Things to do in Los Angeles

Go behind the scenes of your favorite films and top it off with outdoor fun on rugged hills and golden beaches.

Our most recommended things to do in Los Angeles

Universal Studios Hollywood: Ticket with Easy Cancellation

1. Universal Studios Hollywood: Ticket with Easy Cancellation

Enjoy world-class entertainment all in one place at Universal Studios Hollywood™. With the regular general admission tickets, you will receive full access to the park to enjoy either 1 or 2 days (depending on the option selected) of rides, shows and attractions. For those wishing to spend less time in lines, the Universal Express Ticket is also available to book. This ticket includes the 1-day general admission ticket, one-time skip-the-line park entry, one-time express access to each ride and attraction plus priority seating at select shows.* This ticket is very popular with guests, so purchase this ticket in advance here to guarantee Universal Express™ privileges! Some of the popular rides, shows and attractions you will enjoy at Universal Studios Hollywood include: The World Famous Studio Tour Go behind-the-scenes on the world-famous Studio Tour to explore Hollywood's most famous backlot in the world's largest working movie studio. • Tour the world-famous Backlot with comedian/video host Jimmy Fallon and learn the secrets of Hollywood moviemaking.  • Visitors can experience the largest street movie set in Hollywood history built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg himself.  • Guests can see the sets from hit series and witness special effects used in blockbusters like The War of the Worlds. • Plus, you'll ride through the world's largest 3-D experience on King Kong 360 3-D created by Peter Jackson. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ™ From magical spells to magical creatures, from dark villains to daring heroes, it's all here at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. Explore the mysteries of Hogwarts™ castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade™, and sample fare from the wizarding world's best-known establishments. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem  Join Gru, his daughters, and the rebellious Minions on a heartwarming and thrilling 3-D ride.The journey starts in Gru’s home, where guests are recruited for his latest scheme – one where they’ll become an actual Minion! *Does not apply to food and retail locations or non-seated shows. HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s18). Jurassic Park TM & © 2018 Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. The Walking Dead © 2018 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved. ©2018 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved. *Park, rides/shows/attractions, entertainment, experience details and/or access to event may be restricted or unavailable due to capacity/closures/other factors and benefits/restrictions are subject to change without notice. *Ticket is not valid at Universal Orlando Resort. Ticket is valid at Universal Studios Hollywood, located in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

2. Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Get ready to touch, tour, and explore the 110-acre backlot that brought the films Argo and Batman to the big screen with this guided tour of Warner Bros. Studio. From the film Gravity to the TV show Friends, go behind the camera for a revealing look at your favorite cinematic creations. Explore Stage 48: Script to Screen, an interactive soundstage that explores phases of the film and television production process. Re-enact a scene from Friends on the iconic Central Perk set, or climb aboard Harry Potter’s broomstick for a photo opportunity. Explore the Studio Store with exclusive merch from your favorite films and TV shows. Dine at the Central Perk Cafe and enjoy your meal amongst recreated sets like Monica's apartment, and Joey and Chandler's pad. Recreate scenes from the DC Universe where you can explore superheroes and supervillains.  Swish and flick your way through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and even have your own Hogwarts house sorting ceremony. Between December 22 - January 1, 2023, you’ll also be able to explore a special stop at the Midwest Street Backlot, known by Gilmore Girls fans as the set location for Stars Hollow.  Enjoy holiday-themed trivia, guided tours of Stars Hollow, and behind-the-scenes stories from Gremlins, Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and many other holiday favorites.

Universal Studios Hollywood: Ticket with Easy Cancellation

3. Universal Studios Hollywood: Ticket with Easy Cancellation

Enjoy world-class entertainment all in one place at Universal Studios Hollywood™. Receive full access to the park to enjoy either 1 or 2 days of rides, shows, and attractions, depending on the option selected. If you're wishing to spend less time in lines, the Universal Express Ticket is also available. Explore this fascinating park and, with your Universal Express Ticket, enjoy one-time skip-the-line park entry, one-time express access to each ride and attraction, plus priority seating at select shows. Some of the popular rides, shows and attractions you will access include: The World Famous Studio Tour Go behind the scenes on the world-famous Studio Tour to explore Hollywood's most famous backlot in the world's largest working movie studio. Tour the site with comedian and video host Jimmy Fallon, and learn the secrets of Hollywood moviemaking.  Experience the largest street movie set in Hollywood history, built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg. See the sets from hit TV series and witness special effects used in blockbusters like The War of the Worlds. Ride through the world's largest 3D experience on King Kong 360 3D. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ™ From magical spells to magical creatures, from dark villains to daring heroes, it's all here at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Explore the mysteries of Hogwarts castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade, and sample fare from the wizarding world's best-known establishments. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem  Join Gru, his daughters, and the rebellious Minions on a heartwarming and thrilling 3D ride. Start your journey in Gru’s home, where you'll be recruited for his latest scheme, where you'll become an actual Minion.

