When it comes to visiting Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world and America’s second most populous city — you’re going to need at least a week and a charter bus in order to see and do it all. The beauty about Los Angeles is no matter the time of the year or what your budget is, the City of Angels offers a little bit of everything. Beaches, nature hikes, museum tours, and theme parks are just a few of the many options visitors can choose from when in town. Whether you’re staying in Hollywood, the Valley, Downtown, or by the ocean, this list will give you a great start to planning your ideal Southern California adventure.
Griffith Park & the Griffith Observatory
This Art Deco-styled dome atop Mount Hollywood in the Los Feliz neighbourhood of Los Angeles is the perfect culmination to one of LA’s most beautiful hikes. Perhaps most recognized for its appearance in the James Dean-starring 1955 classic film Rebel Without a Cause — the Griffith Observatory has been free to the public since it first opened nearly 85 years ago. Learn about space and science inside the stunning planetarium, or enjoy a stunning view of the Hollywood sign and downtown skyline from its observation deck. After taking in the sights, hike back down to Griffith Park and reward yourself with a treat at the Trails Cafe. We recommend you try the avocado sandwich with a slice of their freshest seasonal pie.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Located in the heart of Los Angeles, also known as Miracle Mile, you will find multiple museums that make up Museum Row. Down the street from the Petersen Automotive Museum and next door to the La Brea Tar Pits (George C. Page Museum) you will find LACMA. Short for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA is home to some of the city’s most breathtaking works of art. The museum’s most recognizable work stands outside as its unofficial symbol — Chris Burden’s light posts sculpture, Urban Light. Check it out along with the museum’s other 150,000+ works of art, and if you’re visiting during the summer, enjoy LACMA’s free live summer concert series. It will be the most memorable art museum experience you’ve had in a long time.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry — Walt Disney Concert Hall has become one of the most iconic buildings in all of Los Angeles in its brief 16 years. Home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, the venue recently hosted a one-night-only performance of Joni Mitchell’s classic 1971 album as played by Brandi Carlile. While the best way to experience Disney Hall is during a performance, the official tour is a wonderful consolation prize as well. Wander around the wooden, acoustically pristine hallways that master musicians dream of playing. Obviously the building’s stunning stainless steel facade is what visitors and residents have come to know and love about the structure. But the real magic lies within the classical shoebox interior of the concert hall. Buy tickets for a performance or arrange a tour of the architectural wonder once you confirm plans to come to Los Angeles.
The Comedy Store
Considered by most comedians, from open-micers to headliners, to be the premier comedy club in the country, if not the world — The Comedy Store has been a staple of the Hollywood Strip for almost 50 years. Originally opened by Sammy Shore and run by his wife Mitzi, the parents of ‘90s comedy star Pauly Shore — The Comedy Store is the type of comedy club you can show up to on a whim and end up seeing a full lineup of film, television, and stand-up legends. Open nightly 365 days a year, the club’s main room can hold up to 450 people, while the more intimate Belly Room is a great venue to catch some of the next generation’s rising talent before they become household names. If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy, The Comedy Store is an absolute must visit on your trip to Los Angeles.
Universal Studios Hollywood
The Southern California region is home to a number of the country’s most popular amusement parks including Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Six Flags Magic Mountain; however, the only theme park that’s in LA proper is Universal Studios Hollywood. Located in Universal City, just on the other side of the Hollywood Hills, this film studio-theme park hybrid offers the perfect day of fun for the entire family without having to drive an hour or more out of the city. Featuring classic attractions like the Studio Tour, Waterworld stunt show, and Special Effects Stage, the kids will likely be more drawn to themed-rides for the new generation such as Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, The Simpsons Ride, The Walking Dead maze, Transformers: The Ride, and the newly renovated Jurassic World water adventure. Since opening in the spring of 2016, the theme park’s biggest attraction has been The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Harry Potter fanatics come from all around the world to experience this new addition to Universal. Limited to one roller coaster, one ride, two live shows, and an interactive gift shop, you can easily visit most, if not all of the park’s attractions in one long day. Your kids will love it, and compared to Disneyland, your wallet will too.
These 5 LA-based destinations are a great start to planning your dream trip to Los Angeles. With some free options and endless memorable moments, this adventure around La La Land will have you wanting to stay.