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Los Angeles Bucket List: 17 Best Things to do in LA

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In the second largest city in the United States, there’s bound to be an overwhelming amount of things to do and see. How are you supposed to know what should be on your Los Angeles bucket list?

Well, we’ve traveled to LA many times (we currently live in Vegas and routinely make the trip for a getaway) so we’ve perfected the optimal LA bucket list, so you don’t have to.

Los Angeles Bucket List

See a show at the Hollywood Bowl

Aerial view of a concert venue with lots of seating.

Hollywood Bowl is an open-air amphitheater and venue that allows guests to see some of these most iconic shows and artists of all time.

For a venue, you’re able to get up close and personal with the performers; no seat is placed farther than 96 feet away from the stage.

Bring your own food and drink and dress it up or dress it down for entertainment of your choice at the Bowl.

Seats range from $50-$700. There are packages you can buy that include multiple shows and days.

Shop on Rodeo Drive

Cars drive on a road filled with luxury shops and palm trees.

Rodeo Drive is one of the things to do in Los Angeles.

The high-end shopping district emits an air of exclusivity and extravagance you can’t find anywhere but LA.

Walk around, dine, and shop in stores carrying over 100 international brands.

This bucket list item will make you feel like you’re straight out of, well, Hollywood.

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Get your caffeine fix at a local coffee shop, like Verve Coffee

In Los Angeles, coffee shops aren’t just a spot to stop in, get your order, and be on your way. No, they are a place for business, to meet up with friends, or to bring a book and relax.

Plenty of locals mill in and out of coffee shops throughout the day, so join in and head to a local coffee shop that fits your vibe.

Verve Coffee is just one example of a cozy demeanor and good coffee.

Wander around The Last Bookstore

This is one of the more unique stops we have on our Los Angeles bucket list.

The Last Bookstore is the largest new and used bookstore in LA, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Get creative in their five art studios, go retro in the record store, or walk under the famous book tunnel.

You never know what you’re going to find here, but I promise you’ll always enjoy it.

Explore the Venice Canals

A canal with a white bridge that stretches across it is surrounded by buildings and palm trees.

The Venice Canals is one of the most unique things to do in Los Angeles, and lesser known. And even better, free!

Dug in 1905, millionaire Abbot Kinney funded these canals to bring a taste of Italian charm to the United States.

The canals are located off 25th Street in Venice Beach and weave lazily throughout the neighborhood. Sidewalks and bridges along the canals lead you into some of the most beautiful nooks and crannies of Southern California.

Have dinner at Nobu

Nobu Los Angeles blends Peruvian delicacies with Japanese classics for a flavor you won’t be able to get enough of. 

Located on the north end of the city, this luxuriant restaurant is for the epicurean. If you consider yourself a foodie, this item should be high on your Los Angeles bucket list.

Hike to the Hollywood Sign

White Hollywood sign on a mountain at sunset.

To get the best view of the Hollywood sign, you’re going to have to do a bit of hiking, but this iconic landmark is worth it.

The sign is located in Griffith Park, and you have a choice of 3 trails, from easiest to hardest, to see the sign: Mt. Hollywood Trail, Brush Canyon Trail, and Cahuenga Peak Trail.

These trails won’t get you too close to the sign, as it is fenced and guarded by an LAPD officer, but you will be able to get some awesome pictures of it.

Remember to stay on the trails to protect the wildlife in the area.

Relax at Santa Monica Pier

Pier with a ferris wheel and other rides on a beach.

Santa Monica Pier is high on my list of favorite things to do in LA.

The pier and the beach thrive on retro fun, with street performers and carnival games. With plenty of rides, food stands, restaurants, and the beach right next door, you won’t want to leave.

This is also a great place to sit on a bench and people-watch; in fact, that may be more thrilling than going on a ride.

And the best part, you experience the pier for free. Tickets are required for the rides, but you can get a pass to all 12 rides for an unlimited number of rides.

Snap some photos at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Tall white lamp posts with palm trees behind them.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA, can be found on Museum Row on Wilshire Boulevard.

