41+ Things to Do in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is the city of stars, and even though it’s largely residential, there’s a tonne for visitors to do. Here’s a list of over 41 things to do on your trip to LA!
Please note that a few of these are outside city limits, but I included them on this list because they’re still staples of Los Angeles.
Places to See
- Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Certain celebrities have been selected to get a star on the Walk of Fame – and some even have more than one. See how many names you recognise on the ground.
- See the handprints at the TCL Chinese Theatre. This is particularly cool since you can see imprints of some of the most famous celebrities. These are outside of the TCL Chinese Theatre. You can also see a movie there (details under “activities”).
- Go to Hollywood Forever Cemetery. There are some pretty big names in Hollywood Forever, including Jayne Mansfield, Johnny Ramone, Rozz Williams, and Terry the Dog (you may know him as Toto). It’s a very relaxing place to walk around and they frequently have events such as movies there.
- Go to Forest Lawn Memorial Park, as well. There are some more famous internments at Forest Lawn, including Brittany Murphy, Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds, and Bette Davis.
- Head to Greystone Park. Greystone Mansion is the location of several films such as Spider-Man (2002), Batman & Robin, and Star Trek into Darkness. The beautiful park is open to the public (except when they’re filming, of course!).
- Head over to Chinatown. Unfortunately I haven’t been, but I’ve heard great things about Los Angeles’s Chinatown.
- See art and views at the Getty Museum. The Getty is one of the most famous art museums in the world. I personally thought the collection was underwhelming but the architecture and views from the Getty itself are spectacular and worth the ride up. It’s also free!
- Escape to the Getty Villa. In addition to the museum, there’s also the Getty Villa, which houses ancient art. It’s not near the Getty Museum so you will need to plan for both. Advanced tickets are also recommended for the Villa.
- Visit the LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I have to say that the LACMA was going to be a highlight of my trip with its wide range of collections. However they were actually closed for renovation when I got there and didn’t have any warnings on their website. I was incredibly upset. Definitely call before so you can confirm that their collections will be open.
- Head to the Broad. Most cities have a contemporary art museum and Los Angeles’s is The Broad.
- Visit the Museum of Death. This is not for the faint-hearted – the Museum of Death is very graphic and focuses a lot on murder rather than just “death.”
- Head to the GRAMMY Museum. Los Angeles. Music. It makes sense, right? See if the Grammy Museum has an exhibit you’d be interested in seeing.
- Step back in time at the La Brea Tar Pits. This is one of the most unique places – you can actually see tar pits and learn about their history over millions of years at this museum, complete with the actual tar pits. Where else can you visit such a place in the city?
- And also the Natural History Museum. Los Angeles also has a Natural History Museum that has the main focus on dinosaurs.
- Take a trip to the Huntington. The Huntington looks gorgeous and houses a library, art collections, and botanical gardens.
- Head to the Los Angeles Zoo. Yes, LA does have a zoo, as well.
- See all types of cars at the Petersen Automotive Museum. If you like museums, the Petersen is available to see in Los Angeles.
- See the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH). Many cities around the world have museums dedicated to the Holocaust, and LAMOTH is another example of that.
- And visit the Museum of Tolerance. This is a bit different – the Museum of Tolerance features exhibits on the Holocaust and other instances of non-tolerance over history.
- Visit the Japanese American National Museum. If you can’t go to Japan, this museum has some exhibits on the history of Japanese heritage in America.
- See Walt’s Barn. Walt Disney had another passion in his life: trains. You can still see his workshop and train sets at a place called “Walt’s Barn” up near Burbank.
- Hike to the Hollywood Sign. The hills of Hollywood are actually quite strenuous but very beautiful. The foliage with the cacti is so nice and it’s a gorgeous way to spend some time.
- Or hike to the Wisdom Tree. The Wisdom Tree is actually a lone tree in Hollywood Hills. A lot of people like to hike up to see the tree, and of course the scenery is beautiful with fantastic city views.
- Get views from Griffith Observatory. Griffith Observatory has some exhibits but it’s best known for its fantastic views over Los Angeles. If you go to the surrounding park, the views of LA and the nature in the park is absolutely worth the trip.
