If you’re looking for nonstop fun and excitement, a vacation to Los Angeles, California should definitely be on your radar. As the second largest city in the United States, LA recently ranked #20 as the most popular city in the world to visit. In fact, it welcomed a record 47 million visitors in 2016 – a nearly 5 percent increase from the year before. Of course, we can’t really say we’re surprised by that number. After all, Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world. So, if you’re looking for fun things to do in LA, the “City of Angels” is your ultimate destination for iconic landmarks, celebrity sightings, and epic attractions.
1. Hollywood Studio Tours
Many of your favorite TV shows and movies are filmed right here in Tinseltown. While some of the studios are closed to the public, there are several major studios that do offer a unique, behind-the-scenes look at what really goes on when the cameras are rolling:
Universal Studios Hollywood Tour: Probably best known today for its theme park, Universal Pictures is home to the largest film and television studio in the world. Included with theme park admission, the studio tour lets visitors explore Hollywood’s most famous backlot. There, guests will encounter the eerie crash site from War of the Worlds, the infamous Wisteria Lane from Desperate House Wives, the blood-thirsty shark from Jaws and the spooky Bates Motel from Psycho.
Paramount Pictures Tour: Paramount Studios is responsible for such cult classics like Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Godfather, King Kong and the original Star Trek During this 2-hour studio tour, you’ll visit iconic locations like the Bronson Gate, New York Street Backlot, and the Prop Warehouse. Each step of the way, you’ll learn how Paramount’s more than century-old legacy influenced the entertainment world as we know it today.
Warner Bros. Studios Tour: Deemed the “best studio tour in Hollywood,” you’ll explore several outdoor sets and soundstages used to create major productions like the Gilmore Girls, The Big Bang Theory, and Argo. Each tour, which lasts about three hours, also includes exclusive access to original props, costumes, picture cars, and sets used from Batman to Friends.
Sony Pictures Studio Tour: Formerly MGM studio, this walking tour includes stops to famous soundstages that were once home to hit films like The Wizard of Oz, Men in Black and Spider-Man. Guests may also catch a glimpse of the infamous RV from the hit TV show Breaking Bad or the set from the hit comedy, The Goldbergs. The guided tour lasts two hours.
Often referred to as “Third Street Promenade,” here you can experience world-class shopping, dining and entertainment just steps away from the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. Stroll leisurely down the street as you explore the many clothing and specialty shops. From Greek cuisine to country cooking, there’s no shortage of yummy food either. The area boasts more than 100+ restaurants to suit your palate.
Sharks, turtles, squids, OH MY! With over 100 local sea creatures on display, hands-on activities for the kids, and daily educational programs, SMPA is the perfect place to “dive” into marine science without actually getting your feet wet.
Home to Mickey, Donald, Goofy and the rest of the gang! Since first opening its doors for business in 1955, more than 650 million guests have visited the most magical place on earth. Whether you like to go fast or slow, trust us, there’s a ride here for everyone. If you’re feeling brave, visit the ghosts at the Haunted Mansion. If you’re a little more adventurous, take a fun boat ride with the Pirates from the Caribbean. You can even have tea with Alice or explore space with Buzz Lightyear. From the many rides, yummy restaurants, and unique stores, you won’t be bored here.
This famous, winding road is located in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains and offers a stunning, relaxing view of one of LA’s most scenic drives. It’s also one of the most densely celebrity-populated roads in the City of Angels. Best of all, it won’t cost you a penny to explore.
For nearly a century now, this historic sign has become the global symbol of the entertainment industry. Situated on Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains, the sign was originally created for a local real estate development in 1923. However, it was such a hit with the public, the sign was permanently left up. The sign is visible from all over the city, and you’re free to take as many photos of the sign as you’d like. However, make sure you don’t get too close—as in touching distance. That could actually cost you jail time.
Want to become one with nature? This is the perfect place to do it. Griffith Park is the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the United States. It offers numerous family attractions, miles of hiking and horseback riding trails. The park is also home to its very own observatory. Since 1935, more people have looked through Griffith Observatory’s telescope than any other telescope on Earth. This landmark boasts over a million visitors a year.
8. Getty Center
Located in Brentwood, the Getty Center houses a collection of European and American paintings, drawings, sculptures, decorative arts, and photography from the Middle Ages to the present. After exploring the museum, make sure you explore the center’s beautiful gardens and water fountains. Here, you’ll also get an excellent view of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and Los Angeles.
With more than 25 acres to explore, this gorgeous park sits adjacent to the Pacific coastline for a beautiful, relaxing view of the ocean. Located along Ocean Avenue, guests can enjoy a nice picnic, tour the park’s rose garden or admire the park’s wood and concrete sculptures. You can also stop by and snap a photo of the park’s only totem pole!
10. Chinese Theatre
Since 1927, the Chinese Theatre has served as the main hub for some of the biggest red carpet movie premieres of all time. This is where Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars come to watch their movies. The iconic movie palace also boasts more than 50 events a year including imprint ceremonies and film festivals. The theater also offers a daily walking tour that includes a stroll through Hollywood movie history.
11. Hollywood Bowl
If you’re a big fan of good music, you’ll find it here. The historic amphitheater has been entertaining the masses since 1922. The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, and The Beach Boys are just a few of the great acts that have performed here. If you plan a visit, don’t forget to stop by the free Hollywood Bowl Museum! It’s open every night before concerts as well as daytime all year round.
You can find the beginning of this top visitor attraction on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Ave in Hollywood. The five-point stars that you see embedded in the sidewalks serve as permanent monuments to actors, producers, singers, directors and others who’ve made a memorable impact in the entertainment industry. The Walk of Fame is free to admire and open to the public.
Whether you want to gawk over a beautiful celebrity home or spot one of your favorite stars at LA’s trendiest hot spots, Velvet Ropes has you covered. Download our app today on Google Play and soon the Apple Store to get real-time notifications when your favorite stars are spotted!