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L.A. Bucket List: The 16 Best Attractions in Los Angeles
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L.A. Bucket List: The 16 Best Attractions in Los Angeles

From renowned museums and iconic landmarks to beachside theme parks and luxe villas, these are the top things to do in Los Angeles.

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6 min read

July 20, 2020

Taking shoreline strolls, going on an outdoor adventure, and enjoying cultural experiences are fabulous ways to viva la vida this weekend and make the most of your time in Los Angeles. Let your inner wild-child loose in L.A.’s amusement parks, discover iconic Hollywood stars, see world-class art, or relax at one of the best beaches in the city. Whatever the occasion, L.A.’s amazing attractions belong on your California bucket list. 

The Top Things to do in L.A.

With a stunning beach and thrilling theme park rides, the Santa Monica Pier is a top attraction for visitors all ages.

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1. Santa Monica Pier

Historic Route 66 ends at the Santa Monica Pier, where there is so much for you to discover. Take a ride on the carousel before heading to the aquarium. Are you in the mood to be daring? Check out the trapeze school and fly above the pier before admiring the many talents of Santa Monica’s street performers. Check out Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, too, for an amazing shopping and dining experience. 

2. Venice Beach Boardwalk

This one-mile stretch of shoreline is sure to get your heart beating. The Venice Beach Boardwalk is one of the best places to people-watch. From unique art pieces and street performers to skate and surf shops, the Venice Beach Boardwalk will be a place you won’t forget. If you’re itching for an outdoor workout, head to Muscle Beach (the iconic outdoor gym) or bring your bike for a leisurely ride.

3. Huntington Beach

Known as “Surf City U.S.A,” Huntington Beach consists of five gorgeous beaches, a super chill vibe, and plenty of surfing hot spots. Not really into surfing? Don’t worry, you can rent a private yacht, go fishing, take a tour to Catalina Island, or kayak at your own pace. 

Do you love both surfing and the arts? Huntington Beach is home to the Surfing Hall of Fame and the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum. Check out the surfers who made history, and enjoy a surf-inspired concert every Sunday at the Huntington Beach Pier, hosted by the Surfing Museum.

The famous Griffith Observatory boasts sweeping views of Los Angeles and free exhibits focused on space and science.

4. Griffith Observatory

Momentarily leave planet earth and head to the glorious cosmos. At the famed Griffith Observatory, you can explore exhibits, see live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and view the stars through telescopes. Situated on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, the observatory is one of the best free things to do in L.A. and boasts a gorgeous view of the Los Angeles Basin and the Pacific Ocean.

5. Griffith Park

Griffith Park is one of L.A.’s most accessible, well-preserved, and beautiful natural wonders. On December 16, 1896, Colonel Griffith gifted the park to the people of Los Angeles. He envisioned this tranquil park as a place of relaxation for the community. It’s now home to plenty of hiking trails with picturesque views, campsites, biking, horseback riding, and more. 

6. Hollywood Sign

Rich in symbolism, this famous sign represents the glitz, glamour, and stardom of Hollywood. The Hollywood Sign is an internationally recognized icon rife with historical significance, so it’s no surprise that it’s a classic stop for selfie lovers and professional photographers alike. For fabulous shots, we recommend hiking through Griffith Park to reach the sign

The historic TCL Chinese Theatre is one of the most famous movie theaters in the world and is no stranger to Hollywood stars.

7. TCL Chinese Theatre

Since 1927, this prominent movie theater has been home to Hollywood luminaries, red carpet movie premieres, and exclusive events. To tour the theater, you can purchase VIP tour tickets or movie tickets. Either way, you’ll be gaining new insight into the fascinating world of Hollywood. Located on the sidewalk outside of the theater is the Forecourt of the Stars—aka the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

8. Hollywood Walk of Fame

Honoring luminaries in everything from radio and recording to motion pictures and television, the Hollywood Walk of Fame spans across 15 city blocks and boasts more than 2,690 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars. Here, you can see the names of celebrities from the past and present who have been deemed worthy of eternal fame. Before heading out, take the perfect photo next to your favorite star.

