The list of things to do in Los Angeles is as long as the city is vast. If your time in town is limited, you could spend days in the city’s essential museums alone and never even make your way to Hollywood. Expect to put in a few miles between beaching it in Santa Monica and exploring Silver Lake, but that’s the great thing about this city: there are so many things to do and see, like the ones listed below, to get the most from your LA getaway.
1. Wise up at the Griffith Observatory
You could happily spend a few hours browsing around the Griffith Observatory, even though you can’t see much through the giant telescope. There’s the popular Hall of the Sky and Hall of the Eye, a pair of complementary displays that explores the connections between people and space. The star attraction is the building itself and its stunning view of the city from Griffith Park.
2. Get active on Venice Beach
Venice Beach has long been known as the kooky epicenter of California, and while it gets more than a fair share of mainstream tourists, the area nurtures its eccentric spirit. Though Abbot Kinney has turned into a posh, high-end ‘hood, the boardwalk has stayed a great place for people watching, with skateboarders, radical pamphleteers and body builders. Go for lunch at the local Figtree’s Café before scanning the shelves at Small World Books. The bohemian district is welcoming to all walks of life.
3. Visit the Museum of Jurassic Technology
The Museum of Jurassic Technology is a museum that’s… not actually really a museum? Yeah. Exhibits include a diorama-laden ode to the history of the trailer park (don’t ask) and the dice of legendary provocateur Ricky Jay (seriously, why’d you ask?). There’s also an ultra-legit tea garden on the top floor. Seriously, this place is extraordinarily weird. And great.
4. See the sights of Hollywood
Hollywood celebrities are never far away in LA. To catch a glimpse of stardust, stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where more than 2,400 figures from the entertainment world are immortalized in pink terrazzo with symbolic gold lettering. If you’re a film buff, look out for the famous hand and footprints at the Chinese Theatre. Countless premieres and galas have passed through, adding to the renowned pagoda’s star quality. It may not all be as glitzy as you imagined, but Hollywood still has its charms.
5. Shop in style on Rodeo Drive
Many people dream of being Julia Roberts shopping on Rodeo Drive, but few can afford to buy from the array of high-end designers seen in the film Pretty Woman. So window-shopping is the order of the day. Along the $200-million ersatz European cobbled walkway Two Rodeo, browsing tourists mingle with serious spenders. A hop away is Anderson Court, which is the only shopping mall designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
6. Get animated with Mickey and Minnie
You’re never too old for Disneyland. This legendary theme park is packed with cool things to do, spread over seven lands and the adjacent California Adventure. After brushing up on a few essential Disneyland tips, stroll down Main Street USA to experience turn-of-the 19th century America, head Westwards at Frontierland and tune into the music of New Orleans square, minus the floods and booze. Great rides include the stomach-churning Space Mountain and the epic Indiana Jones Adventure.
7. Eat your way through Grand Central Market
You could spend an entire day at Grand Central Market and still never try all of the 100-year-old food hall’s varied offerings, which include beloved LA favorites like Eggslut, Sticky Rice, and Tacos Tumbras a Tomas.
8. Work out at Muscle Beach
It’s only $10 for a day pass to this legendary right-on-the-sand buff-up factory, though the cost of years of therapy for feeling inadequate when you realize that you’re lifting a fraction of what the guy to your left is doing is much, much more expensive.