101 things to do in Los Angeles
Your essential guide to the best things to do in LA this season, from stair hikes to welding workshops and more.
Looking for things to do in Los Angeles? We've got you covered with tons of options—101, to be exact. Whether you're a culture vulture, outdoorsy type or simply a lover of our fine city, there's more than enough here to keep you busy. How many will you try?
1. Get romantic at the Camera Obscura in Santa Monica
Head to the Santa Monica Senior Center (of all places), trade your photo ID for a key, then ascend a narrow staircase leading to a tiny room containing a camera obscura apparatus that’s more than 100 years old. Passersby outside are reflected in miniature on a large white disk, which you can steer for different views. Sneak a kiss in the dark as tiny strangers stroll across the disk, oblivious to your PDA.
2. Shoot a bow and arrow
Find your inner Katniss with beginning archery classes on Saturday mornings—first-come, first-serve—at the Pasadena Roving Archers Range at the Lower Arroyo Seco Park. If it’s your first time, show up no later than 7:15am to get fitted with equipment—returning archers can sleep in and show up at 9:45am. Your first lesson is free, and a small donation is suggested for each one thereafter.
- Price band: 2/4
- Critics choice
Visionary artist and Pasadena native James Turrell started his career looking to transform light into the subject of art, rather than just a way to illuminate other things. The results have proven a unique perceptual experience for viewers that challenges the essence of how they see. In this retrospective of his work—the first in nearly 30 years—see 50 of his pieces. Get lost in the collection of early light projections, holograms and immersive light installations, as well as a peek at his current project, the Roden Crater, to be set in Flagstaff.
Recommended: Top 10 works at LACMA
4. Join Echo Park’s record club
Check out Echo Park beer and wine bar El Prado’s Record Club, hosted by Origami Vinyl, the record shop across the street. Every Tuesday, bring a record to play for your fellow barflies, and get a free drink in return. (Sign-ups are a week in advance, which means you’ll have to spend two Tuesdays in a row listening to great B-sides and drinking delicious beer. Tough life.)
5. Discover LA’s Central Park
The Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Baldwin Hills has somehow managed to fly under the radar of even the most park-happy locals. One of the largest open spaces in the greater LA area, the park offers hiking trails with some of the city’s best views, as well as picnic tables, playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, a Japanese garden and a fishing lake stocked monthly with trout and catfish. Don’t know where to start? Try an Audubon Society bird watching walk, offered monthly.
RECOMMENDED: Best LA hikes with a view
6. Stop and smell the flowers
Visit the Original LA Flower Market, in—where else?—the Flower District, Downtown. Restaurateurs, wedding planners, florists and botany geeks (and okay, some tourists) make up the hustle and bustle among rows of flowers, plants and “floral accessories” from around the world. Grab a bouquet for a friend, take some great pictures, or just indulge your senses. Insider tip: Avoid Wednesdays and Fridays if possible—they’re busiest.
7. Indulge your patriotic spirit
The Skirball Center has three major exhibitions on display about our country ‘tis of thee, running until Feb 17: Creating the United States; Decades of Dissent: Democracy in Action, 1960-1980; and Free to Be U.S.—A First Amendment Experience. It’s one of the few times you should go see an exhibit on a weekend to avoid the crowd—because in this case, “the crowd” will most likely be every fifth-grade class in the county.
8. Recreate LA’s best pizzas at home
Take note from Mozza2Go’s chef Chad Colby, who demonstrates how to make a pie from crust to sauce to Italian toppings like squash blossoms and housemade meats. Held every Wednesday at 6:30pm, the $150 class gets you antipasti and Prosecco to start, followed by a dozen different delicious pizzas.
9. Cruise Mulholland
Put the top down—or hop on your bike—and cruise along winding Mulholland Drive, the highway that travels through the San Fernando Valley to the Hollywood Hills. Pull over at the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook to take in one of the iconic views of LA’s Valley (David Lynch thriller optional).
Witness an 80-year old LA tradition—and hear some great music—at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, just east of Downtown. Since the 1930s, mariachi bands have gathered here, decked out in their charro (traditional Mexican horsemen) suits, waiting to be hired to play at parties or restaurants. Take note of the historic 1889 Boyle Hotel, better known as “Mariachi Hotel,” where many of the musicians live.
- Pleasant Ave, (N Boyle Ave)
You might also like
Write your own review
Most popular in Things to Do
20 great things to do in Los Angeles for tourists
Best hikes in LA: Get outdoors and view the city from the hills
101 things to do in Los Angeles
25 weird and fun ways to explore LA
Hiking trails in LA: The best hikes with waterfalls
Get spooked at 13 real haunted spots in Los Angeles
LA city guide: A walking tour of Silver Lake
Best off-the-beaten path museums & attractions in LA