LA: Aquarium of the Pacific Skip-the-Line Entry

4. LA: Aquarium of the Pacific Skip-the-Line Entry

Take a journey of discovery at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Los Angeles. Benefit from skip-the-ticket-line access so you don't waste your day waiting in the long ticket booth line. Discover sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific, and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific. Come face-to-face with the ocean’s ultimate predators in Shark Lagoon, hand-feed colorful lorikeet birds, and watch the Magellanic penguins. Discover Pacific Visions where you explore underwater realms and future possibilities. The centerpiece, Honda Pacific Visions Theater, features an 8-minute film with multisensory effects. The massive 180-degree curved screen and floor projection disc encompass the viewers’ full range of vision, creating a uniquely immersive experience. The theater experience is included in admission. Come visit our newest exhibition: Babies! Meet the newest members of the Aquarium family and discover how they hold the key to our future. From rescued sea otters, mesmerizing little cuttlefish, and miniature sea jellies to tiny translucent fish and a young desert tortoise, experience the heart-warming joy of baby animals while learning their fascinating behavior and biology, how we care for them, threats to their survival, and what their future means for their species and our ocean planet. Also learn about the many endangered local animals that the Aquarium is helping to save, including frogs, abalone, giant sea bass, green sea turtles, and more. Open Now! Join us as we feature new arrivals and the latest births. Babies hold the future for all species. There is always something going on at the Aquarium of the Pacific! Check out these upcoming festivals included with general admission: Moompetam: Native American FestivalSeptember 17-18, 2022In celebration of local Native American cultures, the Aquarium of the Pacific will host its eighteenth annual Moompetam Festival. This celebration will feature traditional cultural crafts, storytelling, educational programs, live demonstrations, music, and dance celebrating California’s indigenous maritime cultures, including Tongva, Chumash, Acjachemen, Costanoan, Luiseno, and Kumeyaay. Baja Splash Cultural FestivalSeptember 24-25, 2022The Aquarium of the Pacific will host its twenty-first annual Baja Splash Cultural Festival in celebration of cultures from México, Central and South America, and beyond. The event features traditional dance, live music, educational programming in English and Spanish, and booths. The festival takes place during National Hispanic Heritage Month. Southeast Asia DayOctober 1, 2022The Aquarium of the Pacific will celebrate its eighteenth annual Southeast Asia Day. The festival’s program will highlight the beauty and diversity of the cultures of Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Indonesia. Guests will enjoy live performances, including music, dance, and cultural craft demonstrations. Children will have the opportunity to partake in arts and crafts. Scarium of the PacificOctober 29-30, 2022Discover the creatures lurking in the depths at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s twenty-third annual Scarium of the Pacific—a spooktacular, educational Halloween event for the whole family. Enjoy special Halloween programs, including the annual children’s costume contest, creepy coloring contest, magic shows, underwater pumpkin carving, spooky storytelling, and kooky crafts, and eerie animals in the Great Hall.

Los Angeles: Hollywood & Celebrity Homes Open-Air Bus Tour

5. Los Angeles: Hollywood & Celebrity Homes Open-Air Bus Tour

See Hollywood’s highlights for yourself on a guided sightseeing tour from the comfort of an open-top bus. Marvel at iconic locations such as the Hollywood Sign, where you can stop for a photo and admire the views of downtown LA. Make your way to the local partner’s office to begin your activity. Board the sightseeing bus, and away you’ll go on your tour of Hollywood.  Pass the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theatre, the Art Deco entertainment complex of the Dolby Theater, and the circular Capitol Records Building and other historic sights you’ve seen 1000 times on TV.  Next, head to the Hollywood and Vine district at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.  Cruise down Sunset Boulevard, passing famous bars and nightclubs like Whiskey A-Go-Go and the Viper Room. Admire the Chateau Marmont Hotel, where Tim Burton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and other legends have stayed. Then, drive past the upscale stores on Rodeo Drive as you head towards Beverly Hills. Take a photo of the Beverly Hills Sign and the Beverly Hills Hotel, plus see the homes of Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Elvis Presley, and many more. Be dropped off at your Hollywood, West Hollywood, or Beverly Hills hotel at the end of your activity. If you’re staying outside of these areas, you’ll be dropped back at the local partner’s office. 

