Perched on the coastal fringes of California, Los Angeles has so many places to visit while you’re here. Like, it’s mind-boggling how huge, sprawling and diverse the city is. This all means that there are loads of the best things to do in Los Angeles dotted all across the city; and beyond.

Over the years, we’ve visited Los Angeles heaps of times… and never seen the same thing twice. This is a great thing, but it does mean that Los Angeles can be quite overwhelming if it’s your first trip. 

So, to help you get the most out of your visit to Los Angeles, I’m sharing our list of the best places you won’t want to miss. Have an amazing time in LA. 

1.) Griffith Park

Los Angeles might not seem like a walkable city (due to its size), but you’d be mistaken. There are heaps of walking routes, parks and trails that are perfect to explore when visiting Los Angeles. Not only that, Griffith Park has some of the best views of LA and is one of the largest urban parks in the U.S.

Now, one great place for a hike is Griffith Park, which spans well over 4,000 acres. It’s huge and visiting is easily one of the best things to do in Los Angeles, especially for an early morning hike. If that sounds like fun, head out on one of the trails to take in the views. 

Now, to get a good view of the Hollywood Sign, you will want to follow the Mt Hollywood Trail, Brush Canyon Trail or the Cahuenga Peak Trail. These have some great vantage points to see the Hollywood Sign, and they’re incredible too. 

Alternatively, if you fancy a slightly quieter trail, follow the Fern Canyon Trail that starts near Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. 

Afterwards, you might be able to catch a performance at the Greek Theatre. It’s a huge amphitheatre where comedy, concerts, theatre and so much more take place.

Just make sure to check listings before arriving in Los Angeles. Tickets can sell out fast for iconic shows. 

Finally, make sure to visit the iconic Griffith Observatory. It’s not too far from the Greek Theatre. Now, the exhibits inside the Griffith Observatory aren’t the best in my opinion. They’re a little dated, but it’s still a gorgeous place to explore by foot. 

Read more: Best free things to do in Los Angeles

2.) Getty Center

Not too far from the Crestwood Hills area of the city, the Getty Center is incredible to visit. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the best things to do in Los Angeles if you love art and art history. 

You see, the Getty Center houses art from all the way back in the Middle Ages to the present day. It’s incredible and their exhibitions are world-renowned. Now, you can easily spend a whole afternoon exploring the Getty Center, so make sure to give yourself ample time to visit. 

Oh, and don’t forget to go for a stroll around the Central Garden that’s been created by Robert Irwin. It’s literally a living art exhibition. 

Best of all, it’s free to enter! Though, you will need this timed-entry ticket to secure your slot. 

Read more: Best places in California to visit

3.) Disneyland Resort

If you love Disney, you have to visit Disneyland in California. After all, it was Walt Disney’s very first park. 

Now, a heads up, you can easily spend 1-2 days inside Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park. There is so much to do. 

Once you’ve arrived, make sure to head on the Matterhorn Bobsleds. It’s one of the historic rides in the park, which dates back to 1959. Also, don’t forget about visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The whole ‘land’ is so cool. 

Finally, head on over to Disney’s California Adventure Park which is right next door. I totally love the Hollywood Tower of Terror, which has now been rebranded as Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout. It’s one of the best rides at Disneyland. 

Oh, and don’t forget, if you want to avoid the massive queues, make sure to use Genie+. It will give you an allotted time to enter and drop your queue time significantly. 

4.) Hollywood Sign

No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a glimpse of the Hollywood Sign. Now, like I said before, you can easily see the sign while hiking the trails in Griffith Park. It’s all so easy.

That being said, if you’re short on time, take a cab to the Last House on Mulholland. We’ve even jumped in a cab and asked them to take us to a ‘Hollywood sign viewpoint’ and wait for 5 minutes to head back into Los Angeles. This is a great thing to do if you’re short on time. However, request your cab wait whilst you take your pics. 

A trip honestly takes 5-10 minutes in total, unless you’re heading out on one of the trails, too. 

Read more: Best places in California to visit

5.) Beverly Hills 

Beverley Hills is probably one of Los Angeles’s most iconic areas to visit. Just west of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills is a relatively swish and high-end area of Los Angeles that’s well worth a gander. 

An iconic place to stay is the Beverly Hills Hotel. It’s known worldwide for its old-world Hollywood glamour. Now, a heads up, rooms start at well over $1,000 per night; so it can be pricey if you’re staying for a longer period in the city. 

Alternatively, you can easily book in for lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel at the Polo Lounge. It’s an iconic eatery that oozes Hollywood glamour. 

Afterwards, head over to Greystone Mansion. This 55-room mansion was first completed in 1928 and still stands proudly to this day. Once here, you’ll get to learn about its exciting, albeit dark history about its builder. I’m not going to give any spoilers here. 

Oh, and don’t forget to stroll around Rodeo Drive, too. Here, you’ll find heaps of designer stores and spots like Erewhon where you can grab a smoothie or wrap whilst walking around. 

Read more: Best places in California to visit

6.) Venice Beach

Easily one of the best beachfront areas in Los Angeles, Venice Beach is a spot you don’t want to miss on your trip. 

