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Los Angeles

5 best things to do in L.A.?

I will be visiting LA soon and would like to squeeze as much as we can into our trip. What are the 5 best things to do?




Road trip / views

Great restaurants

Thanks for your help!

14 Answers

top answer by
Breanna from Los Angeles

In no particular order:

1. Get a pizza from Gjelina.

2. Spend some time LACMA - don't miss Levitated Mass in the back.3. Catch a show at either: Improv Comedy ClubPantages Theatre or The Theatre at Ace Hotel - all are completely different from each other, but totally awesome in their own way.

4. HIKE! HIKE! HIKE! Runyon Canyon Park is a good one for experiencing a real LA hike.5. Rooftop drinks at Perch. Drinks only - for food, just head down the street to: Bäco Mercat or Bar Ama

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gjelina (restaurant)
  2. LACMA (attraction)
  3. Improv Comedy Club (restaurant)
  4. Pantages Theatre (attraction)
  5. The Theatre at Ace Hotel (attraction)
  6. Runyon Canyon Park (attraction)
  7. Perch (restaurant)
  8. Bäco Mercat (restaurant)
  9. Bar Ama (attraction)
9 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Irene from Covina

Museum of Comtemparary Art is a must! And its next to the La Brea Tar Pits so you can visit that museum too. Malibu is a great place for the beach and community-Hollywood actor types. Take a Hollywood bus tour. Want a feel of Mexico and China? Go to Olvera St for some great Mexican food(my favorite is Cielito Lindo) and shopping and then walk up the block to Los Angeles ChinatownGriffith Observatory is by the Los Angeles Zoo which kinda sucks but the observatory is great.  And you can hike to the Hollywood Sign! It's a great hike, only 5 miles round trip and you get an AMAZING view of the city.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Museum of Comtemparary Art (attraction)
  2. La Brea Tar Pits (attraction)
  3. Malibu (city)
  4. Olvera St (attraction)
  5. Cielito Lindo (restaurant)
  6. Los Angeles Chinatown (neighborhood)
  7. Griffith Observatory (attraction)
  8. Los Angeles Zoo (attraction)
  9. Hollywood Sign (attraction)
4 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Val from Los Angeles

For cheap eats check out The Farmers Market then you can burn some calories and wander The Grove.  :O)  Also The Santa Monica Food Truck Lot is great way to sample all sort of different local eats!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Farmers Market (attraction)
  2. The Grove (attraction)
  3. Santa Monica Food Truck Lot (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Lanee from Los Angeles

Hi Maria!

Welcome to L.A.!

Beach: Venice Beach Boardwalk (preferably on a weekend day to see all the street performers) or rent a bike in Venice Beach and pedal to Manhattan Beach.

Best views: Have lunch at The World Famous Malibu Inn on the deck (order the lobster roll, yum!) for stellar beach/pier views.

Restaurants: Trendy restaurants that are also delish: Petty Cash Taqueria (Mexican), The Ivy (on Robertson for celebrity sightings), Sotto (Westside) and E.P. & L.P. (just opened this week in West Hollywood, clubby restaurant).

Land art: Watts Towers Arts Center or do a street art tour in Downtown Los Angeles .

Museum: Getty Museum for views, LACMA for great modern collection/plus tasty cocktails at Ray's & Stark Bar.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Venice Beach Boardwalk (attraction)
  2. Venice Beach (attraction)
  3. Manhattan Beach (city)
  4. The World Famous Malibu Inn (restaurant)
  5. Petty Cash Taqueria (restaurant)
  6. The Ivy (restaurant)
  7. Sotto (restaurant)
  8. Watts Towers Arts Center (attraction)
  9. Downtown Los Angeles (metro area)
  10. Getty Museum (attraction)
  11. LACMA (attraction)
  12. Ray's & Stark Bar (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Luke from Blandon, Pennsylvania

1) El Matador is probably the most beautiful beach in the area (just up the PCH in Malibu).

2) Dockweiler near the airport allows for beach bonfires, but go early on a weekend if you want to grab a pit (and buy all your supplies beforehand).

