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28 Best things to see & do in Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: Luciana Bellini
  • Anaheim, California, United States of America (USA)

Disneyland

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Disneyland

It’s smaller than Disney World, but Disneyland is no less magical. Located south of LA in Anaheim, it was the first of the Disney-branded theme parks to be built (the design was directed by Walt himself).

Nowadays, the vast complex includes Disneyland Park, the Disney California Adventure Park, the Downtown Disney dining and shopping district, and three hotels.

A must for any young LA visitor – and it’s pretty fun for adults too.

Adult price: £90

Good for age: 4+

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

Hollywood

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Hollywood

This iconic entertainment capital of the world is synonymous with the global film industry, known for producing blockbuster movies, captivating television shows, and groundbreaking cinematic experiences.

From the glamour of the red carpet to the bustling studios and soundstages, it’s still a vibrant and ever-evolving hub of creativity. The studios may have (mostly) decamped to more spacious surroundings, but much of the film industry’s history and iconography remain located in this iconic LA neighbourhood.

And yes, folks, dreams are still made (and broken) in Hollywood.

Good for age: 8+

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

Hollywood Film & TV studio tours

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Hollywood Film & TV studio tours

As the world centre of the film and TV industry, no trip to Los Angeles would be complete without a deeper look into this high profile and often fantastical world.

The big three film studios in town – Warner Bros, Paramount and Sony – all offer behind-the-scenes guided tours of the studios, where you’ll get a fascinating insight into how the films are made.

Another option is to join the audience for a taping of a popular sitcom or chat show. You can often turn up and queue on the day to get in.

Adult price: £50

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 2-5 hours

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

Getty Center

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Getty Center

Stunningly designed by Richard Meir, this marble-clad modernist complex tucked into the Santa Monica Mountains houses the late billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty’s impressive art collection. Highlights on show include works by Titian and Van Gogh, illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages, Louis XIV-era furniture and decorative arts.

Strolling through the 110 acres of galleries, gardens and modern buildings perched overlooking the LA sprawl is a must for any visiting art fan.

Good for age: 18+

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

The Western US’s pre-eminent art museum is a 20-acre compound of galleries and pavilions housing more than 100,000 works, from ancient Mayan bowls inscribed with bat heads and Japanese sculptures dating from 3000 BC to paintings by Rubens, Cezanne and Degas.

The museum also has a strong contemporary art offering, with works by Lichtenstein, Pollock and Jasper Johns. There’s also a space for lectures, performances and other events.

Adult price: £17

Good for age: 18+

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

Universal Studios Hollywood

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Universal Studios Hollywood

This fantasy film wonderland combines a studio tour and movie-themed amusement park.

Whereas other Universal Studios are built more around the theme park side of the equation, this Hollywood outpost is still firmly grounded in, well, Hollywood, thanks to features such as the one-hour studio tram tour that takes guests through a real working studio (with a few thrills along the way).

It’s essential viewing for any film fanatic or future movie mogul.

Adult price: £85

Good for age: 4+

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

LA’s best food & drink

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LA’s best food & drink

While the city is a melting pot of cultures, with cuisines from all over the world, first-rate sushi and Mexican food dominate – and you’re just as likely to have an out-of-this-world dining experience at a strip mall sushi joint or taco truck as you are at a Michelin-starred restaurant or omakase bar.

Korean food is also excellent – be sure to try ox bone soup, seafood pancakes and first-rate bulgogi and bibimbap. Naturally, there are also plenty of great spots to grab a burger or hot dog, and tons of joints operate a mean grill.

The farm-to-table movement is also huge, with LA chefs having access to fresh fish straight from the Pacific Ocean and vegetables plucked from California’s rich earth.

Wine lists are dominated by Californian vintages – Napa, Santa Barbara and even Malibu. Napa’s Cabernet Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs are famed the world over.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: -

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

Hike up to the Hollywood Sign

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Hike up to the Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign has long been a powerful symbol for the global entertainment industry. At 14m high and 110m long, you can’t miss it.

Installed back in 1923 as part of an advertising campaign for a suburban housing development called ‘Hollywoodland’, the sign initially fell into disrepair until a group of celebrities funded its restoration in 1978, minus the ‘land’.

Getting to the foot of the sign itself is no longer possible, thanks to tight security. The best option is therefore to hike the picturesque but little-known Hollyridge Trail up to the summit of Mount Lee, from where you can look down on the sign, just 100ft below where you stand.

You’re rewarded with exceptional views of Hollywood and the LA basin to the south, and the San Fernando Valley to the north.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 2-3 hours

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

This old-school amusement park features a rollercoaster, an old-fashioned 1922 carousel, carnival games, an aquarium, a trapeze school and that famous 85ft ferris wheel. Yes, it’s a tourist trap, but this Santa Monica icon is a must-do if you’ve got kids in tow.

The bustling, charismatic Santa Monica Beach has diversions for all ages, from surf shacks to beach volleyball courts, along a two-mile stretch of golden sand backed by shops, restaurants and bars. With mild surf, it’s a great place to swim – and to try some surfing.

Good for age: 4+

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Situated next door to LACMA, the visually striking Renzo Piano-designed museum has been years in the making and finally opened to much fanfare in September 2021, making it the largest in the world solely dedicated to the art of movie-making.

Spread across four floors of gallery space, including a 1,000-seat theatre space in its famous glassy dome, it’s filled with cinematic treasures, from Dorothy’s ruby red slippers and the Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane to the sole surviving shark from Jaws. There’s also an experience dedicated to the Oscars, where you get the chance to hold one of the coveted golden statuettes.

Adult price: £22

Good for age: 8+