Things to Do in LA
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Santa Monica Pier
There’s something for everyone at Santa Monica Pier, including souvenir shops, carnival games, arcades, restaurants and a trapeze school. Don’t miss the free summer concerts on the pier or a fun ride on the 46-horse carousel or Ferris wheel.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Spend an action-packed day with the family at Universal Studios Hollywood. Explore where blockbuster movies are made on a studio tour, and experience unique rides like Transformers: The Ride-3D, Revenge of the Mummy and the world’s largest 3-D experience, King Kong 360. We recommend the 3-block promenade, CityWalk, which includes more than 30 places to eat, 30 shops, 6 nightclubs and a 19-screen IMAX theater.
Thousands of people flock to Disneyland every year. Just 33 miles south of LA, this magical theme park features a seasonal FANTASMIC! Parade, the World of Color light-water show and opportunities for kids to dine with their favorite Disney characters. And you can’t forget the dozens of rides like Space Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The Getty Center
Visit the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Center to see its permanent collection of art that includes European and American history from medieval times to the present. Head outdoors to view contemporary and modern sculptures, or take a stroll through the Center’s Central Garden. This carefully manicured garden has a 134,000-square-foot design that is the centerpiece for the natural ravine and tree-lined walkway.
Marina del Rey
Tucked along the Pacific Coast, just south of Venice Beach, Marina del Rey is the perfect SoCal setting for a waterfront stroll or bike ride. The scenic marina is dotted with small yachts and watercraft. Visit Fisherman's Village, designed to resemble a New England seaport, where it's possible to organize sunset and dinner cruises around the harbor.
LA Farmers Market
Opened in July 1934, the LA Farmers Market is a historic landmark and tourist attraction that features more than 100 restaurants, food stalls, grocers and tourist shops. This is the market for foodies in search of ethnic cuisines and specialty food markets. Looking for more places to shop? Well, you don’t have to go too far. Visit the Grove, a retail and entertainment complex located nearby.
Aquarium of the Pacific
Visit one of the largest aquariums in the US, the Aquarium of the Pacific. Located in Long Beach, CA, this amazing aquarium is home to more than 11,000 ocean animals, representing nearly 500 species found in the Pacific Ocean. Watch marine life in action like West Coast Sea Nettles (pictured).
See more than 1 million ice age fossils from 650 species -- from a Columbian mammoth tusk to the tooth of a baby mouse -- at the Page Museum. Visitors can also watch paleontologists work on fossils right before their eyes in the Fishbowl Lab. The museum is dedicated to researching the La Brea Tar Pits and displaying the animals that died there.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Explore more than 111 years of history at LA’s Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Visitors flock to this popular burial ground to pay homage to hundreds of Hollywood’s greatest stars like Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Johnny Ramone and Douglass Fairbanks.
Head to Venice Beach. The beachfront neighborhood, located on the west-side region of LA County, is known for its canals, beaches and Ocean Front Walk, a 2-and-a-half-mile pedestrian-only promenade that features performers, fortune tellers, artists and vendors.
Runyon Canyon Park
Hike, jog or just walk through the 160-acre Runyon Canyon Park, located at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. In addition to celebrity sightings, this park is also known for having a liberal dog leash policy. It’s not uncommon to see dogs roaming around — with their owners, of course — off their leashes on 90 acres of the park.
Experience 100 years of Hollywood history and witness more in the making on a tour of the Paramount Pictures studio lot. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the longest operating and only remaining major studio in Hollywood. This studio lot is where several TV shows are filmed, including Glee, Dr. Phil, Community and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Thousands of people converge on Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- more than 2,500 stars embedded in the sidewalks. These brass stars bare the names of the famous actors, musicians, directors, and producers like Michael Jackson, Cate Blanchett and Gene Roddenberry.
Get the best views of LA and the stars at Griffith Observatory. Located 1,134 feet above sea level, the observatory is visible from many parts of the Los Angeles basin and it is one of southern California’s most popular attractions. It features the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon, public telescopes and more!
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
More than a million people visit the 20-acre Los Angeles County Museum of Art each year. This museum holds more than 120,000 works that span from ancient times to the present. This is a must-see stop for art lovers who appreciate Asian, Latin American, pre-Columbian and Islamic art.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Enjoy a concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Lillian Disney made the initial donation of $50 million to build the venue as a tribute to Walt Disney’s devotion to the arts and to the city. Frank Gehry, a Canadian-American architect, designed the building.
Shop till you drop in one of the most glamorous places in the US on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. More than 100 boutiques and hotels span 3 city blocks along this famous street. And while you’re in the area, don’t forget to check out the Walk of Style, which features plaques embedded in the sidewalk with personal quotes and signatures from top designers including Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani and Manolo Blahnik.
The Hollywood Bowl officially opened on July 11, 1922. The “bowl” refers to the shape of the concave hillside where the amphitheater is located. Home to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the summer home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the amphitheater is known for its band shell, a distinctive set of concentric arches that graced the site from 1929 through 2003. A larger one was added at the beginning of the 2004 season. Music lovers heading here by subway should hop off at the Hollywood & Highland station.