- See a movie at the TCL Chinese Theatre. The Chinese Theatre was built in 1927 by Sid Grauman, who paired with big names at the time to create cultural masterpiece in then up-and-coming Hollywood. It’s where a lot of the red carpet premiers are today. It’s a bit more expensive but you can actually see a movie there, where they have a replica of the original interior and famous costumes, such as Dorothy’s dress. For a little less, you can also take a short tour.
- Go on a Warner Bros. Studio Tour. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour gives you a tour of their lot and you get to see some props, as well. You can also sit and get your photo taken on the set of Friends and Big Bang Theory. There’s a lot to be discovered.
- Go on a Paramount Pictures Studio Tour. You can also take a similar tour and see the lots of Paramount Studios, including their famous gate.
- Ride along Mulholland Drive. This area of LA is so beautiful. It’s strenuous so you may only want to walk or bike along part of the trail but it’s an absolute must-see. You can also drive if you’re willing to take on all the traffic, but know that you probably won’t be able to stop and take pictures.
- Play some games on the Santa Monica pier. The famous pier is actually quite decent. They have the Pacific Park with a nice selection of rides and games to play, just like at a county fair. I’d recommend spending a few hours there and getting the wristband for $35 because it gives you unlimited rides. Otherwise rides cost $5-8 each.
- Chill out at Venice Beach. Venice Beach is technically in Los Angeles and it’s a lot calmer than neighbouring Santa Monica. Also be sure to stroll by the Venice Canals for some cute photos.
- Spend a day at Universal Studios. I’ve been to the Universal Studios park in Orlando and it’s my favourite park! The one in Hollywood has similar rides and setups, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- Spend a day at Disneyland. I’ve been to Disney World in Orlando and have heard that Disneyland is actually not as good. My advice for the Disney parks is to research what you want to do so you can go to the proper park (Disneyland/Disney Adventure Park).
- See a live recording. A lot of shows like Conan, Ellen, and Dr. Phil are recorded in LA. Most are free! You can research how to get tickets online for your particular show but most are on a first-come, first-serve basis – slash – raffle system.
- See a concert. LA has a tonne of places to see live music, including the Greek Theatre, STAPLES Center, Hollywood Bowl, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
- Walk the Downtown Art Walk. This actually isn’t a street art walk like it sounds, but rather a string of art galleries to visit in Downtown LA. Click here to learn more about the Art Walk.
- Take a Celebrity House tour in Beverly Hills. Is this ethical? You decide. But taking a tour to see the exteriors of rich peoples’ houses is quite enticing.
- Buy something at Melrose Trading Post. This was a gem I discovered when I was in LA; the Melrose Trading Post is an open-air flea market where you can buy all types of things, or just browse around.
- Shop at Rodeo Drive. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is one of the most popular places to go to shop.
- Or shop at The Grove. You can also go to The Grove, another popular shopping centre.
- Go to a VR Escape Room. There are a few VR arcades and escape rooms in LA, but this one was so tempting since they have dinosaurs. It’s a fun thing to do that’s also more of a local activity.
- Eat some new food. Los Angeles is so famously known for its fantastic food scene. Be sure to do some research before heading over and try something you’ve never tried before.
Some Things to Know
Los Angeles is huge, think along the lines of Tokyo. Even just staying in a specific area like Hollywood requires some public transit unless you’re fine with walking in heat. LA does have a metro & bus system that can take you a lot of places. Renting a car is not ideal at all since the city can get very congested and parking is absurd.
Many activities sell out so be sure to purchase tickets in advance if possible.
As the city is so large, it’s best to make a map of where you want to go, what you want to see, where you want to eat, etc. Everything is so spread out.
Los Angeles is a very big city and though I was surprised to find it didn’t have an incredible amount to do, there’s still a lot for visitors to see and explore.
What’s your favourite thing to do in Los Angeles?Posted on Sunday, September 15, 2019 in Destinations
Tags: california, los angeles, north america, united states
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Seeing Some of Ireland’s Nature
The Emerald Isle is such a beautiful country and there’s so much to see there. Even though I sadly haven’t spent much time in Ireland, I’ve been able to see a few of the beautiful natural sites known internationally. They comprise some of the most fantastic places I’ve ever been.
The Burren National Park
The Burren National Park is an easy trip from Galway on the west coast. It’s most known for having exposed rock (limestone), and a variety of different rock formations. The rocky landscape changes depending on where you are in the park.
That’s it? Exposed rock?