3) Skip Runyon if you're a real hiker and hit up the Santa Monica Mountains. I personally love the Mishe Mokwa Trail (it's pretty long and strenuous), the Grasslands Trail at Malibu Creek State Park (long but less strenuous), or Charmlee Wilderness Park (short and sweet). 

4) Definitely get some Korean BBQ. Genwa and Soowon Galbi are the most famous.

5) Seek out food trucks. There are so many good ones and so much variety. Kogi and Coolhaus are staples.

2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Kelly from Santa Monica

One of the best views you can get is on top of the Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel you can see views up to Malibu and down Venice.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Alexis from Pittsburgh

I've been to L.A. a number of times over the years, and here are my 5 Best Things to do in L.A.

1. Go to Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach or Redondo Beach and go down to the edge of the beach where you can find benches, or go out on one of the piers.  Sit and listen to the ocean and watch the people and contemplate life.  Lots of good restaurants and watering holes are in these beach towns too.

2.  Rent a comfortable car, and drive with no particular destination in mind.  Explore.  Go to the Hollywood Hills.  Go to Rodeo Drive.  Go to Venice Beach.  Go to any area you've heard about around L.A.  Just observe and experience the areas.  See what they "feel" like.  Don't worry about speed.  Don't worry about traffic.  Just make sure you have plenty of water, and take your time.

3.  Go to the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple which is around Malibu.  It's north of Venice Beach.  It's free.  It's a multi-denominational religious oriented peaceful contemplative environment.

4.  Go to Vasquez Rocks, perhaps 50 miles northeast of L.A... Many films used it as a background.  You'll recognize it.

5.  Visit the botanical gardens around L.A. like the The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens which also has fantastic artwork, Descanso Gardens, and The Arboretum.  All of these are in and around Pasadena.  There is also the South Coast Botanic Garden which is south of L.A.

Have fun, take time to absorb the area, and enjoy!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manhattan Beach (city)
  2. Hermosa Beach (city)
  3. Redondo Beach (city)
  4. Hollywood Hills (attraction)
  5. Rodeo Drive (neighborhood)
  6. Venice Beach (attraction)
  7. Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple (attraction)
  8. Malibu (city)
  9. Vasquez Rocks (attraction)
  10. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (attraction)
  11. Descanso Gardens (attraction)
  12. The Arboretum (attraction)
  13. Pasadena (city)
  14. South Coast Botanic Garden (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Eric from Rocklin

Run or bike on the strand between Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and points beyond.  

Grab a sandwich at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery.  

 Check out the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.  

 Have the pretzel burger and a cocktail at Hudson House in Redondo Beach.  

Check out the different food vendors at the Grand Central Market and make sure to have a sandwich at Eggslut before you leave.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hermosa Beach (city)
  2. Manhattan Beach (city)
  3. Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery (restaurant)
  4. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (attraction)
  5. Hudson House (restaurant)
  6. Redondo Beach (city)
  7. Grand Central Market (restaurant)
  8. Eggslut (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Kristal from San Francisco

Hi Maria, 

LA is pretty spread out so you'll have to figure out how you want to get around. Personally, I would suggest renting a car because public transportation is a hassle.

For museums, my favorites are LACMA , La Brea Tar Pits and The Getty Center.

For pricier restaurants I love Mastro's SteakhouseKOI RestaurantNobu Los Angeles or Nobu MalibuChinois On Main, Cut.

For mid-priced restaurants I love Square One Dining (best french toasts), Blu Jam Cafe (great brunch), Paco's Tacos (great Mexican food, handmade tortillas and the best blended strawberry margaritas - specifically this location), Hide Sushi (great sushi at an affordable price), Typhoon (catfish with black bean sauce and mashed potatoes are a must), Urth Caffe is an LA staple (great sandwiches, salads), Pizzeria Mozza (pizzas are amazing!), il Pastaio in Beverly Hills (great italian food), Republique (nice atmosphere, good food/ brunch as well),  Sugarfish (Beverly Hills location - great, fun sushi spot). 

For cheap eats I love Tito's Tacos Mexican RestaurantThe Apple Pan , Eggslut and Randy's Donuts

Beaches I would recommend Malibu for the cleanest, prettiest and most relaxing ones. 

