Looking for some things to do in Los Angeles? Check out this post for The Ultimate Los Angeles Summer Bucket List!
Los Angeles, or what I would prefer to call, The City of Angels, is one of the most popular tourist destinations around the world. As the entertainment capital, it’s home to many celebrities, actors, musicians and even athletes. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to run into a celebrity in this city. You’re so used to seeing them on TV, the thought of actually meeting one in person would feel so surreal. The Los Angelenos are so fortunate to live in a city where the weather is always sunny and the beach is never overrated.
Also, I’m not sure if you guys remember this movie but Starstruck, a Disney Channel Original Movie, is one of the many reasons why I fell in love with L.A. in the first place, that…and the TV show Jonas! I can still remember listening to the song Something About The Sunshine by Sterling Knight in my head as well as L.A. Baby by the Jonas Brothers.
After listening to them both, who wouldn’t want to visit this city?!! Visiting L.A. is a once in a lifetime opportunity so you shouldn’t let it pass you by! If you’re planning to visit L.A. this summer, you’re in luck! This post has a list of 10+ things to do as well as places to see for every first timer.
The Hollywood Sign
You’ve seen it in movies and you’ve seen it on TV, but in L.A… you now have the chance to see the iconic Hollywood Sign in person! Known as the worldwide symbol of the entertainment industry, the Hollywood Sign was originally built as an advertisement for the real estate development of Hollywoodland. It has now become an American landmark in the West Coast, attracting millions of tourists worldwide.
One of the best ways to get to this sign in person is by doing a traditional hike up one of it’s trails: Mt Hollywood, The Brush Canyon or the Caheunga Peak trail. The trail you choose is totally up to you but if you’re looking for an easy hike I would do Mt. Hollywood! The Cahuenga Peak is more for experienced hikers and the Brush Canyon one is pretty moderate. The map below should give you a clear visual of what you’re looking for.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Get ready to walk on stars as you visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame! There are approximately 2,690 stars in the Walk of Fame and each one represents a person who made a huge contribution to the entertainment industry. You will see stars for people like Mandy Moore, Taraji P. Henson, Carrie Underwood, Tracy Morgan, and even Kevin Hart. The list goes on and on…! I would recommend making a list of the stars you want to see first before you come to visit this place. It can be really overwhelming seeing so many stars at once, so narrowing it down to your favorite celebrities will make it easier. The map below should give you a clear visual of where the Walk of Fame is located.
Founded in California by Harry and Esther Snyder, In-N-Out Burger is a Christian owned fast food chain known for their high-quality burgers. I for one can attest to the fact that In-N-Out food definitely has the quality you can taste. When I tried In-N-Out for the first time, the food was so fresh even their milkshakes had a way of hitting the right spot. I even ordered something from their secret menu… which is pretty easy to find online.
Visiting In-N-Out Burger, is such a rite of passage if you’re visiting the West Coast for the first time. So you definitely don’t want to skip this place! The map below has a location for In-N-Out if you’re near Sunset Boulevard. If you’re not, check out this link here for some other locations.
Universal Studios Hollywood is also a place you cannot miss while you’re in the City of Angels. As a flagship attraction, Universal Studios Hollywood will take you behind the scenes of the world’s biggest movie and television studios such as The Simpsons, Jurassic World and the Fast & the Furious! You can also experience some immersive and thrilling rides at their movie-based Theme Park for Harry Potter and Despicable Me. For tickets, you can purchase a 1-Day pass from $99-129 or a Universal Express ticket from $179-279! Also, if you’re worried about your safety during COVID, Universal Studios has a lot of safety measures in place! To check them out please click the link here. Also, if you need a better visual of where Universal Studios is located, you can check out the map here below!
If you’re looking for a gateway to the cosmos, the Griffith Observatory might just be the place for you. As the most visited observatory in the world, this place gives visitors the opportunity they need to explore the outer space through telescopes, exhibits and live shows. In fact, you can even catch a spectacular view of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign just from being there. So, please try to visit if you can! The map below has a great visual of where the observatory is located and how to find it.
Santa Monica Pier
As a large double-jointed pier, Santa Monica Pier is known for its concession stands, fishing areas and its small amusement park. This admission-free amusement park includes 12 rides, 14 games and a dining area for an unforgettable West Coast experience! You can get on rides such as the Pacific Wheel, the West Coaster or the Pacific Plunge. The games also range from Whac-A-Mole, Ring Toss and so many others. So, if you’re planning on visiting this pier there’s one travel tip you need to know. Just because the park is admission-free that doesn’t mean the rides are fair game. The rides and attractions at Santa Monica pier are priced individually so please make sure to have some cash on hand. The map below has a great visual of where the Santa Monica pier is located and how to find it.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
The Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is one of the most spectacular theaters in motion picture history. It was built in a partnership headed by Sid Grauman and it has been the home to many movie premieres ever since. In fact, it has even been said that you can’t visit L.A. without visiting this theater. Not doing so, would be just as similar to visiting China without seeing the Great Wall. The theater is even known for having a forecourt that honors the hands and footprints of many well-known celebrities such as Jackie Chan, Whoopi Goldberg and even Eddie Murphy. If you need a map of where all of the footprints are located you can check one out here. The map below should also help you figure out where the theatre is located and how to find it.
