Known as the “City of Angels,” Los Angeles is an expansive city (the second largest in the United States), offering so much to do and see! Los Angeles is a major travel hub and one of the most visited cities in California so it caters to a wide variety of travelers and offers an array of tourist attractions.
Famous for being the nation’s entertainment industry capitol, tourists flock to Los Angeles to experience the wonderful year-round sunny weather, great restaurants and hotels, and unique attractions such as the Hollywood Sign Hike and the Walk of Fame. Los Angeles is an ideal destination year-round for a girls’ getaway, bachelorette party, couples trip, or family vacation.
I was born in Los Angeles and have lived here off and on for much of my life. From a local’s perspective here are 20 unique things to do in Los Angeles!
1) Hollywood Sign Hike
Hollywood Sign Hike is iconic and is a must-do activity when visiting Los Angeles! This hike is the perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon outside in nature, taking in amazing views of the city. Recently I did a Private Hollywood Sign Hike and it helped me appreciate how beautiful Los Angeles is.
Here are highlights from my hike which was about three hours long and a great way to get in a fun workout. During the hike, our guide told us stories about the entertainment industry, Griffith Park, and how the Hollywood sign came to be what it is today.
2) Electric Bike Tour of Santa Monica & Venice
If you’re new to Los Angeles the best way to explore by bike is to do a bike tour. I booked the Electric Bike Tour of Santa Monica & Venice and I was surprised by how much we saw and how fun it was! This three-hour tour is a great way to see Venice and Santa Monica and learn some history about these bustling beach cities.
Check out highlights from my electric bike tour!
If a bike tour is not your thing and you just want to go on a bike ride, there are several bike rental shops near the Santa Monica Pier. You can rent your own bikes and ride around the pier and down to Venice Beach along the boardwalk. There are tons of great restaurants and bars in Venice so it’s a great place to stop and grab lunch or drinks on your bike.
Book This Tour: Electric Bike Tour of Santa Monica & Venice
3) Malibu VW Bus Tour + Wine Tasting
There’s no better way to enjoy an afternoon in Los Angeles than taking a tour of Malibu that ends with wine wasting! Discover Malibu’s beautiful coastline and wine culture while cruising in a classic 1972 VW camper van during this sightseeing trip from Santa Monica. Enjoy sightseeing, ocean views, wine tasting, and iconic coastal gems.
We did this tour and loved it. Check out highlights from our Malibu tour!
Book This Tour: Malibu VW Bus Tour + Wine Tasting
4) Surf Lessons In Malibu
Malibu is 26 miles of pristine coastline that stretches up the coast from Los Angeles. It’s a must-visit and if you’re taking the trip to Malibu why not make it an unforgettable experience and take a surf lesson at iconic Surfrider Beach?
I’ve been teaching surfing for almost 20 years and I offer private surf lessons, year-round in Malibu and Santa Barbara. I’d love to take you surfing when you’re in town.
We’ll meet near the Malibu pier where you’ll have a chance to experience a surf culture like no other, along with the scenic beauty of Malibu as we paddle out to the sparkling waves at First Point. Your lesson includes two hours of one-on-one tailored instruction, a surfboard rental, and of course lots of photos.
Book This Tour: Private Surf Lessons In Malibu
5) Private Helicopter Tour
See the very best of Los Angeles from a bird’s eye perspective on this 1 Hour Private Helicopter Tour. Admire epic views of the world-famous Hollywood Sign, Universal Studios, Downtown LA, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Santa Monica Pier, and celebrity homes.
I did a Los Angeles helicopter tour a few years ago and loved it. The incredible views are well worth the price!
Book This Tour: 1 Hour Private Helicopter Tour
6) Lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel
The Beverly Hills Hotel is iconic, to say the least. This legendary spot oozes vintage glamour and modern luxury. Book a table at the Polo Lounge or the Cabana Cafe to enjoy lunch and excellent people-watching.
