The 31 best things to do in L.A.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking for more places to explore?
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.