The Ultimate Los Angeles Bucket List: Things to do in LA
Looking for a Los Angeles bucket list? Well, if you know me well, then you’ll know that I have a soft spot in my heart when it comes to LA. Having spent some time there during a pivotal part of my life, it’s a place that feels like home to me.
If you ever get the chance to visit Los Angeles, then there are some things you should definitely try to do while you’re there! As I’m currently dreaming of booking my next trip, I thought I’d put together a bucket list of everywhere I think you should visit whole there! See how many things you can cross off while you’re on your adventures in LA!
👉 Scroll to the bottom of this post for your FREE printable Los Angeles Bucket List.
- Getting To LAX
- When To Visit Los Angeles
- Where to Stay In Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Public Transport: How To Get Around LA
- Where To Eat In Los Angeles
- Griffith Observatory
- Dolby Theatre
- TCL Chinese Theatre
- Santa Monica Pier (And Pacific Park)
- The End Of Route 66
- Venice Beach
- Disneyland California
- Universal Studios
- Insta Walls On Melrose Avenue
- The Grove
- LACMA (Urban Lights Installation)
- Warner Brothers Studio Tour
- Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
- The Getty
- Beverly Hills Sign
- Rodeo Drive
- Hollywood Sign
- Walt Disney Concert Hall
- Grand Central Market
- Walk Of Fame
- Runyon Canyon Park
- In N Out
- FREE Los Angeles Bucket List Checklist (Printable)
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Getting To LAX
The main airport is LAX which is located around 20 miles away from downtown. There are lots of options to get from the Airport and into the city, including buses, shuttles, taxis and ride-sharing services.
Other airports include SNA which covers Orange County and John Wayne Airport which serves Santa Ana. Arriving at these airports might be a bit more expensive and you’ll need to take a taxi or shuttle into LA.
I have flown into LAX each time I’ve visited and the cost/transport saving is definitely worth it.
For a guide to getting from LAX to Los Angeles, you can visit this post here.
When To Visit Los Angeles
Los Angeles can be warm and sunny year-round, with temperatures averaging 19C in the winter months. The best time to visit is during autumn (September - November) when the weather is milder and there are fewer tourists around. If you’re looking for something a bit more lively, try visiting between March and May, when the weather is warmer and there are plenty of festivals, concerts and events taking place.
I’ve visited in both summer and winter and honestly, I don’t have a favourite. The weather in summer was lush but in winter, I didn’t feel as though it was *too hot* to do anything.
Where to Stay In Los Angeles
There are plenty of accommodation options in LA, from budget hostels and shared rooms to luxury hotels. If you’re looking for something in the middle of the range, there are a lot of mid-priced hotels to choose from.
There are many different neighbourhoods in Los Angeles, and each has its own unique personality. If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, we recommend staying in Beverly Hills or West Hollywood. These areas are home to some of the most expensive hotels in LA, but they also offer plenty of shopping and dining options.
A couple of hotels you may want to consider in these areas include:
- Chateau Marmont
- The Peninsula Beverly Hills
If you’re looking for a more unique experience, consider staying in the Venice Beach area. This neighbourhood is home to many great hostels and mid-range hotels, as well as some hipster bars and restaurants. It’s definitely not for everyone but it does have its own charm.
The Hotel Erwin is a good choice in this area, as it’s situated right on the beach and next to several popular hostels.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, we recommend staying in Koreatown or Westlake. These areas still offer plenty of dining and shopping options but are much closer to the main attractions.
Los Angeles Public Transport: How To Get Around LA
One thing to keep in mind about Los Angeles is that it’s all likely you’ll need a car if driving around the city - public transport isn’t as reliable or widespread as in other major cities like New York or London.
Although it can be difficult to get around LA without either renting or owning a car, it’s not impossible. For the most part, there are public buses and trains you can take to get around however if you’re heading further out, ordering an Uber may be a better option.
A good place to start if you’re looking for information on public transport options is the website of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
Where To Eat In Los Angeles
When it comes to food, Los Angeles is a true melting pot. You can find just about any type of cuisine here, from Mexican to Thai to Italian. So, where do I recommend? I don’t even know where to begin…
- Another great option is The Grove. This outdoor shopping and dining complex offers a variety of restaurants, from casual fare to fine dining.