L.A. Amusement Parks

A trip to Disneyland Park is a magical experience the whole family will love. Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort.

9. Disneyland Park

The “Happiest Place on Earth” is home to exciting experiences, delicious food and drinks, a haunted mansion, can’t-miss rides, family-friendly attractions, and so much more. For Stars Wars fans, Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is entirely another world. This intergalactic adventure is super stellar—definitely something you won’t want to miss! (Tip: If you’re a Disney lover and don’t live too far from L.A., you should consider getting the annual pass; it’s a financially savvy way to travel around your favorite park.)

10. Disney California Adventure Park

Located next to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure is a popular destination for both older and younger crowds. The kids will enjoy character meet-and-greets as well as a Disney Junior dance party. Take them to Pixar Pier, Cars Land, Pacific Wharf, and Hollywood Land for memories they’ll never forget. Each California-inspired section will be a whole new world to them. 

11. Universal Studios Hollywood

Calling all Harry Potter fans! This place is for you. Enter the mystical Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and explore the mysteries of Hogwarts Castle. Universal Studios has created the ultimate Hollywood experience—thrilling theme park rides and shows, a movie studio, and unforgettable dining experiences at CityWalk. From the WaterWorld stunt show to Transformers: The Ride, you’ll find a fun attraction to match your vibe.

The 57-acre Knott's Berry Farm features dozens of rides, roller-coasters, and attractions spread across five themed areas.

12. Knott’s Berry Farm

This quintessential SoCal theme park began as a small berry farm and quickly grew into a well-loved destination, thanks to boysenberries (the Knott’s Berry boysenberry bite-size shortbread cookies are a must-try). The Old West Ghost Town and famous fried chicken dinners also make this park a well-known landmark. Knott’s Berry Farm is now home to 160 acres of pure fun—there are plenty of fast and furious roller coasters for visitors all ages. The Soak City water park, hotel, and marketplace (where you can purchase anything and everything boysenberry) complete the expansive theme park. It is a fabulous way to spend the day or weekend when road tripping with the family.

13. Six Flags Magic Mountain

Are you an adrenaline junkie? If so, then Six Flags Magic Mountain is the place for you. This extreme park, also known as the “Thrill Capital of the World,” is not for the faint of heart. Adventurers: You’ll be tossed and twirled high in the sky, so make sure your shoes are on tight and get ready to scream your lungs out on the park’s adrenaline-inducing rides.

L.A. Museums

Nestled in the hills above Malibu, the gorgeous Getty Villa is home to lush gardens and ancient artworks.

14. The Getty Villa

The Getty Villa, home to 7,000 years of ancient art, is set amid gorgeous gardens and is a must-see for those who love Greek and Roman antiquities. Tour this stunning Roman villa to immerse yourself in luxury, then check out the nearby Getty Center—which features European artworks from medieval times to the present—to continue your cultural experience.

15. La Brea Tar Pits

The La Brea Tar Pits is the only excavated Ice Age site located in the middle of an urban jungle. Between 50,000-plus years ago and today, plants, animals, and insects became trapped and perfectly preserved in the sticky asphalt here. Since the early 1900s, more than 100 excavations have occurred at the La Brea Tar Pits, and many of the fossils found are on display in the on-site museum.  

16. The Broad

If you’re into contemporary art, The Broad is an absolute must. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms is an intense experience; it feels as though you’re looking endlessly into the depths of your soul while in an entirely different universe. The Broad features numerous other exhibitions, too—including the prized Andy Warhol collection—and general admission is free. The building itself is also very unique, making this cultural institution definitely worth the visit.

With all the cool places to visit in Los Angeles, where will you go first? Let us know in the comments below. 

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