Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable & passionate about giving us all the information in a clear & concise way. The tour was very well planned & organised & was not tiring.
We did The Real Hollywood tour & loved it! The tour was at a great pace & the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable & made the tour fun. Thank you!
Stuart was so knowledgeable & was worth the day with him. I had been to LA multiple times before but this is the first time I had taken a tour – so thrilled to have this experience with my mom & sister. I would recommend this tour again & again.
We had an amazing DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Damien & Dante… thank you very much from the Italian girls… very interesting & funny… absolutely recommended!
This tour was awesome! Stuart is very knowledgeable, likeable & fun. The stops on the tour were very interesting & I learned a lot. I’ve been on quite a few tours of this nature & this was one of my favorites – highly recommend!
Did a walking tour of LA (LA in a Day). Vicky started us off with the Hollywood tour & Damien (who is also the owner) was our guide for the rest of the day. The entire day was awesome, I suggest this tour. There isn’t that much walking, to be honest. It’s very fun!
My boyfriend & I took the DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Stuart as our guide & had the most amazing time! We had experiences we will never forget! We were able to see parts & people of Los Angeles that we never would have without Stuart. I give this 10/10. If we visit again, this will be at the top of our to do list!
Absolutely amazing! Highly recommend taking both The Real Hollywood Tour & the Central Downtown LA tour! Our time in LA wouldn’t have been the same. Great way to learn about the city, see it from a different angle, explore the local life & learn about its history & filming industry. Damien our guide was fantastic!
Sylvie was our host & was fantastic. She had a lot of local knowledge & gave her unique perspective as someone who had moved to the area many years ago, so she had an outsider’s as well as an insider’s perspective. The tour gave us a great overview of Santa Monica & Venice & set us up for a great rest of the day.
We took 2 tours, the Santa Monica & Venice Bike tour (with Sylvie) & the Real Hollywood tour (with Damien). Both were great & highly recommended. Sylvie & Damien were informative, knowledgeable & easy to talk to. They were like you were with friends. We were traveling as a family of 4 with 2 boys (15 & 12). We all enjoyed the tours.
15 Things to Do in LA
Guests often ask us at the end of a tour, what are the best things to do in LA? It's a hard one because there are so many great things to do here, there are so many possibilities. You can lie on a beautiful beach, hike in the mountains, visit world-class museums, see some great theater, check out some of the most iconic sights in the world, such as the Hollywood Sign and the Chinese Theatre. And we haven't even mentioned Disneyland and Universal Studios.
Most visitors have a limited time-frame, and a list of must-do's already when they come here, but they're always looking for some local expertise and guidance on other activities and experiences that they can have in this amazing city. For that reason we put together this list of what we think are the best things to do in LA for our guests and we're sharing it here.
We also produce a guide to the top events happening here every month, such as screenings, festivals, exhibitions, concerts etc, at Inside LA. Have a look at that too for more ideas on activities to make the most of your stay.
Activities & Places of Interest in LA
1. GRIFFITH PARK (TOP PHOTO)
It’s one of the largest urban parks in the US, it has a beautiful observatory and museum (which is free), and it offers great views of Los Angeles. Griffith Park is a must-do. If you’re feeling adventurous check out the old Los Angeles Zoo – it's a great spot for photos and very atmospheric.
If you don’t feel like exploring on your own how about our Mount Hollywood Hike? We hike from the Greek Theatre to the Griffith Observatory, via Mount Hollywood (from which you can see almost the whole city of L.A.). You'll learn about the Tongva, the original inhabitants of the area, and visit some cool secret gardens.
2. HAVE A BEACH DAY
You might have heard that Los Angeles is a beach city and even as early as April and as late as October, depending on the weather of course, you can visit one of our many beaches. Santa Monica’s is very popular as it’s the easiest to get to, but Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach are very nice too.
If you’re going to Santa Monica why not visit the Annenberg Beach House? It has a beautiful pool from the 1920’s and you can visit part of Marion Davis’ house. She was a silent movie star in the 1920’s and 30’s and she built an enormous beach house here (unfortunately only a small part now remains).
