18 Best Things To Do In Los Angeles

What do you do in Los Angeles if you have a day to ride around? Most people would go to Hollywood, shop in Santa Monica, or go to Universal Studio. In Los Angeles, there are museums and shops dedicated to almost every imaginable thing, so it's no surprise that the city is filled with fascinating and downright weird locations of USA. Ah, good old LA.

Los Angeles has famously been described as 72 suburbs in search of a city. It's not like going to Nashville, where you can get a room at the downtown Hilton and be within reasonable walking distance of everything from the State Capitol to the Country Music Hall of Fame. You should decide what you want to see, and then get a hotel in that neighborhood.

Sneak Look at celebrities on Hollywood Boulevard and visit the eccentric area along Venice Beach. After all, it has great weather, every sport you can imagine, culture, the TV and movie industries are based here, good universities and great restaurants and shopping.

In this article, we'll talk about some of the most interesting and bizarre locations in Los Angeles. So, if you're in the hunt of some unusual sites to visit in Los Angeles you're in the right place as we're going to visit some odd and amazing sites in California.

Now, some of the places we're going to be seeing are a little bit bizarre but they all have their unique charm even if they can be a bit on the tacky or creepy side. So, keep an open mind. Also have in mind that LA is a huge and ridiculously overextended city.

So if you want to get to see all these weird sites on the same trip you should consider booking a rental car in Los Angeles. It lets you explore the many strange sites that the city has to offer, no matter how far apart they are. And also you get to choose your vehicle, be it an efficient economical option or even a van if your group of weirdness seekers happen to be big.

There are iconic roads, less known roads, and scenic drives in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is hugged by mountain ranges and meets the ocean for amazing sunset views. Let's take a look at the best routes to experience what we consider to be one of the most fun cities to live and work in.

In recent years, tourism has increased a lot in cities like Los Angeles. To avoid inconvenience, it is extremely important to book accommodation in Los Angeles in advance. Doing it with time is the only way to book at the best price and to find the accommodation that best suits your needs.

Los Angeles is a huge city, so there are many areas and places to stay. To avoid spending hours searching for hotels on booking websites, it is advisable to think carefully about the type of trip you are going to make and the budget you want to allocate to lodging. These are the two most determining factors when deciding the place and the most appropriate type of hotel.

Wonderfully Weird Los Angeles

So, without further ado let's go! There is a lot of strange things to see in Los Angeles! Below you will find information on the best things to do in Los Angeles and the best areas to stay in Los Angeles according to the type of trip you want to take.

1. Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens

Pasadena is a worthwhile stop when in the LA area. There are beautiful neighborhoods with everything from Craftsman houses, Victorians, huge mansions from the turn of the 20th century. There are wonderful museums like the Norton Simon, and the Huntington Library and Gardens. There is the famous Rose Bowl and Rose Gardens.

Check out the Huntington Library in Pasadena. You can easily spend hours here checking out their vast acreage of different themed botanical gardens. Get in your car and do drive around San Marino to see beautiful homes along the oak tree lined streets. San Pasqual is particularly a beautiful street to see gorgeous homes. Head into Old Town Pasadena to grab lunch and then go to the Norton Simon museum. They have a huge impressionist collection and beautiful sculpture garden.

Old Town Pasadena is cute and has some fine restaurants and one of the oldest comedy clubs in greater L.A. called The Ice House. Of course if you come at the right time of the year just before New Year's Day, you can volunteer to help put flowers on the floats being built for the Rose Parade.

Then, set up a piece of sidewalk as your own and sleep or stay awake on New Year's Eve so you can be up early and have a great spot to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade.

The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, known as The Huntington is more than just a library and majority of the books are not available for reading as this is a research library in San Marino just outside the city of Pasadena.

The grounds include in the main art gallery is Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough, Pinky by Sir Thomas Lawrence and The Tragic Muse, a portrait of Mrs. Sarah Seatons by Sir Joshua Reynolds. The artwork is fabulous and the gardens are something else which deserve their own time to fully explore.