Known for LA power dining, the Polo Lounge has long been a favorite lunch spot for stars and Hollywood deal-makers. For instance, my friend ran into Chris Hemsworth (Thor) here this summer and snapped a photo with him.
On the street, in front of the hotel, is also a great spot to take Instagram-worthy shots with the famous BH Hotel sign in the backdrop. The Beverly Hills Hotel is also a perfect place to stay for a weekend getaway in Los Angeles!
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7) Hollywood Walk of Fame + TCL Chinese Theater
One of Hollywood’s most iconic and memorable sites, the TCL Chinese Theater (originally Grauman’s Chinese Theatre) opened in 1927 and represents the excess of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Tours are offered from 10:15 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Monday ($18 adults, $8 kids, $14 senior tickets).
When you visit the TCL Chinese Theater be sure to also take a stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame (open to the public 24 hours a day), where hundreds of movie stars have been commemorated by putting their permanent handprints and signatures on the sidewalk.
The most notable names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are located between the 6800 and 6900 block of Hollywood Boulevard (directly in front of the theater). My grandma, actress Debbie Reynolds, and my aunt, actress Carrie Fisher, both have stars there!
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8) Universal Studios VIP Tour
Experience a day of action-packed entertainment at Universal Studios Hollywood with this Universal Studios VIP Tour that allows you to go behind the scenes of the world’s largest movie studio and theme park.
With this tour, you’ll skip the long lines at all the attractions and get exclusive access to VIP areas. You’ll enjoy complimentary valet parking at the park entrance, a full breakfast buffet, and a gourmet lunch in a private dining lounge open only to VIPs.
Book This Tour: Universal Studios VIP Tour
9) Marina Del Rey Electric Duffy Boat Cruise
Relax and unwind on a 2-hour Marina Del Rey Boat Cruise With Wine & Cheese departing from the famed harbor at Marina Del Rey. You’ll enjoy wine and delicacies while cruising in a fully electric Duffy boat.
During this cruise, you’ll see hidden spots in the marina and local wildlife, including sea lions, and a variety of birds. I did an electric Duffy boat cruise earlier this year and it was so fun! It’s a small boat so you’re close to the water so it allows you to fully experience everything at sea level.
Book This Tour: Marina Del Rey Cruise With Wine & Cheese
10) Shopping on Rodeo Drive
No Los Angeles girls’ getaway is complete without a shopping day on Rodeo Drive. Made famous by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Rodeo Drive is an upscale shopping street in Beverly Hills that is home to luxury boutiques and designer stores such as Channel, Prada, Jimmy Choo, and Gucci.
There are several parking lots on and near Rodeo Drive so you can just drive there, park, and spend the afternoon window shopping. This area also has a lot of great restaurants.
One of my favorite lunch spots is Il Pastaio on Canon Drive. This hot spot is a celebrity favorite. They don’t take reservations but they have excellent pasta, a great wine selection, outdoor seating, and the best people-watching, so it is well worth the wait.
Related Post: West Hollywood & Beverly Hills Girls Getaway Guide
11) Griffith Observatory & Griffith Park
If you do the Hollywood Sign Hike you will be exploring some of Griffith Park but Griffith Observatory is also worth a visit. Griffith Observatory sits on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park and offers incredible views of the Los Angeles Basin including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest.
Griffith Observatory is said to be “southern California’s gateway to the cosmos.” Visitors can look through telescopes, explore exhibits, and see live shows.
Book This Tour: Griffith Observatory Guided Tour
12) Pacific Palisades + Malibu Day Trip
While in Los Angeles you should spend one day exploring the picturesque beach towns of Pacific Palisades and Malibu. Just ten minutes from Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades is an affluent residential neighborhood tucked between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Then head on to Malibu where you can stop and explore the Malibu Pier and have a craft cocktail at Malibu Farm Restaurant while you watch the surfers at famed Surfrider Beach.
Next, you can head on to Malibu Country Mart. This upscale shopping center has an array of cute boutiques and designer shops as well as great restaurants, and several playgrounds for kids.
