California

The Ultimate LA Bucket List: 101 Things To Do in Los Angeles

November 16, 2016
The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

Los Angeles is a town where you never can keep up with your bucket list. Once you finally score a reservation to the trendiest new restaurant, another one pops open. As soon as you finish exploring one neighborhood, another one goes through a complete transformation with new shops and cafes you’re now dying to visit. We’ve only been out of LA for a year, but already our list is piled high with new additions.

Since some things can be just a passing fad, we kept it classic or focused on places that had a solid track record. (Mr Holmes Bakehouse, the jury’s still out on you.)

We organized our favorite things by neighborhood, because, you know, LA traffic is the worst. This is your ultimate bucket list for the City of Angels, with 101 things to do in Los Angeles!

The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

Downtown Los Angeles

1Search for street art in DTLAMore and more murals are popping up what seems like daily. There’s awesome pieces all over LA. See what you can find!
2Walt Disney Concert HallAttend a concert or visit for a free tour of this Frank Gehry building.
3Broad MuseumContemporary art museum that opened in 2015. Book your free ticket ahead if possible, and arrive early if you want to reserve your timed spot for Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room.
4Sporting Event at Staples CenterKelly says “Go Clippers” while Aaron is a loyal Lakers fan. But sometimes we compromise and go to a Kings game.
5Dodgers gameTake me out to the ball game. And don’t forget a Dodger Dog!
6Grand Central MarketThis place is a microcosm of extreme gentrification. On my first visit back in 2009, I was greeted by all parts of the pig in the butcher’s display case, cheap taco stands and sawdust on the floor. Most of these vendors have been priced out, and now it’s a mecca for hipsters willing to spend $7 for an organic, free-range Egg McMuffin at Eggslut. But I still like it 🙂
7Bradbury BuildingOne of the oldest buildings in DTLA, the wrought iron staircases will blow you away.
8Union StationKnown as one of the “Last of the Great Railway Stations,” I love the old school feel of the waiting room.
9WurstkücheI don’t even like hot dogs or sausages, but I love this place. And the fries are amazing.
10BestiaFood, ambiance, everything is great.
11Little TokyoEat ramen, sushi or mochi, or check out the free public gardens at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.
12MikawayaIf you can’t make it to this Japanese ice cream shop for the mochi balls, you’re in luck, because you can also pick them up at your neighborhood Trader Joe’s.
13The Last BookstoreYou can find anything and everything among the cool book displays at this large, multilevel bookstore.
14Central LibraryTake a free docent tours of this early example of Art Deco.
15Walking tour with the LA ConservancyEven after going downtown everyday for years, I saw so much that I never noticed before. The Historic Downtown tour is a good place to start, and I loved the Art Deco tour.
16Original LA Flower MarketI love walking into a huge place full of flowers. Wholesale is early in the morning, but it’s open to the public after 6am or 8am, depending on the day.
17The Fashion DistrictCheap clothes and lots of fabric. Also, so many Mexican hot dog vendors.
18Rooftop bar in DTLASkybar Mondrian, The Standard, or Perch Los Angeles are our picks dinner or drinks with a view.
19Grammy museumFun, interactive museum about the history and winners of the Grammy Awards.
20Philippe the OriginalMaybe the best french dip…ever?!
21Bottega LouieOne of the most reviewed place on Yelp ever. I’ve loved everything I’ve had, and the dessert display cases are to die for.
22Sushi GenSuper fresh sushi and sashimi. My Japanese friends tell me it’s on par with the sushi back at home.
23McConnells Ice CreamUnique ice cream flavors (like Eureka Lemon & Marionberries) in Grand Central Market. Made at the original location in Santa Barbara.
24Exposition ParkSee the Space Shuttle Endeavour, walk through the Rose Garden or visit the Natural History Museum.
25Olvera StreetLA’s first street, now a Mexican market.
26Vista Hermosa ParkWalking trails and grassy fields, all with a great view of DTLA.
271300 block of Carroll AvenueBeautiful Victorian homes featured on TV shows like Charmed and the “Thriller!” music video.