This is the jewel of SoCal. Over 200 acres of world-spanning botanical gardens, including a wonderful Japanese garden, a spectacular Chinese garden and the best collection of succulents, surrounding a stunning collection of art (particularly strong in 19th century portraiture) and a library that boasts a Gutenberg Bible, an original Prinicpia Mathematica and an Audubon Birds of North America.

After a decently large lunch, walk over to the Bradbury Building to take a few pics inside, this is just another architecturally historical landmark featured in a bunch of films. From here walk over to Little Tokyo and do some shopping. The Japanese Garden is a tranquil oasis within this bustling downtown. It’s worth checking out.

After, you have the rest of the afternoon to decide on dinner and explore. Visit the Arts District for great breweries and hipster vibes or if you’re up to it, see if you can catch a basketball game at Staples Center, take the Metro!

2. Rose Bowl Stadium

If you managed to get some tickets to the one thing bigger than the Rose Parade, the Rose Bowl football game, you can walk or however, to the stadium and eat and drink with the tailgaters before the kickoff. Then go into the game. Depending on which schools are playing, you will have a large group of out of state visitors, thousands of them, cheering on their team(s).

It could even be a local school like UCLA or USC representing SoCal or any of the Pac12 Schools representing the West’s top schools.

3. Museum of Jurassic Technology

If you like museums you'll probably like this next one. If not, then you can at least appreciate the weirdness and downright absurdity of this museum. You see, this museum is a parody of a museum, displaying nonsense, such as the radio-graphic photos of flowers or a rotting pair of dice.

The information of each exhibit pokes fun at how normal museums inform their visitors. The whole museum gives a nod to the times when museums were nothing but private collections of oddities displayed to visitors.

The rooms are dimly lit, giving the weird exhibition a much more mysterious setting, and at the end of the visit, they give you tea and cookies in an upstairs tea garden. It's a unique experience and very strange at that, but if you’re really seeking the weirdest of the weird you can't miss this one. You'll find this weird place at 9341 Venice Blvd. The entry fee is in the range of 8 to 12 dollars.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology has an unclassifiable collection of oddities, curiosities and marvels which defies belief (on purpose). From micro-miniature sculptures inside the eye of needles, the decaying dice collection of Ricky Jay, an exhibit of pre-scientific cures and remedies, to a diorama of LA trailer park culture, you’ll be amazed, shocked and stimulated by this little gem’s collection. Later have tea in a recreation Tsar Nicholas II’s study in St. Petersberg.

4. The Getty Villa

J. Paul Getty’s masterful recreation of a 1st century A.D. Roman villa, perched on a bluff overlooking the ocean is a fantastical trip back in time that is chock full of antiquities. The stunning architectural ambience is worth a full afternoon of contemplation, without even considering the amazing collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan art. It’s also free (pay to park).

The last book store is not your average bookstore, as its location gives it a very strange and wonderful feel. The bookstore itself stands in what used to be a bank, but instead of rebuilding the bank in the image of your average bookstore, the bookstore sort of grew around this derelict bank until the building took a new life as a bookstore!

The whole place is worlds apart from any other Bookstore in Los Angeles! It has a fascinating apocalyptic aesthetic; it makes you feel as if the modern world was wiped out by some unknown cataclysm years ago, and survivors were able to rebuild society based on the buildings still standing, so that bookstore ended up in what used to be a bank.

The place is full of interesting sculptures made out of books, including a tunnel made of nothing but books, but you can also find books for all tastes, from best-sellers to more obscure titles and as a fun jest you can find the horror section in the former vault of the bank, the so-called horror vault. There is also a maze made out of bookcases where you'll find the science-fiction, fantasy, and thriller section of the library.

If there is a bookworm on your travel group, you’re making them a disservice by not visiting The Last Bookstore. You can find it at 453 S Spring St, there is a parking lot right next to the bookstore so if you rented a car, coming here will be a breeze.

The Nethercutt Collection, Sylmar without a doubt is one of the largest and most eclectic collections of antique automobiles in N. America. The Grand Salon boasts Hispano-Suisse, Duesenbergs, Cords and Bugattis displayed in a cavernous, chandeliered, marble showroom. On the upper floor you’ll find a collection of automated mechanical music machines and one of the largest pipe organs in the US.