LA: Medieval Torture Museum Ticket with Ghost Hunting

6. LA: Medieval Torture Museum Ticket with Ghost Hunting

Gain entry into the Medieval Torture Museum in Los Angeles with this attraction ticket. Discover one of the largest torture museums in the United States. Explore the museum with an audio guide and learn about the terrible history of punishment, torture, and executions from humanity's darkest times. Enter the 6,000-square-foot exhibition and get your audio guide from the greeter. Follow the guide's instructions to learn about the hundreds of examples of torture, interrogation, restraint, and execution devices. Explore the museum at your own pace, seeing a variety of grisly instruments of torture and execution from throughout human history. Gain a greater understanding of how the devices worked by viewing the wax sculptures depicting executioners and victims. While you explore the museum, you can also participate in the thrilling Ghost Hunting Experience by downloading the app.

Newport Beach: 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour

7. Newport Beach: 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour

Embark on a whale-watching adventure off Newport Beach, CA and look out for a variety of whales, including humpback whales and blue whales. Observe marine life in the wild and admire the Newport-Laguna coastline. On these year-round cruises off Newport Beach, many whale varieties are regularly seen including the giant blue whale (summer and fall), finback whale, grey whale (winter and spring), minke whale, and humpback whale. Several types of dolphin, seals, and all sorts of other marine life are typically spotted on the excursions as well. The cruises depart from Newport Harbor, located in the heart of Orange County, which is just a short drive from both Los Angeles and San Diego. Each cruise is a unique experience as you may never know what you might encounter. A recent cruise encountered a pod of more than 30 killer whales, including adults and their young, making for a whale watching adventure of a lifetime. The cruises enjoy a 96 percent success rate viewing whales and/or dolphin.

Anaheim: Skip the Line Knott's Berry Farm Admission Ticket

8. Anaheim: Skip the Line Knott's Berry Farm Admission Ticket

A visit to Knott's Berry Farm means a day full of fun for the whole family and the perfect stop on a weekend getaway or family road trip. Located in Buena Park, California, there's something for everyone at Knott’s Berry Farm with dozens of rides, shows, and attractions in five themed areas. This once small family farm has grown into a family fun destination that you see today and is home to the Knott's Berry Farm theme park. Featuring over 40 rides, splash down the Timber Mountain Log Ride, stroll through the park’s old west ghost town, or hang with the Peanuts™ gang at Camp Snoopy. The fun doesn't stop there. Check out the mammoth roller coasters, go on an old west adventure, and pay tribute to California’s Hispanic roots. Experience all kinds of California fun as you visit the fiesta village, enjoy the beach lifestyle along the boardwalk, and go on an adventure in the High Sierras.

Los Angeles: Petersen Automotive Museum Admission Ticket

9. Los Angeles: Petersen Automotive Museum Admission Ticket

Explore one of the largest vintage car collections in the world. See a vast array of over 100 classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles displayed over three floors and 25 galleries. Admire the artistry and extravagance of iconic vehicles while learning about the engineering behind them. Marvel at Italian Maseratis and Japanese “supercars.” Discover interactive exhibits which will entertain the whole family. Visit the Cars Mechanical Institute inspired by the animated film. Watch as your favorite cars characters explain how the mechanical systems that make cars work. Paint and personalize virtual cars. Race and color your own Cars character to take home. Kids can zoom toy cars around a racetrack. Get behind the wheel of a virtual race car with the Forza Motorsports Experience. Choose one of 8 curated experiences and feel what it’s like to burn rubber on the racetrack.

