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Things to Do in Los Angeles - page 3

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Paramount Pictures Studio
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This graceful symbol of the movie industry's Golden Age, open for business since 1926, is the only major film studio still operating in Hollywood's commercial district. The sprawling 65-acre lot features huge iron-scrollwork gates and Spanish-style architecture, as well as realistic replicas of vintage city streets.

Paramount was created in 1912 by movie theater owner Adolph Zukor, who took a stylistic departure from the era's short nickelodeon films of that time, which were popular with working class immigrants, and produced long-form film versions of stage plays in the hopes of engaging America's middle class. Zukor's plan worked and Paramount eventually launched brilliant careers for long-form movie stars like Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, director Cecil B. DeMille, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope and many more.
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Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
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Cleverly designed habitats give visits the chance to experience the wild! The chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains has plenty of playtime, while orangutans wonder about in the Red Ape RainForest. The Campo Gorilla Reserve provides a habitat for six African lowland gorillas that closely resembles their native West African homeland, and at the Pachyderm Forest, elephants and hippos relish in a climate-controlled environment, complete with an underwater viewing area. Children love Adventure Island with its petting zoo and hands-on play stations as well as the Children's Discovery Center.
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Hard Rock Café Hollywood
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The Hard Rock Cafe has become a center of international pop music and nostalgia, presenting some of the industry’s best memorabilia alongside service of classic American meals. What began in London in 1979 has since grown to be present in over 60 countries, each presenting its own unique style. This location in particular has quite a rock star heritage — in fact, it’s right beside the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As such it routinely has access to some of music’s best memorabilia across all genres, including The Doors, Metallica, and Ray Charles (to name a few!)

At 20,000 square feet in size, the Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood is one of the largest as well. There is a live music area regularly featuring fantastic performers, with a bar, retail store, and interactive touchscreens which allow visitors to experience the other Hard Rock locations worldwide.

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Hancock Park
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Hancock Park can refer to two areas in Los Angeles, both worth saving time in your schedule for a look.

The Hancock Park neighborhood is an affluent area with a history that dates back to the mid-1800s, while the actual Hancock Park might be better known as the home of the La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum. Since 1906, more than one million bones have been recovered and scientists are still excavating. The best fossils pulled from the Tar Pits are on display in the Page Museum.

Hancock Park is also the home of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In addition, the park has plenty of open space, making it a nice spot to wander or have a picnic.

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Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM)
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While it’s best known for its movie stars, one of the City of Angels’ most elegant attractions is this gorgeous 1913 Beaux Arts palace. Like a smaller, west coast version of New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the NMHLA contains a microcosm of the whole world, both indoors and out in the Southern California sunshine.

Highlights of the museum are an enormous Dinosaur Hall full of sea monster fossils and T. Rex skeletons, three halls’ worth of amazingly realistic wildlife habitat dioramas (the African hall is like a safari that stands still), and a 150,000-specimen Gem and Mineral Hall full of gold, diamonds and other sparkly distractions. But be sure not to miss the soaring Rotunda at the center of the building, with its intricate stained glass dome, graceful bronze statues, and colorful paintings by artist Charles R. Knight, which illustrate mid-20th-century scientists’ findings about the prehistoric world.

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Los Angeles Little Tokyo
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One of only three historic Japantowns in the United States, Downtown L.A.'s Little Tokyo is a compact commercial district centered around the Village Plaza, a warren of food stalls, restaurants, and shops jam-packed with Japanese products. Home of the first California Roll (created at the now-closed Tokyo Kaikan sushi restaurant) and the oldest food purveyor in Los Angeles (mochi bakery Fugetsu-do), the Village Plaza sits across from the 85,000 square-foot, Smithsonian-affiliated Japanese American National Museum, dedicated to the 130-plus year history of Japanese people in California and beyond.

Though Little Tokyo had been a thriving residential and commercial center for L.A.'s large Japanese community since the early 20th century, the U.S. policy of relocating Japanese-American immigrants to internment camps during World War II all but emptied this neighborhood in the early 1940s.

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Grammy Museum
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Opened in 2008 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Grammy Awards, the music industry's biggest accolade, this major attraction at Downtown L.A.'s blockbuster entertainment complex, L.A. Live, celebrates all aspects of the music industry. With four stories and over 30,000 square feet of space, this is the largest music-themed museum in Los Angeles, which is itself the center of the American music industry.

Permanent exhibits at the Grammy Museum include elaborate outfits worn by past Grammy winners like Kanye West and Beyoncé, as well as sound booths where you can record a song and remix it in different musical styles. Rotating exhibits have included tributes to deceased stars Whitney Houston, Roy Orbison and John Lennon, as well as retrospectives of Muzak, hip-hop, heavy metal and more.

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More Things to Do in Los Angeles

Nethercutt Museum

Nethercutt Museum

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Watts Towers

Watts Towers

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Orpheum Theater

Orpheum Theater

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Museum of Tolerance (MOT)

Museum of Tolerance (MOT)

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The Museum of Tolerance (MOT) is a Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum. Since it opened its doors in 1993, more than five million have visited, most middle and high school students. Interactive exhibits and special programs are designed to help visitors develop a better understanding of the Holocaust and inspire tolerance of all people regardless of race or religion.

The museum features an exhibit on Anne Frank. Along with rare artifacts, documents and photographs, you can read a facsimile of her diary. Little known facts about the time she spent in hiding and her arrest are highlighted throughout the exhibit. Admission for the Anne exhibit is not included with general museum admission and advanced reservations are recommended.

