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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71

Getty Villa

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In 1974, oil magnate J. Paul Getty opened a museum of his holdings in a faux villa on a Malibu clifftop. Eventually the decorative arts and paintings were moved to the Getty Center, and the villa was closed for conversion into a museum for Getty's collection of Mediterranean antiquities. Today, there are roughly 1,200 artifacts on display at any one time, dated between 6,500 BC and 500 AD, and organized under such themes as Gods and Goddesses and Stories of the Trojan War. Even if you're not interested in the art, the palatial courtyards and manicured gardens are worth the visit.

RECOMMENDED: Free museums in LA

  1. 17985 Pacific Coast Highway
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72

Angels Flight

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Angels Flight is literally the little funicular that could: The block-long railway has weathered mechanical problems, extended closures and relocation to keep pulling passengers up Bunker Hill over a century after its initial opening. The two, tiered cars that traverse its rails offer a view of the Historic Core below, as well as an amusingly bumpy ride. You can board Angels Flight from either Hill Street or Olive Street, but we suggest the former lest you end up hoofing it back up Fourth Street. Tip: Use your TAP card for a half-price fare.

  1. 351 S Hill St
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73

Museum of Jurassic Technology

  • Price band: 1/4

Don't be fooled by the name: this is not some kind of Spielbergian dinosaurland. It's far more interesting than that. Hidden behind an unassuming, windowless storefront, David Wilson's Museum of Jurassic Technology presents itself as a repository of curiosities, scientific wonders and artistic miracles. Fact is mixed with the fantastical, through the elaborate and beautiful treatment accorded to everything from the history of trailer parks to 17th-century Renaissance man Athanasius Kircher. Which exhibits, if any, are bona fide? Which, if any, are satirical? And, most crucially of all, does it matter? A subversive, witty and brilliant enterprise, the Museum of Jurassic Technology challenges the very nature of what a museum is or should be, while also taking its place as one of the most fascinating attractions in the entire city.

RECOMMENDED: Best off-the-beaten path museums

  1. 9341 Venice Blvd
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74

Bona Vista Lounge

  • Price band: 2/4

Be a tourist in your own town for a night. Past the lobby bar and up on the 34th floor, Downtown’s Bonaventure hotel is home to the famous Bona Vista Lounge. Sure, it’s a little cheesy—moderately-priced, classic cocktails are served in souvenir glasses—but it is a fun, classic LA thing to do. And the bar doesn't offer just regular, sky-high views—the lounge rotates, the better to take in all of Downtown's night views.

RECOMMENDED: Bars with a view

  1. The Westin Bonaventure, 404 S Figueroa St
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75

Bradbury Building

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Bradbury Building's nondescript, brick exterior belies any sense of significance—a Sprint store and the lingering smell of Subway don't exactly scream "architectural gem." Walk through the archway entrance on Broadway, though, and you're greeted with a stunning, light-flooded alley of wood, iron and brick. You'll have to do all of your gawking from the ground floor (and half a flight of stairs) as the rest of the building is private office space. History buffs will appreciate its place as Downtown's oldest commercial building (1893); movie buffs will recognize the zigzagging staircases from climax of Blade Runner. But for everyone else, that awe-inspiring first glimpse alone makes the visit worthwhile.

  1. 304 S Broadway
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76

Museum of Tolerance

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Founded in 1993 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization named after the famous Nazi-hunter and devoted to combating anti-semitism and other forms of prejudice, the Museum of Tolerance was seen as a daring enterprise: a museum devoted to an abstract concept rather than a specific type of artifact. However, while it's an adventurous conceit, it's also extremely enlightening, not least because the museum's set-up is careful to leave it to the visitor to come up with their own definition of the word. The main exhibit is an involving hour-long walk-through on the Holocaust, which blends taped narration with photos, film footage, personal testimonies, dioramas and World War II artifacts.

  1. 9786 W Pico Blvd
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77

Sprinkles ATM

  • Price band: 2/4

We think Beverly Hills' Sprinkles might just bake the best cupcakes in LA—simple ingredients, time-tested recipes and a fun rotating weekly schedule of flavors all add to the flagship bakery's unique charm. But what happens when you want a fluffy, sugary fix at two in the morning? The cupcake ATM, of course! This 24-hour vending machine stays continually stocked with the bakery's best treats, making it possible to indulge your sweet tooth around the clock.

  1. 9635 Santa Monica Blvd
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78

Korean Bell of Friendship

  • Critics choice
  • Free

There's a quiet history that pervades the San Pedro coastline through the Point Fermin Lighthouse, Sunken City and the last vestiges of Fort MacArthur, with its decommissioned battery of heavy artillery that once protected the port. But just up the hill, perched over the Pacific, sits one of the most idyllic spots in all of LA: the Korean Bell of Friendship. The mighty metallic bell's rusty green finish complements the ornately painted hipped roof—its paint job has seen better days, but that doesn't detract from the beauty of the 1976 goodwill gift from South Korea. The exposed, grassy bluff is an ideal spot to fly a kite or just lounge in the grass of Angel's Gate Park. If you've resisted romance with the South Bay, let this be your first date.

  1. 3601 Gaffey St
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79

Amoeba Music

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

While the longstanding likes of Rhino in Westwood and House of Records in Venice have fallen by the wayside, the LA branch of SF's Amoeba has gone from strength to strength; indeed, this is the largest independent record store in the US. The variety of stock (CDs and DVDs, new and used) is awesome, the prices are fair and the staff know their onions.

  1. 6400 W Sunset Blvd
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80

Santa Anita Park

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

With its art deco exterior, classy paddock gardens and San Gabriel Mountains backdrop, Santa Anita Park conjures a romanticized time when horse racing was the sophisticated sport and vice of choice. But the Arcadia venue has also played host to fierce, skillful competition and continues to today, in particular as the frequent home of the Breeders' Cup. Santa Anita Park also affectionately refers to itself as the "Home of Seabiscuit"—the unlikely champion raced on the track 11 times, including in his final start. Free tram tours depart at 8:30am and 9:45am every Saturday and Sunday during race season to visit Barn 38, where the famous horse often stayed.

RECOMMENDED: San Gabriel Valley neighborhood restaurant guide

  1. 285 W Huntington Dr
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