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Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak
Photograph: Michael Juliano for Time OutWild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak

The 50 best things to do in Los Angeles

Your essential guide to the best things to do in Los Angeles, from stair hikes to scenic drives and more

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano
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Looking for the best things to do in Los Angeles? We have you covered with the very best that L.A. has to offer. 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 landmark attractions that are still accessible, an ever-changing inventory of the best restaurants in Los Angeles, essential L.A. museums and even some off-the-beaten path secrets. How many of the best things to do in Los Angeles will you try?

May 2024: This month, we’ve added a citywide comedy fest from Netflix and a Maurice Sendak exhibition at the Skirball, plus a couple of harbingers of summer: Cinespia’s cemetery screenings and the L.A. County Fair. We’ve also refreshed a bunch of our museum and attraction picks with their latest seasonal offerings, including a Pixar fest at Disneyland and a studio tour celebration at Universal. Speaking of the change of seasons, we’ve said so long to our mentions of ski resorts and wildflowers (which turned out to be relatively lackluster).

You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world, or take a look at our list of the best things to do in the world right now

Best things to do in L.A.

  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • San Marino
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A historic library, museum and sprawling gardens that was the bequest of entrepreneur Henry E. Huntington.

Why go? The Huntington’s distinctly themed gardens are easily the most stunning manicured outdoor spaces in SoCal, especially its recently expanded Chinese garden. The library and museum are equally impressive; all require reservations on weekends.

Don’t miss: An excellent exhibition on under-recognized sculptor Sargent Claude Johnson. In the past year, the Huntington has also renovated its historic tea room and rebuilt a 320-year-old house from Japan.

  • Things to do
  • Griffith Park

What is it? A 4,000-plus–acre rugged park in the center of the city.

Why go? The trails, the flora, the views, the howls of coyotes down the canyons at night, the twinkly lights of Downtown in the distance—L.A. may not have a grassy, centralized park, but Griffith’s massive, hilly wilderness makes for a stellar alternative.

Don’t miss: Even when the Griffith Observatory is closed (on Mondays), you can still drive or hike up to the grounds of the landmark Art Deco dome to take in the unparalleled viewsWherever you end up hiking, we highly suggest listening downloading Ellen Reid’s Soundwalk, a location-based musical composition that transforms as you move about the park.

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  • Museums
  • Movies and TV
  • Miracle Mile
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A permanent home for the history of moviemaking that’s finally open.

Why go? The collection includes the sorts of cinematic treasures you’d expect from the people who put on the Oscars, like C-3PO and the sole surviving shark from Jaws. The museum’s gallery rotations currently celebrate The Godfather, Casablanca and Boyz N the Hood, plus French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda and documentarian Lourdes Portillo. Oh, and the gift shop is pretty fantastic, too.

Don’t miss: This month, the museum unveils a new exhibition on the Jewish founders of the Hollywood studio system. Plus, through early August, you can see a John Waters retrospective that outlines the iconic director’s gleefully filthy films.

  • Restaurants
  • Downtown Historic Core
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What is it? A European-style food hall that’s been operating in Downtown L.A. since 1917.

Why go? 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 Shiku, Fat + FlourSticky Rice, Broad Street Oyster Co.Eggslut, McConnell’s and G&B Coffee.

Don’t miss: Tacos Tumbras a Tomas serves the hall’s go-to taco, particularly the carnitas and al pastor.

Take a food tour of Downtown L.A.

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  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Miracle Mile
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? 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, that stands outside of the massive museum.

Why go? Yes, snag your streetlight selfies. 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. 

Don’t miss: Both the Ed Ruscha retrospective and the opportunity to watch Judy Baca paint an extension of The Great Wall of Los Angeles. Also, if you live in L.A. County, book a reservation for a weekday after 3pm to get in without paying a cent. And speaking of free, Jazz at LACMA is back with free Friday night sets through the summer.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Westside

What is it? A retrospective of beloved children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Why go? You’ll encounter more than 150 sketches, storyboards and paintings from the celebrated author, including an entire gallery dedicated to Where the Wild Things Are as well as his illustrations for the Little Bear series.

Don’t miss: Admission costs $18, but you can visit for free on Thursdays. Also, head to the adorable living room setup near the exhibit’s entrance for story time held Thursday through Sunday at 3pm.

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  • Sports and fitness
  • Cycling
  • Venice

What is it? A 22-mile bike path, officially known as the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, that traces nearly the entire extent of L.A.’s westward-facing coastline.