- Grand Central Market is something I’ll talk more about later, but it needed an honourable mention when it comes to food too. This indoor market is packed with stalls offering everything from Mexican to Middle Eastern cuisine.
- If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, head to Koreatown. This neighbourhood is known for its delicious Korean restaurants. A few favourites are BCD Tofu House and Han Bat Sul Lung Tang.
- Pinks Hotdogs is not only a famous TV and movie spot but also a great place to grab lunch. This hotdog stand has been around since the 1940s and is now owned by Richard Pink, grandson of founder Harry. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu but I would recommend ordering your dog chilli-cheese style!
- My friends took me to one of their favourite vegan places to eat and honestly, it was the BEST orange chicken I’ve ever had (without the chicken, of course!). The restaurant was called LOVE Organic and I highly recommend adding it to your list of places to eat. We stopped by Magpies for Vegan Softserve after and oh my gosh, it was incredible. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
- If you’re looking to visit somewhere with a famous history, Musso and Frank Grill is the place for you. It was established in 1919 and has been a hotspot for celebrities, politicians and more ever since. The food is classic American steakhouse fare and I can promise you won’t be disappointed.
Top Tip: An area to avoid when it comes to eating is The Hollywood Walk Of Fame, as most places here are tourist traps with high prices. If you’re visiting this area, your best bet is to grab fast food when you see it. If not, plan a trip here in the early morning, so the most you need to grab is a doughnut from Dunkin’.
The Ultimate Los Angeles Bucket List: Things To Do In LA
Griffith Observatory is an amazing place to visit while you’re in the area. It’s free entry, and once inside you can be transported through the cosmos via telescopes and fascinating exhibitions. If you’re up for a hike, there’s also Griffiths Park to explore, which is the US’s largest urban wilderness municipal park, and home to both LA Zoo and the famous Hollywood sign!
This is the PERFECT date night activity in LA (in my opinion) but if you are looking for more ideas, you can read my recent post here.
Head to Hollywood for some live entertainment at the Dolby Theatre. Grab yourself tickets for a musical, some stand-up comedy, or to see some live music – the experience will be one to remember!
The last time I visited I did a Dolby Theatre tour using the Go City Los Angeles pass. It was around 45 minutes long and we got to see where the stars sit during the Oscars, as well as where they go after they have won. It was so cool and made so much easier by having the pass!
To find out if I thought having a Go City Los Angeles Pass was worth it, click here 👀
TCL Chinese Theatre
Located on Hollywood Boulevard, there’s nowhere more iconic to go and watch the latest movies. The aesthetic is amazing, and you can get tours of the building if you want to find out all about its iconic history. I’ve been on a tour and the inside is just as incredible as the outside, it’s so worth seeing.
Santa Monica Pier (And Pacific Park)
Santa Monica pier is a must-visit spot while you’re in LA – you can walk along the beautiful beach and pier which is set against a stunning backdrop of mountains, ride on the iconic Ferris wheel, and explore the rich history of the area! Be warned, the Ferris wheel goes much faster than you’d think.
Top Tip: Make sure you walk to the end of the pier for some great photo spots off the back of the pier.
The End Of Route 66
Arguably the most famous road on the planet, Route 66 ends in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and you can visit the road sign that denotes this! Historically, Route 66 is of great significance as it was used for families migrating West in the 1930s, so pay it a visit and relive a little bit of US history.
Grab your surfing gear and head to Venice Beach to create some fantastic seaside memories. Have a little sunbathe, eat at a local restaurant serving delicious freshly cooked food, and take advantage of the many water-based activities on offer. If you’re looking for souvenirs from your trip, this is one of the best places to get them as there are lots of gift shops dotted around the promenade. Of course, you can also stop by Muscle Beach (if that’s your kind of thing).
Disneyland California is an absolute must for all Disney lovers and theme park enthusiasts. Meet all of your favourite characters, explore the phenomenal world of Disney, and experience world-famous rides and attractions. As a HUGE Disney lover, this was definitely the highlight of my most recent trip.
