Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, is a city that offers a multitude of unique experiences and unforgettable adventures. From Hollywood glamour to stunning beaches and cultural landmarks, there are countless once in a lifetime things to do in the City of Angels.
Whether you're a movie buff, an art enthusiast, a beach lover, or a foodie, Los Angeles has something special for everyone.
So let's get started and discover the top 10 once in a lifetime things to do in Los Angeles. But before you proceed, why not check out my previous post on 20 Fun Things to do in Lancaster Ohio with Kids. You'd find it interesting.
Once In A Lifetime Things To Do In Los Angeles
Hare are the Top 10 once in a lifetime things to do in Los Angeles. These must-see attractions and activities will surely make your visit to Los Angeles truly extraordinary.
1. Take a Helicopter Tour of the City
This Helicopter Tour of the City is one once in a lifetime things to do in Los Angeles. It offers a stunning aerial view of Los Angeles. The tour takes you through some of the city's most famous sights, such as the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Observatory, and the Santa Monica Pier.
The tour also offers a unique viewpoint on the shape and geography of the city, as well as its history and culture. A helicopter tour over Los Angeles is an unforgettable opportunity to explore the city's beauty and grandeur, from downtown skyscrapers to wide beaches.
2. Experience the Thrills at Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is a world-renowned film studio and theme park that offers an immersive experience for movie lovers. Step into the magical world of cinema as you explore thrilling rides, behind-the-scenes studio tours, and shows featuring your favorite movies and characters.
From the adrenaline-pumping Jurassic World ride to the enchanting Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Hollywood promises an unforgettable adventure for visitors of all ages.
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3. Explore the Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an iconic landmark that stretches along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. It's a sidewalk embedded with over 2,600 stars, each representing a significant contribution to the entertainment industry.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame honors notable actors and directors by collecting their handprints and signatures, and accompanying them with name plaques and a large gold star. This area is often packed with camera-wielding tourists looking for their favorite artists in names on the sidewalk.
Take a stroll along the Walk of Fame and spot the stars of your favorite actors, musicians, directors, and fictional characters. Don't forget to snap a picture with the stars of Hollywood legends and leave your mark in this historic place.
4. Discover the Iconic Landmarks of Los Angeles
Los Angeles is home to several iconic landmarks that define the city's unique character. Here are some must-visit landmarks you shouldn't miss:
1. The Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign is an iconic symbol that represents the glamour and allure of the entertainment industry. The iconic sign, over 40 feet tall, can be seen from almost anywhere in downtown Los Angeles.
Built on Mount Lee in 1923, there are three trails that will take you up to it; the shortest is 3 miles long and begins in the parking lot of the Griffith Observatory. If you don't feel like walking to the top, you can view this popular landmark from an unbeatable spot, Lake Hollywood Park.
Take a hike or find a vantage point to capture a perfect picture with this legendary landmark as your backdrop. Witnessing the grandeur of the Hollywood Sign is an essential part of any visit to Los Angeles.
2. The Getty Center
The Getty Center is an architectural masterpiece that houses an impressive collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. Explore the stunning gardens, admire the breathtaking views of the city, and immerse yourself in the world of art at this world-class museum.
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3. The Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory sits atop Griffith Park and offers panoramic views of Los Angeles and the stars above. Visit this iconic observatory to gaze at the night sky through telescopes, explore interactive exhibits, and learn about the wonders of the universe. Attend fascinating planetarium shows and take a closer look at celestial objects that will leave you in awe.
4. Sunset Boulevard
Walking along Sunset Boulevard and the surrounding streets is like doing it surrounded by palm trees and neon signs, so the photos you take here will undoubtedly be one of your favorites.
The most famous thoroughfare is the Sunset Strip and runs through Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Here you can enjoy live music and stand-up comedy at legendary venues like The Roxy Theater and The Laugh Factory.