If it's your first time Venice Beach Boardwalk is fun (boardwalk with street vendors and performers - during the day), Third Street Promenade is lively at night... they have pretty much every store and there are street performers at night.

Hiking Runyon Canyon Park gives you a great view of the city as well as driving on Mulholland Drive. Griffith Observatory offers amazing views of the city as well!

If you want to go to any theme parks, LA is the place to do it. There's Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott's Berry Farm.

The Grove is a nice open air mall with the Farmers Market right next to it. This is a great place to explore and eat. A very California thing to do is go to a real Farmers Market, I like the one in Hollywood on Sundays. 

Beverly Hills is pretty to walk around and Rodeo Drive is essential if you want to do touristy things.


For a more detailed list of restaurant reviews, you can check out my blog, Eat and Escape.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. LACMA (attraction)
  2. La Brea Tar Pits (attraction)
  3. The Getty Center (attraction)
  4. Mastro's Steakhouse (restaurant)
  5. KOI Restaurant (attraction)
  6. Nobu Los Angeles (restaurant)
  7. Nobu Malibu (restaurant)
  8. Chinois On Main (restaurant)
  9. Cut (restaurant)
  10. Square One Dining (restaurant)
  11. Blu Jam Cafe (restaurant)
  12. Paco's Tacos (restaurant)
  13. Hide Sushi (restaurant)
  14. Typhoon (restaurant)
  15. Urth Caffe (restaurant)
  16. Pizzeria Mozza (restaurant)
  17. Tito's Tacos Mexican Restaurant (restaurant)
  18. The Apple Pan (restaurant)
  19. Eggslut (restaurant)
  20. Randy's Donuts (attraction)
  21. Malibu (city)
  22. Venice Beach Boardwalk (attraction)
  23. Third Street Promenade (attraction)
  24. Runyon Canyon Park (attraction)
  25. Mulholland Drive (attraction)
  26. Griffith Observatory (attraction)
  27. Disneyland (attraction)
  28. Six Flags Magic Mountain (restaurant)
  29. Universal Studios Hollywood (attraction)
  30. Knott's Berry Farm (attraction)
  31. Farmers Market (attraction)
  32. Rodeo Drive (neighborhood)
2 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Fritzi from San Francisco

I was born in LA, so I'm always looking for the old, familiar places.

1. Drive Sunset Blvd. west, past highway 405 and onto Pacific Palisades.  This is a beautiful, old LA drive that has not changed much.  Once you hit the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), you can visit Malibu, or cruise around the Santa Monica Mountains to see the old horse ranches.

2. Tour the Beverly Hills Canyons, such as Coldwater Canyon, Benedict Canyon, Laurel Canyon and Beverly Glen (where I lived my first 5 years).  These canyons are rustic and opulent, the perfect blend for LA living, and what makes LA so attractive, and always will.

3. Visit Pasadena, one of the most walkable areas in LA.  Visitor's Info will give you maps of the old Craftsman home neighborhoods, you can tour the The Gamble House , and visit the The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens   Downtown Pasadena has many restaurants and shops.  I love Russell's, they have the best breakfasts and pies.  There are many beautiful historic buildings here, including the City of Pasadena: City Hall

4. Head down to San Pedro, CA where you can enjoy uncrowded beaches with the old lifeguard stations and a bath house for changing and showering.  There is a wonderful marine museum called Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, where you can see tide pools and learn about the grunion run.  Also visit the beautiful view park with the Korean Friendship Bell

5. Finally, visit downtown.  There is change happening here, but still the old Olvera StThe Los Angeles Public LibraryMillennium Biltmore Hotel, and nearby Koreatown, Japantown and many museums to choose from.

My tour of LA does not visit the tourist stops.  It's for those who are nostalgic for the old glamour.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pacific Palisades (neighborhood)
  2. Pasadena (city)
  3. The Gamble House (attraction)
  4. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (attraction)
  5. Russell's (restaurant)
  6. City of Pasadena: City Hall (attraction)
  7. San Pedro, CA (city)
  8. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (attraction)
  9. Korean Friendship Bell (attraction)
  10. Olvera St (attraction)
  11. The Los Angeles Public Library (attraction)
  12. Millennium Biltmore Hotel (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Leonard from Minneapolis

Art: LACMA and definitely the Getty Museumfor both the art, the venue and the view.

