LA city guide: 75 things to do in the summer

Use this LA city guide as your road map for things to do in the summer and ways to explore the City of Angels.



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Hike up to the Hollywood Sign

  • Free

What may be one of the biggest LA mysteries is how to get as close as possible to the iconic Hollywood Sign. Originally created in 1923, the then "Hollywoodland" sign was supposed to be up for only a year and a half, yet it will be celebrating its 90th birthday this year.


Rock out at FYFest

Each summer music-loving Angelenos from all over the city make a pilgrimage to DTLA's LA State Historic Park for one of the SoCal's best festivals. Emerging artists take the stage along with established acts in every genre from rock to funk and dance, while fans turn out for two days of musical bliss in the California sun. FYF 2013, which runs Sat-Sun August 24 and 25, includes stellar newcomers such as Holy Ghost! and Thee Oh Sees, plus established favorites such as Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House and Devendra Banhart. Check out every band in the 2013 lineup—even download the music—and check back often for updated coverage leading up to and during the festival.


Visit El Matador State Beach during sunset

Small, beautiful and dominated by rocky outcrops, El Matador looks not unlike a European beach. Six miles north of Malibu and 25 miles from Santa Monica, it's past just past Leo Carrillo Beach, accessible via a steep gravelly path.


See butterflies take flight

  • Price band: 1/4

Nature lovers rejoice! Spend a day at the NHM's newly reopened Butterfly Pavilion with more than 53 butterfly and moth species and an assortment of California plants. The seasonal outdoor exhibit allows for adults and children alike to witness nature up close—we're talking having bufferlies take flight and land on your arms or shoulders.

  1. 900 Exposition Blvd, between S Figueroa St & S Vermont Ave
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Spend a day on beachy Abbot Kinney

While Venice's claim to fame may be its beach culture from Dogtown to the Boardwalk, the 'hood's most stylish block, Abbot Kinney, has some of the city's best boutiques, galleries, restaurants and bars. Accessorize in your best beachside casual and hop on your cruiser. Here's your LA city guide and to Abbot Kinney’s best places to shop, eat & drink and play.


See live music outdoors for free

There’s nothing like the sound of music on a summer breeze. From small venues to classic spots like the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre, LA knows outdoor music.


Go wine tasting at Barnsdall Art Park

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Four years in and already a summer tradition, Barnsdall Park’s wine tastings regularly attract sell-out crowds. Perched on top of Olive Hill in the west lawn of historic Hollyhock House, Barnsdall Fridays includes four selections of boutique wines provided by Silverlake Wine every week with a spectacular sunset and 360 degree views of the city.

  1. 4800 Hollywood Blvd
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Rock out to the Echo Park Rising summer fest

  • Free

Celebrate LA’s burgeoning Eastside with a free (with RSVP) music festival– what’s not to like? Echo Park Rising is back for its third year and has grown to two full hipster-filled days, with over 60 handpicked local up-and-coming bands, comedians, film screenings and a Press ‘n’ Play craft fair that will take over the Echoplex. Bands on the lineup include Sir Sly with a bombastic must-see live show, Big Black Delta’s distorted soundscapes and onstage flailing, and countless other buzzy local bands including the Soft Pack, the Lonely Wild, Kan Wakan, Mt. Ossa, Hot as Sun and more yet to be announced.


Master the art of archery

  • Free

Instead of spending away the summer being a couch potato, why not get a little active and be a badass while doing so? That’s right, we’re talking archery lessons, and free ones at that. You can make like Katniss and Robin Hood and learn how to hit the bullseye for free all around the city.

  1. 2459 Motor Ave
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Work out with an outdoor stair climb

  • Free

The workout: Two sets of stairs: wooden = 170 steps; concrete = 199 steps. The wider wooden stairs allow more room to share with (or pass) your fellow climbers. Water is sometimes available at the top for $1 on a grab-and-pay honor system. The concrete steps offer more stability with metal banisters that you’ll need to hoist yourself to the top where it gets super steep.

Users say

Jack 10
Jack 10

"85 to be exact" ...well