Things to Do in Los Angeles
Movie famous, home to the Hollywood sign and just a stone’s throw from the iconic Santa Monica Pier, it’s easy to conjure up a mental picture of Los Angeles… but nothing quite measures up to experiencing it in person. Why? Well, because it’s just so vast. And the list of things to do and see here is as long as the City of Angels is big. If you’re visiting for the first time, be sure to check out the activities listed below:
Go Shopping on Rodeo Drive
Without a doubt one of the most famous retail streets on the planet, Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive is home to more than 100 stores and hotels, including the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Harry Winston. Even if you’re not planning anything beyond window shopping, it’s worth a visit to soak up the luxuriousness, charm and high fashion vibes.
Stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame
With over 2,600 stars lining the streets, walking the entirety of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is no easy feat. But stumbling across the stars for your favourite celebrities makes it worthwhile. Don’t worry, you won’t have to search unaided: the Walk of Fame website actually lists the locations of each star, so you can choose to spend an afternoon strolling or pinpoint your personality of choice in advance and head straight for that spot.
Look for the Imprints of your Favourite Stars at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
If the Walk of Fame makes you feel close to the A-listers, then you’re in for a real treat at the iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Here you can mimic the likes of Will Smith, Jackie Chan and more with their famous hand and foot moulds.
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See a show at the Hollywood Bowl
With good music, a BYO picnic and a gentle LA summer breeze, a night at the Hollywood Bowl is pretty unforgettable. The largest outdoor amphitheatre in the USA, it has a public park with 14 picnic grounds and a range of seating – from partitioned ‘box’ seats to stadium-style chairs. Most importantly it showcases the very best pop, rock, jazz and classical music in the world and, with some really incredible acoustics, there are few better places to see your favourite artists perform.
Visit Santa Monica Pier
Opened in 1909 as a way of disguising the city’s old sewage system, the Santa Monica Pier was more about functionality than fun initially. But all that changed pretty quickly. Within months it was beloved for its great fishing opportunities and, by June 1916, the first amusement ride had been built. Today, the fishing continues, as does the fun at the Pacific Park, with its iconic Ferris wheel. And with its beautiful beach setting, miles from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood, it’s easy to spend a few days just milling around Santa Monica.
Admire the Stars from the Griffith Observatory
Dubbed a ‘gateway to the cosmos’, the Griffith Observatory not only offers uninterrupted views of LA and the Hollywood sign, but also of the twinkling canopy of stars above. Best of all, free public telescopes are available every evening that the observatory is open and, one Saturday a month, it also hosts a public star party, with help from local astronomy societies. If you time your trip to coincide with one of these parties, you’ll get a unique insight into the constellations, moons and planets that dot the night sky.
Spy the Hollywood Sign
An American landmark, you can check out the Hollywood Sign while you’re at the Griffith Observatory, from Hollywood & Highland, or you up close on horseback. A guided trail ride from the Sunset Ranch Hollywood is a great way to learn about the city’s Wild West influences while trotting right beneath those huge white letters. If your visit is marking an extra-special occasion, consider a helicopter tour above the sign.
Act Like a Big Kid
American theme parks are in a league of their own, and both Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland Park in Anaheim are no exception. At Universal in particular, be sure to head straight for Jurassic Park: The Ride, and set aside a couple of hours to do the legendary Studio Tour – a chance to glimpse behind the scenes of real-life movie sets, and see scenes and memorabilia from some of your favourite flicks.
People-watch at Muscle Beach
Just a stone’s throw from Venice Beach you’ll find Muscle Beach – where all the Lou Ferrigno and Arnie wannabes congregate to pump iron in the glorious Californian sunshine. Join them or just observe the fascinating daily ritual with a coffee in hand when you buy a US$10 day pass.