Sure, there are the standard things to do in Los Angeles—visiting Venice Beach, strolling the Walk of Fame, re-enacting the shopping scene from Pretty Woman in every store on Rodeo Drive. But if you’re looking for something more, you’re in the right place. We rounded up a list of the best things to do in Los Angeles for tourists and locals alike.
Nothing says LA wellness scene quite like this “urban sweat lodge,” where celebs such as Courtney & Khloe Kardashian, LL Cool J, and Selena Gomez have been known to stop by. Clients here cocoon themselves inside a sleeping bag-like blanket that uses far infrared heat to induce sweating. Why? Proponents say it has myriad benefits, from relieving muscle aches to promoting glowing skin.
No one walks anywhere in LA—sort of. While walking to a restaurant five blocks away is unheard of, plenty of Angelenos take to the numerous picturesque hiking trails around the city. Try Runyon Canyon in the Hollywood Hills (great for celeb-spotting), the Mount Hollywood summit at Griffith Park (views of the Hollywood sign), or Portuguese Bend Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes (secluded trails with views of the ocean and Catalina Island).
Have you ever watched a Cirque du Soleil performance and thought, “I could do that”? Of course not. But what if you could do that? At Cirque School LA, "anybody with any body" can take classes that combine Pilates with fun circus-style activities, such as Aerial 101 (trapeze and fabric work). No wonder it’s one of the most fun things to do in Los Angeles.
If you’re a tourist, a Big Bus Tour can introduce you to all the famous LA stops—Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, etc.—and help you get your bearings at the same time. If you’re a local, a tour is a good way to see the LA sights that always seem like too much of a hassle to get to, all while learning interesting facts from the knowledgeable guides.
One of our favorite things to do in Los Angeles is visit this women-only Korean spa in the heart of Koreatown for a day of soaks, saunas, and scrub downs. It’s nice to treat yourself to a full-body scrub followed by a honey massage, but it’s also enjoyable to spend a day slowly moving from heated pool to Himalayan salt room to infrared room. Just remember, nudity is required so this is not for the shy.
Yes, this is an Instagram-famous diner—Instagram literally held a pre-Golden Globes party here because it’s so photogenic. And yes, its original location appeared in American Graffiti. It also attracts an A-list clientele. But this 1950s-style diner is more than just hype. It’s a beloved local chain that combines classic diner eats and decor with modern touches, including a juice bar and Elvis-themed WiFi.
Start brainstorming your punny nail-polish-color names because at Orly Color Labs, you can create your own custom nail polish. During these BYOB sessions, customers design their dream polish on an app and watch as mixologists bring it to life. It’s the perfect stop for a bachelorette party, birthday party, or girl’s day out.
LA loves to glamorize the past, so it’s not surprising that tiki bars are so popular here (the strong drinks help too). There are about a dozen tiki bars around the city, including several that evoke the Golden Age of Hollywood. There’s Tonga Hut, for instance, LA’s oldest tiki bar established in 1958, as well as the kitschy Tiki-Ti, established in 1961.
Because of the Observatory’s location high on a hill, visitors out on the observation terraces get some great views of everything from the Pacific Ocean to Downtown LA. We recommend waiting until dark for some stellar star gazing (through the telescope on the roof) or outside on the hilltop. The twinkling lights of the city below are an added bonus.