Are you planning to go on a trip and wondering about the once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles? Well, worry no more! Los Angeles is incredible and the second most populated city in the US. It is among the most famous places globally, all for good reasons!
There are a lot of activities suitable for people of various age groups you can try during your vacation. Stay with me and let’s discover the famous 20 incredible things to do in LA that stand out and are guaranteed to make your trip there memorable!
1. Hiking to Hollywood Hills to View the Iconic Hollywood Sign
Yes, hiking! This is number one in the famous once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles, and I have a good reason for putting it first.
Imagine finding yourself positioned atop the summit of the Hills of Hollywood, and the sunset rays gently caressing you. At this moment, an overwhelming sensation of fame and greatness envelops you. The trouble you went through hiking to the Hollywood Sign is well rewarded with the view.
What to Expect
The Hollywood Sign is among the world’s best iconic landmarks. Consider the season that you are traveling and dress accordingly. Temperature can go up to 90 °F in summertime. During this three to seven-mile journey, you can expect the following:
- To learn the rich past behind the famous Hollywood Sign;
- Upon reaching the top of the Hollywood sign, one can see the Los Angeles Basin;
- If you are lucky enough, you can peak the Pacific Ocean!
2. Watch the Stars Upclose
Try a getaway from the bright city lights by participating in an astronomical expedition at the top of Griffith Observatory. Situated on the south incline of Hollywood Hills, the renowned monument is free.
It provides magnificent views of the galaxy and an opportunity for close interactions with celestial bodies. You can also:
- Watch educational presentations in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium;
- Enjoy the Hollywood Sign view when standing in Griffith Park;
- Attend the star party;
- Watch the Foucault pendulum;
- Get to see the Tesla coil demonstration.
3. Feel Famous on the Hollywood Walk
Get ready to make memories in this unforgettable experience of the internationally renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame:
- This is an essential location for famous culture enthusiasts;
- It offers a thrilling stroll amidst a group of esteemed celebrities;
- The prominent pathway is engraved with brass stars commemorating notable individuals in the movie and music sector.
Aside from admiring the stars with the names of your favorite celebrities, you can:
- Watch street performers;
- Visit Momento stores and get something;
- Pose for pictures with street performers and faux actors;
- Visit TCL Chinese Theatre.
The adventure one gets here warrants the Hollywood Walk to be among the once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles.
4. Catching the Sunset While Walking the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach
The Santa Monica Pier is the perfect destination on my list of once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles for beach lovers. Enjoy the breeze of the Pacific as you mingle with people from all over the world. The Santa Monica pier has attracted tourists ever since it opened in 1909.
Fun Activities at Santa Monica Beach
Strolling the beach is not the only fun thing to do here. Other activities Santa Monica Pier offers include:
- Playing some carnival games;
- Riding eclectic bikes;
- Enjoy rides from the Ferris wheel;
- The vintage soda fountain offers treats;
- Santa Monica Beach offers private surf lessons, which you can sign up for.
Getting on the Ferris wheel at Pacific Park makes you witness a beautiful sight of the Pacific’s coastline that you wish time freezes and the moment never passed.
Let’s also take a look at another exciting beach in southern California – Venice Beach.
A trip to Las Angeles without stopping at Venice Beach is incomplete. You can stroll along the well-known Venice Beach boardwalk while admiring the stunning view.
Venice Beach Boardwalk is famous for:
- Shops to buy souvenirs.
Also, it is a perfect location for waterfront dining. Wear your most colorful attire and enjoy your time at Venice Beach!
5. Pacific Coast Highway: Trip Worth Remembering
A road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway is among the once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles:
- It’s considered to be one of the world’s most interesting drives.
- The extensive road spans six hundred miles, providing remarkable views of the Pacific Ocean, thus creating unforgettable memories.
- Commencing in Los Angeles, individuals can travel on the renowned highway to northern or southern California.
Regardless of the chosen approach, individuals should anticipate a memorable excursion filled with pristine shorelines of the Pacific Ocean and enchanting seaside towns.
Pacific Coast Highway passes through charming coastal towns, such as Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. Activities one can engage in include:
- Take in the sights of Big Sur cliffs;
- Have a stopover at secluded beaches where you can take strolls barefoot and relax;
- Visit the local art galleries.