Why go? It’s the best way to tour the coastline. The path starts at Will Rogers State Beach and winds its way all the way down to Torrance County Beach.

Don’t miss: If you’d rather take the path at a walking pace, you’ll find pedestrian-friendly forks in Santa Monica, Venice and Manhattan Beach.

Take a guided bike ride along the coast.

  • Things to do
  • Echo Park

What is it? A former reservoir turned public recreation area at the center of one of L.A.’s most buzzing neighborhoods.

Why go? The historic Echo Park Lake in recent years finally became a family-friendly destination worthy of its bold backdrop: the Downtown skyline amid the lotus flower blooms, fountains and the Lady of the Lake statue.

Don’t miss: You can push your way through the lake in a swan boat ($12 per hour) or stroll around the path that hugs its borders.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals

What is it? An annual celebration of deep-fried food and carnival rides, held from May 3 to 27.

Why go? It’s a century-old tradition, stuffed full of belly bombs, agricultural displays and a car show. You’ll also get a bit of relief from the heat: As of a couple of years ago, the L.A. County Fair has moved from its typical end-of-summer slot to May, a much more forgiving time of year in Pomona in terms of the weather.

Don’t miss: You can save a few dollars by attending earlier in the month, or pick up $16 tickets at Superior Grocers and O’Reilly Auto Parts.

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Downtown

What is it? A free, contemporary art museum in Downtown L.A.

Why go? Three little words: Infinity Mirror Rooms. The persistently popular museum has two mirror-laden Yayoi Kusama installations (the more immersive of which you can now reserve in advance). Of course, there’s plenty more to see, from Robert Therrien’s oversized Under the Table to a half-dozen Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings.

Don’t miss: The museum debuts a new exhibition at the end of the month on Mickalene Thomas, best known for her rhinestone-studded paintings of Black women, collages of old Jet Magazine spreads and revisions of historic paintings.

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  • Comedy
  • Stand-up

What is it? The return of Netflix’s comedy festival, which spans from May 1 to 12.

Why go? The first iteration of this fest in 2022 was an impressive (if pricey) way to immerse yourself in all things stand-up. This year’s edition boasts hundreds of shows from the likes of Ali Wong, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Rock, Taylor Tomlinson and more (we’re highlighted 10 of the most unique offerings here).

Don’t miss: Set up in a parking lot behind the Palladium, Outside Joke is the event comes to a traditional fest with a mix of stand-up, games, food, drinks and merch. You can access the area on a first-come, first-served basis with a ticket to any other Netflix is a Joke Fest show, or you can guarantee entry with a $25 day pass.

  • Movies

What is it? The proper start of outdoor movie season.

Why go? Just about all of L.A.’s major screening series are up and running starting in May, including mid-month entries from Rooftop Movies at the Montalbán and Street Food Cinema, plus nightly screenings from Rooftop Cinema Club in DTLA. Cinespia, too, returns with some off-site screenings, followed by its signature cemetery ones—which we detail later on in this story.

Don’t miss: New screenings and series are announced all the time, so make sure to check our calendar each week.

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  • Music

What is it? The continuation of a packed few months of music festivals.

Why go? With Coachella behind us, it’s time to focus instead on the stagger 10 fests bound for the region in May. Highlights include the surf-inflected BeachLife, goth and new wave-focused Cruel World and aughts indie-filled Just Like Heaven, plus a free night of music to kick off OUTLOUD at WeHo Pride.

Don’t miss: There’s at least one major local music fest nearly every month from now until the end of the year, so make sure to scope out our full list.

  • Art
  • Installation

What is it? A carnival that popped up in Germany in 1987, went into storage for decades and has now been reborn in a soundstage near the L.A. River.

Why go? Though you can’t climb aboard the rides here, the atmosphere is magical. The same can be said for the astounding lineup of artists whose works you’ll see inside: a Ferris wheel with drawings by Jean-Michel Basquiat, a carousel crafted by Keith Haring, a mirrored dome devised by Salvador Dalí, swings painted by Kenny Scharf and many, many more.

Don’t miss: You’ll need a timed ticket throughout the show’s run, which wraps up this month on May 12. You can read more here about our experience at Luna Luna—including why we think you don’t necessarily need to spring for VIP access.

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Downtown Arts District

What is it? A Sunday market with dozens of food vendors in the Arts District.

