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Top 15 Once in a Lifetime Things To Do in Los Angeles




Southern California has so many things to offer. From your most famous Hollywood stars, homes, and whatnot, to the diverse landscape, you’d think you already went around the world when you go all over Southern California. But of course, one of Southern California’s gems on its crown is the world-famous Los Angeles.

The City of Angels doesn’t only offer the Hollywood Walk of Fame, although it does have one of the many spotlights. You’ll be surprised by the kinds of activities Los Angeles offers. If you’re at a loss as to what else to add to your travel itinerary to LA, here are 15 things you can only do in Los Angeles. Don’t miss these once-in-a-lifetime experiences only the City of Flowers and Sunshine can offer!

Hike to the Hollywood Sign

hollywood sign hike


The City of Angels’ icon, the Hollywood sign, is a staple for every local and tourist alike. You can’t miss out on this in every photo opportunity you get. But sometimes, it does feel like it’s too far away, no? The universal beacon for all things show business can be hiked if you’re up for an adventure.

Bring your hiking gear and prepare for a hike that ranges from 3 to 7 miles in total and some moderate elevation gain. The Hollywood sign won’t only give you the perfect Instagram backdrop, but you’ll see incredible LA views along the way that are worth a snap or two. Make sure to plan the season of your visit because summers in Los Angeles can get super hot.

See also: Best Things to do in Los Angeles

Drive the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway)


There are so many coastal roads all around the world that will give you stunning views, but nothing like the world-famous Pacific Coast Highway. This road has become a superstar throughout the years because of its iconic views that have become a staple in Hollywood films. The beautifully rugged coastline beside the highway, paired with a breathtaking sunrise or sunset view, is a non-negotiable for adding this to your itinerary.

Remember to drive during non-rush hours to avoid the traffic, and watch out for the windy cliffs as you go along the road. Here’s a bonus: if you’re tired of driving, you can pull over at Malibu at Point Dome and enjoy the amazing views of the Palos Verdes coast before returning and enjoying the breeze at the Pacific Coast Highway.\

See also: Things to do near LAX

Visit the Santa Monica Pier


The famous Santa Monica pier sits along the coastline of downtown Los Angeles. The Pacific Park amusement park offers thrills, relaxing activities, and everything. Walk along the pier and enjoy the ocean view during sunrise, anytime during the day, or at sunset when the area becomes even more lively due to the amusement park lights.

When you’re done enjoying the Santa Monica Pier views and taking photos for Insta, you can enjoy the massic Ferris wheel, historic carousel, arcade games, and numerous rides that will get the adrenaline pumping for you. But if you want something more laidback, you can ride electric bikes while eating your funnel cake.

Find your favorite star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame


Visiting the Hollywood Walk of Fame will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience—you won’t find anything like this in the whole world! This incredibly touristy area doesn’t only consist of the tiles bearing the stars and names of celebrities past and present; you can also spot some performers in costume and a few people offering to take photos of you for a few bucks.

The stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are as famous as the names on it, so if you didn’t meet the celebrity of your dreams, you could always take a photo alongside their Hollywood star. Additionally, you can do many activities on Hollywood Boulevard besides just taking photos and walking around.

Visit the Griffith Observatory


Located a little bit south of the Hollywood sign is the Griffith Park Observatory. Tourists and locals can do more than just gaze at the stars and planets above in this iconic place. You can set your blankets down and picnic at the famous grounds, join a guided tour, walk or hike at the nature trails, or, if you prefer to go solo, have a self-guided tour of the Griffith Park Observatory.

The Griffith Park Observatory is free to all visitors, and the telescope has operated since 1935. You will get a nice view of the stars and planets above and the LA basin below. Instagram is surely going to love your photos!

Take a Studio Tour


Hollywood won’t be Hollywood without the movies, TV, and celebrities, of course. Thanks to the major studios settling in LA, it has become the world’s entertainment capital. And what better way to complete your City of Angels itinerary than to add a studio tour somewhere between your LA vacation?

Immerse yourself in the magic of Hollywood by taking a studio tour in one of the world’s most popular studios, including the Warner Bros. Studio, Universal Studios Hollywood, Paramount Pictures Studio, Sony Pictures Studio, and Walt Disney Studios.

Explore the Getty Villa


After all of the guided or self-guided tours, thrilling rides, and exciting but tiring walks and hikes all across the greatness of LA and Hollywood, now’s the time to relax and enjoy the sereneness of the Getty Villa. The Getty Villa is relatively unknown if you’re not from LA, but if you’re a history buff, this place might even get to the top of your itinerary list.

