When visiting a big city like Los Angeles, it can be difficult sifting through the many places to go and things to do to find the very best. We spend our days discovering can’t-miss attractions and hidden treasures of cities while putting together our engaging and entertaining scavenger hunts. And we’ve put together a list of L.A. favorites to share with you!
From farmer’s markets with special features to the sticky home of prehistoric creatures, read on as we shine a spotlight on 10 fun things to do in Los Angeles.
1. Walk of Fame: Anyone who loves TV and movies should visit at least once in their life. Stroll the Walk of Fame, with its 2,600+ star-shaped tributes to legendary entertainers along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, and visit TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s), where you can see how your hands and feet measure up to imprints left in the cement by legends such as Clark Gable. Just be ready for heavy crowds and and remember to stay away from the costumed performers. They’re not an official part of the show and can be extremely pushy trying to lure your family into taking a picture with them for money. Instead, plan your visit on a date when Jimmy Kimmel Live is filming across the way at Disney’s El Capitan Theater. Tickets for tapings are always free (learn more here) and offer your best chance to have a real celebrity experience on Hollywood Boulevard.
2. Paramount Ranch: From guided tours to visiting the big movie studios, there are countless ways to soak up Hollywood movie culture and history in L.A. But if you really want to walk in the footsteps of the stars, head out to the Valley to check out the historic Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills. Part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, this working movie ranch has been the backdrop to feature films and television productions since 1923. The park features Western Town, a real movie set, scenic hiking trails (with views you might recognize from your favorite shows), and ample space to lay out a blanket for a picnic and let the kids and pets run wild. Best of all, unlike the tours, it’s free!
3. Griffith Park: Located in Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood, the often overlooked Griffith Park is among the largest and most lovable urban parks in the U.S. From horseback riding and pony rides to the Griffith Merry-Go-Round and miniature ride-on Griffith Park & Southern Railroad, there are nearly endless options for family fun. Stop by the Griffith Observatory at the top of Mount Hollywood to search the cosmos for stars of the celestial variety while getting a fabulous view of the famous Hollywood sign. The grand, art deco structure provides free access to astronomical telescopes and the Hall of Science as well as planetarium shows for a moderate fee.
4. Malibu Surfing: Whether you’re an avid surfer or happy watching from the shore, Surfrider Beach, just north of the Malibu Pier along the Pacific Coast Highway, is as rich in history as it is in waves. Declared the first-ever World Surfing Reserve in 2010, this fabled beach doesn’t just produce one of the most perfect waves for hanging 10. It’s also where the fictional Gidget and inspiring surfers such as Mickey “Da Cat” Dora helped turn the Hawaiian sport of kings into an international sensation. Looking to catch some rays away from the crowds? Keep traveling north on the PCH around the point to Zuma Beach where you’ll find more space and cleaner water, or continue on to Leo Carrillo State Park to spend the day or camp overnight while exploring a wild setting of tide pools, caves, and off-shore reefs.
5. Sunset Strip: Channel your inner rock star and head out for a night on the infamous Sunset Strip. A mile-and-a-half length of Sunset Boulevard stretching from West Hollywood to the edge of Beverly Hills, this hedonistic hot spot is home to the Rainbow Bar and Grill, Whisky a Go Go, Viper Room, Roxy Theater, Troubadour, and a variety of other quintessential L.A. party spots. Long lines, high prices, and judgmental bouncers not your thing? Take a detour at Doheny Road and head up to the tranquil Greystone Mansion and park just above the Strip to walk the landscaped grounds around the Tudor Revival mansion and take in sweeping views of the valley below.
6. Roy Choi Food Trucks: Korean born, locally raised celebrity chef Roy Choi deploys four food trucks on a daily basis to feed the appetites and souls of adventurous foodies throughout L.A. Visit the website to learn where each truck will be parked for the day and peruse the mouthwatering menu of creative tacos, burritos, and special dishes such as Kogi kimchi quesadillas and the Pacman burger.
7. The Grove and Farmer’s Market: Welcome to the happiest outdoor mall and shopping complex you’ve ever seen. Separate entities, but linked by their side-by-side proximity, The Farmer’s Market (founded in 1934) and The Grove offer countless options in food, shopping, and entertainment. Ride the free trolley built on a vintage undercarriage of a 1950s Boston street car and visit the Dancing Fountain in the heart of The Grove for a multimedia show highlighted by dancing water plumes reaching as high as 60 feet in the air.
8. La Brea Tar Pits: Discover what Los Angeles looked like and the types of animals and plants that existed here 40,000 years ago at the world’s only active, urban Ice Age excavation sight. The La Brea Tar Pits, formed by tar-like natural asphalt seeping up from the ground, has produced over a million bones of long-extinct animals, including those of large mammals such as dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, and mammoths. An interactive and engaging museum on site features exhibits, a fossil lab, and 3D programming for a one-of-a-kind learning experience.
9. Natural History Museum: Travel even further back in time with a trip to the world-renowned Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, home to over 30 million specimens and artifacts from as long ago as 4.5 billion years. Even better, visit on the first Tuesday of the month (except July and August) and get in free. In addition to its extraordinary Dinosaur Hall and variety of permanent and special exhibits and programming, the Butterfly Pavilion (open seasonally between March through September), a temporary habitat featuring hundreds of free-flying butterflies, is a favorite for guests of all ages. The Pavilion, located on the south side of the museum, is just across from the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, current home of the NFL’s Rams and USC Trojans football team and host site of the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics.
10. The Hollywood Bowl: Catch a show at an open-air band shell that’s hosted iconic performers such as The Beatles and Sinatra and been featured dozens of times on film and TV. In addition to an eclectic schedule of music performances and festivals, you’ll find the Hollywood Bowl Museum offering exhibitions, a Hall of Fame, and group and self-guided tours. The Hollywood Bowl is almost always open to the public, even during off-hours, making it the perfect place for a surprise stop on an exciting outing in L.A.
Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts: Our Los Angeles scavenger hunts send teams through museums, neighborhoods and landmark spots searching for clues and answering funny and challenging questions. Whether you’re entertaining a private group or corporate team building, our scavenger hunts uncover the best spots such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Rodeo Drive, and Studio City.
Check out some of our other city guides: