The 31 best things to do in Los Angeles

Your essential guide to the best things to do in Los Angeles, from stair hikes to welding workshops and more
Eastern Columbia Building
Photograph: Courtesy Sterling Davis Eastern Columbia Building

Looking for the best things to do in Los Angeles? We’ve got you covered with tons of options. Whether you’re a culture vulture, outdoorsy type or simply a lover of our fine city, there’s more than enough here to keep you busy. Even lifelong Angelenos will find something new to add to their to-do list, between the city’s underground secrets, off-the-beaten path museums and the ever-changing inventory of the best restaurants. How many of the best things to do in Los Angeles will you try?

The 31 best things to do in L.A.

Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirror Room.
Photograph: Courtesy the Broad Art Foundation
Museums, Art and design

The Broad

icon-location-pin Downtown

Stare into infinity

Three words: Infinity Mirror Rooms. Downtown’s persistently popular contemporary art museum has two of Yayoi Kusama’s immersive, mirror-laden rooms (and the standy queue to prove it). Elsewhere in the free museum, Eli and Edythe Broad’s collection of 2,000 post-war works includes artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger and Jeff Koons. Find out more in our complete guide to the Broad.

Grand Central Market
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Restaurants, Lunch

Grand Central Market

icon-location-pin Downtown Historic Core

Have tacos, ice cream and egg sandwiches under one roof

This European-style food hall has been operating on the ground floor of the iconic Homer Laughlin Building since 1917. Even if you’re not there for the food, it’s worth a trip; people from all corners of L.A. mix and mingle among rows of spices, produce and vintage neon signage. Of course, if you’re hungry it’s a great place to get cheap pupusas, carnitas tacos and aguas frescas, as well as food from handsome, trendy eateries like Sticky Rice, Belcampo, Horse Thief BBQ, Eggslut, McConnell’s and G&B Coffee.

Micheltorena Stairs
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Lea N
Things to do, Walks and tours

Silver Lake Stairs

icon-location-pin Silver Lake

Take a hike—a stair hike

There are dozens of public, outdoor stairways scattered around Silver Lake’s verdant hillsides. Though some homeowners have tried to prevent open access, make no mistake: These sets of stairs are for public use. You can find an exhaustive list in author Charles Fleming’s Secret Stairs; highlights include the heart-painted Micheltorena Stairs (Sunset Blvd and Micheltorena St) and the Music Box Steps (Vendome St and Del Monte Dr), of Laurel and Hardy fame.

Neptune's Net
Photograph: Michael Juliano
Restaurants, Seafood

Neptune's Net

icon-location-pin Ventura County

Take in the Pacific at a roadside seafood shack along PCH

Join the weekend biker crew at Neptune’s Net, where the outdoor patio affords views of surfers, kite boarders and fellow diners, many of whom will be large, hairy and leather-clad. Alternatively, dine with locals at Malibu Seafood, where the long line is worth the wait for fresh fish and seafood (grilled or battered and fried) and outdoor picnic tables.

Hollywood Bowl
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/vagueonthehow
Things to do, Event spaces

Hollywood Bowl

icon-location-pin Hollywood

Picnic at the Bowl—even when there’s no performance

This gorgeous outdoor amphitheatre has been hosting concerts since the LA Philharmonic first played here in 1922. Nestled in an aesthetically blessed fold in the Hollywood Hills, the 18,000-seat venue can bring out the romantic in the terminally cynical. It’s the summer home of the LA Phil (and boozy picnics); as long as there’s no performance, it also doubles as a public park.

Hiking trails in LA: Eaton Canyon Falls
Photograph: Victor Leung
Things to do

Eaton Canyon Falls

icon-location-pin Pasadena

Hike to a waterfall and back in less than an hour

Los Angeles is a beautiful place, and it’s not afraid to flaunt it. Case in point: Eaton Canyon. The Pasadena area park is one of the most accessible and easygoing trails where you’ll truly feel like you’ve slipped into the wilderness. On weekdays only, you can cut out the most boring part of the hike and park just barely over a mile from a waterfall.

Photograph: Michael Juliano
Music, Music venues

Walt Disney Concert Hall

icon-location-pin Downtown

Relax in the shade of an iconic Gehry building

Cruise along Grand Avenue and you can’t miss the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a twisted metallic explosion of Frank Gehry’s imagination. You may not realize, though, that the acoustically impressive hall harbors a lush garden in its shadows. Bring a bagged lunch or a climb along the building’s lustrous exterior.

SkySpace US Bank Tower
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Attractions, Towers and viewpoints

OUE Skyspace LA

icon-location-pin Downtown Financial District

Scoot down a 1,000-foot-high slide

You don’t see many observation decks in Los Angeles—blame it on the hazy skies and stodgy skyline. That said, it’s hard to argue with a view of the city from 70 stories high. Skyslide, the glass-encased slide attached to the U.S. Bank Tower’s exterior, shuttles visitors from the 70th floor down to the 69th. The slide isn’t as terrifying as you’d think—some sqeuals and expletives aside—mostly because it’s over and done with in fewer than five seconds.

“Urban Light” at LACMA
Photograph: Courtesy Museum Associates/LACMA
Museums, Art and design

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

icon-location-pin Miracle Mile

Pose in front of a monumental maze of streetlights

Chris Burden’s Urban Light, a piece made up of 202 cast-iron street lamps gathered from around L.A. and restored to working order, has quickly become one of the city’s indelible landmarks. But you’d be selling yourself short if you don’t venture beyond the photo-friendly installation; LACMA’s collections boast modernist masterpieces, large-scale contemporary works, traditional Japanese screens and by far L.A.’s most consistently terrific special exhibitions. Also, be on the lookout for limited runs of “Rain Room” and a Jame Turrell light installation, both of which have been added to LACMA’s permanent collection.

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Looking for more places to explore?

Griffith Observatory
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Pedro Szekely
Things to do

29 Los Angeles attractions for tourists and natives alike

If you’re a tourist looking for things to do, you’ll find plenty of vacation inspiration, from Hollywood tours to a day at the one the city’s best beaches. And locals, you may discover ways to fall in love with the city all over again in our extensive list of Los Angeles attractions.

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