It may not seem like much but it’s actually very beautiful. I went both in winter and summer and both looked about the same. There’s something so timeless about it that makes it so ethereal. A huge bonus is you don’t need to plan your trip around a certain time of year or date to enjoy the Burren.
The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher can easily be done with the Burren National Park. This is one of the most famous places in Ireland. It’s actually a national park that is free and open year-round. You’ll see tickets and opening hours on their website but that’s actually just for the visitor’s centre. You can go up and hike the cliffs any time. It’s a short walk and there are a lot of safety precautions to keep people from falling off the edge. However the pathway is pretty narrow and there’s an electrical fence on one side. It definitely works because I shocked myself on it.
If you do go inside the visitor’s centre, it actually does have an extensive exhibit on the nature and wildlife that can be seen at the Cliffs of Moher and that area of Ireland. They also have a small cafe if you’re hungry.
Even though the Cliffs are iconic, I went during the winter and it wasn’t much to see. When I went in the summer, it was quite pleasant but honestly not as nice as the national parks we saw.
Up in Northern Ireland is one of the most unusual natural places in Ireland: Giant’s Causeway. This square- and other geometrically-shaped stone is incredibly unique and fascinating to look at. They’re prism-shaped, uniform, and expansive. Again, you can visit for free but the visitor’s centre is an extra fee. The centre is also quite informative about how the volcanic activity created this stone.
Legend has it that a Scottish giant (Benandonner) challenged an Irish giant (Fionn) to fight, so they built a causeway for them to meet in the centre of the isles. Fionn turned out to be much smaller than Benandonner so he quickly ran home and his wife disguised him as a baby. Benandonner got to Fionn’s house and when he saw how huge the baby was, he imagined how big the father must be and ran back to Scotland. On his way back, he destroyed the Causeway behind him, leaving only the remnants we see today. Thus the name, Giant’s Causeway.
The Carrick-a-Rede Bridge is something a few people put on their bucket lists. The area is also quite pretty and it’s only a 15-20 minute drive away from the Causeway.
Wicklow Mountains National Park
One of my favourite memories is driving through Wicklow Mountains National Park. Though this park doesn’t have anything that’s unique about it, it’s a collection of purple mountains, lakes and rivers, sheep and Irish foliage. It was absolutely gorgeous during the summer, though I can’t speak of what it’s like in the winter. It’s really the lack of man-made material like phone lines and paved roads that makes this area super gorgeous.
What really made the trip out here was discovering Glendalough. Truth be told, I had heard of it but did not research it at all since it’s a small town. However it was a huge highlight of my trip. Glendalough was a town founded by St. Kevin that existed from the 500s to the 1100s-1300s. It’s been a bit out of commission for several hundred years now but it’s still incredibly preserved. Tucked in the valley of the mountains, there’s medieval monasteries, churches, grave stones, and towers. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I wanted to stay there for much longer than I did.
Ireland is absolutely beautiful. Of the places I’ve been, I’d definitely love a hike or a stay in the Wicklow Mountains and the Burren. They’re some of the most amazing places I’ve been. Ireland has so much more to discover and I can’t wait to go back.
What is your favourite natural part of Ireland?Posted on Monday, September 9, 2019 in Destinations
Tags: europe, ireland, northern ireland
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9 Fun Things to Do in Maryland This Fall
Every place has a handful of fun things to do each autumn, and my home state of Maryland is no exception. We have tonnes of seasonal events but there’s something special about pumpkin patches and haunted houses. Whether you’re visiting or a resident looking for something new to try, here are 8 fun places to go in Maryland this fall.
Homestead Gardens Fall Fest (Davidsonville & Severna Park)
Homestead Gardens has an annual, locally-celebrated fall fest that involves corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and hay rides. It’s fun for kids but as adults, we’ve enjoyed coming here too. Homestead has some cute though expensive fall decorations. The best part, in my humble opinion, is that they are puppy friendly! Feel free to bring your canine friend during the Fall Fest or any other day of the year.
Queen Anne Farm & Pumpkin Patch (Bowie)
Image from Queen Anne Farm
There are a lot of pumpkin patches in Maryland but I particularly like Queen Anne Farm. It’s still a bit off the beaten path, even for locals. You can pick your own pumpkin here and they have a lot to choose from. They also have picked pumpkins, including mini pumpkins and gourds, dried corn, and fruits and vegetables, and some homemade goods. If you go earlier in the fall, you may be able to catch the remaining sunflowers, too!