6. Enjoy Birds Eye Sight
A helicopter tour to see the entire city is one of the once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles. During the ride, one can:
- Admire the soaring skyscrapers in downtown LA;
- Marvell at Griffith Park’s expansive landscape;
- Enjoy stunning views of the iconic Hollywood Sign.
See Los Angeles in a new dimension with the helicopter tour. Ensure you take lots of pictures to create memories.
7. Learn the Ins and Outs of Making a Film
Have you ever thought of being a movie star or wondered how their life usually is while filming? Well, you can experience it firsthand in Los Angeles.
In this city of the entertainment industry, you can have unique chances to partake in an exceptional encounter by being present in an authentic film in the renowned Hollywood district. There exist several notable studio tours in Los Angeles, which include:
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour: This tour is widely regarded as the most exceptional. In addition to exhibiting items and backdrops of popular television shows such as The Big Bang Theory and Friends, the location is also active. It allows visitors to observe celebrities and ongoing recording activities.
- Universal Studios Hollywood Amusement Park Tour: Alternatively, it is proposed that guests allocate time to explore the Studio Tour Ride during their time at Universal Studios Hollywood amusement park. The experience includes a tour of an operational film studio showcasing diverse film sets.
Universal Studios Hollywood demands your closer attention, let’s take a look at why!
8. Be a Universal Studio Hollywood “Member”
Anytime you see Universal Studios Hollywood during a film introduction, you get that feeling that the film will be lit! Well, that’s the same case when you go to Universal Studios Hollywood. It is among the most once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Las Vegas for movie lovers, as the adventure is MAGICAL.
Several fun things you can do here include:
- Explore the iconic landmark of the Wizarding in Harry Potter. One can consume butterbeer and traverse the dazzling streets of Hogsmeade.
- Witness the super-speed chase of the Fast & Furious rides.
- Try thrilling rides from the iconic theme park, such as a ride in the world of Jurassic.
- Battle evil in Transformers: The Ride-3D.
A visit to this park will be filled with a lot of fun and plenty of memories.
9. Be Part of Your Favourite TV Show Taping
So how can this be possible? You can acquire a ticket to a TV show taping at no cost. This way, you can be part of the laughing audience usually heard behind the scenes of TV shows or part of a live studio audience in:
- Talk shows;
- A reality show;
- Children’s shows;
- A gaming show.
This is surely among the once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles that you shouldn’t miss. Try your luck on sites like 1iota that offer tickets for The Voice and Jimmy Kimmel Live!
10. Party! Party!
The nightlife in Los Angeles is top-notch, especially in West Hollywood, where a rooftop bar overlooks the beautiful LA sites. Enjoy the vibrant nightlife in rooftop clubs after a busy day shopping and sightseeing. Such places include:
West Hollywood clubs are known to serve the best cocktails in Los Angeles. There’s no better way of starting and ending a night in Los Angeles than this.
11. Explore the Many Filming Sites in Los Angeles
Studio tours (as I had earlier highlighted) are one opportunity to explore and visit filming locations used for numerous films and TV series. However, many real-world locations in the city have served as natural backdrops. They include:
- Griffith Observatory: It has appeared in movies like Transformers, La La Land, Charlie’s Angels, Rebel Without Cause, and Terminator.
- Bradbury Building: This one in downtown Los Angeles is famous for 500 Days of Summer and Blade Runner.
12. The Ambiance of Vintage Hollywood at the One and Exclusive Musso and Frank Grill
Vintage Hollywood refers to eateries that have a historical significance. Consider this situation: an aspiring writer meets with influential studio executives on a prospective film project in a secluded booth enveloped by a haze of cigarette smoke while holding martinis in their hands.
That’s what happens at Musso and Frank Grill in Los Angeles!
- Situated at the renowned Hollywood Boulevard, the establishment was founded in 1919, making it over a century old.
- Notably, it had an exclusive section known as “the Backroom,” designated explicitly for the privileged members of the Hollywood community.
- The grill retains its original furnishings and fittings dating back to the 1920s.
Musso’s restaurant has established its status as a truly exceptional location as it has been frequented by renowned celebrities such as:
- Marilyn Monroe;
- Charlie Chaplin;
- Rita Hayworth;
- Elizabeth Taylor.
You can secure a reservation for dining. Alternatively, you may choose to occupy a seat at the bar upon availability.