This museum has a contemporary exterior surrounded by outdoor art installations. It would be worth going for just that, but the inside is a whole other story.

Beautiful art adorns the walls in every direction. Currently, they are showcasing exhibits called Afro-Atlantic Histories, Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, and The Space Between.

If you live in LA County, you’ll get in for free. Otherwise, adults are $25, and students, seniors, and youth get a discounted rate.

Enjoy a city view from Mulholland Drive

A highway winds through a mountain at sunset.

Mulholland Drive is one of the most famous streets in Los Angeles, and it even has a movie named after it.

The street offers some of the best views over LA, boasting the Los Angeles Basin, San Fernando Valley, Downton, and the Hollywood Sign.

If you’re wanting to see it all in one sweep, put this on your Los Angeles bucket list.

🚗 Book your Los Angeles car rental here! 🚗

Take in the view at El Matador State Beach

Blue beach with big rocks under a blue sky.

I know you’ve heard of the famed California beaches characterized by white sand, coves, and pools. El Matador Beach is just that and at least twice as beautiful.

The beach is located within Robert H. Meyer Beach, with a small parking lot up on the bluff. In the summer, the parking lot will fill up quickly, but in the off-season, this beach is quintessential for solitude.

Relax on the sand and read a book, swim in the designated swimming areas, take a walk at sunset, or go snorkeling here.

Ogle at the view from Griffith Observatory

View of a white observatory on a hill overlooking a city skyline.

Griffith Observatory has a couple of different views for you to behold.

Ruling over Los Angeles on Mount Hollywood, Griffith Observatory provides sweeping views of LA county, the maze of city streets laid out before you.

If you venture inside the observatory for free, I might add, you can experience views of the entire universe. The observatory has a planetarium, programs, and exhibits so you can explore the skies.

Griffith Observatory is open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday.

Go on a Warner Brothers Studio Tour

Want to see where the magic truly happens? Then the Warner Brothers studio tour should be on your LA bucket list.

The tour takes you deep into the movie-making industry, allowing you to tour one of the oldest film studios. The tour takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete.

See sets from your favorite shows and even lounge in the Central Perk Cafe from “Friends.” The tickets are $69 for adults, $59 for children, and $57 for LA residents.

Book your Warner Brothers Studio Tour here!

Visit Little Tokyo

Red and white japanese lanterns strung across a street.

Little Tokyo is a rich cultural nucleus for the Japanese community in Los Angeles. And one of only 3 remaining Japantowns in the United States.

The community has been growing since the 1800s, surviving some of the world’s most dramatic historical events. Starting with only about 40 businesses in 1905, Little Tokyo is now thriving with over 400 establishments.

Visit to see living history, experience authentic Japanese cuisine, and get some souvenirs to bring home.

Catch a Dodgers baseball game

This is another favorite Los Angeles bucket list item of mine.

The Dodgers have a prolific history as well. While they had some good times at their original home in Brooklyn, like signing baseball legend Jackie Robinson, they ultimately settled in LA living in 1958.

Dodger Stadium is electric, whether the team is winning or losing. And the drive up to it is just as fun, curving and weaving up the LA hills.

Get your thrill on at Universal Studios Hollywood

Now that you’ve seen where the movie magic is created come to Universal Studios to live out your dreams of being a character in those movies.

Fly over Hogwarts with Harry Potter, or drift between the legs of dinosaurs. The attractions are suitable for all ages, allowing kids to adults to enjoy every second of their time here.

General one-day admission starts at $109.

🎟️ Book your Universal Studios Hollywood ticket here! 🎟️

See the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Blue street sign with white writing that says "Hollywood Bl 6300 W."

Finally, head to Hollywood Boulevard to see your favorite movie stars engraved in history for all time.

This is an excellent place for pictures with your favorite actor or actress, or at least with their star.

Final Thoughts: Best Things to Do in San Francisco

Your Los Angeles bucket list should be looking pretty good right now. Follow this list, and you’ll get the most of the city’s history, entertainment, and culture.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even run into a movie star or two!

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