The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

Beverly Hills

28Rodeo DriveThis famous street of high-end shopping is perfect for window drooling and people watching.
29Lunch poolside at the Beverly Hills HotelDine alfresco at this iconic location.
30Sprinkles ATMThere may be a dozen now, but this is the spot that started the cupcake craze and has the original cupcake ATM.

The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

Hollywood

31Hike to the Hollywood SignHike with a classic view of the sign and DTLA.
32Griffith ObservatoryCheck out a planetarium show, stargaze through a telescope, or enjoy the view of DTLA.
33Shakespeare in the Park at to the Old Griffith ZooAwesome way to combine the outdoors and culture on a warm summer night.
34Hike in Griffith ParkWith over 53 miles of hiking trails, there are so many options to choose from right in the middle of LA.
35The Greek TheatreOne of LA’s best outdoor live music venues, right in the heart of Griffith park. Built in the 1930s, this venue hosts a wide variety of performers.
36Hotel CafeWe’ve discovered new artists and seen some of our up-and-coming favorites in this intimate venue. We even spotted Sara Bareilles in the crowd.
37Hollywood BowlThis venue makes any concert memorable. Pack a picnic and enjoy the setting in the hills.
38Cruise along Mulholland DriveOur preference, do it on a Vespa.
39The Magic CastleAn invite-only club for magic enthusiasts.
40Pantages TheatreCatch a touring Broadway show in this historic theater.
41Capitol Records TowerIconic circular tower in Hollywood.
42The Stahl HouseIconic example from the Case Study Houses program, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and stellar views of LA.
43Runyon CanyonWith a caveat, start at Wattles Garden Park and you’ll have a nice trail to yourself before you hit the heavily trafficked highway that is Runyon Canyon. After that, forget about communing with nature as it’s packed with dogs and people wearing heavy perfume. But hey, it feels like the epitome of LA.
44Amoeba MusicClassic old record store in Hollywood.
45The Fonda TheatreClassic Hollywood theater built in 1926. Come here for big names or those about to hit it big.

The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

Photo: A. Breaux / creative commons

Malibu

46Zuma BeachBeach with long wide sand and great surf up in Malibu.
47El Matador BeachOur favorite beach in Malibu, El Matador is a small beach with cool rock formations. It felt like LA’s best kept secret until everyone else found out about it.
48Leo Carrillo State BeachPopular beach great for surfing, with tide pools, sea caves, and reefs.
49Getty VillaVilla with Roman-inspired architecture and gardens, showcasing Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. Admission is free, but must be booked in advance. Parking is $15, or $10 after 3 pm.
50Malibu SeafoodNo-frills seafood market and cafe on the PCH with outdoor seating and ocean views.
51Escondido Falls HikeHike to a three-tiered waterfall in Malibu. Some areas are steep, wet and slippery, where you’ll need the ropes on the trail to pull yourself up.
52Malibu Creek State Park/M*A*S*H Site/Swimming spotsHike to the M*A*S*H filming site and find swimming holes along the way. $12 for parking, or for free on the side of the road.
53Hike to Parker Mesa OverlookStart from the Los Liones trailhead for a 7-mile roundtrip hike with amazing views.
54Go SurfingYou’ll probably want to ask a real surfer where the best spots are, but places like Zuma beach in Malibu and El Porto near Manhattan Beach are a safe bet for good waves.

The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

Manhattan Beach

55Cycling the Strand from Manhattan Beach to Hermosa BeachWe loved cycling around on our beach cruisers at our favorite beach. If you need to rent a bike, most of the spots are in Hermosa Beach.
56Manhattan Beach PostThis farm-to-table restaurants with communal seating features small plates like Maine Diver Scallops and BBQ Moroccan Lamb Belly. Whatever you do, get the Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits.
57Manhattan Beach CreameryColorful ice cream shop with artisan ice cream.
58Becker’s BakeryThis is my pick for the best donuts in LA. They also have lots of fun decorated cookies.