Across the street are hundreds more cars and an opulent private train complete with engine and tender. A splendorous display of mechanical genius. Take the guided tour to really appreciate its breadth. Another free attraction.

Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, UCLA campus, Westwood is quite simply one of the most comprehensive sculpture gardens in the U.S. Outdoor sculptures by Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin,, Henri Matisse, Francisco Zúñiga and many more fill a bucolic five acre space in the middle of the north part of campus and make for a serene stroll through world-class art.

5. Los Angeles Zoo

Now, we talked about a derelict bank turned into an awesome bookstore, but how about an actually derelict place? A real urban ruin you can visit and even have picnic on! If that sounds interesting to you then prepare a couple of sandwiches, and perhaps a couple of sodas from Galco's soda pop stop, and have a picknick on the ruins of the old Los Angeles Zoo.

Chances are high that you might find a lot of nostalgic flavors here at Galco's soda pop stop, as this store is pretty much a tribute to sodas and candies from olden times and from all over the world too!

Here you can find soft drinks of all flavors and colors, and yes even some versions of those nostalgic sodas and candies. There’s even a station where you can make your own soda flavor by combining syrups with carbonated water. The store is not only about sodas though, there is also a deli where you can get tasty sandwiches and even beers as unique as the sodas.

You can find this nostalgia treasure trove at 5702 York Blvd, there is a decently sized adjacent parking lot next to the store.

Now a lot of people don’t seem to know it, but Los Angeles used to have a different zoo than the current one, it opened in 1912 and many of its enclosures were built on 1930, but it was abandoned by 1966, and the animals were moved to the new zoo, leaving behind cages and enclosures that by today standards seem quite inhumane for animals, but still very interesting for urban explorers to see.

There are picnic tables where the lion’s enclosure used to be so as I told you, bring some snacks. The ever-present graffiti and the old rusty cages give the place an eerie yet fascinating feel. To get there you must take a little hike along Griffith park, thankfully there are parking lots surprisingly near to the old zoo.

6. Hollywood Boulevard

Los Angeles tour is incomplete without visiting the famous Hollywood district. In our view, it is the best area to stay in Los Angeles if you are traveling for the first time or have few days to tour the city. Here you will find some of the most emblematic places in Los Angeles: the Walk of Fame, Grauman Chinese Theater, Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue.

It is a perfect area for food lovers and you will find restaurants and all kinds of service.

The entire area of Hollywood is very well connected by public transport, so if you travel without renting a car it will be very practical. As you can imagine it is a fairly tourist area (it is the prettiest area of Los Angeles) although it should not be taken badly: the large influx of visitors make the Hollywood neighborhood a perfectly safe and well guarded place.

Staying in Hollywood is ideal for sightseeing in Los Angeles and visiting the most important places of interest without spending much time on journeys. The prices are quite high (it is a phenomenon that affects the entire city) so it is advisable to book in time to ensure the best possible accommodation.

If you are traveling with the family or just worry about safety, stay in Hollywood, which is the most touristy district in Los Angeles and therefore the safest. It also has a greater number of hotels and services for tourists. Hollywood is the best area to stay in Los Angeles.

7. Rodeo Drive

Start the day in 90210 experiencing the “west side” of LA proper. Urth Cafe is a popular choice for a quick breakfast quiche or sandwich and good coffee drinks. If a long brunch is more your thing and you want to do something very classic Los Angeles, then check out the patio at the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel.

This place is straight out of the 1950s with its sunny California decor. Iconic gilded Hollywood comes to mind. It is spendy though. After that go to Rodeo Dr to do some luxury window shopping. Don’t be surprised if your rental car is the worst car on the block. And also don’t be surprised if you spot some celebrities.

This neighborhood is one of the most exclusive shopping and restaurant districts in Los Angeles. The most famous avenue is Rodeo Drive, where you can find the most luxurious stores in the entire city. Beverly Hills is quite close to Hollywood, so it enjoys the same practicality in terms of travel. It is a very quiet area, also home to some celebrities.

As you can imagine, staying here is much more expensive and exclusive than in other parts of Los Angeles. The hotels are elegant, but it is also possible to find rental apartments. Travel with a vehicle, here parking is easier to find, besides it is a very safe area . In conclusion, if your pocket allows it, staying in Beverly Hills is perfect if you enjoy exclusivity and luxury.

