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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Chateau Marmont

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

One of the many beautiful things about this Hollywood Hills fixture is that it's barely changed over the decades. The hotel still attracts the brazen and the beautiful (everyone from Led Zeppelin to Lindsay Lohan has stayed here; John Belushi OD-ed in bungalow 3); it still offers a quintessentially glamorous LA experience; and it still promises its guests absolute discretion.

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  1. 8221 Sunset Blvd
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California Science Center and Endeavour

  • Free

A fusion of two longstanding prior facilities, the California Science Center opened in 1998 in a bright, airy building directly in front of the Rose Garden in Exposition Park. Permanent exhibit galleries explore life sciences, human innovation and powered flight. But the real attraction here is the recent addition of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which was very pubicly paraded through LA to reach its temporary home at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion—a permanent structure is slated to open in 2018. While the rest of the museum is free, Endeavour requires $2 time tickets, a bargain to come face to face with one of this country's most iconic engineering marvels.

  1. Exposition Park, 700 Exposition Park Dr
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  • Price band: 3/4

Built as a private art museum in the 1920s, this Japanese palace is a spectacular structure with extraordinary views of Hollywood. For years, it was a beautiful building in which to eat bad food, but Jason Park's new kitchen team has made a major difference: the restaurant is now worth a look even if you don't get a table with a view. Japanese, Korean and Chinese traditional items are presented alongside sensible and occasionally daring fusion ideas.

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  1. 1999 N Sycamore Ave
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Third Street Promenade

A four-block pedestrianized stretch that runs down Third Street from Wilshire Boulevard to Colorado Avenue, Third Street Promenade is a pleasant but bland parade of mostly familiar names (Gap, Starbucks et al). The restaurants are ordinary, but the Wednesday morning farmers' market makes up for it. At the Promenade's southern end is the revamped Santa Monica Place shopping center, which reopened in August 2010.

RECOMMENDED: A tour of Santa Monica's Montana Avenue

  1. 3rd St, (between Wilshire Blvd and Colorado Ave)
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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 here it is over 90 years later. You can catch a dead-on glimpse of the sign on Beachwood Drive, or further up the hill near Lake Hollywood Park. Looking to get even closer? Lace up for a trek along the dirt road on Mt Lee Drive to where you will be standing directly above the Hollywood Sign and can experience a total 360-degree view of the cityscape.

RECOMMENDED: Hollywood tours

  1. Mt Lee Dr
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Bob Baker Marionette Theater

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Nothing says childhood entertainment quite like a puppet show, and the longest-running marionette theater in the nation delivers, big-time. The kitsch factor is high here—original puppets (some worse for wear), cheesy old songs and ancient decor—but that only adds to the legendary vibe. In fact, it’s been declared a historic cultural monument by the city of Los Angeles, and tykes truly delight in watching the marionettes come to life in the darkened theater space. They can even purchase a puppet of their very own, post-show, after being treated to free ice cream (and coffee for adults), plus a backstage tour.

  1. 1345 W First St
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Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden

  • Price band: 1/4

These gorgeous grounds in Arcadia, very close to the Santa Anita racetrack, have been designed as an educational facility (the plants are mostly arranged by region, and tours are available), but many people simply come here for a little peace and quiet. You could wander these gardens for hours; many do, taking in tropical forests and waterfalls, trees, fish and the occasional peacock.

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  1. 301 N Baldwin Ave
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Disneyland Resort

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The longstanding Disneyland resort isn't just a set of theme parks: it's a spectacular piece of pop art that's as bright or as dark as you'd like it to be. Incorporating two parks—the 50-year-old, near-mythic Disneyland, plus the younger and less-celebrated Disney's California Adventure—the resort calls itself "The Happiest Place on Earth." And if you bring the right mood with you, it'll likely live up to its nickname.

  1. 1313 S Disneyland Dr
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Zuma Beach

Make the drive past Will Rogers and Surfrider beaches and you'll be rewarded with a clean, wide patch of sand and surf at Zuma. A popular spot on weekends and holidays for locals and destination beach-goers alike, this Malibu beach can hold crowds with plenty of on-site parking (pay at the lot or park for free along the PCH) and lifeguards on-duty. Surfers can catch some waves as this sandy beach break, but waves tend to close out, making this a perfect spot for boogie boarders and body surfers.

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  1. 30000 Pacific Coast Hwy
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Dodger Stadium

  • Critics choice

Dodger Stadium (otherwise known as Chavez Ravine) has been home to the Dodgers since 1962, making it the third-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Even so, it's one of the nicest ballparks in the country. While there, make sure to try a local favorite—the Doyer Dog, loaded with chili, nacho cheese, tomatoes, onions and jalapeños.

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  1. 1000 Elysian Park Ave
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