Gaver Farm Fall Fun Festival (Mount Airy)
Image from YouTube
I have never been to the Gaver Farm Fall Fun Festival but it looks like a great time, so I’ll be going this year! They have a corn maze, pumpkin picking, hay rides, a petting zoo, and more. They are also a seasonal farm so I bet that in order to maintain their land all year round, it must be a fantastic Fall Fest.
Colonial Farm Twilight Tours (Accokeek)
If you like colonial history then you definitely need to come to Accokeek Foundation & Piscataway Park. They’re open for regular tours and visits but they have a lot of fun events throughout the year that focus on the sustainable lifestyle the colonists had. This year, they’re having Twilight Tours throughout October that feature spooky stories of old Maryland. They also have an annual Tails on Trails event in October where you can bring your pooch for Trick or Treating and more. My corgi has given the paws-up on that event and he still has some of the sustainable toys he got last year. And yes, there’s more; check out their fall events calendar for all the dates and times.
If you’re also in the area around December, their Winter’s Eve event is hugely popular with locals, as well.
MD Renaissance Fair (Crownsville)
If you don’t know much about the Maryland Renaissance Festival, know this: it’s constantly ranked as one of the best in the national, rivalled by Carolina and Texas. But jousting is the Maryland state sport, so that actually puts us in the #1 position according to Marylanders. It has jousting, good food, good beer, wine and mead (and locally-brewed), jousting, crafts, handmade goods, jousting, theatrical performances, games, jousting, and more. The best part for a lot of people is dressing up, and I can recommend a few Etsy shops to get some garb. It’s a fun event everyone should try once.
International Edgar Allan Poe Fest (Baltimore)
On October 7, 1849, the great writer died in in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, under mysterious circumstances. He was found incohesive on the streets and died at the hospital he was taken to. They didn’t know how he’d gotten that way or why he died, and even with the technology they have today, scientists and historians still don’t know the reason behind Poe’s death. He went out of this world as spookily as he lived in it.
Baltimore is hugely proud to have housed the legendary Poe for the later part of his life. There’s a lot in the city dedicated to him but one event they hold every year in early October is the Edgar Allan Poe Festival. It’s a free event, but one of the most popular parts is the ticketed and expensive Black Cat Ball. Also don’t forget to return to Poe’s grave on October 7th to celebrate his Death Day. And make sure to visit Annabel Lee Tavern for dinner and/or a drink – it’s Poe themed!
Take a Ghost Tour (Frederick)
Image from Visit Frederick
Did you know that Frederick is titled “Maryland’s Most Haunted City?” Though it’s not as haunted as Savannah or New Orleans, it does have its fair amount of scare as all American cities are sure to have. They have historic ghost tours that run all year but fall is a particularly good time to take them. Frederick is a great, laid-back city with fantastic food, so it’s a great way to end a day there. If you’d rather go to a bigger city, Baltimore has ghost walks and pub crawls as well.
Six Flags Fright Fest (Bowie)
If you’re a fan of amusement parks, Six Flags America is a fun place to go and they also have a Fright Fest each year. They have 7 good roller coasters, some favourites including the Batman, Joker and Superman coasters. Their fright fest is a little cheesy but it’s still something you can do to celebrate fall. If you get their basic pass, visiting 2-3 times a year (with parking) will pay for the pass.
If you’re willing to drive south, Kings Dominion is also incredibly fun and has an amazing Fright Fest. I’d recommend them over Six Flags on all fronts but they’re in Virginia.
Twisted Fields of Terror (Prince Frederick)
Image from Facebook
Maryland also has a plethora of haunted houses and mazes, but the newest and funnest we’ve found is Twisted Fields of Terror in Southern Maryland. It’s fun; it’s pretty scary; and it’s also quite sizable. I recommend this one but there’s actually an entire directory for Maryland and MD-area haunted houses, complete with user reviews.
I personally cannot wait to do as many of the above as I can fit in this fall. The season of dying leaves is ironically such a lively time in Maryland and there’s so many fun things to do around the state.
What’s your favourite thing to do in fall?Posted on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 in Destinations
Tags: maryland, north america, united states
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