Sure, L.A. is known for its buzzy cityscape and glitzy Hollywood celeb scene, but peppered within our fair city’s landmark skyscrapers, red carpet soirees, residential hubs and bumper-to-bumper freeways are plenty of alfresco activities and things to do for all you outdoor-loving city dwellers. Whether you’re looking to trek the best hikes in L.A., surf at some of the city’s best beaches, or sip cocktails at top rooftop bars, Los Angeles has enough outdoor activities to keep you entertained (and sun-kissed) all year-round. Check out our list of top attractions for things to do outside in Los Angeles.
Things to do outside in Los Angeles
Spanning an impressive 4,210 acres, it's easy to get lost in LA's largest public green space, much of which remains unchanged from the days when Native Americans settled here. For more activity-minded folks, there are myriad attractions (Griffith merry-go-round, LA Zoo, the Observatory), plus hiking routes, horseback riding trails and three sets of tennis courts.
What is it they say about smog? Oh yeah, beautiful sunsets. Make LA's haze work for you at these cocktail bars and beachside spots, where the views rightfully rival the booze. From Downtown Los Angeles' rooftop bars to Malibu's seaside cabanas, here are the city's best bars with a view.
Take a walking tour of DTLA, led by docents from the Los Angeles Conservancy. Choose from eight different themed tours, including the popular "Historic Downtown," "Art Deco," and "Broadway: Historic Theatre and Commercial District" tours.
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 LA 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.
There's nothing better than perusing wares and hunting for treasures at a classic flea market. Los Angeles, luckily, has a ton of them, offering everything from vintage clothing to record store surplus, kitschy kitchenware and custom-made furniture. There's often food, drink and music to boot—as well as a sense of community, where you can meet collectors, see and be seen, run into friends and meet new people. And though they’ve been stuck with a decidedly off-putting name, these open-air, ragtag gatherings of disparate vendors have remained some of LA’s preferred shopping experiences for decades, thriving by taking advantage of the city’s temperate climate and endless array of parking lots. Long live the flea market! Los Angeles and the surrounding area is home to ten of our favorites, listed below.
If you're looking to spend the day outdoors and have some fun while crossing a few errands off your list, The Grove has you covered. At L.A.'s upscale, outdoor shopping destination, shoppers can catch the trolley for free and take it from one end of the mall to the other (a prime Instagram moment). There's nothing quite like hopping on an old-school trolley for a lift after a days worth of retail therapy (and plenty of bags in tow). And since the ride only takes about 5-minutes, spend the rest of your day outdoors with a walk through the mall's Original Farmer's Market, which boasts more than 100 diverse, gourmet grocers and restaurants; drop into more than 50 high-end retailers for some well-deserved shopping; people-watch on the grassy area where musicians often take the stage; and catch the impressive fountain show that takes place at the center of the mall every hour.
Outdoor movies combine two things we love about L.A.: appreciation of movie-making and spending as much time as possible outside. This summer, pack the best picnic food, grab a bottle of your favorite vino at the wine store, and add these outdoor movies to your list of budget-friendly things to do in L.A. Our guide includes all the best spots for al fresco screenings of classics and new releases under the stars. Be sure to check back all season long for updates on the list, as new screenings are always being added.
In a city where open space is sparse and the sprawl can feel endless, climb up to escape from it all. These hikes provide a great workout and unmatched views that really put Los Angeles in perspective. Whether you're more cityscape gawker or ocean gazer, we've got the trek for you in this list of the best hikes in LA—with views.
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.
With 80-degree days year-round and miles of picturesque coastline, Angelenos can enjoy a day at the beach from January to December. El Porto is one of the city's go-to surf spots, but really wherever there's water, there are waves to ride—or sandy beaches on which to relax.
Find more open-air activities in L.A.
If you're looking for more than alfresco shopping and rooftop dining to quench your thirst for the outdoors, let this be your guide. From deep-sea fishing in Newport Beach to paragliding above the L.A. coastline, we've compiled a list of the best outdoor adventures in Los Angeles for all you thrill-seeking adventure junkies.