The Getty Villa is home to over 50,000 unique items consisting of ancient art and artifacts, sculptures, vases, fresco paintings, and pieces of jewelry from ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, Persia, and Etruria. Travel through time in Getty Villa and relax along the hidden courtyards, sculpture gardens, and koi ponds around the property.

Baldwin Hills Overlook


Want to do it like the locals do? Nothing gets more LA than morning hikes and green juice while walking around in your workout outfit. Experience the true Angeleno workout that’s more than just pilates and a gym schedule with the Baldwin Hills Overlook. Walk up the sloping fire road or take the steps to Baldwin Hills Overlook and enjoy the 360-degree view of the city from the summit.

After your mini trek, reward yourself with all the healthy fruits and smoothies you can choose from from the numerous smoothie trucks and fruit carts waiting at the bottom of the hill.

Walk the Beverly Hills Greenbelt


Want to go where the stars go but don’t want to splurge like the stars do? Don’t worry; the Beverly Hills Greenbelt will come to the rescue. Take a relaxing stroll along the Beverly Hills Greenbelt along Santa Monica Boulevard and enjoy all the luxurious sights and mansions without spending a penny. After that, you can take a photo at the famous Beverly Hills sign.

Go shopping on Rodeo Drive


Going on vacation to treat yo’ self? Los Angeles has got you covered! Although you’ll be able to see all the high-end brands and boutiques at different high-end places in the world, nothing beats the shopping experience that Rodeo Drive brings. Splurging on jewelry, accessories, home goods, beauty products, or even leather goods? You’ve got a wide array of selections to choose from and all the famous brands worldwide in one street at Rodeo Drive. While at it, you can take tons of photos in front of Instagram-worthy boutiques, palm trees, and even the street.

Work out with the Stars


You might not end up working out with the stars, or you might, depending on the day. But you can always bring yourself to where the stars often spend their time priming their bodies for movie roles or being healthy. After you’re done with all the outdoor activities, you can sweat your stress out where the stars flex their muscles at Gold’s Gym and Muscle Beach. More than that, you can take a stroll after working out and enjoy the nice views along Venice.

Visit Filming Locations


Your LA experience won’t be complete without visiting the filming locations you’ve seen numerous times in numerous films. Although most of the tourist spots on this list have become famous backdrops already, some designated places are used only as filming locations and nothing else. Aside from going on a studio tour, you can take yourself around Los Angeles to see all the natural backdrops films have used over the years.

For example, you can take yourself and your camera to the Bradbury building where 500 Days of Summer and Blade Runners are filmed. Isn’t that a thrill?

Catch a show at the Hollywood Bowl


If you’re in luck, you can book a show at the Hollywood Bowl if there are any scheduled events. The famous Rolling Stone magazine named the Hollywood Bowl one of the world’s best. Its art deco-inspired shell shape creates an incredible soundscape that will make the most of your live-watching experience.

Enjoy the experience with 17,000 spectators and have an epic experience of a lifetime in the one and only Hollywood Bowl.

Visit the grave of your favorite star


This experience is somewhat macabre, and of course, you can skip this if it’s not your thing, but meeting your favorite stars in one way or another is an experience only Los Angeles can provide. Los Angeles is host to many cemeteries, including the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where Judy Garland, Maila Nurmi, and Mel Blanc are laid to rest; Forest Lawn, where you’ll find Elizabeth Taylor, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Paul Walker, and Walt Disney; and, Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary where Marilyn Monroe is.

Remember, please be respectful and don’t leave traces behind, a.k.a. Don’t litter and pick up after yourself.

Taste your way around the world


And finally, to cap off your Los Angeles experience, taste your way around the world. As you know, Los Angeles is a melting pot of diverse cultures and communities. Because of that, so many cuisines have popped up all over LA, ready to serve you their unique takes on cultural dishes. You don’t need to go around the whole city, the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles will provide everything for you!


Now that you’ve got your itinerary done, there’s nothing else to do but to prepare yourself for one epic City of Angels adventure! Whether you’ll splurge or not, enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, its tourist attractions, and everything else in between—Los Angeles has something in store for everyone.


Currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and Pomeranian, Mochi. Leo is a lover of all things travel related outside and inside the United States. Leo has been to every continent and continues to push to reach his goals of visiting every country someday. Learn more about Leo on MuckRack.

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