If you travel to Los Angeles for a weekend or less than 5 days, staying in the Hollywood area or Beverly Hills (next to Hollywood) is the best option. They are well connected places and very close to the main tourist attractions of Los Angeles. If you’re into shopping, try Wilshire Blvd between Santa Monica Blvd and Rexford.

Surprisingly, there are two or three hotels in the area that aren’t outrageously expensive. For most hotels in this part of town, though, you have to hock your firstborn child.

From here head over to West Hollywood, specifically Melrose Ave/Melrose Place and Sunset blvd. More shopping but a lot more easy on your wallet than Beverly Hills. Lots of fun unique boutiques, great places to have lunch are dotted all over and a lot of diverse cultures are starting to emerge within the area. This has become one of the chicest areas to hang out. Spend some time here before heading to Hollywood.

8. Santa Monica Pier

Feel the life of the iconic Santa Monica Beach with countless fresh coffee shops and restaurants. Once the sun starts to really hit you can either go for a swim or head down south towards Santa Monica. The Santa Monica pier is one of the most recognizable landmarks of the area. Take a stroll on the pier and then head to 3rd st promenade for big name store shopping. I wouldn’t spend a ton of time in Santa Monica because I actually prefer The municipality of Santa Monica dominates the Pacific coast and is one of the best places to stay in Los Angeles if you want to enjoy the beach. It is home to many high class families, students, young professionals and surfers. The most notable landmark of Santa Monica is the pier, its beaches, restaurants and coastal shopping centers. It perfectly combines the comfort of a city with the relaxed beach-style atmosphere.

For your safety and comfort, it is the best bet for families traveling to Los Angeles with children. In addition to restaurants and shops, here you will find a wide variety of activities for the little ones: the amusement park of the Santa Monica Pier, the beach, the farmers market. Several nice hotels are located within a few blocks of the Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade. They’re expensive.

Muscle Beach is where Arnold Schwarzenegger famously/publicly trained and you’ll still see some body builders pumping iron but this area has become less about the beach bums and shirtless oiled up men and more about the fantastic dining and shopping. It’s not hard to find a great restaurant to eat at, like the Butcher’s Daughter, Gjelina, The Great White.

If you’re looking for something cheaper, check out Plancha Tacos for the best fish tacos in Los Angeles. Skip James’ Beach unless you want to spend $24 on terrible fish tacos. The rest of the day spend people watching, maybe renting bikes and riding it along the boardwalk down to Marina Del Rey and back.

9. Venice

Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney is popular for boutique shopping and high end stores. Venice Beach has seen a huge revival in the last decade. Venice Beach is a fun, modern and lively neighborhood located on the Pacific Ocean coast (near Santa Monica). This area is famous for its beaches and its bohemian atmosphere, as it remains the epicenter of the counterculture and hippie life of Los Angeles.

If you are traveling on a limited budget, Venice Beach is the best place to stay in Los Angeles: here there is a greater concentration of hostels, hostels and guest houses. Because of the type of atmosphere that the streets of Venice Beach have, it is a place suitable for groups of friends and young tourists who want to enjoy the beach.

If you travel with the intention of enjoying the beaches and nightlife areas, your best option is to book accommodation in the Santa Monica or Venice Beach area. If the party and the nightlife are not your passion and you want to stay in the quietest place in the city, our recommendation is to stay in the Downtown: it will allow you to stay in the nerve center of the city and rest quietly at night.

10. Sunset Boulevard

It is one of the most coolest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. West Hollywood means staying in one of the most fashionable parts of the city known for its high-end boutiques and independent vintage stores. Here, you will also find a wide variety of decoration shops and fabulous art or fitness studios.

Its most famous street is the Sunset Strip: without a doubt, a vibrant place and where you will find the most eclectic nightlife in Southern California. It is also a center for LGBTQ communities, with bars and locals. West Hollywood is built on a grid of wide and lush boulevards that can easily be traveled without getting lost.

