Los Angeles, California sprawls out more than 500 square miles, with each neighborhood boasting its own fascinating attractions. There are an abundance of Los Angeles vacation rentals near the beach, as well as situated in low-key, quiet suburbs. Look forward to being immersed in sports, art, nightlife, the beach, shopping, and other attractions. No matter your lifestyle, you’ll find something great to do in L.A.
1. Visit the Griffith Observatory
Make believe you’re in the movie “La La Land” when you visit the Griffith Observatory, which overlooks Hollywood and downtown L.A. from the south side of Griffith Park. You can take selfies with the Hollywood sign and panoramic photos of the city, and then pop inside the observatory to learn about space and the history of astronomy.
2. Enjoy the Art of Bergamot Station
If your vacation rental is near the Metro, take it to Bergamot Station in Santa Monica to browse through cutting-edge art galleries. All the galleries are free, and a cool cafe on the site lets you have lunch and make an afternoon of your visit.
3. Paddle Through Venice
Rent a stand-up paddleboard or a kayak to explore the Venice Canals, a residential community in which neighbors are connected by water, footpaths, and bridges instead of roads. This eclectic neighborhood is filled with fascinating architecture and charm, all of which is more fun from the water. Rentals are available at Paddle Method in Marina del Rey or at Venice Paddle Boards.
4. Treat Yourself to Some Bodywork
Head to Koreatown, just west of downtown Los Angeles, to spend an afternoon in bliss at the Wi Spa, a family-friendly destination that treats everyone to some relaxation, filled with saunas, steam rooms, and soaking baths. If you feel a little shy about going to a spa in an unfamiliar town, look for a Chinese foot spa such as the Wilshire Foot Spa in the Museum District or the Sunset Foot Spa in West Hollywood where you can stay fully clothed while trained masseurs relax you from the feet up.
5. Visit the Getty Center
This spectacular museum is free to the public, but it’s really not about the art here. There are a few famous pieces at this museum, but the best reason to visit is the stunning architecture and the gardens. Plan your visit to enjoy one of the free concerts the museum puts on in the courtyards and gardens, and enjoy the incredible views that start as soon as you take the mini train up the hill to the museum.
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6. Hike Runyon Canyon
It may seem odd to think of hiking in a big city like Los Angeles, but it’s the only city in the United States with a mountain range running through it, and that makes for some great hiking. Runyon Canyon is where to go to spot future movie stars working out, but you can also find wonderful hikes through Griffith Park or the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
7. Be Dazzled at the Magic Castle
You need an invitation from a member to visit this private club for magicians, but you’d be surprised how easy they are to find. Enjoy spectacular magic shows in three theaters, and don’t miss the close-up magic room where you sit within feet of the magician at work. Make plans for dinner here for a real treat, and remember the secret words you need to open the hidden door at the entrance: “Open Sesame.” After the shows, come back to your vacation rental to try to figure out how they did it.
8. View the Taping of a TV Show
Your favorite TV shows of all sorts tape in Los Angeles, so enjoy an experience that you can’t get anywhere else by being in the studio audience for game shows like The Price Is Right or Jeopardy, a talk show like Conan or Ellen, or even a sitcom. Audiences Unlimited is one of the best sources for getting TV show tickets.
9. Go to a Major League Game
Whatever major league sport you prefer, Los Angeles has a world-class team ready to show you what they’ve got. Head to the Dodger Stadium for baseball (and make sure to enjoy a Dodger Dog at your seat), or to the Coliseum just south of downtown to watch the new Los Angeles Rams in action. The downtown Staples Center is the spot for hockey from the Kings or basketball from the Lakers or Clippers.
10. Visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall
This renowned concert hall designed by architect Frank Gehry is a dazzling sculptural wonder of swirling silver on the outside and a jewel of a theater with breathtaking acoustics inside. There are two ways to visit it: buy a ticket to hear the L.A. Philharmonic or Master Chorale perform, or join a free tour. If you opt for a tour, however, be aware that you may not be allowed into the theater itself if rehearsals are in progress.
11. Laugh Yourself Silly at a Comedy Show
Many of the comedy stars you laugh at on TV or online got their start on the stages of the Upright Citizens Brigade, the Laugh Factory, the Groundlings, or one of the many other comedy clubs right here in Los Angeles. Look for headliners you know, or take a chance on an up-and-comer whose name you may recognize someday. If you’ve got the kids with you and are concerned about rough language, check out ComedySportz in North Hollywood where every performance is PG-rated and still hilarious.
12. See a Movie in a Cemetery
Head to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in (you guessed it) Hollywood to enjoy a movie under the stars. Each summer brings a new slate of movies hosted by the Cinespia organization. Bring a picnic blanket, and pack a dinner at your vacation rental to enjoy anything from art house favorites to popular blockbusters from years gone by. If you want to bring a beach chair (it has to be a low one), you’ll have to sit further back.
13. Spend a Day at the Beach
Whether you choose the surfer paradise of Malibu, the family-friendly expanse of sand awaiting you at Santa Monica, or the funkiness of Venice Beach, a day at the beach is a must for any L.A. visit. For a small fee, you can work out right on the sand at Venice’s famed Muscle Beach.
14. Enjoy a Concert Under the Stars
A trip to the Hollywood Bowl is a mandatory stop in any Angeleno’s summer, and you’ll be surprised at how inexpensive the tickets can be (as low as $1 for the back rows). Choose from the Los Angeles Philharmonic playing classical music, visiting jazz greats, major rock and pop tours, or popular singalong evenings where movies like “The Sound of Music” or “The Little Mermaid” are screened with the audience of more than 10,000 joining in.
15. Go Shopping
Los Angeles is home to some of the best shopping in the world, whether you pull out the credit cards or just go window-shopping. Head to shopping center meccas like The Grove, The Americana at Brand, or Century City for an immersive shopping experience in a beautifully curated environment that treats you to true luxury. Legendary shopping streets like Rodeo Drive or Robertson Boulevard in Beverly Hills, West Third Street in West Hollywood, or Montana Avenue or Main Street in Santa Monica introduce you to top designers on their home turf.
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