Planning a visit or move to the City of Angels? Your challenge is going to be scheduling time for everything you want to do. This Southern California city truly has it all, from its local natural wonders to the glamorous LA nightlife.
All the thrilling attractions in Los Angeles can certainly draw a crowd. The city is a tourist destination to millions of national and global travelers annually.1 Fortunately, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to go around in this city—and you’ll find art, music, food, activities, and events for all tastes.
We’ve gathered up some of the most fun things to do in Los Angeles CA below to give you a head start on exploring this one-of-a-kind city.
#1 Hike to the Hollywood Sign
Have you really been to LA if you don’t visit the Hollywood Sign? It’s not quite one of the seven wonders of the world, but it’s a classic icon of Hollywood as a destination and a dream.
Visiting the Hollywood Sign up close requires a hike up one of three trails that take you through scenery of the Santa Monica Mountains.2 While the trails are open from sunrise to sunset, it’s best to see the sign as a daytime event, as it’s not lit up at night.
If you’d prefer not to hike, you can still catch a glimpse of the sign from a few other locations. The best viewing spots are from:
- Griffith Observatory
- Hollywood & Highland
- Griffith Park hiking trails
Budget-conscious explorers will especially adore this facet of the activity: the Hollywood Sign is both free to visit and to photograph.
#2 Spend a Day at One of LA’s Beautiful Beaches
Sun, sand, and the beautiful, blue waves—pack your beachwear and sunscreen, and you’ll be ready to enjoy the best of the seaside locations in LA on every day off.
Every beach in Los Angeles has its own vibe, so you can feel free to choose the location that most appeals to you. Some of the best beaches in Los Angeles (or near it) include:3
- Hermosa Beach – When you visit Hermosa beach, you will definitely feel relaxed. It even has plenty of outdoor cafes to try.
- Manhattan Beach – The trendy Manhattan Beach has volleyball courts and a pier-side aquarium.
- Venice Beach – Venice Beach is one of the best places to people-watch and comes with a lively boardwalk.
- Santa Monica Beach – This beach offers piers, playgrounds, and two miles of sand.
- Cabrillo Beach – Cabrillo is a fabulous family-friendly beach with tide pool touch tanks and more.
#3 Visit Universal Studios Hollywood
LA is a dream destination for many movie fans, but if you want to feel like you’re living in a movie itself, make a beeline to Universal Studios Hollywood. Because this theme park offers so many different features, you’ll want to pick out your can’t-miss attractions and rides ahead of time—or plan it as a multi-day trip.
Besides multiple gift shops and restaurants, some of Universal Studios Hollywood’s most popular cinema-themed attractions include:4
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- A Jurassic World adventure ride and Raptor Encounter
- The Revenge of the Mummy indoor roller coaster
- The Transformers battle experience with 4K-3D screens and flight simulator ride vehicles
If you’re more into a behind-the-scenes Hollywood adventure, however, you can find this at Universal Studios, too. The Universal Studio Tour Plaza ride takes you through the back lot area of live sets and many past set features.
One- to two-day passes range from $104 to $379, and you’ll want to bring spending money for the themed merchandise and eateries.
#4 Cruise Through the Petersen Automotive Museum
While car fanatics will certainly be in their element, you don’t need to be a car buff to love the Petersen Automotive Museum. With exhibitions like these, this museum offers eye candy for everyone:5
- James Bond vehicles – the Bond in Motion exhibition features original vehicles from the James Bond film franchise, including the 1964 Aston Martin DB5, the 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 “Wet Nellie,” and more cars and other vehicles with Agent 007 gadgets.
- Star cars – The museum also displays famous cars from film and television, including the 1989 Batmobile, the 1981 Back to the Future DeLorean, and the 1984 Ghostbusters station wagon.
- Hypercars – Starting with the 2005 Bugatti Veyron, hypercars tend to have a top speed upwards of 200 MPH, a price tag of over $1 million, an exotic and luxurious design, and production of only a few hundred cars.
Admission is $12 – $54 depending on age and access level.
#5 Discover the Ice Age at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Want to experience a real-live Ice Age excavation site in action? From the statues of extinct creatures rising from tar pits to informative educational exhibits, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is a unique Los Angeles gem.
At this attraction, you can witness and learn about:6
- Fossil-finding at live excavations
- Awe-inspiring exhibits featuring creatures like saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, mammoths, and mastodons
- Scientists at work in the Fossil Lab
- An Ice Age Encounters live performance
Advanced reservation admission is $7–$15, with free hours for LA residents.