Why go? The weekly food fest is like an incubator for L.A.’s next big food spot, with more than 80 food and retail stalls at ROW DTLA. You’ll also find the I Love Micheladas beer garden for local brews and micheladas.

Don’t miss: This year’s new vendors include Basket Taco Co., Battambong Barbecue and Taste of the Pacific.

  • Bars
  • Los Feliz

What is it? Friday evening wine tastings held on the west lawn of the historic Hollyhock House.

Why go? Back after a nearly five-year absence, this seasonal Barnsdall Art Park fund raiser features selections of pours provided by Silverlake Wine paired with food trucks and music. You’re welcome to bring along a blanket and picnic basket, too.

Don’t miss: You’ll need to book early to nab a guided tour of the Hollyhock House (an additional $25), but you can take a self-guided and far cheaper tour outside of the event (you’ll find more info in our standalone entry for the Hollyhock House later on in this list).

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  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Anaheim
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What is it? A celebration of all things Pixar at Disneyland, the nearly 69-year-old iconic theme park.

Why go? Pixar Fest (through August 4) has brought animation-inspired decor, food and programming to the pair of parks, including the colorful fireworks show “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” and the family-focused Pixar Pals Playtime Party at Disneyland, and over at Disney California Adventure Park the “Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration” parade and the photo-op–filled Club Pixar. You can also meet Bing Bong and watch Joe play piano at the just-debuted Pixar Place Hotel, which has transformed the former Paradise Pier Hotel into a celebration of the art of Pixar animation.

Don’t miss: If you haven’t been to the pair of parks in a while, there’s a lot that’s changed—and we’re not just talking about the additions of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Avengers Campus—so we suggest brushing up on some of our essential Disneyland tips first.

  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • USC/Exposition Park

What is it? A monthly after-dark party and lecture series at the Natural History Museum.

Why go? The first Friday of every month from March through June plays host to a KCRW-presented evening of music, plus guided museum tours, and scientist-led talks.

Don’t miss: Each month has a different theme, including the Plant Clones are Coming (May) and How We Multiply (June).

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  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A gorgeous and instantly recognizable outdoor amphitheatre that’s been hosting concerts since the LA Philharmonic first played there in 1922.

Why go? 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).

Don’t miss: As long as there’s no performance going on (which is most days in the winter and spring), it also doubles as a public park. During the busier summer season, you’re welcome to bring your own food to ticketed shows (and even booze to LA Phil-produced ones).

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Westside

What is it? A free hilltop art museum with a rolling lawn overlooking the ocean.

Why go? From the ocean to the mountains northeast of Downtown L.A., the panoramic views from this artopolis more than compensate for its relative inaccessibility (you need to ride a tram to the museum). So too do the masterpieces on display, particularly its Impressionist paintings and baroque and French decorative arts.

Don’t miss: Pacific Palisades sister institution the Getty Villa is absolutely worth a visit, too, and brimming with Greek and Roman antiquities. Both museums require a free reservation.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Los Feliz

What is it? A 1921, Mayan-inflected Frank Lloyd Wright house atop a hill in East Hollywood.

Why go? Though the home’s privileged hilltop perch is admirable from the outside, it’s best experienced from within: The exquisite wood detailing, long concrete hallways and geometric furniture are well worth the $7 tour.

Don’t miss: Saturday tours tend to sell out, so make sure to book in advance or try a weekday if you can (Thu–Sat 11am–4pm).

  • Movies
  • Hollywood

What is it? A screening series held at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Yes, a cemetery.

Why go? While the booze- and picnic-friendly vibe are enough for some people, the excellent film programming makes this outdoor series rise above the rest each year. Oh, that and the fact that it’s held at the final resting place of Old Hollywood’s screen legends.

Don’t miss: Cinespia starts its season off-site with Mamma Mia! (May 10) and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (May 17) at L.A. State Historic Park and Almost Famous (May 25) at the Rose Bowl before kicking off its slate of cemetery screenings with Se7en (May 26).

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  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Universal City
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What is it? Super Nintendo World, a new Mario-themed land at Universal Studios Hollywood. 

Why go? The colorful, kinetic land lets you throw shells on an augmented reality-enhanced Mario Kart ride, punch ? and POW blocks for coins, and dine inside an adorable Toad-themed café. It’s the most significant—and greatest—addition to the park since the still-pretty-magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (You can enter an hour early if you shell out an extra $20 to $25.)

Don’t miss: The theme park is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its studio tour with throwback trams and the opportunity to step off the ride and into a few photo ops through mid-August.