5. Enjoy the Beaches of Los Angeles
Los Angeles is blessed with beautiful beaches that offer relaxation, entertainment, and stunning coastal views. Here are some must-visit beach destinations:
1. Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is a vibrant hub of entertainment with its iconic Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and arcade games. It attracts families for its boardwalk and the spectacular fairground rides and children's activities it offers. Founded in 1909, this traditional-style amusement park is home to a famous wooden merry-go-round dating from the late 1930s.
The rides cost between $5 and $10 each. Another popular activity here is biking along the nearly 26-mile promenade that runs along the Pacific Ocean. This place even allows you to keep fit in an outdoor bodybuilding gym located south of the pier.
Take a leisurely stroll along the pier, enjoy delicious treats from the snack stands, and soak up the lively atmosphere. The sandy beach nearby is perfect for sunbathing or playing beach volleyball.
Malibu is renowned for its pristine coastline and stunning beachfront properties. Relax on the picturesque beaches, try your hand at surfing, or indulge in a beachside picnic. Malibu offers a serene escape from the bustling city and is a must-visit for nature lovers.
3. Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a cultural melting pot where you can witness unique street performers, artists, and vendors. Experience the vibrant allure of a beach near Los Angeles that entices visitors with its lively boardwalk. Here, the atmosphere comes alive as street performers and vibrant characters captivate the crowds.
The Venice Breakwater becomes a gathering spot for surfers, while fitness enthusiasts flock to the open-air gym known as Muscle Beach. Take your leisurely time to explore the myriad of charming cafes and souvenir shops that adorn the waterfront.
For a delightful adventure, hop on a bike and traverse the scenic 4-mile boardwalk, spanning from the southern tip of Venice Beach to the adjacent Santa Monica Beach. With dedicated lifeguards on duty, families with children can relax and relish the water, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
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6. Immerse in Art and Culture
Los Angeles is a hub of artistic expression and cultural diversity. Here are two prominent cultural destinations you should explore:
1. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
Embark on a captivating guided tour of Warner Bros. Studio and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Hollywood. Discover the iconic back-lot sets and sound stages where your beloved movies were brought to life.
Uncover the magic of renowned productions as you visit the legendary Central Perk cafe from the hit TV show “Friends” and gain insights into the marvels of green-screen technology.
Prepare for an unforgettable climax as you step into the realm of your favorite DC Universe and Harry Potter films on meticulously recreated sets. Let the wonders of Warner Bros. Studio unfold before your eyes on this mesmerizing journey.
2. The Broad
The Broad, located on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, is a contemporary art museum established by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, this impressive museum offers free general admission. It houses an extensive collection of 2,000 postwar and contemporary artworks, making it one of the most significant collections of its kind worldwide.
The unique “veil-and-vault” architectural concept of the $140-million, 120,000-square-foot building provides two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad's comprehensive collection. Additionally, it serves as the headquarters for The Broad Art Foundation's lending library.
To visit The Broad, general admission is free. However, due to high demand, it is highly recommended to make advance online reservations through the museum's website. This option allows visitors to secure a specific date and time for their visit and avoid long wait times.
Timed entry tickets can be reserved online at no cost, with available slots every half hour. It's important to note that advance online tickets are often fully booked two to three months ahead. While not required, visitors can also join the onsite ticketing line, except on Mondays when the museum is closed.
Entry through the onsite line is on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on availability. Wait times in the onsite ticketing line typically range from 30 to 45 minutes on weekdays and 60 to 90 minutes on weekends.
However, during holiday weekends, the wait time can extend to two or three hours. The onsite ticketing line closes 90 minutes before the museum's closing time.
3. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest art museum in the western United States. With a vast collection spanning thousands of years and diverse cultures, LACMA showcases exquisite artworks, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and more. Immerse yourself in the world of art as you wander through the museum's galleries.
4. Street Art and Murals in the Art District
For art enthusiasts and those interested in urban culture, exploring the Street Art and Murals in the Art District of Los Angeles is a must-do activity. This dynamic location offers a multitude of experiences, allowing visitors to freely explore and admire the remarkable artwork at their own pace.
Immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere of street art festivals, where creativity takes center stage. Discover hidden gems within art galleries, where masterpieces await your gaze. Expand your artistic skills by participating in a street art class, fostering your own creative expression.