It is a perfect place to stay if you are looking to enjoy the nightlife of the Strip and Sunset Boulevard. Its location is perfect (very close to Hollywood), so it can be a great bet to stay in Los Angeles if you travel with the intention of sightseeing. West Hollywood occupies a small part near Hollywood, so the offer in accommodation is quite minor.

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, Pacific Palisades, just a stone’s throw from Sunset Beach is a peaceful meditation garden full of flowers and meandering paths that surrounds a beautiful lake. There is a windmill, a houseboat, Gandhi’s ashes and a small museum/gift shop around the lake, but the main attraction is the peaceful serenity built into this gem. Plus it’s free.

11. Watts Towers

The Watts Towers, Watts - one of the most iconic examples of “folk art” in North America, these 17 towers (rising to over 90 ft.) were the obsession of one Italian immigrant (Simon Rodia) who using found materials (rebar, glass, porcelain, seashells, etc.) built them in his spare time over a span of 33 years. There really is no way to describe the final Gaudiesque result except by going there and walking through it. Having undergone a recent rehabilitation they now look better than ever.

Koreatown can also be a great place to stay in Los Angeles if you are looking for games and nightlife at a lower price. Yes, here the accommodation is cheaper. It is also a very central and quite safe neighborhood. Although its name seems to indicate that it is a Korean neighborhood, the fact is that it is actually a multicultural place (with a special character).

Koreatown is open 24 hours a day every day of the week: you will find Korean bbq restaurants, karaokes, bars and nightclubs. The area is well connected by the Purple Metro Line, soIf you are going and want to save on accommodation, Koreatown is perfect.

12. Disneyland Park

The amusement parks in Los Angeles are spread far apart, and you really can only do one in a day. If Disney is your thing and you’ve never been to a Disney park before, you might as well make that your thing for the day. Disneyland is in Anaheim (about 45 min south of Los Angeles) and you’ll want to arrive early to get parking.

Get there when it opens because the crowds are intense. Plan to spend an entire day here, there’s plenty of online guides on Disneyland and the California Adventure theme park, where to eat, which rides to hit first etc. The new Star Wars area is supposed to be very cool. This is a highlight for most people. Disneyland Park in Anaheim is the original Disneyland, which opened long before the parks in Florida, Paris, and other parts of the world.

True, it's older, and its castle isn't as grand as some of the newer parks, but this is the one Walt Disney himself designed, so you have to go!

Preparing ahead of time is a smart idea to beat the traffic as you approach Los Angeles, and it also saves time when entering the park. There are numerous excellent breakfast establishments there, so arrive early and load on the pancakes.

Disneyland, Anaheim is located just 30 minutes from LA. One of the finest tricks used in Disney theme parks is forced perspective. Among innumerable purposes, Imagineers use it to make guests think that the parks and its buildings are bigger and more impressive than they really are. After all, Cinderella Castle is only 189 feet tall! That’s not nothing, but lots of cities have 18 or 19-story buildings!

First of all, those 2–3 story buildings lining Main Street aren’t actually two or three stories tall. The second stories are built at roughly 3/4 scale, while the third stories are built at half-scale. But to guests walking by below, they look big and impressive! Which also tricks the eye as you look down the street at the castle!

One more small visual trick here: notice how the buildings recede from the castle as they get closer? Again, it makes you think the castle is further away than it actually is, which makes you think it’s gigantic. Those of you who’ve been to Disneyland may have visited Snow White Grotto on the east side of Sleeping Beauty Castle. It’s a peaceful part of the park with some beautiful statues of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

13. Long Beach

The Los Angeles/Orange County coastline is abruptly separated by the jutting out mass of land known as Long Beach. North and south of that are some of the most iconic beaches in Southern California. In only the coastline north of Long Beach there are 69 total beaches. Start your day in the morning driving up to Malibu.

Check out El Matador state beach and/or Malibu Surfrider Beach to catch a glimpse of the hundreds of surfers that descend on the area in the morning. Grab a coffe and breakfast at the Malibu Farm Pier restaurant and watch the waves roll by.

14. Universal Studios

If movie making and Hollywood History is more your jam, Universal Studios is pretty cool. The rides are themed by different movies (Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Transformers etc). The studio tour ride is one of the coolest experiences, especially for cinephiles.