  • Things to do
  • Venice

What is it? A series of small canals that run through the beachfront neighborhood—hence the name, Venice.

Why go? Tucked between the grimy Venice Boardwalk and the posh Abbot Kinney, the Venice Canals offer a completely different side of the famed beachfront neighborhood. Take a stroll through these three canal-lined blocks and you’ll discover an idyllic scene with arching pedestrian bridges, charming (and astronomically priced) beach houses and bunches of ducklings.

Don’t miss: Though you won’t find boat rentals anywhere along the canals, you can bring your own non-motorized vessel to tour the neighborhood at water level (enter via the launch ramp at Venice Boulevard).

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  • Movie theaters
  • Independent
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? A 101-year-old theater built by the same architect as the Chinese Theatre and home to the first Hollywood premiere.

Why go: The Egyptian Theatre is back after a three-year restoration project. Now under the ownership of Netflix, the streamer will hold special events and premieres there on weekdays. But the American Cinematheque, the not-for-profit that first revived the venue in the ’90s, will continue to program it on weekends with excellent cinematic picks and Q&As.

Don’t miss: It’s not the only old theater to make its return recently: The Vista, now under the ownership of Quentin Tarantino, is once again regularly screening films (and serving coffee in an adjacent shop).

  • Attractions
  • Beaches
  • Long Beach

What is it? A pooch-friendly paradise in Paradise.

Why go? The four-acre waterfront spot is the only legal off-leash dog beach in L.A. County. The park is named after the area’s late local canine celebrity, Rosie the English bulldog.

Don’t miss: The entrance. There are no fences marking the dog-friendly area—though you’ll know you’re in the right spot if you see the signs and colorful “Dogs at Play” sculpture—so you’ll want to stay between Granada Avenue and Roycroft Avenue between 6am and 8pm daily.

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  • Things to do
  • Angeles National Forest

What is it? A mountaintop observatory, and a winding, scenic drive to get there.

Why go? High up in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Mount Wilson Observatory affords terrific views of the surrounding region. Admission to the area is free, but you’ll need to buy a Forest Service Adventure Pass in order to park at the site and its adjoining picnic area as it’s located within the Angeles National Forest.

Don’t miss: First off, make sure the road up there is open as it often closes for large stretches of the winter. Take a self-guided tour of the grounds, or a seasonal docent-led tour ($15) of the observatory on weekend afternoons (same-day tickets are available at the Cosmic Cafe). For late-night stargazing, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for the pricey but totally worth it ticketed events (the monthly lectures are a much cheaper alternative). And consider securing tickets for a concert inside the dome on select Sunday afternoons during the summer.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • La Cañada
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What is it? A hillside botanical garden in La Cañada Flintridge that harbors a year-round collection of native flora.

Why go? This delightful tribute to the horticultural magic of Southern California includes more than 600 varieties of camellia (best seen between the middle of February and early May), as well as groves and hillsides of native plants.

Don’t miss: There’s always a seasonal bloom to scope out, including—as mentioned—camellias in the winter, and tulips and the Japanese garden’s cherry blossoms in the spring (usually in March or April).

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  • Things to do
  • Pasadena

What is it? A 50-foot waterfall located in an easy-to-access canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Why go? 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. Just note that the creek along the hike can swell after winter rains, while the waterfall itself is reduced to a trickle in the middle of the summer.

Don’t miss: Most easily accessible on weekdays, the Pinecrest Gate is just barely over a mile from the waterfall and cuts out what’s otherwise the most boring part of the hike.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Ventura County
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A postcard-worthy seafood shack on the Pacific Coast Highway toward the western edge of Malibu.

Why go? The fried ocean bites and weekend biker crew make Neptune’s Net a unique destination. (Alternatively, dine up the coast with locals at Malibu Seafood, where the long line is worth the wait for fresh fish and seafood, or grab a superlative lobster roll at Broad Street Oyster Co.).

Don’t miss: Take your food across the street and park in the dirt patch by the water, with views of surfers and kite boarders.

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  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Downtown
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What is it? A concert hall and home of the LA Philharmonic designed by famed local architect Frank Gehry.

Why go? Cruise along Grand Avenue and you can’t miss the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a twisted metallic explosion of Frank Gehry’s imagination. You can look inside the stunning auditorium on a self-guided tour, but the exterior is also just as exquisite.

