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The Strand in Manhattan Beach
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Jake Blucker

Things to do outside in Los Angeles

Bask in the city’s year-round sunshine with our list of the very best things to do outside in Los Angeles

Written by Michael Juliano in association with City Cruises

L.A.’s amazing weather (and all of that famous sunshine) make it perfect for exploring the great outdoors, no matter what time of year. So we’ve concocted a list of our very favorite things to do outside in Los Angeles, from bucket-list-worthy alfresco screenings and rooftops complete with booze and pools to seaside sunset strolls.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Los Angeles

Best things to do outside in Los Angeles

  • Things to do

With 70-degree-plus days year-round and miles and miles of picturesque coastline, Angelenos can enjoy a day at the beach from January to December. Manhattan Beach’s El Porto is an easy-to-access go-to surf spot, but really wherever there’s water, there are waves to ride—or sandy beaches on which to stroll. (Those beautiful sunsets don’t hurt either.)

  • Things to do

We know: Everybody has to do this in Los Angeles (including, yes, lots and lots of tourists). But there’s a reason for that: It’s awesome. Spanning an impressive 4,210 acres, it’s easy to get lost in L.A.’s largest public green space (well, more so lost in thought than geographically speaking). For more activity-minded folks, there are myriad attractions (the Los Angeles Zoo and the Observatory, to name just two), not to mention some great dusty hiking trails that afford truly stunning views.

  • Things to do
  • Venice

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—hence the name, Venice—and you’ll discover an idyllic scene: arching pedestrian bridges, charming beach houses, bunches of ducklings and the occasional paddle boarding bulldog.

  • Things to do

Manhattan Beach boasts two miles of sparkly coastline, almost all of it stacked with dreamy hillside homes. Most of the activity is centered around the walkable waterfront slope of Manhattan Beach Boulevard, with additional shops and an increasingly essential dining scene trailing along Manhattan Avenue as well. Head down to the beach via the Strand—the bike and walking path that traces the shoreline—for countless volleyball nets and the Manhattan Beach Pier.

  • Things to do

If you’re looking for weekend getaways out of L.A., Santa Catalina Island is a close and beautiful bet. The lstrip of land—accessable by ferries from Long Beach or San Pedro—has all the makings of a well rounded vacation: rich history, beach town relaxation and outdoorsy adventure. It’s only 22 miles from the mainland, but whether you stay for a day or the whole weekend, you’ll be on island time in no time. 

  • Bars

L.A. may not exactly be known for its Oktoberfest spirit, but it does have a few year-round beer gardens where you can grab a pint or a flight outdoors. Our picks below don’t just focus on German-style taprooms here: Yes, we’ve included some of our favorite Bavarian-inspired beer bars, but also some spots that simply have patios too pretty to pass up.

  • Museums
  • History
  • Pacific Palisades

Reservations required.

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. Even if you’re not interested in the art, the palatial courtyards and manicured gardens are worth the visit.

  • Restaurants

Oh, you think you’ve tried a good blood orange? Come back to us after visiting the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market on a Wednesday morning. These farmers’ markets are where the best restaurants in L.A. buy their produce, where you can indulge in your love for cheap eats with endless samplings, and where cartons of avocados seem to stretch as far as the eye can see.

  • Things to do

Can’t make it to the beach? Roll out a blanket instead at one L.A.’s beautiful parks. Whether you’re an art aficionado or a devoted dog owner, there’s a slice of nature that fits your lifestyle. So take a stroll through our favorite (and free) parks in Los Angeles.

This feature is brought to you by City Cruises anchored by Hornblower, who are ready to whisk you off on a breathtaking cruise in cities across the country. Fresh air and unforgettable views are waiting at a dock near you, from San Diego and LA to San Francisco, all the way to Chicago, DC and New York. Click below to discover five reasons why a City Cruise is the perfect way to make the most of your time outdoors in a beautiful city. Non-stop sightseeing, delicious dining and the freedom of feeling the wind through your hair are just the beginning... 

Find more open-air activities in L.A.

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