Spend an evening at a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Go early, bring a picnic basket with deli foods and a bottle of wine, enjoy.

Museums: La Brea Tar Pits is one of the most unique museums in the world.

Food: Go uniquely LA.  Chase down one of the four Kogi food trucks, which really started the modern food truck movement, and grab a handful of short rib tacos.  It'll be the best $2.29 you'll spend in LA.  Or if you feel like sitting down, go to Roy Choi's POT near Koreatown. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. LACMA (attraction)
  2. Getty Museum (attraction)
  3. Hollywood Bowl (attraction)
  4. La Brea Tar Pits (attraction)
  5. POT (restaurant)
1 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Richard from Los Angeles

So, you're Irish?  OK, then I'll assume that you relish sunshiny days and warmth.  And, that you're coming sometime after May 2015.  In that case, if there were 5 iconic LA things to do, I'd suggest:

1.  Beach.  Arrive early like 9a.  Apply lots of sunscreen.  Rent a surfboard. Swim.  Tan.  Bring food or go to a beach with food nearby.  Go for a boardwalk bike ride.  You might do this in conjunction with lunch.  Good beaches, depending on where you are staying, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, or Huntington Beach

2.  Go to a Dodger Game at Dodger Stadium .  Arrive 90 minutes early to see the warm ups and batting practice.  Or, a Laker game.  Either of these are probably a night time activity, so the day would be open for something else.

3.  On surface streets, drive From Pacific Palisades through Brentwood through Westwood, through Beverly HillsHollywood (especially Sunset Blvd) all the way to Greater Wilshire / Hancock Park.  If you follow the right path you'll drive through some 10-13 miles worth of incredible multi-million dollar homes.

4.  Spend time in Hollywood.  See starving actors dressed like super heroes on the streets. See a play. See a movie at Mann's Chinese Theater and check out all the hand and foot prints.  See the Hollywood Wax Museum. See all the sidewalk stars. Go out to a club at night, or see some live music at Hollywood Palladium or the Hollywood Bowl.  The Hollywood bowl is a great venue to take a picnic dinner and wine, go early, and enjoy a classic LA evening.   See the kitschy Hollywood Museum, do a Gray Line tour or get a map of the stars. Go out to a restaurant, see more starving actors who are working as waiters/waitresses and ask "are you an actor"?  Try to see the taping of a TV show, be in a studio audience: 

5.  And, of course, if you haven't been, go to Disneyland.  Get there at leas an hour early to park and get up to the front gate.  Get your tickets online before time.  When it opens run to the best rides and walk on without cuing up until the masses arrive.   You can probably get three good ones in the first hour.

OK, that's five quintessential, iconic LA things to do.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
  2. Venice Beach (attraction)
  3. Manhattan Beach (city)
  4. Huntington Beach (attraction)
  5. Dodger Stadium (attraction)
  6. Pacific Palisades (neighborhood)
  7. Brentwood (attraction)
  8. Westwood (attraction)
  9. Beverly Hills (neighborhood)
  10. Hollywood (attraction)
  11. Greater Wilshire / Hancock Park (attraction)
  12. Hollywood (attraction)
  13. Mann's Chinese Theater (attraction)
  14. Hollywood Wax Museum (attraction)
  15. Hollywood Palladium (attraction)
  16. Hollywood Bowl (attraction)
  17. Hollywood Museum (attraction)
  18. Disneyland (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
JP from Sherman Oaks, California


You gotta see Museum of Comtemparary Art in downtown LA and the The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is really great too. The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is great too. Great place to have brunch is The Castaway in Burbank. A wonderful place to see the final resting place of Hollywood stars is Hollywood Forever Cemetery 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Museum of Comtemparary Art (attraction)
  2. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (attraction)
  3. Norton Simon Museum (attraction)
  4. The Castaway (restaurant)
  5. Hollywood Forever Cemetery (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica Pier (attraction)
  2. Paradise Cove (neighborhood)
1 thanks

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