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Egyptian Theatre

Egyptian Theatre

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Developed by L.A. real estate giants Charles E. Toberman and Sid Grauman, the vaudeville showman and movie-palace mogul behind the nearby Chinese Theatre, this 1922 Egyptian-themed landmark capitalized on the national fervor of British archeologists' early 1920s discoveries of ancient Egyptian tombs and artifacts. The Egyptian Theatre's dramatic entrance courtyard bears huge columns and mock hieroglyphics, similar in feel (if not scale) to the Babylonian design details of its neighbor, the Hollywood & Highland mall complex.

The first Hollywood theater to host a national movie premiere (The Ten Commandments, 1922), the Egyptian became famous for its pre-screening live performances staged by Grauman himself; eventually, the theater became best known for long-term engagements of big box office films like My Fair Lady and Ben-Hur.

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Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH)

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH)

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Tucked into the western side of Pan Pacific Park, LAMOTH is set in an area called Mid-City West. home to one of the highest concentrations of Orthodox Jews in both L.A. and the country. Opened in 2010 under a 50-year lease with the City of Los Angeles, the museum, originally designed to display the concentration camp artifacts of local Holocaust survivors, is housed in a LEED-certified building with a living roof that blends gently into the surrounding green space.

The museum’s nine rooms decrease in light as you go farther into the building and delve more deeply into the history of the Holocaust. Interactive exhibits include a virtual gallery of photographs, personal accounts written by survivors, and recreations of concentration camp rooms used for extermination and twisted medical experiments. Resistance and rescue efforts during the Holocaust and World War II are also highlighted, ending with a message of hope.

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iFLY Hollywood

iFLY Hollywood

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Melrose Trading Post

Melrose Trading Post

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This flea market has almost 250 vendors of vintage clothes, jewelry, housewares and more, attracts as many as 5,000 people in a single day, and benefits programs at its host site, Fairfax High School. This is a place to see, be seen, and snag a tremendous deal on a quirky thing you’d forgotten you can’t live without.

A testing ground for youthful street fashion in Los Angeles, the Trading Post is a magnet for teenagers and early 20-somethings wearing style mash-ups of the 1940s through the 1990s, accented with dashes of the present. You’ll also find some serious antique collectors here, scouting a steal on the occasional overlooked treasure. The Post also features the performances of local musicians and works by local artists, providing a fun and inexpensive way to see what’s percolating on the city’s cultural scene.

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), set within L.A.'s Hancock Park beside the La Brea Tar Pits, is an exciting place to explore both the world of art and the art world. Here you can purchase a ticket to the latest big-budget show (like lily-pad-loving Monet or local anti-hero Tim Burton), take a comfy seat in the busy lecture/movie hall, or immerse yourself in rare and varied collections.

Much of LACMA's art represents the area’s diverse citizenry. Mayan sculptures honor the city's huge Mexican community; the spiral-path Asian wing reflect three of L.A.’s most influential populations — Japanese, Korean and Chinese; Persian tile-works and intricate paintings allude to the city’s thriving Beverly Hills community of Iranian expats; and mysterious carvings and totems from Tonga, Papua New Guinea and more are a nod to L.A.’s often-direct-flight proximity to the islands of the Pacific Rim.

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LA Fashion District

LA Fashion District

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Los Angeles is one of the cities closely tied to the fashion world, and although the area in the city known as the Fashion District is largely catering to the industry it's also a tourist attraction that's partly open to the public.

LA's Fashion District is a hive of design activity – more than 100 blocks where fabric makers and wholesale clothing distributors occupying huge warehouses. These places don't sell to the general public, but there are some retail businesses in the neighborhood – and even some that are typically only open to the industry have special sale days once each month during which they sell off samples.

Inside the boundaries of the Fashion District are two popular tourist areas. The Los Angeles Flower District, where you'll find hundreds of wholesale flower shops (even if you're not shopping, it's gorgeous scenery); and Santee Alley, a bustling pedestrian street lined with shops that's known for its bargains.

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Television City

Television City

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Set behind The Grove (L.A.’s most popular mall) and the Original Farmer’s Market, this television studio complex in the Fairfax District is often defined by its long lines of tourists and local visitors waiting to snag seats to a show taping. Open since 1952, Television City is now home to eight separate studios, which host shows like American Idol, The Young & the Restless, The Price is Right and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.

Built on the site of the former Gilmore Stadium (once part of neighboring Pan Pacific Park), this series of black and white planes mixed with glassy cubes was designed by Pereira & Luckman, the architects behind LAX’s distinctively futuristic “Theme Building,” which now houses the Encounter Restaurant & Bar. Television City is now one of two CBS TV studios in the L.A. area, the other being CBS Television Center in Studio City.

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Los Angeles Opera (LA Opera)

Los Angeles Opera (LA Opera)

The fourth-largest opera company in the U.S., the L.A. Opera debuted in 1986 -- and remains headquartered -- at the Los Angeles Music Center’s elegant Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Directed by famed tenor Placido Domingo, as well as conductors James Conlon and Grant Gershon, has become known for taking risks in terms of subject matter, as well as set and costume design.

In recent years, the company has put on an innovative stage version of David Cronenberg’s movie The Fly, presented Wagner’s The Ring amidst a tide of anti-Nazi fervor, and staged Don Giovanni with the costumes of local sister-designer team Rodarte. A special series concentrates on operas written by Jews who died in the Holocaust, and in addition to productions of big-name operas like Carmen and Falstaff, the L.A. Opera also stages works by avante garde composers like Philip Glass and one-night concerts by popular singers like Audra McDonald.

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