15. Downtown

Downtown Los Angeles, while big, is very walkable and there’s a lot to see that is all within walking distance of each other but parking is very limited and expensive. Take the metro to 7th st/Metro Center. Grab breakfast/pastries and a cappuccino at Bottega Louie. They don’t take reservations but if you get there when they open you shouldn’t have a problem. Bottega Louie has the best macarons in the country. It’s worth it to at least grab a half dozen in their beautiful packaging and snack on them the rest of the day.

The Downtown Los Angeles is the most central district of the city. It is an area that perfectly combines the historical with the modern: skyscrapers, tall buildings, bustling streets and lively shops. Yes, Downtown is one of the most popular areas of Los Angeles. Here you will find tourists and locals alike. This is the financial district, so it is very busy during peak hours and working days.

The center also houses the best nightlife in Los Angeles: trendy bars, discos, clubs. If you travel with your group of friends With the intention of enjoying the night, Downtown is one of the best places to stay in Los Angeles to party, drink, dance and have fun all night.

It is not an area as beautiful as Hollywood, however, concentrating the most "business" part of LA is where you will find it easier to find cheap accommodation. It is also a central and super well connected by public transport, which will facilitate you to reach any point of interest you want to visit.

From there, walk up to the Broad Museum. Get tickets in advance. During your walk, feel free to peep into the Millenium Biltmore hotel and take pictures of their exquisite lobby and beautiful wood work. Spend a couple of hours at the Broad and also take an exterior walk around the Disney Concert Hall to check out it’s really cool architecture.

16. Angel’s Flight

After you’re done, walk halfway down the hill to Angel’s Flight for a really neat historic $1 tram ride down Bunker Hill. It’s considered the world’s shortest railway and was built in 1901. It’s a great view as you go down and just a neat experience.

17. Grand Central Market

When you get off you can walk across the street and immediately get to Grand Central Market. Grand Central Market is an indoor food hall with plenty of options of different cuisines. Popular spots are Wexler’s Jewish deli for their mile high reubens and pastramis, Tacos Tumbras o Tomas, Sarita’s pupusas, Lucky Bird and Knead. There’s a fun candy stand and Golden Road has a taphouse here if you want a fresh cold beer.

For dessert you can’t miss the Donut Man stand. This is relatively new as their historical brick and mortar is in the suburbs about 45 min away. They’re world famous. Take some to go, especially their strawberry filled donut!

18. Griffith Park

The actual Hollywood neighborhood is not what you see in movies. Aside from the boulevard of the stars and the Chinese Theater, there isn’t much to see here. If you’re hankering for some comfort food, check out Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffle for dinner and then get in your car for a sunset drive up to Griffith Observatory.

Try to get their long before the sun goes down because it is sometimes hard to park here. You’ll recognize Griffith Observatory the minute you see it.

Bordered by Griffith Park to the north and Hollywood to the west, Los Feliz has a cozy hillside, lined with evergreen trees and a unique charm. It is a perfect place if you want to stay in a quiet place without being far from downtown Los Angeles. The red metro line extends to the southern end of Los Feliz, where you can also get on a DASH bus to visit the Griffith Observatory.

There are few hotels her, however you can find some apartments. Staying in Los Feliz is perfect if you want to spend the night in a less touristy and quiet place.

The Redondo Beach is located in what locals know as the South Bay Area. This is one of the three closest beach cities to Los Angeles (the other two are Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach). The neighborhood is home to the Redondo Breakwell, a famous surf spot, the most popular sport in the area.

With less traffic and crowds (compared to other beaches in the city), this is a perfect place to surf, a romantic getaway with the couple or for a family vacation to enjoy the salt water of the Ocean. King Harbor has the highest concentration of restaurants, shops and bars in the neighborhood. However, the biggest attraction is the beach and its pier

And with that we conclude our little exploration of some of Los Angeles weirdest sites, but there are still a lot of other things to see and do in a city as awesome as Los Angeles. So be ready for many other wonderfully weird sites to see when you come visit, as you'll find a lot of other weird things to do in Los Angeles.
Kalyan Panja