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26 Best Things To Do In Los Angeles In 2024

Not sure what there is to do in Los Angeles?

This guide is exactly what you need. I’ve covered all of the best attractions in the city that will keep you entertained for weeks.

Keep reading to find out the must-see places in LA from scenic drives to theme parks and relaxing beaches.

1. Explore Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles is a fantastic place to learn about space and science. 

When you visit, you can look through telescopes, explore exhibits and see a live show in the planetarium. It also offers breathtaking views of the city below.

It’s important to get there early because it can get really busy, especially on weekends. 

Also remember to bring a camera because the view of the city from the observatory is breathtaking!

2. Stroll along Venice Beach

Exploring Venice Beach is always a fun and lively experience. 

It’s famous for its eccentric street performers, street art scene, interesting shops and the famous Muscle Beach gym. 

You can also rent a bike or rollerblades and cruise along the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk yourself.

If that’s not your thing then you can just relax on the sandy beach and do some people-watching instead.

Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and maybe some cash for snacks or souvenirs from the unique vendors there!

3. Hike to the Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles.

Did you even visit Los Angeles if you didn’t see the Hollywood Sign?

The sign, with its giant white letters, stands on Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills. 

It was actually first put up in 1923 as an advertisement for a housing development called “Hollywoodland.” 

However over time, it became a symbol of the movie industry and Los Angeles. 

There are several trails to hike, like the Canyon Drive Trail, that lead to great views of the sign. 

While hiking, you can also see beautiful views of the city and nature. 

Remember, you can’t hike directly to the sign but you can get close enough for good pictures. 

An insider tip is to go early in the morning or on a weekday to avoid big crowds!

4. Visit the Getty Center

Getty Center in Los Angeles.

The Getty Center is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles where you can see art, architecture and gardens. 

This world-class art museum is known for its collection of European paintings, sculptures and photographs. 

Inside you’ll be able to see many famous artworks from world-renowned artists like Van Gogh and Monet. 

The architecture of the buildings is both modern and unique, making it a pretty cool place to explore. 

And outside there are many beautiful gardens with flowers and fountains. You can also see amazing views of Los Angeles from the Getty Center’s hilltop location. 

It’s good to know that admission is free but you do have to pay for parking.

5. Enjoy Universal Studios Hollywood

Experience the magic of the movies and meet your favorite characters at the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park.

One of the coolest parts is the Studio Tour, where you get to ride through real movie sets. 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is also a must-see with its magical rides and shops. Why not try some butterbeer or grab yourself a chocolate frog?

You can also meet characters from movies like Shrek and Minions. Say hi to Donkey for me!

There are also plenty of places to eat and shop too. 

I’d recommend buying tickets online in advance to save time. You can also often get cheaper tickets online too!

6. Relax at Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier is known for its big Ferris wheel and colorful amusement park, Pacific Park. 

You can ride roller coasters, play games and enjoy tasty treats like cotton candy and hot dogs. 

The pier is also famous for its beautiful ocean views and sunsets. You can go fishing, watch street performers or just relax and listen to the waves. 

At the end of the pier, there’s even an aquarium with lots of sea creatures to see. 

I’d recommend visiting in the late afternoon or evening to see the lights of the amusement park and the sunset over the ocean. It’s less crowded and really pretty at this time!

7. Walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a famous sidewalk in Los Angeles known for having over 2,750 stars embedded into the ground. 

Each star has the name of a celebrity from movies, TV, music, radio and theater. 

You can walk along and find the stars of your favorite actors, singers and other famous people. 

Besides the stars, you can also see the TCL Chinese Theatre, where many movie premieres happen. 

As there are literally thousands of stars, if you want to see one in particular then I’d recommend looking up the location online before you go so you can find them easily.

8. Tour the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Urban Light installation at Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The LACMA is a big art museum, famous for having a huge collection of art from all around the world. They also regularly have free public tours to learn more about the art.

You’ll be able to see beautiful paintings, sculptures, photographs and more from different time periods and places. 

One of the most popular spots is the Urban Light installation which is basically a bunch of street lamps that look really cool in pictures.  

LACMA also has family programs and art classes which are fun for everyone and as admission is free for kids and teens under 17, it’s a great place for families. 

9. Discover Griffith Park

Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in the whole of North America and it’s also one of the best things to do in Los Angeles. 

It’s famous for its beautiful hiking trails where you can see nature up close and get great views of the city. 

Inside the park, you’ll find the famous Griffith Observatory where you can learn about stars and planets. 

You can also visit the Los Angeles Zoo and see lots of different animals from elephants to red river hogs. 

For train enthusiasts, there’s also a cool Train Museum with tons of old locomotives to explore.

Additionally, the park has picnic areas, horseback riding trails and even a merry-go-round which is perfect for kids. You can also do many different outdoor activities like biking and hiking.