Don’t miss: Climb up the staircase on Grand Avenue, near 2nd Street, and you’ll find a garden hidden behind the hall. Bring a bagged lunch or a climb along the building’s lustrous exterior. Also, in honor of the hall’s 20th anniversary, you can scope out a half-dozen architectural models (look for them inside in BP Hall).

  • Things to do

What is it? Ten miles of streets, mostly along Palos Verdes Drive, hugging the coast from the Torrance border to San Pedro.

Why go? The first third of the drive sticks mostly to spectacular real estate a few blocks inland, but after you round Point Vicente, the drive changes dramatically. For a few miles past Terranea, there’s nothing but undeveloped oceanfront hillsides, winding roads and golden-hued bluffs.

Don’t miss: Take a stroll by the Point Vicente Interpretive Center for views of the nearby lighthouse.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Silver Lake

What is it? Dozens of public, outdoor stairways scattered around Silver Lake’s verdant hillsides.

Why go? These WPA era staircases are well-suited for a workout or a fitness-included tour of the area. 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.

Don’t miss: 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.

  • Things to do
  • San Pedro

What is it? A mighty metallic bell and pavilion in San Pedro donated by South Korea in 1976.

Why go? Perched over the Pacific, this grassy spot overlooking the ocean is known for its namesake bell, with an ornately painted hipped roof. The exposed hillside is an ideal spot to fly a kite thanks to persistent winds coming off the ocean.

Don’t miss: The bell rings only four times each year: Fourth of July, National Liberation Day of Korea (Aug 15), New Year’s Eve and during Constitution Week in September.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Santa Monica Mountains
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What is it? An 8,000-acre mountainous park that looks unlike anything else in L.A.

Why go? With dramatic gorges, open pastures, lush forests, hidden pools and jagged peaks, Malibu Creek is simply one of the most stunning spots in Southern California.

Don’t miss: A bit of silver screen history; you can spot remnants of the M*A*S*H set and splash in the rock pool that was featured in Planet of the Apes. Consider using your library card to secure a free parking pass.

  • Things to do
  • Pacific Palisades

What is it? A Pacific Palisades hillside park with multiple viewponts of the ocean.

Why go? With a variety of terrain, flora and views of the Pacific and city, Temescal Canyon Park is great for trail runners, hikers and dog walkers. You’ll experience vast, breathtaking views that span from Catalina to Downtown and enough varied terrain to keep you and your furry friend going—all the way to the Valley, should you dare.

Don’t miss: The stop signs. Seriously. They’re photo enforced, and you’ll be sent a $100 fine if you roll through.

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  • Attractions
  • Beaches
  • Malibu

What is it? A small but beautiful state beach in Malibu dominated by rocky coves.

Why go? Because it’s easily the most scenic stretch of coastline in the region. It’s only accessible via a steep gravelly path from a paid parking lot. But the effort is worth it, whether it’s to watch the waves lap against the rocks or see the sunset.

Don’t miss: The tide. The beach here is pretty narrow and sand comes at a particular premium when high tide rolls in.

  • Movies

What is it? About a half-dozen drive-in movie theaters in SoCal that are still going strong.

Why go? For nearly a year, it was one of the only ways to see a first-run movie that wasn’t on your couch. But even with regular theaters open again, we still think it’s tons of fun and cost effective.

Don’t miss: Some theaters are only open seasonally while others only screen on weekends, so you’ll want to check the schedule before you drive over.

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  • Things to do
  • Culver City

What is it? A Westside lookout best known for its 282 steep, concrete stairs to the top.

Why go? The views from the top offer some of the best views of the region, with the ocean on one side and the Downtown L.A. skyline on the other (set against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains in the winter). Once you reach the summit, sit at the long park bench and take in the 360-degree views.

Don’t miss: If you’d rather not beat up your knees, take a shortcut and drive up to the top of the hill and park in one of the many empty spaces ($6).

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Downtown Financial District
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What is it? Take a fuel-efficient walking tour and cherish Los Angeles’ urban architectural heritage.

Why go? The Los Angeles Conservancy walking tours take in the city’s top sights and most beautiful buildings, including Downtown’s historic theaters and Art Deco buildings (on a weekly basis) as well as the modern skyline (monthly). Be sure to reserve a place well ahead, because the tours are incredibly popular.

Don’t miss: The tour of Victorian homes in Angelino Heights (first Saturday of the month) is perfect for Halloween-time.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A once-a-month block of dog-friendly hours at the Palos Verdes botanical garden.