LA: Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Tour

10. LA: Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Tour

Go behind the scenes at a real working movie studio with a 1-day entrance ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood. Enjoy VIP treatment as you explore by special trolley and disembark at areas not open to the general public. Visit real sound stages where blockbuster movies and TV shows are filmed, and get a sneak peek at the enormous props warehouse. Avail of unlimited skip-the-line access to all the rides and attractions and get access to the VIP lounge to enjoy a light breakfast or gourmet lunch. Rides and Attractions: Fast & Furious - Supercharged: Hold on tight for the all-new Fast & Furious – Supercharged ride that exceeds speeds of 120 miles per hour and catapults you into a high-stakes underworld of fast cars and international crime cartels. Despicable Me Minion Mayhem Get the chance to become one of the mischievous Minions on a hilarious 3D ride. Transformers: The Ride Brave an epic ride that fuses HD 3D media and flight simulation technology to put you in the middle of the ultimate war zone. Studio Tour Go behind the scenes and explore Hollywood’s most famous back lot at the world’s largest working movie studio. King Kong 360 3D Test your survival instincts and prepare to be caught in the middle of a terrifying struggle between a 35-foot T-Rex and King Kong. Springfield Grab a Homer-sized helping of donuts at Lard Lad, imbibe at Moe’s Tavern or the first Duff Brewery Beer Garden and crash through Krustyland on The Simpsons Ride. Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride Face the heart-pounding special effects and unexpected twists as you escape the Mummy’s revenge in life-like horror at speeds up to 45 mph in virtual darkness. Shrek 4D Take adventure to the next dimension in Shrek 4D, with hair-raising and eye-popping effects so real all your senses will be on ogre-time! WaterWorld Experience a tidal wave of explosive action at WaterWorld. Join an adventure that surges to life with jumping jet-skiers, perilous plunges, firefights, massive explosions and an in-your-face plane crash. Special Effects Show Learn the secrets behind the making of your favorite blockbuster movies, and become an expert in Hollywood movie effects magic. Universal’s Animal Actors Witness Tinseltown-trained critters putting pet tricks to shame with their animal antics as the animals take control. Universal CityWalk Kick back with all the great food and live music entertainment of Universal CityWalk. Get some retail therapy with over 30 shops to browse.

Frequently asked questions about Los Angeles

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Los Angeles

Megan Indoe is a Brooklyn based travel enthusiast who shares her adventures with her husband and photographer Scott Herder across their travel channels on social media and their blog, Bobo & Chichi they are experts on Los Angeles as they lived there for several years!

What should I do on my first trip to Los Angeles?

First timers need to see quintessential Los Angeles attractions like the Hollywood sign which can be viewed from the Griffith Observatory along with vistas of the Los Angeles skyline, not to mention this is a really fascinating attraction in its own right, or you can hike to the Hollywood sign on the Hollyridge Trail. Another personal favorite is heading to Santa Monica to shop and dine around the Promenade, soak up the sun on the beach, or enjoy all the fun action happening on the pier. Venice Beach is also a fun stop where you can find great ocean view restaurants and bars, the famous muscle beach, and funky shops, street performers, and walk through the picturesque canals surrounded by the lavish homes.

What are some hidden gems to see in Los Angeles?

Hidden Gems to check out in Los Angeles include the conical Tesla Coil while you’re at Griffith Observatory, which you can see at work discharging lightning every hour.

If you’re wanting to explore a bit beyond the attractions in and around downtown Los Angeles head to the San Pedro Fish Market near Long Beach where you can dine at the waterfront seafood spots. Before or after you can visit the Point Fermin Lighthouse, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and the beautiful Korean Bell of Friendship.

Or if you’re wanting to track down some of the homes used in your favorite tv shows and movies you can go drive by and take photos of the exteriors of homes used in popular movies and tv shows like the Father of the Bride, The Brady Bunch, Beverly Hillbillies, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to name a few of many!

How much time should I spend in Los Angeles?

You can spend as little as a weekend in Los Angeles to an entire week to a month!

You will want a car as this city is very spread out and if you only have a weekend you should stay around Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Venice, and/or Downtown LA.

If you have more time you can explore along the coast and drive to Malibu and Topanga State Park or explore the south and make your way towards San Pedro and Long Beach or even Anaheim, and inland to Pasadena.

What food is Los Angeles known for?

Los Angeles has plenty of food worth traveling to and for. While you’re here you should really take advantage of the great Mexican cuisine, donuts, In N Out, and a remarkable Koreatown.

If you’re looking for specific places to try you have to stop at an In N Out and try a burger - double double is legendary and see if it's worth the hype but be prepared as Californians are very passionate about their local fast food chain, Pink’s Hot Dogs, Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, DK’s donuts, and Canter’s Deli to name a few of the most famous spots!

What is the best way to get around Los Angeles?

The best way and really only way to get around Los Angeles is by car unless you have an unlimited budget for ride shares.

What are the best months to visit Los Angeles?

The best part about Los Angeles and Southern California is that they have one of the most comfortable climates around the world pretty much the entire year.

