175 Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles, California (From A Local’s Perspective)

The City of Angels has a never-ending laundry list of charms. Perhaps it’s the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle or the relaxed beaches. Well, you will be surprised once you visit LA and discover the many, many pockets of neighborhoods and lifestyles that sit in between those two stereotypical aspects of LA!

When I lived in Los Angeles, I spent a lot of time exploring the nooks and crannies of the city after my day job ended. I delivered food, drove for Lyft, walked a few dogs here and there for Wag!, and through all these side hustles, discovered the many sides of LA.

I discovered a lot of these fun local spots, bars, restaurants, and activities over the course of 6 whole years.

It goes without saying, there are a lot of things you can do in LA. Honestly, too many to count. Los Angeles is a really big city and it’s hard to know where to go and what to do outside of the super touristy attractions. Either you spend time searching for places to go or you just don’t know where to start!

This is where my Los Angeles bucket list comes in handy! I’ve compiled a list of the 175 best things to do in Los Angeles, California, and grouped them by neighborhood so that you can simply pull up this list while visiting this magnificent city and cross off many items without having to think too much or plan too far in advance.

You won’t be able to do them all in one trip, but I’d recommend you favorite this post and revisit it when you’re looking for new things to try out!

So without further ado, here are over 175 activities to add to your Los Angeles activities bucket list.

This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!

175+ Best Things To Do In Los Angeles, California

Here are the best things to do, see, and eat in LA. Below you will find a ton of things to do, places to eat, and more, broken out by neighborhood or region of LA.

Add what you like to your Los Angeles bucket list now!

Hollywood Area: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

Hollywood - 175 Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles CA - TravelsWithElle
  1. Spend a day at Universal Studios Hollywood (and ride The Mummy ride a million times)
  2. Catch a sunset at the Griffith Park Observatory
  3. See the Hollywood Walk Of Fame (those stars on the ground)
  4. Take a behind-the-scenes Hollywood tour
  5. Eat at Ruen Pair, Sapp Coffee Shop, or any other Thai restaurant in Thai Town
  6. Try a bunch of Thai desserts at Bhan Kanom Thai
  7. Take a hike to the Hollywood Sign (choose between the Mt Hollywood Trail, the Brush Canyon Trail, or the Cahuenga Peak Trail)
  8. Take the interactive 3-hour Warner Brother’s Studio Tour in Burbank, CA (perfect for movie buffs and fans of Friends!)
  9. Enjoy art or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House at the Barnsdall Art Park
  10. Catch a concert or show at the famous Hollywood Bowl venue (you can pack in your own wine and food)
  11. Explore four floors of movie magic and Hollywood history at The Hollywood Museum
  12. Get creeped out by the true stories and grisly memorabilia at the Museum of Death
  13. Enjoy life-sized wax figures at Madame Tussauds Hollywood or the Hollywood Wax Museum
  14. Enjoy neon signs, tabletop jukeboxes, and classic American food at Mels Drive-In
  15. Hop on an open-top bus and go on a Hollywood Sightseeing and Celebrity Homes Tour
  16. Enjoy a night of laughter at either one of these iconic comedy venues in LA: The Comedy Store and Laugh Factory
  17. Bring a dog and a friend to go celebrity spotting while hiking at Runyon Canyon Park
  18. See the sweet animals at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
  19. If you can find your ticket in, enjoy dinner and a magic show at The Magic Castle

Coming from out of state? You may want to consider this tour: Los Angeles: Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Beach Grand Tour

Downtown Los Angeles / Koreatown: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

