Welcome to the vibrant city of Los Angeles, where sunshine, glamor, and endless possibilities await. From the iconic landmarks to the hidden gems, this Los Angeles bucket list has it all.
1. Visit the Getty Center
The Getty Center is a cultural landmark that should be on every Los Angeles bucket list. This museum complex is an architectural masterpiece, with stunning gardens and panoramic views of the city. Inside, you’ll find a vast collection of art, including works by Van Gogh, Monet, and Rembrandt. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch a sunset over the city from the museum’s garden terrace.
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2. Walk along Venice Beach
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Venice Beach is a hub of creativity and energy, where you can soak up the sun and the laid-back vibe of Southern California. Stroll along the famous boardwalk, check out street performers, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many beachside cafes. Make sure to stop by Muscle Beach, where bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger once flexed their muscles.
3. Italy-inspired Venice Canal
Located in a residential neighborhood, the Italy-inspired Venice Canal in LA offers a charming and picturesque experience, featuring winding waterways, picturesque bridges, beautiful homes, and lush greenery that create a European oasis in the heart of California.
“Despite being only minutes away from the lively Venice Beach boardwalk, these canals offer a serene and tranquil experience,” says the beach travel blog, Compass and Coastline. .“Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque flower and palm-lined sidewalks, crossing over charming bridges that enhance the allure of this magical place. As you wander, be on the lookout for wildlife, including graceful ducks and seabirds. Embrace the opportunity to capture breathtaking photos that encapsulate the peaceful ambiance and tranquility that Los Angeles has to offer.”
4. Hike to the Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign is an iconic symbol of Los Angeles and a must-see for any local or visitor to the city. Hiking to the sign is a challenging but rewarding experience, offering stunning views of the city and the Hollywood Hills. The trail is well-marked and takes about 2-3 hours to complete. Wear comfortable shoes, bring plenty of water, and don’t forget to snap a selfie with the sign.
5. Visit the Magic Castle
“A must-do activity on any Los Angeles bucket list is visiting the Magic Castle,” shares travel site Sick Girl Travels. “This historic Hollywood mansion serves as a clubhouse, hosting events and performances by the world’s top magicians. Guests will be captivated by incredible up-close sleight of hand tricks and fantastic stage performances, all while exploring the castle’s hidden surprises. Indulge in a meal at the Magic Castle Restaurant and keep your eyes open as magic awaits at every turn. While gaining admission is easiest with a club member’s invite, non-club members can also find a way to enter.”
6. Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Lifestyle blog Glory of the Snow says, “no visit to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to the enchanting Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Discover unforgettable attractions and experiences for all ages. Prepare to embark on a spellbinding journey and capture the magic of Los Angeles.”
7. Visit the Griffith Observatory
The Griffith Observatory is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in astronomy or science. The observatory offers a range of exhibits and telescopes, including the famous Zeiss telescope, which allows visitors to see stars and planets up close. The observatory also offers breathtaking views of the city and hosts special events and shows in its planetarium.
8. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
“Immerse yourself in the artistic ambiance of Los Angeles by visiting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and witnessing the iconic lamppost display,” suggests bucket list site Bucket Half Full. “This unique architectural masterpiece, featured in movies like “La La Land,” consists of 202 antique street lampposts and has become an unofficial symbol of the City of Angels. Don’t miss the opportunity to strike a pose and capture memorable photos within the captivating row of lampposts.”
9. Take a studio tour
Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, and taking a studio tour is a great way to get an insider’s look at how movies and TV shows are made. From Warner Bros. to Universal Studios, there are plenty of tours to choose from, each offering a unique experience. You might even spot a celebrity or two.
10. Be part of a TV show studio audience
“Immerse yourself in the excitement of a live TV show taping by being part of the studio audience,” recommends LA-based author J.W. Lynne. “In Los Angeles, you’ll find numerous opportunities to attend TV show tapings, and the best part is, the tickets are absolutely free.”
11. Explore the Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is another must-see museum for art and history lovers. This stunning villa is modeled after an ancient Roman villa and houses a collection of ancient art and artifacts from Greece and Rome. The villa’s gardens and architecture are also worth exploring, and the museum offers educational programs for visitors of all ages.
12. Visit the Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is a classic Los Angeles attraction that has been entertaining visitors for over a century. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel, play some carnival games, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants on the pier. The pier is also home to the famous Pacific Park amusement park and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
13. See a show at the Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is a legendary outdoor amphitheater that has hosted some of the biggest names in music over the years. From classical music to rock and pop concerts, there’s always something happening at the Hollywood Bowl. Bring a picnic and enjoy a show under the stars in this iconic venue.
14. Visit the La Brea Tar Pits
The La Brea Tar Pits are a fascinating geological site that contains fossils of prehistoric animals like mammoths and saber-toothed cats. Visitors can view the tar pits up close and see the active excavation sites where scientists are still uncovering new fossils. The museum offers a range of exhibits that explore the history of the tar pits, the animals that lived in the area, and the science behind the excavation process.
15. Echo Park
“Don’t miss the tranquil treasure of Echo Park when exploring the heart of Los Angeles,” insists entrepreneurial site Your Lifestyle Business. “Experience the lush greenery of Echo Park Lake and admire the striking reflection of the downtown skyline in the calm waters. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere as swan-shaped paddle boats glide across the lake and the gentle breeze rustles the palm trees. Echo Park is not only a serene escape but also a vibrant community hub with artists, musicians, and local vendors. Discover delicious food at nearby cafes and food trucks, and explore the neighborhood’s historic landmarks and vintage shops.”
16. Discover street art in the Arts District
The Arts District is one of the top things to do in downtown Los Angeles, known for its vibrant street art scene. Take a stroll down the streets and alleys and admire the colorful murals, graffiti, and installations. You can even join a guided street art tour to learn more about the history and techniques behind the artworks.
17. Indulge in foodie delights at Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market is a foodie paradise located in the heart of downtown LA. This historic indoor market offers a wide range of cuisines, from Mexican street tacos to artisanal ice cream. It’s a great place to sample some of LA’s best food in one convenient location.
18. Catch a game at Dodger Stadium
Dodger Stadium is a beloved LA landmark and home to the city’s beloved baseball team, the Dodgers. Catching a game here is a quintessential LA experience, and if you’re moving to Los Angeles, it’s a must-do activity to add to your bucket list. You’ll join fans cheering on their team against a backdrop of stunning city views.
19. Take a dip at the Annenberg Community Beach House
The Annenberg Community Beach House is a hidden gem located in Santa Monica. This public facility offers a range of amenities, including a pool, beach volleyball courts, and a playground. It’s a great place to soak up some sun and enjoy the beach without the crowds.
20. Explore the flora and fauna at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is a stunning oasis located in San Marino. The 120-acre property features a world-class library, art collections, and botanical gardens. Stroll through the lush gardens and admire the exotic plants and flowers from around the world.
21. Go shopping on Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive is one of the most famous shopping destinations in the world, with high-end fashion boutiques and luxury brands lining the streets. Even if you’re not in the market for designer clothing and accessories, it’s worth taking a stroll down the street to see the opulent window displays.
22. Attend a concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a beautiful architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Gehry that should be on every Los Angeles bucket list. The venue is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and hosts a range of classical, jazz, and world music concerts throughout the year. Catching a show here is a must-do activity for music lovers visiting or living in Los Angeles.