You can expect warm, dry summers and mild winter temperatures. The further you get away from the coastline the hotter the temperatures can get.

Even in the middle of winter you may only need a light jacket.

There are no bad times to visit Los Angeles but something to be aware of is that the month of June is known as ‘June Gloom’ as the weather is very overcast and the closer you are to the coastline, you get a marine layer for the beginning half of the day which can surprise people who are expecting sunny California weather.

What is neighborhood Los Angeles known for?

Venice is known for its funky shops and thrilling beachfront with skate park, beach volleyball courts, street performers, street vendors, outdoor beach gym known as ‘muscle beach,’ and the Venice canals!

This is a pretty laid back spot to stay and a fun area for dining and nightlife not to mention a great beach day!

Be sure to rent a beach cruiser and cruise down the beach bike path that stretches 22 miles! You can go all the way to Santa Monica, which is highly recommended to Marina Del Rey to find a nice stretch of sand to hang out on in the sun or to just people watch.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

Los Angeles’s food scene is amazing but very spread out. For pockets of great food check The Grove where you can find tons of shopping and dining options plus the famous farmer’s market here, head to LA’s famous Koreatown, Thai Town, Little Armenia, and Los Feliz for more global cuisines to check out, and Santa Monica around the pier has plenty of great dining options.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

If budget is no issue you should head to Melrose Avenue Shopping District and Rodeo Drive for designer, luxury, and high end shops and boutiques.

Third Street Promenade and The Grove are basically an outdoor mall with tons of shopping opportunities for just above everyone.

And Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach is where you can find really great independent boutiques.

And for fashion lovers head to the LA Fashion District downtown where you can find deals at wholesale retailers where many boutiques and retail chains get their own inventory from!

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Los Angeles?

If you had to pick one neighborhood or area to stay in, Santa Monica or Venice Beach would be the best if you’re hoping to enjoy the best of Los Angeles from beaches, shopping, and dining.

Staying at one of these beach areas is a little more laid back than Downtown LA and if you plan around traffic you can easily visit other parts of LA and get back to the beach for the rest of your afternoon and sunset.

The best times to explore and avoid the notorious Los Angeles traffic is before 7:30 am, between the hours of 9:30 to around 3:45 pm, or after 7:00 pm.

What is the best thing to do in Los Angeles for couples?

One of the most romantic and secluded areas for couples or a date is taking a stroll along long bluff overlooking the ocean at Point Dume off the coast of Malibu.

Afterwards grab a romantic dinner with one of the many restaurants with ocean views in Malibu.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Los Angeles?

The best spots for outdoor activities are the beach and hiking around the Hollywood hills!

Head to the Hollyridge Trail for a quick hike to the Hollywood sign, start at Griffith Observatory and wander around the hiking trails, or hike the Brush Canyon Trail where you can pass the Bronson Cave, the ‘bat cave’ from the 1960s Batman television series featuring Adam West as Batman as well as the location for a famous photoshoot with the late Jim Morrison of The Doors.

Venice Beach is the best beach for the outdoors because you have outdoor volleyball courts, the skate park, the outdoor beach gym, and the 22 mile bike path!

What are the best beaches around Los Angeles?

Malibu has the most gorgeous beaches in Los Angeles, head to El Matador Beach State Park for one of the most unique coastlines in Southern California.

For a classic Los Angeles beach day walking distance from many great places to eat and awesome people watching head to Venice Beach or Santa Monica Beach.

Other Sightseeing Options in Los Angeles

Want to discover all there is to do in Los Angeles? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Los Angeles

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 9,875 reviews

I've never experienced a tour like this -- it honestly felt like I was on Ghost Adventures. We all carried EMFs and got weird readings in a few haunted locations, and with extra tools spoke to spirits. The locations in Chinatown at night were really amazing, and Wes was a great tour guide who really knew his stuff. Super creepy, 100% do it!

From start to end the customer service was amazing. I could call and ask questions and get answers, Albert was amazing pilot and gave a great tour. Everyone at check in was great and so helpful and made sure we were comfortable. They help my proposal go off flawless!

Defo recommend! The first hour or so is guided with such friendly and passionate staff. You get to see lots and even the Friends foundation. The self guided part of the tour allows you to see the Friends set, the Big Bang Theory set and more! Defo recommend!

Fantastic adventure! Great stories along the way by an excellent tour guide. Perfect amount of time hiking and viewing. Highly recommend.

we saw a lot of dolphins, and the price is certainly fair