3. MAIN STREET, SANTA MONICA
Instead of going right when you hit the beach at Santa Monica pier (and walking up 3rd Street Promenade) go left and walk down Main Street. There are many independent shops, bars and restaurants and itʼs only two blocks from the beach. If you’re feeling energetic keep walking all the way to Abbot Kinney – it’s the ultimate in westside hipness and still a cool place to hang out.
4. WANDER THE VENICE CANALS
The canals cover only about a quarter of the area that they did when first constructed, but it’s still a lovely, tranquil walk – around some of the most valuable real estate in the world (a 450 square foot “house”, with no kitchen, was on sale here in 2017 for $2.5 million).
We also cycle through this area on our Santa Monica and Venice Bike Tour.
5. OLD TOWN PASADENA
Pasadena is a beautiful and historic city northeast of downtown, at the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, and which is very accessible on the Gold Line. What’s now known as Old Town Pasadena is the historic core of the city. It’s full of independent shops, bars and restaurants and the area is also home to the Huntington Library and the Norton Simon Museum, which both have very impressive art collections.
6. LACMA (LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART)
One of the best things to do in LA is to visit some of the fantastic museums we have here and LACMA’s collection of art is truly world class. The institution is situated on the Miracle Mile and it’s also only about ten minutes walk from the Farmers Market and the Grove (an open air shopping mall) which are both very popular with tourists and locals.
7. THE GETTY
Another world-class art collection – this one housed in an award-winning building with breath-taking views of the sea and the Santa Monica mountains. Did we mention the Getty's free?
8. THE BROAD
The latest museum to open in downtown (2015) and a big hit with Angelenos, check out the Broad's first-rate collection of modern art. Be smart though and reserve online before you visit – that way you don’t have to join the long lines that often form at the entrance, especially on weekends. If you’re in the area you could also visit MOCA, another great free modern art museum, which, handily, is right opposite.
We pass through the Grand Avenue cultural quarter on our Central Downtown LA tour, but make time to visit these museums as well, you’ll be glad you did.
9. CALIFORNIA SCIENCE CENTER
It’s got something for everyone – adults and children – including fighter jets, robots and the Space Shuttle Endeavor (which was built in the Los Angeles area). The California Science Center is free – and there’s nothing wrong with free, right?
10. NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
The NHM has some wonderful exhibits, including a lot of dinosaur fossils which were found in the Los Angeles area (they’re still turning up fossilized remains at the site of the La Brea Tarpits, where LACMA resides) and a section on L.A. history.
11. DO A MOVIE STUDIO TOUR
No list of things to do in LA would be complete without this. Warner Bros, Universal and Sony Pictures have guided backlot tours and they all have something to recommend them, but our recommendation would probably be Paramount Studios. It’s the only old-time studio still in Hollywood itself and it’s very recognizable from movies like the Godfather. If you do go to Sony Studios though, you could also see Tara from Gone with the Wind, which is a brief walk from the entrance to Sony.
12. CATCH A GAME
Los Angeles has many world-famous sporting teams based here – and one of the best things to do in LA would be to see them in action. The Dodgers (baseball), the Lakers (basketball), the Clippers (basketball), the Chargers (football), the Rams (football), L.A. Galaxy (soccer) and the Kings (ice hockey) all call the city home. That’s right, LA is an incredible city to visit if you’re a sports fan.
13. ENJOY THEATRE, A CONCERT OR OPERA AT THE MUSIC CENTER
Believe it or not, but L.A. has award-winning work going on all the time in all three at this magnificent venue right in the heart of downtown. The Music Center is right opposite Grand Park and in the heart of the Grand Avenue cultural quarter, so it's well-worth a visit.
14. GO TO A CONCERT AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL
The Hollywood Bowl is a beautiful spot in the Hollywood Hills and they host all kinds of concerts here, from classical music with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (sometimes playing the score to a movie while it’s being screened) to appearances by pop icons like Paul McCartney.
15. ATTEND A MOVIE SCREENING
You’re in Los Angeles, movie capital of America (and arguably the world), so it makes sense. The New Beverly Cinema (owned by Quentin Tarantino) and The Cinefamily both have very interesting programs, in which screenings are often followed by moderated discussions of the movie (usually involving a panel made up of some famous actors and directors).
If you have any feedback on our list of things to do in LA, or if you have some recommendations of your own, please email us and let us know. We’ll be sure to take it into account.
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