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Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Dez Hester

The best outdoor activities in Los Angeles

Bask in the city’s year-round sunshine with our list of the very best outdoor activities in Los Angeles

Michael Juliano
Edited by
Michael Juliano
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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 outdoor activities 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 outdoor activities 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. Malibu’s Point Dume is one of our absolute favorites, but really wherever there’s water, there are sandy beaches on which to stroll—or waves to ride. (Those beautiful sunsets don’t hurt either.)

  • Things to do

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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

There’s only one place where you can feeling like you’ve truly escaped from L.A. without ever actually leaving the county: Catalina Island. The rugged strip of land—accessible 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 (about an hour by boat), but whether you stay for a day or the whole weekend, you’ll be on island time in no time.

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  • 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. Eventually the decorative arts and paintings were moved to the Getty Center, but the villa remains as the home of Getty’s collection of Mediterranean antiquities. While major exhibitions are held indoors, the palatial courtyards and manicured gardens are a draw in their own right—expect to spend plenty of times outdoors admiring the villa.

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  • 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.

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