucks.
This center is one of the most successful literary arts incubators in the country, with alumni like Tom Waits and Wanda Coleman. There’s regular programming here like readings, workshops, and musical performances, as well as a bookstore and archive with over 40,000 books. If you’re a book nerd like me, you’ll love this place!
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Beyond Baroque
681 Venice Boulevard
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This center is one of the most successful literary arts incubators in the country, with alumni like Tom Waits and Wanda Coleman. There’s regular programming here like readings, workshops, and musical performances, as well as a bookstore and archive with over 40,000 books. If you’re a book nerd like me, you’ll love this place!
Palisades Park in Santa Monica is a eucalyptus-filled park between the beach area and Ocean Avenue, where you get scenic views over the ocean and of the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s a chill spot to relax and explore. Make sure you stop by the Camera Obscura, an antiquated camera that offers a unique view of the world outside. It’s free to visit and closed on Sundays. (Camera currently closed for COVID).
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Palisades Park
Ocean Avenue
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Palisades Park in Santa Monica is a eucalyptus-filled park between the beach area and Ocean Avenue, where you get scenic views over the ocean and of the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s a chill spot to relax and explore. Make sure you stop by the Camera Obscura, an antiquated camera that offers a unique view of the world outside. It’s free to visit and closed on Sundays. (Camera currently closed for COVID).

Sightseeing

You can hike up to the famous Hollywood sign using trails that are open from sunrise until sunset in Griffith Park. From the sign, you get a sweeping view of Hollywood (which is especially beautiful at sunset with the city lights spread out in front of you). The three trails to get here (from easiest to hardest) are the Mt Hollywood Trail, the Brush Canyon Trail, and the Cahuenga Peak Trail. Expect to spend at least a couple of hours hiking. If you’d rather go with a group, guided hikes from Get Your Guide last 2.5 hours and cost $25 USD.
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Hollywood Sign
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You can hike up to the famous Hollywood sign using trails that are open from sunrise until sunset in Griffith Park. From the sign, you get a sweeping view of Hollywood (which is especially beautiful at sunset with the city lights spread out in front of you). The three trails to get here (from easiest to hardest) are the Mt Hollywood Trail, the Brush Canyon Trail, and the Cahuenga Peak Trail. Expect to spend at least a couple of hours hiking. If you’d rather go with a group, guided hikes from Get Your Guide last 2.5 hours and cost $25 USD.