Downtown LA - 175 Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles CA - TravelsWithElle
  1. Eat everything at Grand Central Market
  2. See the historic Bradbury Building nearby, known as one of the most beautifully designed buildings in LA
  3. Explore all the shops and restaurants in the Little Tokyo neighborhood
  4. Try authentic mochi – Fugetsu-Do Mochi is the longest-running mochi business in Little Tokyo, and Mikawaya is the originator of mochi ice cream!
  5. Try one of the most famous ramen joints in LA at the original Daikokuya
  6. Visit the Japanese American National Museum to learn about over 130 years of Japanese American history
  7. Visit The James Irvine Japanese Garden
  8. Go bowling At X-Lanes LA
  9. Go brewery hopping in the Arts District
  10. Soak in the cityscape views on the LA Observation Deck at the top of LA City Hall
  11. Play games with your friends at Two Bit Circus
  12. Visit the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, the only museum in Los Angeles devoted exclusively to contemporary art
  13. Attend an event at Grand Park (usually a go-to place for free music events and outdoor dance parties during summer time)
  14. See rotating contemporary art for free at The Broad (make reservations for the Infinity Mirror Rooms!)
  15. Listen to the best in classical music, contemporary music, world music and jazz at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
  16. Get the best breakfast burrito ever from a window at Wake & Late
  17. Check out one of the many rooftop bars (Broken Shaker, Upstairs at Ace Hotel, Margot, etc.)
  18. Visit the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the final resting place for a number of famous Hollywood stars
  19. Spend a day outdoors at Elysian Park (bring a picnic, such as takeout from one of the many restaurants in DTLA)
  20. Catch a Dodgers Game at Dodger Stadium
  21. Take an architecture walking tour of Downtown LA
  22. Watch a concert or sporting event at Crypto.com Arena (but honestly, it will forever be known as the Staples Center to us locals)
  23. Enjoy a round of karaoke with your friends at one of the many karaoke bars in Koreatown
  24. Enjoy all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ at Hae Jang Chon or Oo Kook 
  25. Not all-you-can-eat restaurants, but so, so delicious and worth the wait: Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong and Sun Nong Dan (order the galbi jjim)
  26. Go bar hopping in Chinatown (start at General Lee’s or Melody Lounge)
  27. Stand in line for Nashville hot chicken sandwiches at Howlin Ray’s
  28. Go shopping at ROW DTLA
  29. Head to Smorgasburg LA (every Sunday) for the widest variety of food and drink, like ever
  30. Take a Downtown Los Angeles Food Tour
  31. Become a pinball wizard at the arcade bar, EightyTwo
  32. Have a museum day at Exposition Park (choose from the California Science Center, California African American Museum, and the Natural History Museum)
  33. Visit The Last Bookstore, known as one of the coolest bookstores in the world
  34. Enjoy a fine dining meal at one of the following LA staples: Otium, Bestia, majordōmo, n/naka
los angeles disney concert hall - Travels With Elle

Santa Monica: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

Santa Monica - 175 Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles CA - TravelsWithElle
  1. Rent bikes and ride along the popular bike path next to the beach
  2. Take a sunrise/sunset jog along the pedestrian path next to the beach
  3. Shell out money for 1-2 premium, must-try donuts at Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee
  4. Get a shrimp burrito at Benny’s Tacos and Rotisserie Chicken
  5. Go shopping at the 3rd Street Promenade 
  6. Hang out at the Santa Monica Beach (the more north you walk, the less touristy)
  7. Stroll along the boardwalk at the Santa Monica Pier and ride some rides
  8. Catch a nighttime comedy show at Westside Comedy Theater
  9. Get that quintessential LA cafe experience at Urth Caffe
  10. Eat a delicious and affordable meal at Cha Cha Chicken (eclectic Caribbean cuisine)
  11. Go bar hopping on Main Street (check out The Galley, Circle Bar, and Basement Tavern)
  12. Get drinks at the very LA, very touristy The Victorian (again–very LA, and not the best music in my opinion)
  13. Sunset and drinks at The Bungalow Santa Monica

Venice / Culver City: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

Venice - 175 Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles CA - TravelsWithElle
  1. Soak in the LA atmosphere and shop til you drop at the Abbot Kinney neighborhood
  2. Get tacos at El Primo Tacos, the best taco stand in town (do not miss their $1 al pastor tacos!)
  3. Follow up your taco meal with literally the best ethnic-inspired ice cream in town, Wanderlust Ice Cream
  4. Walk around Venice Beach and people-watch, observing all the beach bums, skaters, street vendors, and other quirky characters
  5. Get a classic smash burger at The Win-Dow
  6. Stroll along the Venice Canals
  7. Stop by on the first Friday of the month for Abbot Kinney’s First Fridays event
  8. Walk through Erewhon Market and simply marvel at how expensive (and so LA) all the stuff in there is–I treat this place almost like a museum!
  9. Have coffee or lunch while “wfh” at Superba Food & Bread (I really like their kouign amann)
  10. Visit the extra-quirky Museum of Jurassic Technology
  11. Go rock climbing or bouldering at Cliffs of Id
  12. Shop and eat at The Platform in Culver City (among the lifestyle shops, you can dine at Loqui or Roberta’s Pizza)
  13. You can also dine at the nearby, ever-popular Pasta Sisters
  14. Get your heart pumping at the Culver City Stairs (officially known as the Baldwin Hills Overlook)
  15. Grab swanky drinks with your date at the Culver Hotel
  16. Dine and shop at Downtown Culver City (Honey’s Kettle is my go-to place for fried chicken and biscuits–you can’t miss the blueberry biscuits.)
  17. Fill up on the best Danish pastries of all of California at Copenhagen Pastry (I’m not exaggerating, try them for yourself)
  18. While we’re on the subject of pastries, head to Angel Maid Bakery for any and all of your cake needs (the chocolate dobash cake is to die for)
  19. Ride bikes around the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve near Playa Vista, CA
  20. Pack a picnic and have a bonfire beach night at Dockweiler Beach (the firepits are waiting for you in the sand)
Venice Beach - 2 Days in Los Angeles Itinerary