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13) Shopping at The Grove + Historic Farmer’s Market
The Grove is a luxury shopping center and entertainment complex designed by Caruso that is located on parts of the historic Farmers Market. At The Grove, you’ll find a mix of retail, restaurants, and entertainment in a luxurious, open-air environment.
This fancy open-air mall is definitely worth a visit when you’re in Los Angeles. It is an ideal spot great place to grab lunch, go shopping, see a movie, or peruse the Historic Farmer’s Market.
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14) Lunch At The Ivy On Robertson
If you want to feel like a celebrity, have lunch at The Ivy on Robertson. The Ivy Restaurant on Robertson is known for its stylish, buzzy setting, upscale Californian cuisine, and constant celeb sightings. The Ivy can be hard to get into though so be sure to make a reservation well in advance.
The area around The Ivy on Robertson Boulevard is crowded with boutiques, paparazzi trying to get shots of celebrities, and tourists. An MSNBC article called The Ivy “a celebrity beehive that sees a constant stream of Hummers, Mercedes, and Jaguars pull up and discharge folks who pay through the nose to be seen eating in public.”
There is excellent shopping on Robertson so I suggest going shopping and then grabbing lunch at The Ivy. This restaurant is also great for baby showers, birthday parties, and other special events but be warned, it’s very pricey.
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15) Secret Food Tour
Experience what happens when good food meets culinary creativity on this 3 Hour Secret Food Tour! This unique Los Angeles tour can be booked as a private tour or a group tour.
This fun walking tour will take you through the boardwalk, Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and the heart of Venice Beach. You’ll enjoy seafood on the pier, Tuna Poke on Muscle Beach, Italian fair in Venice, tacos, donuts and more!
Book This Tour: 3 Hour Secret Food Tour
16) Concert At The Hollywood Bowl
No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without seeing a show at the famed Hollywood Bowl. The Hollywood Bowl is an impressive amphitheater in the Hollywood Hills. It was named one of the 10 best live music venues in America by Rolling Stone Magazine.
You can check out their calendar to view their lineup and pick a show. Currently, upcoming performers include: Shania Twain, Matchbox Twenty, Janet Jackson, Andrea Bocelli, comedian Ricky Gervais, and Reba McEntire.
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17) Horseback Riding
On this two-hour Hollywood Trail Horseback Riding Tour you’ll ride to the top of Mount Hollywood where you will see a 360° view of Los Angeles including the famous Hollywood Sign!
Surround yourself with beautiful horses at a ranch located just under the iconic Hollywood sign. You’ll be amazed by unparalleled views of Los Angeles, the incredible hills of the famous Griffith Park and the interesting, historical stories your tour guide will share with you during the ride.
This is a great tour for families and anyone who loves animals or wants to see the Hollywood Sign but doesn’t want to do the hike up to it.
Book This Tour: Hollywood Trail Horseback Riding Tour
18) 420 Experience Cannabis Tour
The 420 Experience provides an opportunity to get a glimpse into Los Angeles’ marijuana culture – Dispensary, Grow Facility, Glass Manufacturing, and America’s first cannabis restaurant.
On this tour, you will: visit a high-end dispensary, experience one of SoCal’s only licensed Cannabis Grow facilities, witness an AMG glass-blowing demo, shop, and smoke in style.
The 420 Cannabis Experience begins at Universal Studios Hollywood, near the Burbank studio tour. After meeting your group and presenting your passports, you’ll climb aboard your comfortable chartered bus.
Your knowledgeable guide will give you an insider’s perspective on the booming legal cannabis industry in California. Each trip caters to the personality and vibe of each group!
Book This Tour: 420 Experience Cannabis Tour
Have you ever dreamed of paragliding? If so, Los Angeles is a great place to do it! With this 30-Minute Tandem Paragliding Experience, you’ll fly like a bird along the coastline. Take to the sky on a large paraglider with an instructor and see the breathtaking views of the ocean and wildlife.