13. Pay Your Last Respect
Although it may deviate from traditional practices, a trip to the cemeteries where stars were buried, such as Hollywood Forever Cemetery, is crucial. It presents an exceptional and captivating chance to dig into the Hollywood history of the entertainment industry.
- Hollywood Forever Cemetery: This famous location is the final resting place for favorite Hollywood stars such as Maila Nurmi (also known as Vampira), Judy Garland, Johnny Ramone, and Mel Blanc (renowned for portraying Bugs Bunny’s voice).
- Forest Lawn in Glendale: It is home to many notable individuals, including Paul Walker, Debbie Reynolds, Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor, Brittany Murphy, Carrie Fisher, and Humphrey Bogart.
- Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary: is where Marilyn Monroe was buried.
14. The Live Screening of a Film Accompanied by a Synchronized Soundtrack in Hollywood Bowl
This is like hitting two birds with one stone. The Hollywood Bowl combines a unique movie-watching experience with the chance to partake in the cultural atmosphere. It is alive with the lovely tunes of live music as the sun sets beyond the Hollywood Hills.
Annually, the Hollywood Bowl collaborates with an orchestra to perform a live rendition of a movie’s musical score. The production team has successfully adapted:
- Literary works such as Harry Potter;
- Films like Nightmare Before Christmas.
When music is in a film, famous people are frequently brought in to perform the vocals. For instance:
- Sara Bareilles performed Ariel in their live performance of The Little Mermaid.
- Billie Eilish sang Sally’s Song from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
This experience is among the best once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles. Ensure you purchase tickets in advance, bring your own food for a picnic at the Bowl’s ground, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
15. Shop Until You Are Physically Exhausted
Shopping fanatics and sharp dressers will find Rodeo Drive to be quite interesting. It is a luxurious, sophisticated shopping destination attracting millions worldwide.
Famous designer stores here include:
- Louis Vuitton;
You can enjoy a delicacy cuisine in one of the big and famous hotels nearby. Ensure you wear your best stylish outfit because you never know which celeb you might come across! Also, remember that in Los Angeles, extensive shopping is customary until one is physically exhausted. In a responsible manner, though.
16. Explore Los Angeles’ Many Museums
Los Angeles is home to many notable museums, which include:
Let’s discover a little deeper wonderful Los Angeles County Museum of Art!
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
This landmark museum, conveniently situated on Miracle Mile, has the most remarkable art library in the Western US, featuring works from across time and space. What can you find here?
- Wide range of modern-day artwork;
- Galleries showcasing an extensive assembly of Asian ceramics and European drawings;
- Urban Light exhibit, created by renowned artist Chris Burden.
The charming collection of street urban lights has come to represent Los Angeles and is a well-liked location for unforgettable pictures. Take a picture of yourself striking a pose to illustrate how art permeates your daily life.
17. Have Fun at Disneyland, Los Angeles
Contrary to popular belief, Disneyland is not suitable only for kids. People of all ages can go and have fun. You’ll feel like you have been transported into a storybook at this famous theme park in Anaheim, just outside Los Angeles.
Fun Activities in Disneyland include:
- The Sleeping Beauty Castle is at the entrance, waiting for you to explore it.
- Participate in exciting ride adventures like Indiana Jones Adventure or Space Mountain.
- Meet and take pictures with your favorite Disney character.
- Shop at the theme stores outside the themed rides and get a souvenir.
- See shows such as Frozen.
- Watch the over 250 fireworks displays at Disneyland every year.
- Watch the Pixar Play Parade twice a day.
Disneyland is truly a magical place among the once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles.
18. Pay the Famous Hollywood’s Elite a Call at Their Beverly Hills Home
Beverly Hills is usually called the world of the rich and famous. Many famous rich people in Los Angeles call this place home. You can find luxurious mansions signifying the rich lifestyle and culture.
Your guide will tell you the rich history of Beverly Hills and the people who live here. And if you are lucky enough, you just MIGHT run into a few of them. So ensure you carry your photograph and get ready to showcase your paparazzi skills.
19. Go Shopping, but This Time With Famous Stars in Beverly Hills
As I have previously mentioned, Beverly Hills is a land for the rich and famous; thus, the prices of things are incredibly high. However, if you want to spend a fortune while in Los Angeles, then Beverly Hills is perfect.
Walk into famous brand shops like Chanel and Louis Vuitton and buy designer items. Here, you will experience the shopping you see and admire in the movies. Ensure when you visit Beverly Hills, you are smartly and fancily dressed.