10. Shop on Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles.

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is a world-famous shopping street, known for its luxury stores and high-end fashion. 

You’ll find all of the big designer brands like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton there. 

But it’s not just for shopping – walking along Rodeo Drive feels like being in a movie, with its fancy boutiques and shiny supercars. 

People also go there to try and spot some celebrities. Is that Jennifer Aniston?

Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s fun to window shop and see all the expensive items on offer. I often go there just to gasp at how expensive things can be!

Bonus tip: Visit during the holiday season when the street is decorated with lights and decorations – it’s really pretty!

11. Experience culture at The Getty Villa

The Getty Villa is a museum that is designed to look like an ancient Roman villa. 

It’s famous for its large collection of art that comes from many places including ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. 

When you visit, you’ll be able to see amazing statues, pottery and paintings that are thousands of years old. 

The Villa itself is beautiful with architecture inspired by ancient Roman houses. It also has stunning gardens filled with plants, fountains and sculptures. 

Walking around the gardens genuinely feels like stepping back in time. 

The museum itself offers free guided tours which are really interesting and help you learn more about the art and history.

Admission to the Getty Villa is free but you do need to get a timed-entry ticket in advance from their website.

12. Take a studio tour

Explore the behind-the-scenes magic of the entertainment industry by visiting studios like Warner Bros. or Paramount Pictures.

You can walk through real film sets as well as see cool costumes and props from famous shows and movies. 

The guides are also pretty awesome and will tell you tons of fun facts and behind-the-scenes stories about the shows and movies. 

At Warner Bros., you can visit the sets of shows like ‘Friends’ and see the famous Batmobile itself. 

13. Visit the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Enjoy a peaceful escape in this beautiful garden featuring a variety of plant species and peacocks roaming freely.

Located in Arcadia, it’s known for its huge variety of plants and trees from all over the world. 

You can walk around and see different gardens, like the rose garden and the tropical greenhouse. 

There are also lots of peacocks walking around freely which are really pretty and fun to watch. 

The Arboretum has a big pond with fish and turtles and it’s a peaceful spot to sit and relax. 

They offer guided tours which are great for learning about the plants and the history of the place. It’s also a popular spot for bird watching and photography.

14. Attend a live TV show taping

One thing that you can’t do in many places is be part of a studio audience and watch the filming of a popular TV show!

You can watch the filming of shows like “American Idol” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” right in Los Angeles.

When you go, you’ll see how the TV shows are made from the cameras to the live audience reactions. You might even get to see your favorite actors and celebrities up close. 

The tapings usually include a warm-up comedian who entertains the audience before the show starts. 

It is important to know that these tapings can take a few hours and you have to stay quiet during filming. 

You also usually need to book tickets in advance but they’re usually free.

If you manage to score a ticket, remember to dress nicely as you might be on camera!

15. Relax on Malibu’s beaches

Zuma Beach, Malibu

Visiting the beaches of Malibu is a must-do when you’re in Los Angeles. 

Malibu has some of the best beaches like Zuma Beach, which is known for its long sandy shore and is great for swimming and surfing. 

Another popular one is El Matador Beach, famous for its stunning rock formations and caves. It’s a great place to take photos. 

If you like a quieter spot away from the crowds then try Point Dume, where you can see amazing views and might even spot dolphins or whales. 

These beaches are all great for sunbathing, playing beach games and having picnics. You’ll also find some nice seafood restaurants nearby. 

16. Visit the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

MOCA is a cool place to see modern art and is known for its collection of artworks from the 1940s to now. 

At MOCA, you can see paintings, sculptures and photographs by famous and upcoming artists. 

They often have special exhibitions so there’s always something new to see. 

It’s a great place to learn about different styles of modern art and see how different artists express their ideas. 

Admission is free every Friday from 5 to 9 pm so that’s a good time to visit if you want to save money. 

And remember to check the museum’s website before you go, as they sometimes have special events and talks by artists.

17. Hike in Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon

Hiking in Runyon Canyon is a popular activity as it’s known for its great hiking trails that offer amazing views of the city, including the Hollywood Sign. 

The trails range from easy to challenging so there’s something for everyone and along the way, you’ll see beautiful views of Los Angeles from every angle.

Runyon Canyon is also a great place for dog lovers as many people hike with their dogs here. You’ll also sometimes find yoga classes taking place in the park.

Make sure to bring water and wear sunscreen as it can get hot and there’s not much shade.

18. Take a scenic drive along Mulholland Drive

Enjoy panoramic views of the city, the Hollywood Hills, the San Fernando Valley and the Pacific Ocean along this iconic road.

As you drive, you’ll see beautiful houses and might even be able to spot the Hollywood Sign. 