If you truly want an authentic experience in L.A., you must set aside some time to visit the beautiful Paramount Pictures Studios! The studio tour tends to be around 2 hours approximately and I’ve heard so many amazing things about it on Tripadvisor. On the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the different studio sets from many popular TV shows and movies. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this!
Griffith Park is actually right near the observatory I mentioned earlier and it’s actually one of the largest urban parks in North America! The park is actually five times the size of Central Park which is quite shocking to me. As a native New Yorker, I never thought anything could top Central Park. But boy was I wrong… If you still don’t believe me.. you might want to check out this place for yourself.
As someone who’s been to Disney World twice, I would definitely love to know what all the hype is about. From what I’ve heard, Disney World is larger but… Disneyland has more rides. So, I guess it comes down to own your personal preference if you decided to go to Disneyland. I personally wouldn’t cancel out either park since they were both created by the same man with the same amount of magic that comes with it. So, if you’re in L.A. feel free to make a stop at Disneyland if you can.
If you’ve never heard of Rodeo Drive, it’s a famous street on Beverly Hills that’s known for its shopping district. You will find designers like Gucci, Armani, and Coco Chanel right along this street. In fact, it’s typically the place where you might spot a celebrity but I can’t necessarily guarantee that. All I know for sure is that this street is definitely worth the visit. You can window shop, take pictures or even ride the Beverly Hills trolley.
As one of L.A.’s famous beaches, Venice beach is well known for its Ocean Front Walk. It’s practically full of different vendors, performers, artists and even fortune tellers. So, in my opinion, try to imagine the streets of NYC (if you’ve been there) when you think about this place. Since it’s such a popular beach, anyone can use it as an opportunity to busk.
LACMA, also known as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is what I prefer to call the MOMA (a museum in NYC) on the West Coast! As the largest museum in the West, the LACMA is well known for its “Urban Light” sculpture. It was made by Chris Burden in 2008 and it’s been a well-known tourist attraction ever since. Please feel free to make a stop by this assemblage if you plan on crossing this place off your bucket list.
The Sunset Strip
As a portion of Sunset Boulevard, the Sunset Strip is well known for its nightlife and music clubs. So, if you’re looking for a nice time out, Sunset Strip is where you need to go. If I were you, I would try to visit some of these spots:
- Whisky A Go Go – Straight up live music venue
- The Viper Room – Nightclub with a gritty vibe
- Roxy Theatre – Legendary music venue
If you need some more info you can check out this site here!
If you’re looking for the closest thing to Venice, Italy, in L.A. you might as well visit the Venice Canals near Venice beach. Built in 1905, these Italian-inspired canals were built with bridges and sidewalks for pedestrians. In my opinion, I think it’s a great place for a date night or a relaxing stroll. The area is peaceful, quiet and very tranquil.
A Cupcake ATM
If you’ve never been to a Sprinkles Cupcake ATM before, L.A. is definitely the place to check one out. Sprinkles was actually debuted for having the world’s first Cupcake ATM and it’s been popular ever since. The ATM is 24/7 and it gets completely restocked throughout the day for your freshly baked needs. Feel free to check out the location below on the map if you’re interested in checking one out. If that location is too far away you can always check out some other locations here.
Warner’s Brothers Studio Tour
Similar to Paramount Pictures, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour is definitely worth it! If you’re a huge Harry Potter fan, you’ll get the chance to step into the Wizarding World and see the real costumes and props used in the movies. The guided tour is 2 hours and the self-guided one is 1 hr. I would highly recommend getting your tickets online here first so that so you can get a $3 discount!
The Last Bookstore
If you’re a bibliophile like me, you’re going to LOVE this place. The Last Bookstore, if you’re not too familiar with it, is LITERALLY a bookstore that’s decorated as a huge labyrinth of L.A.’s new, rare and used books. To me, I see this place as THE safe haven for any bibliophile visiting the city. Instead of relying on a book to escape from reality, walking into this bookstore will do it for you.
Angel’s Flight Railway
Angel’s Flight is a funicular railway in Downtown L.A. that has two funicular cars running in the opposite directions of a shared cable. One of the reasons why this railway was created was because it was meant to be a practical way for pedestrians to avoid walking down one of L.A.’s steepest streets. Currently, the Angel’s Flight is still in operation from 6:45 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week so I would highly recommend checking it out if you have the chance. This railway has even been featured in many movies like La La Land and The Muppets.
Los Angeles FAQs
As this bucket list comes to an end, I thought I would finish off this post with some frequently asked questions about L.A.!
Do I need a car in LA?
Yes and no! If you’re able to rent a car in L.A., I would highly recommend it. Everyone in L.A. pretty much drives everywhere so it’s one of the best ways to get around. However, if you don’t know how to drive like me, there’s no need to fear. Uber and Lyft will be your 2 best friends!
Is Los Angeles dangerous?
As a whole, I feel like Los Angeles is a safe city! However, there are some particular neighborhoods you need to wary of… especially at night. These neighborhoods include Skid Row, Compton, Downtown L.A., and West Adams.
What’s the best L.A. neighborhood to stay in?
It’s really up to you on which neighborhood you choose to stay in but in my opinion I think Beverly Hills is the best. You can check out a list of some of their BEST hotels here!
Overall, I hope you enjoyed this summer bucket list for L.A.! Let me know in the comments down below which place on this list intrigued you the most! I can’t wait to hear from you. 🙂