20. Attend the Premiere of a Movie And See a Film There
The two theatres where movie premiers happen, and you can watch the movies include:
- El Capitan.
- TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd.
This theatre specializes in Disney movies. However, it is quite hard to get into a premiere at the El Capitan, but you can regularly watch Disney movies in this theatre.
TCL in Hollywood Blvd
Many Hollywood movies premiere at this theatre. Examples of hit films that have premiered here include:
- Thor: Love and Thunder;
- Jurassic World Dominion;
- The Fabelmans;
Unlike in El Capitan, getting into the premier is not difficult; just order the premier tickets.
What Can You Carry When Heading to LA?
Before embarking on your trip of once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles, you should plan accordingly. Some things are necessities, while some will make your time there more fun. I have compiled the following list of the things you should carry on your trip.
It is essential to park several pairs of different shoe types. Consider the activities that you are going to partake in and park accordingly. You cannot carry sandals or heels, yet you intend on hiking to the Hollywood Sign. You can take the following shoes:
- Hiking boot: For hiking the Hollywood hill;
- Sandles: For strolling around town and on the beach on a sunny day;
- Light sneakers: To wear on a casual day.
Some accessories are not a must-have, but they will surely add comfort during your trip. Important accessories include:
- Pair of sunglasses: To protect your eyes from excess sunlight when hiking or strolling on the beach;
- Hats: They help block the excess sunlight from reaching you;
- Socks: Comes in handy during a chilly evening;
- Necklace: It completes your elegant look when visiting high-end places like Beverly Hills.
Keeping warm is essential during your trip. Failure to do so will result in you getting sick, and you will not be able to accomplish the once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles. Here is what you should carry:
- Sweater- To keep you warm as you star gaze at Griffith Observatory;
4. Beach Attire
I can’t forget to mention this, especially if you plan to go to the beach. It would not make sense for you to wear a suit or pajamas to Santa Monica or Venice Beach and expect to have a fabulous time. Consider packing the following:
- Towel: To dry off the water;
- A bathing suit: To go with it in the water;
- A coverup: To put on after coming out of the water.
5. Tops and Pants
Ensure you wear comfortable attire at all times. If you are not comfortable with your clothing, it is guaranteed you won’t enjoy yourself. One should have:
- Short and long-sleeved shirts;
- Workout set;
- Fitting pants;
- Tanktops and vests.
These are essential and are a must-have. They include:
- Toothpaste, toothbrush, and dental floss;
- First aid kit and hand sanitizer;
- Sunscreen and moisturizer;
- Soap, shampoo, and hairbrush;
- Deodorant and shaving supplies.
You should carry those things on our trip, and I hope the classification will make it easier for you to remember.
Frequently Asked Questions
What I Spend in a Day in LA?
You can spend a day in LA visiting the Warner Bros Studio and later taking a helicopter ride touring the beautiful city.
What’s in LA That’s Fun?
There are plenty of activities in LA that are fun. For instance, you can enjoy the vibrant nightlife, watch movie premiers, stroll the beaches, learn the movie history in Hollywood, and watch the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl football game.
What to Do in LA in 10 Hours?
You can do a lot in LA in ten hours. You could take a quick hike in Griffith Park, visit the museums in LA, catch a premier movie at TCL Chinese Theatre, enjoy a helicopter tour of Los Angeles, and explore the Griffith Observatory.
How Can I Spend a Few Days in LA?
You can spend a few days in LA shopping at the many high-end stores in Beverly Hills, enjoying evenings in downtown Los Angeles, visiting the various beaches, and exploring Disneyland.
How Long Do You Need to Spend in LA?
You need at least three days to spend when visiting LA. However, you can add to the three days if you have more time. This is because there are plenty of places to visit and much to do in Southern California.
Los Angeles is an incredible city with much to offer its residents and visitors. There is no dull day in LA, and if you are looking for an unforgettable lifetime experience, this city is perfect.
The several once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles maximize the fun offered by the city and make the trip memorable. Such activities include hiking to the sign of Hollywood, visiting where celebrities were buried, touring the fascinating world of Disney, exploring the museums, and being part of your favorite TV show taping.
I have highlighted the 20 once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles during your trip there. Kindly share this article with your friends so they can get a taste of this memorable lifetime experience.