Sometimes it feels like all anyone wants to do in LA is eat. And there are some pretty fantastic restaurants in this city, from roadside taco trucks to super healthy bistros to pretty much any ethnic food you’re craving, not to mention desserts for dayz. But while I can totally respect that people love doing the foodie thing whether they’re a local or tourist, I’m just not that into it. I do like to eat out from time to time, but I’m definitely more likely to cook my own food and save that money for something else.
So, what is there to do in LA, if not to stuff my face? I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites (51 to be exact!):
1. Watch the sunset at Griffith Observatory. This is one of my absolute favorite LA spots, hands down.
2. Wander around the Instagram-worthy murals in the Arts District.
3. Bike along Ballona Creek. LA is flat so getting around on two wheels isn’t too strenuous (although I’d advise you to stick to bike paths for safety).
5. Check out the cool camera obscura in Santa Monica. They have weird hours but it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.
7. Santa Monica Pier—a classic.
8. See amazing photographs at the Annenberg Space for Photography. Bonus: it’s free!
10. Get limber at a pay-what-you-wish yoga class in Runyon Canyon.
11. If you’re there in the summers, check out the Music Center’s free dance class series. I was able to take an intro salsa, Bollywood, tango, and line dancing class at no cost.
12. Visit Little Tokyo. The Hello Kitty store alone is worth it!
13. Cut a rug at LindyGroove, arguably the best weekly swing dance lessons and social dance in town.
14. See a touring show at the Pantages. Who do I have to talk to for some Hamilton tix?
15. View the star walk on Hollywood Boulevard.
16. Visit memorials for film stars of old in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
17. Frolic through the rose garden at Exposition Park.
18. Check out the hands-on exhibits at the California Science Center. This place is actually way cooler than I was expecting!
19. Catch a Dodger’s game.
20. Spend the big bucks in Beverly Hills (there’s some fun and swanky shops on S. Beverly Drive).
23. Attend a taping of a show, like Ellen. Note that you’ll probably have to line up tix in advance, or hope to get in standby.
24. Disneyland. I mean duh, right? Although I’ll be honest: I’ve not been yet.
25. Wacko Soap Plant is the best place to get quirky and fun souvenirs. It’s also right by Los Feliz, possibly my favorite LA neighborhood.
26. Go retro and see a drive-in movie at Electric Dusk.
27. Admire the architectural beauty of Union Station. Take the metro to 7th Street Station and look at some of the beautiful buildings there as well. The LA skyline is pretty pretty.
28. Explore the abandoned zoo in Griffith Park. This makes for a fun afternoon walk.
30. Get a new record at Amoeba.
31. Do the Downtown Art Walk. The arts community in Los Angeles is actually quite vibrant, and the Art Walk is always a super fun time. If you’re lucky and in town when it’s happening, the Night on Broadway has a similar vibe.
32. Walk around the Venice Canals. This lovely area slightly removed from the beachfront will transport you right to Italy.
33. There are a number of studio tours in LA, but I really enjoyed the Warner Brothers one.
34. The Last Bookstore, located downtown, has readings and events. It’s also an impressive shop to begin with!
35. See the Angels Flight Railway, an old funicular located close to Pershing Square.
36. Hollywood Bowl! They’ve got some epic concerts here. The Greek is also a great choice for some large-scale live music. For smaller scale concerts (think a little more indie), check out The Satellite.
37. See a movie in the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
39. If you know someone (who knows someone who knows someone), then you could get lucky and snag entry into the Magic Castle. This is a private magicians club in Hollywood, but you need to have some kind of connection on the inside to check it out.
40. Shop around NoHo (North Hollywood). This is an artsy district in the northern part of LA that doesn’t get as much credit as it should.
41. Dress up and grab a classy drink at the Culver Hotel. This place has a lot of history and was the place where many of the cast from The Wizard of Oz stayed during filming. Live music every night!
42. Marina del Rey is the perfect spot for paddleboarding! The water is pretty calm there, making it easy for even a beginner.
43. Attend a protest. Hey, it’s 2017, I said it, and there’s a lot of them going on. You can find out about a lot of them on Facebook or LAist, and many meet downtown at Pershing Square.
44. View the interior of the Bradbury Building, which has a Victorian design—you might recognize it from (500) Days of Summer, among many other films!
45. Echo Park Lake is the ideal spot for an afternoon lounge, and since LA has pretty lovely weather all the time, you can’t go wrong.
47. Get a $10 tattoo at Shop Used Shop Local. They regularly book a tattoo artist who does flash tats, and it’s really fun. These are regular events, year-round, that benefit local artisans—plus, they even put all the proceeds from their most recent one to Planned Parenthood.
48. See the Watts Towers landmark. Weird and awesome.
49. Cheese! Do a tasting at Wheel House. Better yet, check out their events or go there on Friday nights for a movie showing.
50. Travel back in time at a mart featuring wacky products you definitely won’t find anywhere else.
51. Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is a bar that you just have to see for yourself. Enter through the fridge. 😉 Make sure to get here right when they open to avoid the lines and to take advantage of some sweet happy hour deals.