And for those seeking deeper insights, venture into the Institute of Contemporary Arts, where thought-provoking exhibitions and engaging talks await.
7. Indulge in Culinary Delights
Los Angeles is a food lover's paradise with its diverse culinary scene. Here are some food destinations you shouldn't miss.
1. Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market is a bustling food hall in downtown Los Angeles, offering a variety of delicious and diverse cuisines. From tacos to ramen, gourmet burgers to international delicacies, you'll find an array of flavors to satisfy your taste buds. Explore the market's vibrant atmosphere and indulge in a culinary adventure.
2. The Original Farmers Market
The Original Farmers Market is a historic landmark where you can savor fresh produce, artisanal goods, and delectable food from various vendors. The origin of the market dates back to 1934 and since then it has attracted many Hollywood stars including Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Temple.
Today, you can still find a wide range of sweet and savory delights, from Texas barbecue, burgers and pizza to sushi, Chinese stir-fries and even paella.
Take a leisurely stroll through the market, discover local specialties, and treat yourself to mouthwatering dishes.
3. California Roll Factory
The California roll is a type of “upside down” maki made by rolling up rice, seaweed, surimi, diced cucumber, avocado, and sesame seeds. Locals claim its origin dates back to the 1960s, and the best place to enjoy it is Little Tokyo.
Also known as Sushi Row, this bustling area of gourmet dining also offers insights into the history of Japanese immigrants at its National Museum and Community and Cultural Center.
8. Embrace Nature and Outdoor Activities
Los Angeles is not just a concrete jungle; it also offers abundant natural beauty and outdoor activities. Here are two outdoor destinations you should explore:
1. Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon Park is a popular hiking spot nestled in the heart of Hollywood. Lace up your hiking shoes and embark on scenic trails that offer panoramic views of the city and the Hollywood Sign. This urban park is also a favorite spot for fitness enthusiasts and dog owners.
2. Griffith Park
Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, offering a wide range of outdoor activities. It is located four kilometers east of the Hollywood Bowl. This place offers an inexhaustible variety of activities of all kinds, such as hiking, golf, cycling and even horse riding.
In addition, it has more than 80 kilometers of trails, some of them close to waterfalls and lagoons. You can also see rare species of wildlife at the Los Angeles Zoological and Botanical Gardens, catch a concert at the Greek Theater, enjoy a picnic amidst nature, explore trails on horseback or enjoy panoramic views of the city from the Griffith Observatory.
3. Echo Park
Echo Park in Los Angeles is a dynamic and lively neighborhood that provides an array of thrilling activities and attractions. At the heart of the neighborhood lies the picturesque Echo Park Lake, a serene oasis ideal for leisurely strolls, paddleboat rentals, or simply unwinding on the grassy banks while enjoying the scenic views.
Echo Park is renowned for its lively ambiance and diverse selection of shops, restaurants, and cafes. Explore the distinctive boutiques and vintage stores, relish delectable global cuisines, and savor artisanal coffee. This neighborhood is a thriving hub of creativity, with vibrant street art adorning the walls and live music performances at local venues.
Sports enthusiasts can experience the electric atmosphere of a baseball game at nearby Dodger Stadium, cheering for the iconic Los Angeles Dodgers.
Echo Park caters to a variety of interests, whether you seek outdoor relaxation, cultural immersion, or culinary delights. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of this captivating neighborhood and discover why it is a must-visit destination in Los Angeles.
4. Lake Hollywood Park
Lake Hollywood Park is a fantastic destination in Los Angeles that offers a multitude of activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy. Located near the iconic Hollywood Sign, this park provides a perfect vantage point to capture breathtaking views of the sign and the surrounding landscape.
Whether you're a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply looking for a serene retreat, Lake Hollywood Park has something for everyone.
One of the top attractions of the park is the picturesque Lake Hollywood Reservoir, which offers a peaceful setting for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic. Take in the tranquility as you wander along the scenic walking paths that encircle the reservoir, providing glimpses of the stunning city skyline and the Hollywood Hills.