For the ULTIMATE experience without having to rush back, I recommend staying in Anaheim for one night. This means you can stay for the fireworks and then head back to your hotel/apartment for the night before heading back into LA.
If you want delicious food and amazing rides, all themed around some of your favourite shows and movies then Universal Studios is the place for you. Universal are constantly adding more to explore so even if you’ve visited before there’ll be new things to see and do.
My favourite attraction was the tour around the ACTUAL studios. This is something exclusive to Universal Hollywood and so it was great to have an interactive experience showing how my favourite movies and TV shows were created. To read my full review of Universal Studios, click here.
Insta Walls On Melrose Avenue
Have fun finding all the Insta Walls and taking loads of photos for your social media and photo albums while you’re there! The Pink Wall is probably the most famous of them all, but there are loads of perfect Instagram background walls to be found, including the ‘Made In LA’, ‘Rainbows’, and the ‘Red Love’ walls.
The Grove has got you covered for all of your shopping needs. Shop ‘til you drop, and then relax at one of the many restaurants on offer in this amazing mall! After, explore all of the entertainment options available before heading home.
LACMA (Urban Lights Installation)
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or the LACMA, is home to the amazing ‘Urban Light’ public art installation by Chris Burden, which opened back in 2008. This art piece has become an unofficial symbol of the city and is definitely worth a visit.
Warner Brothers Studio Tour
Discover 100 years of Warner Brothers entertainment through the awesome Studio Tour where you can walk in the footsteps of Hollywood Legends, see the fountain from Friends, explore the sets for the Big Bang Theory, discover a world of Harry Potter, and so much more. A must for any TV and movie buff!
Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
The easiest, most effective, and most informative way to see a city is usually a Hop On Hop Off bus tour – grab a ticket and learn all about the city from your tour guide. Get off at whichever stops you want to explore, and get back on when you’re done – so simple! Bus tours are a Los Angeles Bucket List must for when you first arrive at a new destination, or if you are a little short on time.
The Getty Center is an amazing place to wander around – the architecture of the building itself is stunning, and it’s filled with exquisite art. You’ll find free Friday night concerts, amazing museum and art collections, and architecture tours of the grounds.
Beverly Hills Sign
The Beverley Hills sign is undoubtedly the best photo opportunity you’re going to get when you’re in town, so get the camera out and get snapping. You’ll find the iconic golden sign on Santa Monica Boulevard – you can’t miss it! My best advice is to visit when you do a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour, as it will take you close to the sign without having to drive or take a taxi.
Go window shopping along the two-mile Rodeo Drive where you can find the shops of high-end brands and designer labels. Parking in the area is free and it’s a great spot to have a wander around.
Another unmissable photo opp, the Hollywood sign is something that you simply can’t leave LA without seeing. Find yourself a prime spot in Griffith Park where you’ve got the sign in the background, and get the perfect holiday snap.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Home of the LA Philharmonic Orchestra, visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall for a spattering of Disney History and amazing music! The architecture of the building alone is worth seeing, so go and have a look.
Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market has the most amazing vibes, and if you love the sights and smells of a bustling market then this is a destination on your Los Angeles Bucket List that is not to be missed. Grab a fresh cup of coffee and wander around to see what all of the amazing stalls have to offer – you’ll find friendly vendors selling all kinds of cuisines!
Walk Of Fame
Find your favourite movie stars along the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame. Walk along it and see the names of all the people who have been graced with a much-coveted star along the way. My favourite find was Mickey Mouse!
Runyon Canyon Park
Hikers, make sure you visit Runyon Canyon Park to explore some of the trails. Hiking trails range from just under a mile long to just over 3 miles and are all dog friendly so they’re a great way to spend an afternoon and meet some furry friends along the way.
In N Out
In N Out has been going since 1948 and is the perfect place for you to eat. Fresh ingredients are used in the burgers and everything is absolutely delicious. Make sure to order from the not-so-secret menu - you can’t go wrong with an Animal Style Double-Double.
So, what is on your Los Angeles bucket list? Let me know in the comments as I am already mentally planning my next trip back!