#6 Explore Your Artistic Side at the Getty Center
Other than the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum, there are also other places where you can also explore art and history. The Getty Center is a world-renowned museum with a wide range of exhibits. The museum features art and design from the Middle Ages to today within a setting of unusual gardens, courtyards, and modern architecture.7
In addition, the Getty Center is one of the best places to experience LA from above. The museum features a bird’s-eye view of downtown Los Angeles. You can also take a tram from the parking area to the top of the Hollywood hills, view rotating installations from the extensive Getty collection, and visit world-class exhibitions on loan from international museums and collections.
The Getty Center offers free admission, but you must reserve an entry time in advance.
#7 Experience Antiquities at the Getty Villa Museum
Nope, it’s not just the Getty Center again—this separate museum is a stunning recreation of a Roman house featuring Greek and Roman art and antiquities.8
Displays at this location cover art from the Stone Age through the Roman Empire. In addition, the Getty Villa is near the coast and features expansive gardens, a reflecting pool, and views of the ocean.
Like the Getty Center, the Getty Villa offers free admission, but you’ll need to schedule a timed entry. You can also reserve a seat at the Garden Tea, available Thursdays and Saturdays, featuring sweets and savory items inspired by the Herb Garden at the Getty Villa.
#8 See Animals from Around the World at Los Angeles Zoo
Set on 133 acres in the beautiful surroundings of Griffith Park, the Los Angeles Zoo is a must-see attraction for any animal lover. At this zoo, you can see more than 120 species of animals from around the globe, including the following exhibits:9
- Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains
- Campo Gorilla Reserve
- Elephants of Asia
- The LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles)
- Red Ape Rain Forest
- Rainforest of the Americas
- World of Birds Show
- Rare animals including the mountain tapir and red uakari
If you’re looking for an evening event, the zoo also offers several opportunities to visit during the twilight hours. Zoo Friday Nights offer a chance to visit after dark and enjoy musical performances, while Brew at the Zoo allows guests over 21 to sample beer and cider from local breweries.
Tickets for regular zoo entry are $17 – $22 and require online reservations.
#9 Go Starry-Eyed at the Griffith Observatory
Which stars were you looking for, exactly? If you’re more interested in outer space than celebrity sightings, the Griffith Observatory should top your list of destinations.
Located in the heart of Los Angeles, this attraction is one of the world’s premier public observatories.10 It houses Zeiss and solar telescopes open for day and night viewing by the public. In addition, you can explore exhibits on the history and tools of human observation of the sky and the sun, moon, and earth.
Admission is free. You can also purchase tickets to a live show or screening at the comfortable, innovative Samuel Oschin Planetarium theater.
#10 Take a Stroll at Griffith Park
Move over, Central Park—Griffith Park is the largest urban-wilderness municipal park in the United States. Along with 4,210 acres of breathtaking natural and landscaped California terrain, the park features a stunning array of Los Angeles attractions, including:11
- The Greek Theatre
- Three city golf courses
- Autry National Center
- Travel Town Museum
- A historic merry-go-round
- The Griffith Park Southern Railroad
However, you don’t need to visit one of these sites to enjoy your time at Griffith Park. There are also plenty of laid-back activities available to visitors, including:
- Hiking a 53-mile network of trails, fire roads, and bridle paths
- Bike rentals
- Horseback riding and pony rides
- Tennis, soccer, and other ball fields
Griffith Park offers free admission, with various fees for activities, events, or equipment rental.
Experience Los Angeles as a Local with Common
Visiting the City of Angels may be a delight—but living near Los Angeles is what gives you access to everything this Southern California city can offer. From the nightlife to the beaches, California living is a dream for many.
If you’re headed to the west coast, consider finding a home with Common. Our coliving and community-based housing options are perfect for young professionals ready to plug in and connect with new friends in an exciting new home.
Whether you’re in the market for a private apartment or a fully furnished room or studio, renters from around the world can find a warm welcome in Common living spaces.
Visit Common today to learn more about our Los Angeles homes and schedule a virtual tour.
- Population USA. Los Angeles Population 2022. https://www.usapopulation.org/los-angeles-population/
- The Hollywood Sign Trust. Hiking the Sign. https://www.hollywoodsign.org/hiking-the-sign
- Condé Nast Traveler. 17 Best Beaches in Los Angeles. https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/13-best-beaches-in-los-angeles
- Universal Studios Hollywood. https://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/web/en/us
- Petersen Automotive Museum. Exhibits. https://www.petersen.org/exhibits
- La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. Museum Exhibitions. https://tarpits.org/experience-tar-pits/museum-exhibitions
- Getty. Top Things to Do at the Getty Center. https://www.getty.edu/visit/center/top-things-to-do/
- Getty. Getty Villa Museum. https://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/
- Los Angeles Zoo. Exhibits. https://www.lazoo.org/explore-your-zoo/exhibits/
- Griffith Observatory. https://griffithobservatory.org/
- Griffith Observatory. Griffith Park. https://griffithobservatory.org/explore/griffith-park/