Lake Hollywood Park is also a popular spot for outdoor activities such as jogging, biking, and dog walking. The park features well-maintained trails that wind through lush greenery, offering an opportunity to connect with nature while staying active. The open grassy areas provide ample space for recreational activities and family-friendly games.
For those interested in Hollywood history, Lake Hollywood Park serves as a gateway to the world-famous Hollywood Sign. Capture unforgettable photos with this iconic landmark as your backdrop, creating lasting memories of your visit to Los Angeles.
5. Topanga State Park
If you want to enjoy and explore the gorgeous landscapes and wildlife of Los Angeles, there is no better spot to do so than Topanga State Park.
The park is well-known for its landscape, so don't forget to bring your camera. Also, this park offers a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
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9. Experience Vibrant Nightlife
Los Angeles comes alive after dark with its vibrant nightlife scene. Here are two areas known for their lively atmosphere:
1. Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles is a hub for entertainment, boasting trendy bars, rooftop lounges and speakeasies. Explore the bustling nightlife scene in areas like the Arts District and Historic Core, where you'll find an array of stylish venues serving craft cocktails, live music, and DJ sets.
2. Sunset Strip
Sunset Strip in West Hollywood is renowned for its legendary music venues, clubs, and bars. Experience the energy of live music, catch a performance by emerging artists, or dance the night away at iconic venues such as The Roxy Theatre or Whisky a Go Go. Sunset Strip offers an unforgettable nightlife experience.
10. Shop in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a shopper's paradise, with a plethora of retail destinations catering to different tastes and budgets. Here are two shopping hotspots:
1. Rodeo Drive
If you want to see the rich and famous of Hollywood doing their shopping, you can't miss Rodeo Drive. Rodeo Drive is synonymous with luxury shopping, featuring high-end fashion brands, upscale boutiques, and renowned designers.
This 3.2 kilometer shopping street boasts more than 100 jewelry stores and boutiques of major brands such as Gucci, Dior, Harry Winston and Giorgio Armani. You'll also see countless five-star spa hotels and beauty salons where you can splurge on manicures, massages, or facials.
Take a stroll along this glamorous street, admire the window displays, and perhaps even spot a celebrity or two. Rodeo Drive offers a quintessential luxury shopping experience.
2. The Grove
The Grove is a vibrant outdoor shopping center that combines retail therapy with entertainment. Explore a variety of shops, from popular brands to independent boutiques, and indulge in a shopping spree. The Grove also features a lively atmosphere, with street performers, a dancing fountain, and delicious dining options.
What is the best time to visit Los Angeles?
The best time to visit Los Angeles is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) seasons when the weather is pleasant and there are fewer crowds.
What should I do If I have only one day in Los Angeles?
The best thing to do in LA, if you are only there for a day, is visit the Getty Center.
How can I spend a perfect day in LA?
Are there any free attractions in Los Angeles?
Yes, there are several free attractions in Los Angeles, including Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, and exploring the beaches and neighborhoods.
How can I get around the city without a car?
Los Angeles has an extensive public transportation system, including buses and metro lines. You can also use rideshare services or rent a bike or scooter to get around the city. Additionally, some areas like Downtown LA and Hollywood are easily walkable.
Where do the locals hang out in Los Angeles?
The Locals of LA often choose to hangout in Griffith Park or Venice Beach.
Can I spot celebrities in Los Angeles?
While there's no guarantee, Los Angeles is known for its celebrity presence. You might spot celebrities in popular areas like Beverly Hills, Hollywood, or upscale restaurants and clubs. Keep your eyes peeled!
What is the most trendy neighborhood in Los Angeles?
West Hollywood is the most trendy neighborhood in Los Angeles.
What are some family-friendly activities in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles offers a range of family-friendly activities, such as visiting theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios, exploring the Natural History Museum, or spending a day at the Santa Monica Pier. There are also numerous parks, playgrounds, and outdoor spaces perfect for kids.
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