Los Angeles is one of the most legendary cities in the USA. Because of its relation to Hollywood, it has impacted nearly every corner of the world. People from all over want to see where celebrities make the magic happen. But, LA is not just the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. There’s incredible nature, amazing art and a rich history. I am required to give you some celebrity based things to do in Los Angeles. However, I also included things that will allow you to embrace the nature, art and history that comes with the city of Los Angeles.
When looking for things to do in Los Angeles, you’ll come across many hiking options. That’s one of the great parts about LA. While the city is sprawling and populated, it has set aside land to work out the kinks you’ll get from sitting in hours of traffic. I can’t go into every hike, but for first-timers, you can’t go wrong with Griffith Park. You can hike 40 minutes to the famed Griffith Observatory. You’ll want to spend time here where you can get amazing views from the top. You can also check out the exhibits within the observatory. After you’re finished, you can head Northeast where you’ll find the Old Los Angeles Zoo. Northwest is the Hollywood sign. While you can’t walk up to touch the letters (legally), you can get close for some awesome pics. I highly recommend spending one of your days in LA enjoying a hike.
Theme parks aren’t always necessary. If you’ve been before, you can cross this of your things to do in Los Angeles. But for those who haven’t, or if you have children, it can be a fun way to spend a day. Disney and Universal Studios are the two most famous in the USA. If you’re not making it to Florida soon, then this is your chance to experience them. What I love about these theme parks is the immersive experience they give you, specifically Disney. You really feel like you’ve entered another world. However, I personally prefer Universal Studios as the movies are more relative to adults. In addition, the cost is lower, the lines shorter and they have a “Behind the Scenes” Studio Tour included with the general admission ticket. You get to see where some of the most famous scenes in movie history were filmed.
For tourists, one of the most popular things to do in Los Angeles are Celebrity Home Tours. While the appeal to many is seeing the houses of the rich and famous, these tours offer a lot more. On our Grand City Tour with Starline Tours we got to see the homes of stars Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber. However, what I was most impressed by was the amount of history covered. Los Angeles’ history is so intertwined with celebrity lore. We learned the history and visited the sites where River Phoenix, Michael Jackson and John Belushi passed away. We saw THE Hotel California that inspired the Eagles song and album cover. Our tour even visited the restaurant Joe DiMaggio took Marilyn Monroe on their first date. It seemed that every inch we covered, there was some sort of celebrity legend attached to it.
One thing to note, there are celebrity home tours offered by a TON of companies in Los Angeles. It feels like you can’t walk a step without a solicitation. Many of these tours don’t give much factual info, so it’s important to go with one that you can trust. Starline is the original operator for these types of tours and no one is more trustworthy. They have been doing it since 1935. They know what they’re doing, so when you’re in LA, seek them out and know the info you’re getting is legitimate.
The Getty Center is enormous and extremely popular. With over 1 million visitors per year, it’s one of the most visited “museums” in the USA. I put “Museums” in quotes because it’s so much more than that. Firstly, there’s the architecture. Richard Meier, the architect of the Center, did not spare any detail. Everything from the buildings to the little intricacies carved into the walls are related. Every angle provides a different viewpoint of the impressive symmetry. Beyond that you have the gardens, the lawns, the vistas and of course, the art. There’s Van Gogh’s, “Irises,” and Monet’s “Portal of the Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light” series. There’s sculptures, furniture and beautiful decorative items. And of course, there’s amazing views of Los Angeles. Best of all, it’s free.
Not everyone will spot a celebrity while in Los Angeles. However, there is one way to ensure some quality time with a Hollywood legend. Paying a visit to celebrity grave sites is one of my favorite things to do in Los Angeles. Unlike other cities, the feel at these cemeteries is often more positive. Adorning fans often leave beautiful notes, mementos or other oddities. For example, Marilyn Monroe’s grave site is covered with lipstick kisses from loving fans. I know that cemeteries aren’t for everyone, but if you’re into celebrity history, I’m sure there’s a few passed celebrities you might be interested in visiting.
Set amongst the Hollywood Sign and Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood Bowl is one of the most recognizable concert venues in the USA. Almost all musicians dream of playing here. Since its inception in the 1920’s, the Hollywood Bowl has hosted legends such as Louis Armstrong, The Beatles, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Prince, The Who, The Rolling Stone, Lady Gaga and Kanye West. It’s also one of the homes to the LA Philharmonic. It’s an amazing atmosphere and generally affordable, as long as you don’t mind sitting higher up. I can’t imagine many better ways to spend a beautiful summer night.
This is the Times Square of things to do in Los Angeles. What would a first trip to LA be without seeing the Hollywood stars along the walk of fame. Anybody who’s anybody seems to have one of these stars. With over 2,500 stars along 15 blocks, you’ll be walking with your head down for a while hoping to locate your favorite celebrity. Start at the Four Ladies of Hollywood Gazebo which was built in 1994 and is a really cool memorial to some of the female pioneers in Hollywood.
LA has been a sports city for some time now. While the Lakers have dominated headlines, LA now has a bunch of other successful teams. Hockey’s, LA Kings have won multiple championships. The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball. You have the recent move of the NFL’s Rams. Although not yet competitive, it’s still a fun sight to see professional football back in the big city. If you like sports, you can’t go wrong with checking out the different atmosphere that LA brings to its teams. You might even bump into a few celebrities along the way.
A good way to get away from the celebrity hoopla is to head down for a day at the beach. You can start at the Santa Monica pier. At over 100 years old, it has all your typical Pier necessities. Roller Coasters, Hot Dogs on a Stick and over-priced ice cream. After you’re done, you can walk on down to the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Less than 2 miles from Santa Monica Pier, you’ll pass tourists and locals alike tanning, swimming, boogie boarding and surfing. Venice Beach gives you more of a local feel as it’s an old school boardwalk. Performers, sideshow attractions, murals, shopping and cheap food. You’ll need a whole day here, but you’ll feel renewed after escaping central LA.
Chalk this up as one of the strangest things I have done in Los Angeles or any city for that matter. The Museum of Death is certainly not for everyone. It’s a museum of artifacts and memorabilia relating to….Death. There’s rooms filled with serial killer memorabilia, including paintings by John Wayne Gacy and Charles Manson. There are letters of correspondence from some of the most notorious criminals in history. There are rooms of artifacts relating to; mass suicide (Jim Jones, Heaven’s Gate, etc.), taxidermy, funeral procedures and more. Personally, I’m fascinated by true crime and if you are too, you’ll enjoy this. But if you’re squeamish, choose one of the other things to do in Los Angeles as this isn’t for you.