Once here, make sure to take a stroll along Venice Boardwalk and take a few hours to chill on the beach. It’s a huge beach and lovely and sandy.

That being said, the area can get very busy at peak times. So, if you want a slightly quieter time at Venice Beach, then arrive early in the morning. 

If you’re feeling peckish, head on over to Fig Tree. Their grilled seabass was so good.

Alternatively, if you are easily visiting Venice, then head to Great White. They make a delicious ricotta hotcake and smoothie bowls. 

Read more: Best places in California to visit

7.) Universal Studios Hollywood

I loved Universal Studios in Hollywood when I visited Los Angeles. It was such a fun day and so close to Griffith Park, too. 

Now, first things first, make sure to grab these Universal Studios tickets before arriving. You see, there is an allotted capacity per day and this can actually fill up at peak times. Best of all, these tickets, allow you to cancel up to 24 hours in advance with a full refund. This is handy as you can change the dates if the weather doesn’t look to be too good. 

Once inside, make sure to explore Hogsmeade and visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s so much fun. Also, you’ll be able to experience Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and see Super Nintendo World (which is opening soon).

It really is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles if you want a day of fun. 

Read more: Best places in California to visit

8.) Hollywood Walk of Fame

Love it or hate it, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is a sight to see in Los Angeles. 

Now, it can feel a little ‘theme parky’ if that makes sense. But it’s still worth strolling down if you’re interested in celebrity culture or movies. 

Best of all, you don’t need any tours to see the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s so easy to do on your own. Once here, take a stroll up and down Hollywood Boulevard and spot the stars of your favourite movie star. 

Like I said, you’ll either love it or hate it; but it’s well worth going, even if for a 15-minute stroll to see what it’s all about. 

Alternatively, book this celebrity home open-air bus tour.  You’ll get to see some of the Hollywood homes along this really fun and pretty interesting tour. I genuinely didn’t think I’d like this, but it was well done. 

Afterwards, take a cab for a few minutes and head to the iconic Pinky’s for their classic hotdogs that have been served daily since 1939. Make sure to try Pink’s Famous Chili Dog with extra nacho cheese. It’s incredible. 

Though, just a heads up, lines form really quickly here. If you don’t fancy queuing, head here in the morning to grab your hotdog. 

Read more: Best free things to do in Los Angeles

9.) Santa Monica

Right next to Venice, visiting Santa Monica is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles if you’re already staying around the coastline. 

Most famous for Santa Monica Pier, it’s well worth visiting in the late afternoon to enjoy a day at the beach and an evening on the Pier and surrounding streets. Now, just like Venice Beach, it can get really busy. Be prepared for crowds. 

Once here, make sure to ride the Pacific Wheel. It’s beautiful at sunset. Also, West Coaster is totally fun, even if it is a little rickety. 

For a yummy bite to eat, head over to Ivy at the Shore. Their Spicy chicken Gumbo is so good. 

Read more: Best free things to do in Los Angeles

10.) Los Angeles Central Library

Situated in downtown Los Angeles, Central Library is absolutely breathtaking to see. 

Now, a visit here will take around 60 minutes. Just enough time to see some of the exhibits, reading rooms and the beautiful architecture. 

Personally, I wouldn’t make a dedicated trip to Downtown Los Angeles just for Central Library. It’s great, but great as part of a wider day in the area. Does that make sense? 

Afterwards, take a 10-minute stroll over to Grand Central Market that’s been going since 1917. Inside, the world is your oyster when it comes to delicious meals to try.

There are so many stalls, which makes it a great spot to visit if you’re visiting with a family. It’s such a great spot for lunch. 

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11.) Petersen Automotive Museum

Love museums? Then you’ll want to check out the Petersen Automotive Museum. It’s one of the best things to do in Los Angeles if you love cars. 

Once here, make sure to spend some time exploring the Vault, which changes seasonally with historic and concept cars that are out-of-this-world.  

Just make sure to book these museum tickets before arriving. Tickets can sell out on peak days, especially weekends. 

Visits will take around 2 hours, and you can easily partner this with a trip to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures that’s just over the road. 

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12.) Walt Disney Concert Hall 

Designed by Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is worth visiting either for a free tour that happens daily (between 10 am to 2 pm) or for a show itself. 

It’s easily one of the best things to do in Los Angeles if you love orchestras, dance or operatic performances. It’s honestly incredible and they have such a diverse list of upcoming performances. 

Just be sure to book your show before arriving in Los Angeles. Popular shows sell out months in advance. 

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13.) Broad Museum

Right next door to the Walt Disney Concert Hall is The Broad. It’s one heck of a modern art museum and totally free to enter. 

Inside, you’ll find art from the likes of Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Roy Lichtenstein. It’s incredible and the exhibits continually change. This all means you’ll find something different when you visit The Broad at different times of the year. 

Give yourself around 2 hours to stroll around. We loved it. 

Read more: Best things to do in California

14.) Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Within walking distance of the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is one place you can’t miss in the city. In fact, a visit is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles if you love art and art history. 

Once here, make sure to walk through the iconic public artwork entitled ‘Levitated Mass’ before heading inside. 

The exhibitions and galleries of LACMA have a constantly changing rotation which means there is always world-class art inside. Give yourself at least two hours to wander around and explore.                              

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