There are several lookout points along the way where you can stop, get out of the car and take in the breathtaking views of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. 

At night, the city lights look incredible from these spots. 

Mulholland Drive is also a popular route for movie scenes so it might feel familiar even if you’ve never been before.

19. Explore the Queen Mary

Queen Mary in Long Beach, LA

The Queen Mary, located in Long Beach, is a famous retired ocean liner that’s now a floating museum and hotel. 

It’s known for its beautiful 1930s design and rich history. You can take a tour to learn about the ship’s past as a luxury liner and a World War II troopship. 

The tours also tell ghost stories as the ship is said to be haunted. 

Besides tours, there are restaurants on board where you can eat with a view of the ocean. 

20. Take a day trip to Catalina Island

Visiting Catalina Island is a great adventure! It’s a beautiful island off the coast, known for its wildlife, clear waters and fun activities. 

You do need to take a ferry to get there but it is a fun ride itself. Make sure to look out for seals and sea lions who love to lounge around on the rocks nearby!

Once on the island, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving to see colorful fish and underwater plants.  There are also many hiking and biking trails to explore.

In the town of Avalon, you can shop, eat at nice restaurants and visit the famous Catalina Casino. 

The casino itself actually isn’t for gambling – it’s a historic building with a theater and a ballroom. 

And don’t forget to try the local ice cream – it’s delicious!

21. Go horseback riding in the Santa Monica Mountains

Santa Monica Mountains

The Santa Monica Mountains are known for their beautiful trails and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Los Angeles. 

When you go horseback riding there, you get to explore these trails in a fun and unique way. 

It’s great for both beginners and experienced riders as there are horses and paths for all levels. 

Along the way, you might see wildlife like deer, birds and maybe even a coyote. 

The guides are usually really friendly and knowledgeable about the area so you can learn a lot about the mountains and their history. 

22. Take a day trip to Disneyland Resort

From Los Angeles, you can drive to Anaheim (where Disneyland is located) in about an hour, depending on traffic. 

At Disneyland, you’ll be able to enjoy tons of thrilling rides, see parades and even meet Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters. 

There’s also the Disney California Adventure Park which has attractions like Cars Land and the incredible Guardians of the Galaxy ride. 

I’d also recommend sticking around until the evening so you can watch the amazing fireworks and light shows that occur every night.

23. Take a scenic drive along Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as PCH or Highway 1, is famous for its stunning ocean views and scenic coastline. 

Starting from Los Angeles, you can easily get onto the PCH and head north towards Malibu. 

Along the way, you’ll see beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs and maybe even some dolphins or whales in the ocean. 

You can stop at cool spots like Santa Monica, Malibu and Zuma Beach along the way for some beach time or a bite to eat. 

The drive also takes you past several amazing viewpoints which are perfect for taking photos. 

It’s a great way to explore the California coast and see some of the best views the state has to offer.

24. Visit the Skydeck of Los Angeles’ tallest building

The Wilshire Grand Center is the tallest building in LA and its 73rd floor Skydeck offers amazing views of the city. 

From the Skydeck, you can see famous landmarks like the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory and even the Pacific Ocean on a clear day. 

It’s a great spot for taking photos especially during sunset when the city lights start to twinkle. 

Inside there’s also a bar where you can grab a drink.

I’d recommend buying your tickets online in advance to avoid long lines, and try to visit on a weekday when it’s less crowded for the best experience.

25. Take a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree is known for its unique landscape with fascinating rock formations and the famous Joshua trees. 

To get there from LA, it’s about a 2 to 3-hour drive depending on traffic. 

Once you’re in the park, you can go hiking on trails like Hidden Valley or Barker Dam to see the beautiful desert scenery and wildlife. 

The park is also a popular spot for rock climbing and stargazing, as the sky is very clear and full of stars at night. 

Don’t forget to visit the Cholla Cactus Garden, where you can see a field of unique cacti. 

26. Go rock climbing in Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park, located near Los Angeles, is famous for its amazing rock climbing spots. 

It has a variety of climbing routes, perfect for both beginners and experienced climbers. 

You can climb different types of rocks and enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. 

Besides rock climbing, the park offers numerous hiking trails where you can explore the natural beauty of the area. There’s also a large lake where you can relax or have a picnic after climbing. 

The park was even a filming location for some famous movies and TV shows!

And that’s a wrap on our journey through the best things to do in Los Angeles! 

I hope this blog post has inspired you to explore the incredible sights and sounds of LA.

Whether you’re taking selfies on the Walk of Fame, catching waves at Venice Beach or stargazing from Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


Megan Jones is a travel expert and founder of Traveller's Elixir, who has been travelling the world full time since 2021. Megan's travel tips been featured in numerous media outlets including Metro, Timeout, Thrillist and more.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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