Why go? To spend some quality outdoor time with your four-legged best friend, of course. One Sunday a month, you can roam the gardens’ 87 acres with your fur baby. The rose garden and a few other paths are closed off to pups, but otherwise the majority of the grounds are dog-friendly during the event.

Don’t miss: Nabbing a reservation. You (the human) will need a reservation, while your best friend (the pup) will need to remain on their leash at all times, including in the parking lot.  

  • Bars
  • Downtown Arts District
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What is it? An Arts District arcade bar.

Why go? If ever there was a bar to geek out in, this one is it. L.A.’s first arcade bar boasts more than 40 classic arcade cabinets and pristinely preserved pinball machines—all fixed with cup holders for endless booze-fueled sessions. An homage to the golden age of arcade games, cocktails here have names like Kill Screen, Zangief and Dr. Mario.

Don’t miss: Swing by the last Sunday of the month for an open pinball tournament (or join the L.A. Pinball League, which plays on Tuesday nights).

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  • Shopping

What is it? A staggeringly colossal flea market held outside of the Rose Bowl the second Sunday of each month.

Why go? The sheer size and scale of this flea market means that it encompasses multitudes: new and old, hand-crafted and salvaged, the cheap and the costly. There are plenty of duds, to be sure, but come out early enough and you may go home with that perfect purchase.

Don’t miss: Stray from the main loop around the stadium; there are rows and rows of old furniture, albums and vintage clothes and accessories that fill the adjacent parking lot.

  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Santa Monica

What is it? A series of farmers’ markets held every week year-round in Santa Monica.

Why go? The next time you’re at a restaurant and tempted to ask the waiter where your astoundingly fresh beets came from—don’t. We’ll save you the trouble and answer for you: the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market.

Don’t miss: While the market occurs on a couple of days in various parts of Santa Monica, the best day to go is on Wednesday along Arizona Avenue.

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  • Attractions
  • Beaches
  • Malibu
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? One of Southern California’s most beautiful beaches and a frequent Hollywood filming location due to its iconic rock face.

Why go? If you can’t find a free space along Westward Beach Road or you’re willing to pay for parking, you’ll be rewarded with this wide and rarely crowded patch of sand and surf. As all the parking spots are only steps from the sand, Point Dume is the perfect place to pack a picnic for a beachfront meal as seals and dolphins frolic during sunset—just watch out for those hungry seagulls.

Don’t miss: An easygoing dirth path climbs from the sand to the top of the point, with tons of yellow wildflowers in the winter and spring.

  • Things to do
  • Downtown

What is it? A grand, white concrete tower that’s served as L.A.’s city hall since 1928.

Why go? It’s the cheapest way to take in an elevated view of Downtown and beyond. If you’re ever passing through the Civic Center during weekday public hours, enter on Main Street—then you owe yourself a visit to the 27th floor observation deck.

Don’t miss: Look for the 1984 Olympic torch near the Spring Street exit.

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  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Hollywood
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? A warehouse-sized record store in the middle of Hollywood.

Why go? Sure, Spotify is great, but anyone in search of that arcane track off of that mid-’80s Tom Robinson album knows it isn’t perfect. Neither is Amoeba, but it is the largest independent record store in the United States, and the variety of music on offer is amazing, the prices are fair and the staff really know their music.

Don’t miss: Its new address. The shop recently moved from its longtime home on Sunset Boulevard to a spot at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Avenue.

  • Museums
  • History
  • Griffith Park

What is it? A model train workshop housed inside of a red barn that used to reside in Walt Disney’s Holmby Hills backyard.

Why go? Walt Disney used to ride his own 1/8th scale live-steam railroad—the “Carolwood Pacific Railroad”—around his backyard until he shifted his focus to a much bigger project: Disneyland. In 1999, the red barn that he used as his workshop was moved to Griffith Park’s Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum. Every third Sunday of the month, you can visit the barn to find a collection of train models and memorabilia.

Don’t miss: Legendary Disney artists and engineers are known to pop in during open hours.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Pacific Palisades

What is it? A meditation garden in the Pacific Palisades.

Why go? Get lost in your thoughts at one of L.A.’s best kept secrets: the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. Set on a 10-acre site that was used as a film set during the silent era, its lovely gardens offer some increasingly rare assets today: peace and tranquility.

Don’t miss: A reservation. You’ll need one right now to visit the meditation gardens, which are open for free from Wednesday through Sunday.

More great things to do across the globe

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