Cruising down Sunset Boulevard, playing arcade games on Santa Monica Pier and getting a snap in front of the Hollywood Sign are just some of the must-do attractions when visiting Los Angeles. There’s more to the city than its regular tourist hotspots, with so many sub-cities and cultural areas there’s a lot to see and do.
So whilst you’re planning your LA itinerary, here’s a list of 11 unique things to do in Los Angeles on your next trip.
1) Storybook House Tour
Ever wanted to see a Disney fairytale home in real life? LA has it. During the 1920s and 1930s, there was an emergence of storybook architecture in Los Angeles, with construction companies building a variety of oddly shaped houses that look like they were straight from an enchanted forest.
Some examples of the designs resemble The Witch’s House of Beverly Hills, Snow White Cottages, Hobbit House, and even Charlie Chaplin’s Cottage. Touring LA’s storybook houses is a great unique experience if you’re looking for something away from the Hollywood glamour.
2) Barnsdall Park
For art lovers, Barnsdall Park is the artistic hub of LA. With a gallery theatre and other activities, there’s plenty to do for an afternoon or evening activity. View the art, take an art class, or enjoy the view of the city from the park.
Hollyhock House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
3) Hiking Trails
The hike to the Hollywood Signs is the most popular trail in Los Angeles, with more than 90% of tourists taking the trek to view the sign meaning it can be crowded. If you’re looking to hike some less crowded trails, there are a few other less explored treks in LA.
Palos Verdes, Santa Monica Mountains and Santa Ynes Waterfalls are a few of the treks only known to native LA citizens, so it’s unlikely you’ll find many tourists in these areas unless they’re trekkers. Rubio Canyon is also another great option for a crowd-free hike.
4) Temescal Gateway Park
Amongst the wooded Temescal Canyon trail is one of Los Angeles’s best viewpoints, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and forest landscape. A great spot for adventurers, the park has many facilities and would be a great location to hike for a picnic away from the city.
To reach the park you’ll need to rent a car and be mindful of the stop signs on the drive. The stop signs are photo enforced so if you don’t abide by the rules, you could be facing a $100 fine!
5) Mount Wilson Observatory
Although this location is often overshadowed by the popular Griffith Observatory, Mount Wilson Observatory is located on the San Gabriel Mountains offering gorgeous views of the Los Angeles forest and mountain landscape.
Admission to the attraction is free however, as its located within the Angeles National Forest you will need to purchase a Forest Service Adventure Pass to visit. You’ll need to rent a car or catch a cab to the observatory, which will give you time to take in the fantastic views of the mountain on the winding scenic road.
Want to watch the sunset over LA? Take in the views and book an after-dark session to look through the observatory’s 60-inch telescope.
6) Cruise Marina del Ray
Join a boat cruise at Marina del Ray, the largest man-made harbour for small boats in the USA. Visitors can take a cruise, paddleboard, kayak, or dine whilst watching the world go by.
Some cruises at Marine de Ray include buffet brunches or dinners, adding an even greater experience. If you’re wanting to cruise the waves before the sun is too hot, opt for a morning cruise to take in the incredible views in the warm sunshine to start your day right!
7) Los Angeles Zoo
Not at the top of most traveller’s LA wish lists, the Los Angeles Zoo shouldn’t be ruled out. The zoo was founded in 1966 and houses more than 2200 animals across 270 species, of which 60 are endangered species.
There are 133 acres to explore as the zoo staff work hard to care for the animals whilst educating the public on conservation efforts. Visitors can also explore the certified botanical gardens, which include a Japanese garden and walking trails.
8) Downtown LA Bike Tour
Embark on a guided bike tour of downtown LA with a dutch-style bike, riding through Grand Central Market, the Vaudeville theatre district and past LA’s tallest skyscraper.
The tour will stop at the famously eerie Cecil hotel (now a housing complex) and then cruise through LA’s oldest neighbourhood, Olvera Street, before ending at the Broad Museum or Bradbury Building.
9) The Hollywood Bowl
If you’re lucky enough to catch a live show when travelling to LA, don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of the best live music venues in Southern California. The Hollywood Bowl is an open-air, amphitheatre in the Hollywood Hills.
The venue hosts a wide range of entertainment shows from live music concerts, to dance performances or classical orchestra festivals. It’s worth checking to see what’s on before you travel, or booking your USA travel dates to include a visit if there’s a particular show you want to see. The experience here will be unlike any regular area/theatre show.
10) Visit Melrose Avenue
Running parallel to the Sunset Strip, Melrose Avenue is an iconic LA street home to some of the best thrift stores and boutiques Los Angeles has to offer. If you’re into fashion, thrifting, vintage items, or you’re just trying to find a pre-loved Hermes handbag – there’s something for all types of shoppers.
The popular Fairfax Flea Market is held on Sundays between 9 am to 5 pm, with more than 200 stalls offering fashion, food and art, for only a $3 entry fee which is donated to the local high school.
Thrill seekers will want to experience LA from its dizzying, free-falling heights. Skydiving companies offer tandem jumps from 12,500ft over the LA valleys, reaching speeds of 120mph. Not for the faint of heart, if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, this is something to consider, and the whole experience is captured on film.
There you have it, please let us know what you think of the above activities, and let us know in the comments below!