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.



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Picnic lakeside at Franklin Canyon Park

Just north of Beverly Hills is the bucolic Franklin Canyon Park, site of the famous '50s TV show Bonanza. Sit serenely and watch the ducks bathe in the ponds or, for more rugged nature-lovers, check out the excellent hiking trails.

RECOMMENDED: Best hikes in LA


Catch a show at Bob Baker's Marionette Theater

Baker opened his doors in 1963, and over 50 years later—after weathering funding scares—this enchanting bit of LA history is still alive. The kitsch factor is high here—original (some worse for wear) puppets, cheesy old songs and ancient decor—but it's good fun. After the show, guests are treated to free ice cream and coffee and a backstage tour.


Take a hike—a stair hike

LA is famous for its semi-secret network of public staircases, reminiscent of a time when residents actually walked (!) up and down hills to get to school, the supermarket and transit lines. More than 275 individual staircases—some neglected, some leading to hidden parks or bungalows, all a good workout—lace the Los Angeles area, from Pasadena to the Palisades. Pick up a copy of Charles Fleming's Secret Stairs—one of our favorite books about LA—to find a route near you.


Splurge at Scarpetta's chef's counter

Watch the kitchen heat up from the best seat in the house at chef Scott Conant's Scarpetta. Admire chef de cuisine Freddy Vargas as he prepares exquisite food in the middle of the bustling kitchen at a counter that seats six. Remember to reserve your seats ahead of time.


Sweat out last night's debauchery

Head to one of the city's many Korean spas (Wi, Natura and Olympic are the big three) for a steam, sauna or massage. Like tough love? Get a proper (albeit painful) Korean body scrub and leave with baby soft skin.

RECOMMENDED: Korean spas: The top Korean saunas in LA's Koreatown


Sit atop a grassy knoll

Read a book or find your favorite flower on the rolling hills of UCLA's Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, a beautiful collection of gardens on the southeast corner of campus. Tip: The self-guided tour is fascinating—you'll see specimens straight out of a botanical fantasy, including a dragon tree from the Canary Islands in the desert section and weeping myrtles from Western Australia.


Take in the Pacific at a roadside seafood shack along PCH

Join the weekend biker crew at Neptune's Net, where the outdoor patio affords views of surfers, kite boarders and fellow diners, many of whom will be large, hairy and leather-clad. Dine with locals at Malibu Seafood, where the long line is worth the wait for fresh fish and seafood (grilled or battered and fried) and outdoor picnic tables. Or drop in at the Reel Inn, an oceanside fixture for fresh grilled fish served with fries and slaw. Grab a beer and head to the outdoor patio at sunset, then go back in to savor the nautical kitsch.


Bake a cake—or pretend like you did

At Duff Goldman's Cakemix in West Hollywood, Martha Stewart wannabes can pipe, stud and sparkle cakes with frosting, fondant, sprinkles and even edible air-spray paint and glitter—all with the help of on-site professional pastry chefs. If you're feeling hungry, the on-site bakery has cake slices and cupcakes in flavors like lemon-poppy seed and red velvet, along with beverages for sale.

RECOMMENDED: Bakeries in Los Angeles: Retro, throwback desserts


Tee off at one of the city's few public golf courses

The 18-hole, 71-par Rancho Park course is one of LA's nicest. It's hosted such bigshots as Bill Clinton and golf legend Arnold Palmer. Plus, it's a welcome (and conveniently located) refuge in the middle of the city. Check out John O'Groat's for brunch next door.

RECOMMENDED: Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles


Channel your inner Gidget

Hang ten at Malibu's Surfrider Beach, the site of the original Gidget film. While the first point is the most popular for its consistent swell, the second and third are less crowded. Head to Malibu Country Mart for lunch and celeb-spotting afterward.

RECOMMENDED: Best beaches in LA

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Jane J. Harley
Jane J. Harley

i was looking for hispanic things to doin LA all i got was 101 things to do in LA............... DISSAPOINTED

Joe B.
Joe B.

Be sure to visit where the sewer meets the sea in San Pedro.


I wish there was a "print this" option!


this is great! reminded me of so many things I want to do! how can I get a hard copy of this list?