Brentwood / Sawtelle / Westwood: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

  1. Explore the massive and FREE museum, the Getty Center (features art from the Middle Ages to today set amid modern architecture and gardens)
  2. Couldn’t get enough of the free art? Head to the Pacific Palisades for the Getty Villa Museum (Greek and Roman antiquities housed in a re-created Roman country home)
  3. Get a phenomenal pizza pie at Pizzana
  4. Enjoy the endless shopping and eating (and the undeniably swanky mall architecture) at Westfield Century City — don’t miss the following food spots: Crack Shack, Din Tai Fung, Randy’s Donuts, Bake Cheese Tart, and Hai Di Lao
  5. While you’re here, enjoy the gastronomic theme park that is Eataly
  6. Eat in as many noodle joints as you can at Sawtelle (Little Osaka)–need help picking one? Tsujita LA or Killer Noodle.
  7. Take a walk and admire the architecture at UCLA
  8. Enjoy the plants and trees at the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden
  9. Visit the Hammer Museum for more FREE art
  10. Grab an ice cream sandwich at the iconic Diddy Riese (very popular among students)
  11. Get bougie but delicious handrolls at KazuNori
  12. Catch the weekly midnight showing of the live-show/movie screening hybrid of Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Nuart Theatre
  13. Visit the Museum of Tolerance that brings to light the heavy topics of racism and prejudice around the world

Fairfax / Melrose / West Hollywood / Beverly Hills: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

Fairfax Los Angeles - 175 Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles CA - TravelsWithElle
  1. Find one-of-a-kind goods at Melrose Trading Post, open every Sunday at Fairfax High School
  2. Shop for men’s clothing and lifestyle goods on Fairfax Ave
  3. Shop women’s fashion on Melrose Ave
  4. Go on a Melrose mural crawl to find all the murals to take Instagram-worthy photos by (The Pink Wall, Made in LA, Angel Wings)
  5. Get brunch at Blu Jam Cafe (must order: Crunchy French Toast)
  6. Enjoy an unforgettable Italian meal at Osteria Mozza (or an equally as delicious pizza at Pizzeria Mozza)
  7. Enjoy more shopping, restaurants, and cute cafes on La Brea Ave (between Beverly and 2nd)
  8. There’s even more shopping at The Grove (this is a cute date spot, even if you don’t plan on shopping)
  9. After shopping, cross the street to get to The Original Farmers Market, a massive outdoor food hall
  10. Pay your respects and learn something new at the Holocaust Museum LA
  11. Take touristy photos by those outdoor lamp posts at the LACMA
  12. Visit the permanent home for the history of moviemaking that’s finally open, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
  13. Eat a very French brunch at République Café Bakery & République Restaurant
  14. Explore the bright and colorful Museum of Dream Space in Beverly Hills
  15. Dress up and be seen while dining or partying in West Hollywood, if that’s your thing
  16. Drive or walk along Sunset Strip, don’t miss your opportunity to spot The Oppenheim Group (aka the office from Selling Sunset)
  17. Window-shop at the expensive designer stores on Rodeo Drive (Tiffany & Co, Versace, Gucci, Fendi, YSL, you name it, it’s there!)
Melrose Ave - 175 Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles CA - TravelsWithElle

Coming from out of state? You might like: Celebrity Homes Bike Tour of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Bel-Air