The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

Mid Wilshire

59Shop at The GroveWhen we moved apartments after our first year in LA, our main criteria was that we had to stay within a 2 mile radius of The Grove. I kid, sorta ;). We’ve spent way too much money at this amazing outdoor shopping mall, and love all of the free events, like summer concerts and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies.
60The Farmers Market on Fairfax and ThirdRight next to The Grove, the Farmers Market has been on this corner since 1934.
61Korean BBQ in K-townOur favorite Soowon Galbi, or Genwa for a massive spread of banchan.
62Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria MozzaItalian restaurant and pizzeria from chefs Nancy Silverton & Mario Batali. Aaron claims their meatballs are almost as good as his Italian Nana’s. Almost 😉
63Pink’s Hot DogsAs they proudly claim on their banners outside the stand, Pink’s has been a Hollywood legend since 1939.  Try to go at an off-peak time to avoid the long line.
64SK’s DonutsClassic California donut shop. Hole-in-the-wall right around the corner from our first LA apartment, open 24/7 so there’s always fresh donuts on hand. They even have their own version of the cronut, called the skronut.
65RepubliqueSmall plates French restaurant that may have the best french fries in LA according to LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold. We concur.
66Langer’s DeliOld-fashioned Jewish deli. Get the classic #19.
67LACMAArt museum in Miracle Mile with the well-known Urban Light installation along Wilshire Boulevard.
68La Brea Tar PitsTar pits with natural asphalt still seeping up from the ground. The animal skeletons discovered form the pits, like a Columbian mammoth, are on display at the George C. Page Museum.
69Take a stroll through Hancock ParkHancock Park feels like old, classy Los Angeles. Built in the 1920s, mansions tower above as you stroll the palm tree-lined streets.
70Peterson Automotive MuseumAutomotive museum in Miracle Mile that recently got a huge facelift, with a metal sculpture covering the building’s exterior.
71The WilternArt deco concert venue on Wilshire and Western that was originally used as a movie theatre when it opened in 1931.
72El Rey TheatreArt deco concern venue in Miracle Mile.
73Melrose Trading PostSunday open-air flea market.

Pasadena

74Rose Bowl Flea MarketHuge flea market held in the Rose Bowl on the second Sunday every month. Entrance is $9.
75Huntington LibraryHouses an extensive art collection, and surrounded by 120-acres of botanical landscaped gardens, including a Japanese Garden, Desert Garden, and Chinese Garden.
76Galco’s Soda Pop StopWe couldn’t have completed our quest to find the best Root Beer without trying the over 30 brands stocked at Galco’s.
77Hot Pot in San Gabriel ValleyThe best places are a bit (okay, maybe a lot) out of the way, but totally worth it.

The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

West LA

78Santa Monica PierLarge pier with landmark entrance and ferris wheel. This place gets pretty packed, but it’s a great place to go whether you want the beach, shopping on Third Street Promenade, or just to mill about.
79Santa Monica’s Farmers MarketThis large farmer’s market focuses on fresh fruits and veggies, where local restaurants come to buy produce.
80Getty CenterThe Getty Center is one of the most visited museums in the US, with modern architecture, gardens, and awesome views overlooking Los Angeles. On display are pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American, Asian, and European photographs. Parking is $15, or $10 after 3pm.
81Round of golf at Rancho Park courseAt $9 on weekends and $8 on weekdays, we could afford to  play the 9-hole 3-par course over and over again. There’s also a full 18-hole course, a putting green and a driving range.
82Bay Cities Italian Deli & BakeryI’m always craving the godmother, the best deli sandwich ever.
83Annenberg Space for PhotographyRotating exhibits featuring art photography.
84Stand up paddle boardingTry Marina del Rey for a smooth ride, or one of the surf spots to ride the waves.