I have not tried this tour yet but I have always dreamed of trying paragliding. It definitely looks like an incredible memory to have from your visit to Los Angeles!
Book This Tour: 30-Minute Tandem Paragliding Experience
20) Lunch At Gladstones
A staple in Malibu since 1972, Gladstones is a family-friendly beachside restaurant featuring classic seafood dishes, burgers, and beach-inspired cocktails.
Located at the famous intersection of PCH and Sunset Blvd—where the sun meets the sea, Gladstones is a fun place to have lunch or an early dinner with sparkling views of the coastline. It’s also a great place to stop and watch the surfers at Sunset Point (located at the south end of Gladstone’s parking lot).
The beach in front of Gladstone’s is also a great place to spend a fun beach day!
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Other Unique Tours You Can Take In Los Angeles
- LA City Highlights Private Guided Tour – Discover the history and glamour of Los Angeles’ famous landmarks on a private guided day trip. Stroll through the renowned Walk of Fame, the luxurious Beverly Hills, and the vibrant Venice Beach.
- City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket – Experience Los Angeles on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour on an open-top bus. Explore Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles, and Santa Monica Pier and beaches with a 24- or 48-hour bus pass.
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood – Experience the excitement of a Hollywood studio with is skip-the-line ticket to Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. Chill with friends on the Central Perk couch and take a tour behind the scenes.
- Malibu: 4 Hour Rock Climbing By The Beach – Experience the great outdoors like never before. Join your instructor and a small group for a 4-hour outdoor rock-climbing adventure in Point Dume, Malibu. Take in the breathtaking views of the California coast.
- LA Grand Tour – This tour will take you through Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica Beach on an open bus, to show you what Los Angeles has to offer. Stop at 4 different locations to experience the highlights of the city.
- Kayak & Paddleboard Tour With Sea Lions – Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of beautiful Marina del Rey while kayaking or standup paddle boarding. Find hidden spots in the marina and discover local wildlife, including sea lions, dolphins and a wide variety of birds.
Where To Stay In Los Angeles
- Proper Hotel (Santa Monica) – Arguably the hippest hotel in Santa Monica. Voted best rooftop terrace in Southern CA, great rooftop pool and fun rooftop bar. Dinner at their rooftop restaurant Calabra is a must!
- Fairmont Hotel & Bungalows (Santa Monica) – A little outdated but affordable and has a great restaurant inside (Fig) and one of the best places to go out in Santa Monica (Bungalow), plus they allow dogs.
- Viceroy (Santa Monica) – Hip hotel option in Santa Monica, in a great location, on Ocean Ave.
- The Beverly Hills Hotel (Beverly Hills) – Known as “The Pink Palace,” this iconic luxury hotel on Sunset Boulevard features a full-service Spa and a beautiful outdoor pool. Downtown Beverly Hills is just 1 mi away.
- Four Seasons (Beverly Hills) – Located in the center of Los Angeles this luxurious, 5-star hotel has rooms with French doors opening to private balconies and a beautiful outdoor pool.
- 1 Hotel (West Hollywood) – Fabulous rooftop pool and beautiful, clean design, 1,000 feet from Sunset Strip.
- Mondrian (West Hollywood) – In the heart of the Sunset Strip, rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. Enjoy sweeping views of Los Angeles while enjoying a poolside cocktail at the famed Skybar.
- Andaz (West Hollywood) – 5 minutes’ walk from the Sunset Strip, retro decor and a hip rooftop pool.
- London Hotel (West Hollywood) – Boutique West Hollywood hotel, steps from Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive shopping, rooftop with cabanas.
- Proper Hotel (Downtown LA) – Proper Hotels re-imagined and updated a historic Broadway Corridor landmark into a 147-room destination hotel with a killer rooftop pool making it a popular downtown hot spot.
- Find the best prices on hotels in Los Angeles
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Los Angeles. If you have any questions or advice to share with our readers, please leave these in the comments below.
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