Silver Lake / Echo Park: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

  1. Walk and shop along Sunset Boulevard (and enjoy the art murals)
  2. Get Silverlake Ramen (though today there are multiple locations throughout LA and Southern California)–I’d recommend the tsukemen
  3. Enjoy tiki drinks at Tiki-Ti Cocktail Lounge (the best old-school tiki joints in all of LA)
  4. Dance the night away at Los Globos
  5. Catch a show, concert, or dance party at The Echo or the Echo Plex
  6. Get a Thai massage at the very tranquil and serene Raven Spa
  7. Explore the secret stairs throughout the Silver Lake neighborhood (try the Murray Stairway on Sunset Boulevard, Mattachine Steps on Cove Avenue, Music Box Steps on Vendome Drive, or the Micheltorena Stairs off Sunset)
  8. Go shopping for vintage clothes in the Sunset Junction
  9. Pick out a quirky gift or two at Wacko Soap Plant
  10. Take your dog for a play date at the Silver Lake Dog Park
  11. Learn about one man’s quest for Biblical truth at the Holyland Exhibition (you’ll see some artifacts and learn about the quirky history of Antonia F. Futterer)
  12. Catch a great happy hour (with food) at Mohawk Bend
  13. Eat some of the best Taiwanese food outside of San Gabriel Valley at Pine & Crane
  14. See a flamenco dinner show at El Cid
  15. Take a walk or a jog around the Silver Lake Reservoir or Echo Park Lake
  16. Hop into an Echo Park Swan Boat for a leisurely ride in the lake
  17. Go bar hopping in up-and-coming neighborhood of Highland Park
Silver Lake CA - 2 Days In Los Angeles, CA

Los Feliz / Atwater Village: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

  1. Attend the Sunday farmers market, a popular gathering place for the local community
  2. Get pastries at Proof Bakery
  3. Get brunch in the coziest setting at Home Restaurant
  4. Get the mango sticky rice ice cream at Wanderlust Ice Cream (can you tell I love Wanderlust yet?)
  5. Go shopping at the quirky gift shops and home decor stores on Glendale Blvd.

Malibu: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

Malibu - Travels With Elle
  1. Spend a day at Zuma Beach with the kids
  2. Eat lunch at Malibu Farms, an iconic restaurant and Malibu staple
  3. Go on a 2-hour wine safari tour with Malibu Wine Safari
  4. Dine at Nobu, if you can afford it
  5. Get some really fresh seafood at Malibu Seafood (the fish and chips are to die for!)
  6. Go hiking at Point Mugu State Park, the best spot in LA for hiking, views, and all things nature in my opinion.
  7. Dine under vines, canopies, and fairy lights at the Inn of the 7th Ray 
  8. Shop for vintage goods at Hidden Treasures in Topanga, CA
  9. Watch the sunset from the picturesque beach, El Matador Beach
  10. Visit the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, a tranquil meditation garden in the Pacific Palisades
Malibu Seafood - 2 Days In Los Angeles CA
California Coast Road Trip - Malibu- Travels With Elle

South Bay / Beach Cities (Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo Beaches): Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

Manhattan Beach - 175 Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles CA - TravelsWithElle
  1. Pack all your beach gear and spend a beach day in the South Bay (Manhattan Beache is my favorite in all of the LA area–you can park in the neighborhoods for free too)
  2. Ride your bike or go running along The Strand
  3. Catch a comedy show at one of my favorite comedy club venues, The Comedy & Magic Club
  4. Explore the shops in Hermosa Beach along Pier Avenue and Hermosa Avenue
  5. Explore the shops in Manhattan Beach along Manhattan Ave and Manhattan Beach Blvd.
  6. Eat the best Mediterranean food ever at Chicken Maison (it’s all about the spicy lemon garlic chicken)
  7. Get pillow-soft donuts (honestly the best donuts I’ve ever had) at Randy’s Donuts
  8. Get an acai bowl filled to the brim with toppings at Paradise Bowls (multiple locations in the South Bay)
  9. Go standup paddleboarding in Redondo Beach’s marina–the water here is so much cleaner than in Marina Del Rey (I used to be on an outrigger canoeing team in Marina Del Rey, the water is NOT clean)
  10. Grab a bag of churros from Churros Pier Bakery and stroll the Redondo Beach Pier
  11. Go surfing in the morning at Manhattan Beach
  12. Catch a Shakespearean play at Polliwog Park during Shakespeare by the Sea
  13. Stop by Ensenada’s Surf N Turf Grill on Wednesdays for discounted fish tacos that will blow your mind!
  14. Go bar hopping in the Hermosa Beach Pier area
  15. Take a scenic drive around the Palos Verdes Peninsula (stop for drinks during sunset at Terranea Resort)
Paradise Bowls - South Bay Los Angeles CA

