75 things to do in the summer
From a day at the beach to a night at a street festival, plan ahead with these things to do in the summer in Los Angeles
Thu May 15 2014
Hollywood tour options are in no short supply, from the open top vans that line the Hollywood Walk of Fame to intimate walking tours. Explore major tourist attractions and celebrity hangouts or take an offbeat look at Hollywood history. Finding that perfect one can be a challenge, especially when most Hollywood tours are, in fact, excursions through the Sunset Strip and Beverly Hills. So, we hopped aboard Tinseltown's top tour buses to find you the best tours through one of Los Angeles' most famous neighborhoods.
It's summer in LA and that means beach escapes and the great outdoors. Before hitting the sand or heading to the Hollywood Bowl or catching an outdoor movie, stop by the city's best gourmet food stores for a DIY picnic or pre-made box to-go. And for every other season of the year, stock up on gourmet food items from artisan condiments and fancy confections to local cheeses and homemade baked goods.
We've incinerated our tongues on LA's spiciest dishes at the city's spots for the best tacos, best ramen and best Thai. Test your Scoville chops with Thai town's dynamite challenge or sink your teeth into a fire-bomb taco with our burn-your-butthole guide to the city's top spicy destinations that's guaranteed to melt your face off (and, yeah, pay the next day).
Just inland from the Pacific Coast Highway and easy to miss when you're rushing to catch the sunset, the mystical, mysterious Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is run by a non-denominational order that welcomes visitors but doesn't proselytise to them. Set on a ten-acre site that was used as a film set during the silent era, the lovely gardens evoke old Hollywood: look out for the Dutch windmill chapel, the Mississippi houseboat and a number of gliding swans. The East, meanwhile, is represented by a gilded lotus gate enclosing a shrine that contains some of Gandhi's ashes.
The Original Farmers market doles out lots of live music during the summer season, and our favorite is probably their free jazz Thursdays. Head to the West Patio from 7 to 9pm to hear tons of new and local jazz; sit outside and order food from anywhere in the Market or the Grove to enjoy while you listen.
- 6333 W 3rd Street, at Fairfax Avenue
America’s largest pro surfing competition attracts the world’s elite, who compete for big money while wowing 200,000 beach boys and girls in Huntington Beach. Heating up the festivities are live bands, a sports expo and after-parties with the friendly locals.
- Main Street, Pacific Coast Highway, 92648
Rebranded as the new Sunset Strip Craft Beer Market, this seasonal summer market for the Hollywood set has upped its cool factor. There is still a line of fresh produce stalls from local organic farmers (new vendors are announced each year, though past participants have included Valley Center Growers, enFuso and Denny's Organic Farms). There is still a cavalcade of food trucks and entertainment, but what's new: craft breweries and wineries sampling and selling their beverages to attendees. It's the perfect way to combine grocery shopping and happy hour in one.
- Price band: 2/4
Treat yourself to a few hours of relaxation in this bamboo-colored Koreatown spa. Olympic Spa offers a variety of soaking pools, spa treatments and massage services ($1/minute) for your pampering pleasure. Appointments are recommended, but bringing the hubby and kids is not. No admittance for men or under 14s. How do you say "freedom" in Korean?
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.
Explore the many free attractions in LA—from museums to iconic landmarks and lesser-known sites, we’ve listed the best places to visit on a budget. Whether you’re looking to get outdoors, spot celebs or explore a new neighborhood, read on for must-see LA attractions. Plus, you can even get some post-eating and drinking ideas for your next wallet-friendly date night.
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