84 Los Angeles attractions for tourists and natives alike

Visit these essential Los Angeles attractions, whether you're a tourist in for the weekend or a native looking to explore



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Runyon Canyon

  • Free

This 160-acre park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains has one main loop, plus a bevy of dirt hiking trails. It's also got one of the friendliest off-leash dog policies. The sea of buff trainers and their sleek, sweaty clients can get to be too much during the busy morning and weekend workout traffic, but you'll be rewarded with some of the best views of the city (and, if you're lucky, a chance to gawk at power-walking celebs). The southern entrance is at the end of Fuller Avenue in Hollywood; the northern entrance is off the 7300 block of Mulholland Drive.

RECOMMENDED: Best hikes in LA

  1. 2001 N Fuller Ave
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Grand Park

  • Free

The slow, lumbering mission to turn Downtown LA into a vibrant cultural hub got a lift when a portion of Grand Park's 12 acres officially opened to the public in July 2012. Dotted with fountains, picnic lawns, bright pink benches and plenty of nooks from which to sit and people-watch, Grand Park is a bright urban oasis that proves the city has a sense of romance. The park plays host to performances, gatherings and other community events.

  1. 210 W Temple St
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Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The bequest of entrepreneur Henry E. Huntington is now one of the most enjoyable attractions in the Los Angeles region. It's also not a destination that you should attempt to explore in full during a single day: between the art, the library holdings and the spreadeagled outdoor spaces, there's plenty to see, and most of it is best enjoyed at lingering leisure rather than as part of a mad day-long dash. From a Gutenberg Bible to an exquisitely landscaped Japanese garden, nearly every inch of the estate's ever-growing grounds and collection is essential.

  1. 1151 Oxford Rd
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Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

While LACMA's collections have long been the most impressive in the city, the 20-acre complex of buildings in which they've been housed had been quite the reverse. At last, though, things have improved thanks to a few exquisite focal points: Chris Burden's Urban Light, a piece made up of 202 cast-iron street lamps gathered from around LA, restored to working order; the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, the Renzo Piano-designed home to a dazzling selection of modern work; and Levitated Mass, a 340-ton boulder commissioned by Michael Heizer that "floats" above a pathway.

RECOMMENDED: 10 must-see works at LACMA

  1. 5905 Wilshire Blvd
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Chinese Theatre

It's still a great place to catch a movie but most people come to the Chinese Theatre for the hand and/or foot imprints of around 200 Hollywood stars. As legend has it, Norma Talmadge accidentally stepped into the wet cement outside the new building during construction; in response, theater owner Sid Grauman fetched Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to repeat the "mistake" with their feet and hands, beginning the tradition. The courtyard is usually choked with snap-happy tourists measuring their own extremities against the likes of John Wayne and Judy Garland, but you can avoid the crowds by catching a flick inside, where the auditorium is as stunning as the IMAX screen's projection quality.

RECOMMENDED: What to see in Hollywood

  1. 6925 Hollywood Blvd
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Walt Disney Concert Hall

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

As the $274-million crown jewel of the LA Music Center, Disney Hall opened in 2003 to rave reviews. The novelty hasn't yet worn off: both inside and out, this is a terrific venue. Designed by Frank Gehry, the hall features a 2,265-capacity auditorium with an open platform stage. The hall is the home of the LA Philharmonic and the LA Master Chorale, but the schedule is surprisingly varied throughout the year. The complex also includes the 250-seat Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre, a gallery and a roof garden.

RECOMMENDED: The best performing arts centers and theaters in Los Angeles

  1. 111 S Grand Ave
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Rodeo Drive

Many people dream of being Julia Roberts shopping on Rodeo Drive, but few can afford to buy from the array of high-end designers seen in the film Pretty Woman. Window-shopping, then, is the order of the day. Along Two Rodeo—the $200-million faux cobbled walkway—browsing tourists mingle with serious spenders. A hop away is Anderson Court, which is the only shopping mall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

  1. Rodeo Dr (between Wilshire Blvd and S Santa Monica Blvd)
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Pink's Hot Dogs

  • Price band: 1/4

You can argue over LA's best hot dog, but Pink's is certainly the city's most famous. The stand, open since 1939, most notably serves up hot dogs named after local legends and Hollywood heroes, from the Huell Howser Dog to the Brando Dog. Prepare for a long line stocked with tourists by day and clubgoers by night.

  1. 709 N La Brea Ave
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Chinatown Central Plaza

  • Free

When Chinatown relocated to its current location in the 1930s, the Central Plaza was to be the neighborhood's vibrant hub of activity. And while the neighborhood isn't quite as bustling as it once was, the neon-drenched square still attracts tourists and locals alike with its shops, restaurants and events such as KCRW's Summer Nights. Local lore often traces the look of the area back to Cecil B. DeMille, but it was in fact designed by the resident Chinese community. There was, however, a Hollywood-backed (and highly orientalist) competitor named China City that burned down in the '40s.

RECOMMENDED: Chinatown neighborhood guide

  1. 943 N Broadway
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Natural History Museum

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The NHM's original Beaux Arts structure was the first museum building in Los Angeles, opening with Exposition Park itself back in 1913. Its massive collection spans more than 35 million objects and specimens (not all of them are on display at any one time), making it second in size only to the Smithsonian's. It's an immense place, so it's well worth planning your visit. Those with only a little time to spare should head directly to the truly dazzling collections in the Gem & Mineral Hall; the revamped dinosaur and mammal halls, as well as "Becoming L.A.: Stories of Nature and Culture," fill out the rest of the museums worthwhile spots.

  1. Exposition Park, 900 Exposition Blvd, between S Figueroa St & S Vermont Ave
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