Various Other Locations: Bucket List Things To Do In Los Angeles

  1. Attend a live taping of a show as an audience member (1iota and On-Camera Audiences are good sites to look for shows)–I’ve attended Dr. Ken and Conan O’Brien tapings in the past, so fun!
  2. Mark your calendar for the second Sunday of every month for the Rose Bowl Flea Market, a massive swap meet/flea market, in Pasadena, CA
  3. Spend hours strolling through picturesque gardens at Huntington Library Gardens in San Marino, CA
  4. See some remarkable private art collections at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA
  5. Enjoy a shopping day at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, CA
  6. Go rollerskating at Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale, CA
  7. Get in line for those iconic (and very touristy) pastries at Porto’s Bakery & Cafe
  8. Enjoy an escape room at one of the many fun escape room venues across the city
  9. Take your dog to one of the only dog-friendly beaches in LA, Rosie’s Dog Beach
  10. Visit the Korean Bell of Friendship, a metallic bell and pavilion in San Pedro, CA donated by South Korea in 1976.
  11. Sample a few pints of beer at some up-and-coming breweries in San Pedro, CA
  12. Discover the magic of Southern California’s flora at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge
  13. Take a day trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA
  14. Take a day trip to Catalina Island
PCH Drive - 2 Days in Los Angeles CA

Los Angeles, California: Essential Packing List

  • Comfortable walking shoes | You’re going to be doing a lot walking in LA, so bring comfortable walking shoes. My all-time favorite travel shoes these days are the tried and true Ecco Soft 7‘s (they’re stylish, comfortable, and have been raved about for decades since they were first created)! Lucky for us, they have them for both men and women.
  • Smartphone UV Sanitizer and Charger | Our phones gather all the grime and bacteria we touch throughout the day, and then they are stored in warm, dark places like purses and pockets, which make for great breeding grounds for bacteria to grow. They are the third hand we never wash, but should! Using a UV sanitizer such as PhoneSoap on a regular basis will help keep germs and illness at bay.
  • First Aid Kit | It’s always good to carry a first aid kit around with you when traveling. Road trips make it easier to do this since all you need to do is toss it in the trunk!
  • Hiking Boots | If you plan on hiking, bring well broken-in boots with good ankle support and good traction. My all-time favorites are the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Boots. They’re one of the lightest boots in its class, very durable, and provide out-of-the-box comfort, which is extremely important if you want to prevent blisters from the start.
  • Hiking Socks | If hiking, make sure you have a good pair of cushioned wool hiking socks. For extra toe protection and to prevent blisters from developing from skin-to-skin contact, go with a pair of Injinji toe socks.
  • Puffy Jacket | If you’re traveling in the fall or wintertime, you’re going to need layers, as nighs tend to get cooler compared to the summertime. You have a lot of options here, but I personally have the North Face Thermoball, and it’s kept me warm throughout my many years of adventuring!
  • Travel Daypack | I’m a huge fan of the Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack. It stylish and has ample room for all the snacks and water you’ll need, as well as for your camera and the safety essentials for a hike or just a regular day out.
  • Travel Towel | These are light and quick-drying, which is exactly what you need when you’re hopping from the water back to land, or simply need to dry your feet off. This one here is a great option for all these use cases!
  • Sunhat | Sun protection is key for any destination, anytime.
  • Sunscreen | Sunscreen is absolutely necessary. Even if it’s overcast or cloudy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to apply whenever you’re outdoors. No matter where we go, we like a coral reef-safe brand, as traditional sunscreens contain chemicals that damage our environment. For the face, we are absolutely obsessed with the magical Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen.
  • Hand Sanitizer Hand sanitizer gel or wipes are a must any time you’re going to be in contact with surfaces many other people have touched. Never leave your hotel room without it! And if you do happen to forget it, remember to wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your face.
  • Body Wipes / Feminine Wipes | Feeling a bit gross after a hike or bike ride but don’t have the time to shower right in that instant? Just whip out one of these body wipes for a quick refresher. The feminine wipes I like are infused with cucumber and aloe. Trust me, you will feel and smell so much better. Always good to have a few handy in your travel bag.
  • Portable Power Bank | You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures… the last thing you want is to be driving along with no phone battery! A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.
  • Soft Hydration Flask | Stay hydrated throughout the day with a water bottle that can go anywhere with you—and fold up when not in use. I love the packability of these bottles!
  • Emergen-C packets or Liquid I.V. Hydration Packets | These are a great way to support your immune system and overall health on a trip. They are light, take up no space, and are very easy to pack!

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Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

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