Silverlake

85Pazzo GelatoEven after countless cones in Italy, this is still on of our favorite gelato spots. The flavors are constantly rotating, and they’re inventive without being just weird. My favorites are any of the flavors with marscapone.
86SQIRLCafe with epic toast with the best house-made jams.
87Sunset JunctionBoho chic shopping and hipster coffee shops along Sunset Boulevard.
88Music Box Loop – Stair HikeRainbow painted stairs start this climb.

The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

Venice

89Venice CanalsFind respite from the craziness of Venice Beach in the Venice Canals, just a few blocks away. These manmade canals were built in the early 1900s as part of Abbot Kinney’s grand plan to make the Venice of America.
90GjelinaWe were so stoked when we snagged a reservation here a few years ago. The place is cool and the food is great.
91Abbot Kinney BoulevardAbbot Kinney Boulevard is the heart of Venice, lined with the hottest restaurants, shops and art galleries.

West Hollywood

92Night + Market SongAaron lived in Thailand for two years, and this place is the closest as far as feel and food to the original. Careful, when they say hot, they mean hot!
93The Griddle CafeFun twists on breakfast classics, like red velvet pancakes. And the portions are huge!
94The TroubadourOpening in the 1950s, this club helped launch the music career of greats like Elton John.
95Greystone MansionIt’s free to walk the beautifully landscaped English gardens of this large estate that is occasionally used for filming.
96Shop along MelroseSome of the best shopping in LA. Score an amazing vintage or designer find at Decades, or visit one of the most popular LA brands, Fred Segal.

The Ultimate LA Bucket List | 101 Things to do in Los Angeles. All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, convenient organized by neighborhood!

Other Neighborhoods

97Randy’s DonutsAn LA institution with a giant donut on top.
98Watts Towers17 metal sculptures built by  Sabato (“Simon”) Rodia between 1921 and 1954.
99Street tacos at a Taco TruckOur favorite is El Chato that parks on the corner of Olympic and La Brea around 9pm.
100Show tapingWe thought it was pretty epic when we saw Jay Leno’s last show…and then he came back. You can get tickets to gameshows, talk shows, and even sitcoms.
101Tour a studioWarner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Universal Studios all offer studio tours.

What else is on your LA bucket list?


Like it? Pin it!

101 Things to Do in Los Angeles | The Ultimate LA Bucket List | All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, conveniently organized by neighborhood!  101 Things to Do in Los Angeles | The Ultimate LA Bucket List | All of the best Los Angeles has to offer, conveniently organized by neighborhood!

 

You Might Also Like

5 Comments

  • Reply Trent Walker November 21, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Great research Kelly! Planning on getting that way by Spring. Hope you do something like this for the U.K.

    • Reply nomanbefore November 21, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Thanks so much Trent! I just watched your intro YouTube video; what an incredible journey for you and your family! Looking forward to following along. Hope you enjoy LA when you get there.

      And we’re definitely working on something for the UK. 😉

  • Reply Free Summer Concerts in LA: The 5 Best Free Summer Concert Series November 3, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    […] Let us know if you have a favorite to add to the list! And if you have more time to spend in LA, check out our Los Angeles bucket list, with 101 things to do in the city! […]

  • Reply Weekend Guide to Los Angeles | Celebrating the Art of the City December 4, 2017 at 12:43 am

    […] once you accept the fact that it will take you thirty minutes to go five miles and start exploring Los Angeles by neighborhood instead of trying to swallow whole, you’ll see that this city is anything but […]

  • Reply A Weekend Guide to Newport Beach | Things To Do In Newport Beach, CA December 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    […] before our year abroad in England, I can only count a handful of times when we headed south out of Los Angeles to visit Orange County. But since moving to Newport Beach earlier this year, I’ve come to […]

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    5.1K Shares
    Pin5.1K
    Share74
    Tweet2
    Flip