LA at night
Photo: Kit Leong / Fotolia

Los Angeles is a fun city to visit, whether you are planning a quick weekend getaway or a longer vacation. From world-class museums and attractions to unique activities and restaurants, there is plenty to see and do. Go on thrilling rides inspired by your favorite movies at Universal Studios Hollywood, spend a romantic evening at Griffith Observatory, stroll through the Farmers Market and relax at natural hot springs. If you decide to spend an afternoon relaxing in the sun, Southern California’s sandy beaches are not far away.

»Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is a theme park and film studio that offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood’s oldest and most famous film studio. Offering tours of real Hollywood sets from famous movies and a fun-filled movie-based theme park, it is one of the world’s most visited attractions and one of the top things to do in LA. The NBC Universal Experience takes you on an intimate journey through some of Universal Studio’s greatest films, showcasing authentic artifacts, costumes and props from blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Jaws, Back to the Future and The Sting.

Transformer fans will delight in this interactive and immersive 3D ride, which uses 3D media and flight simulation technology to create an epic experience based on the popular movie. Rated as Universal Studios #1 show, WaterWorld is a wet and wild adventure that springs to life with death-defying plunges, deafening explosions, roaring firefights and a terrifying plane crash that will have adrenalin pumping through your veins. Read more

100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California 91608, Phone: 800-864-8377

Next read: Best Time to Visit Los Angeles, California & Other Travel Tips Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

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»Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

One of Southern California's most popular attractions, Griffith Observatory is an iconic landmark of Los Angeles and a national leader in public astronomy, inspiring visitors to observe, ponder, and understand the beauty of the sky and surrounding universe. Located in Griffith Park on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood, the Observatory sits 1,134 feet above sea level and offers spectacular views across the city for miles. Made up of a public observatory, planetarium, and exhibition space, Griffith Observatory acts an important informal educational facility for the public and has welcomed over 76 million visitors since its opening in 1935.

The Observatory offers free public telescope viewing every evening to visitors, as well as interactive presentations and shows at the 290-seat Samuel Oschin Planetarium. If you are looking for things to do as a couple in LA, the museum hosts exhibitions and workshops throughout its six sections, covering a variety of topics from the solar system to sunsets and moon skies.

2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, California 90027, Phone: 213-473-0800

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»The Original Farmers Market

The Original Farmers Market

The Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles is a historic landmark and one of the city’s top attractions, selling and serving organic and locally grown produce, food and craft items for over 80 years. Located at Fairfax Avenue and 3rd Street, the market has long been the go-to place for foodies, aficionados, gourmands and market lovers alike. Featuring over 100 vendor stalls, specialty food markets, fresh produce grocers, prepared food stalls, restaurants and tourist shops, the Market is a permanent installation and is open seven days a week.

One of the many highlights of the market is the variety of local, international and ethnic foods, letting you can sample cuisine from all over the world. The Market also hosts special events throughout the year, such as live music on Friday evenings, Tuesday Night Trivia, and private parties. If you are looking for best romantic things to do in LA, the Original Farmers Market is a great place to visit.

6333 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, California 90036, Phone: 323-933-9211

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»Hollywood Bowl Museum

Hollywood Bowl Museum

One of the world’s most famous concert venues, the Hollywood Bowl is a 1920s Amphitheater in Hollywood that hosts a variety of music performances throughout the year. Named for the shape of the concave hillside the amphitheater is carved into, the ‘Bowl’ is known for its distinctive shape. The Hollywood Bowl Museum showcases the history of the Hollywood Bowl and features an array of exhibitions and displays from various music concerts, shows and performances at the Bowl over the years.

The Museum is also home to the ‘Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame’, where visitors can watch videos of all the honorees including Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, and Garth Brooks, among others.

2301 Highland Ave, Los Angeles, California 90068, Phone: 323-850-2000

Next read: 20 Great Los Angeles Vacation Packages Photo: Hollywood Bowl Museum

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»A Day in LA Tours

A Day in LA Tours

A Day in LA Tours is a small company run by travelers will a passion for LA, who offer five-star sightseeing around Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Beverley Hills. Tours are led by friendly, knowledgeable guides in air-conditioned buses, with plenty of time to see the city’s most famous attractions, as well as the off-the-beaten-track ones too.

Tours include a free hotel pick-up in the morning and visit areas such as Santa Monica and Venice Beach, checking out all the best known sights – Griffith Park, Sunset Strip, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Rodeo Drive, to name but a few. There are plenty of opportunities to get off the bus and explore the sights, with an hour for lunch along the way (Phone: 818-538-6287). More awesome LA tours.

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»California Science Center

California Science Center

One of the country’s largest interactive science centers, the California Science Center was established to inspire learning through science for everyone. Located in Exposition Park, the Center is a dynamic educational center where children, students and adults alike can explore the wonders of science through innovative programs, interactive workshops, and mind-boggling exhibitions.

The museum boasts a number of exciting exhibits and displays, including the Frank Gehry-designed Air and Space Exhibits, the Sketch Foundation Gallery, an IMAX Theater, and the Science Center itself. The Center is home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which is on display in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion, and hosts the California State Science Fair every year. If you are wondering what to see in Los Angeles for science fans, this is a great attraction. Read more

700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, California 90037, Phone: 323-724-3623

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»The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Located on Los Angeles’ Museum Row in the Miracle Mile District, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest museum of art in the western United States. Founded in 1965 and situated in Hancock Park on over 20 acres in the heart of Los Angeles, the museum is home to over 120,000 objects and works covering a range of genres and periods throughout history.

The museum’s collection is divided into genres, ranging from Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art, Asian and Islamic Art, American and Latin American Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, Decorative arts and design, Photography and Film, showcasing works that represent Los Angeles's unique and diverse culture.

A museum of international stature, LACMA also acts as an important education center, offering the public access to its collections through digital initiatives, such as online collections and catalogues, state-of-the-art research facilities, as well as hosting a variety of exhibitions, films and concert series. If you are looking for best things to do in LA for art lovers, this museum is a must-see. Read more

5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90036, Phone: 323-857-6000

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»Culina, Modern Italian

Culina, Modern Italian

Culina is a stylish Italian restaurant set in a gorgeous Mediterranean-Californian garden in the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Breathing life into the Four Season’s grand, old world ambiance, Culina boasts a modern, hip vibe with a laudable mix of food, fun and festivity, floating fires and music.

Savvy gourmands and oenophiles will delight in the tempting menu that features a modern take on authentic Italian fare and the carefully composed wine list that is beyond compare. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, menus include delights to appease every palate, with homemade pasta and creamy sauces, fresh seafood, and prime cut meats, to mouthwatering desserts.

The Bar at Culina features an expansive wine list with wines from all over the world, many of which can be enjoyed by the glass, carafe or bottle, as well as handcrafted cocktails, house-made bitters and syrups, and a selection of artisanal spirits. If you are looking for Los Angeles date ideas, this is a good place to try.

300 South Doheny Drive, Los Angeles, California 90048, Phone: 310-860-4000 (website)

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»Beverly Hot Springs

Beverly Hot Springs

Beverly Hot Springs is a 100% natural hot springs spa that is located just outside of Beverly Hills. Fed by a natural artesian well that spouts a steady flow of 96- to 105-degree water, rich in sodium bicarbonate and other minerals, the spa offers an array of Balneotherapy treatments, as well as massages and other water-based remedies. Beverly Hot Springs offers guests a tranquil, elegant ambiance in which to relax, surrounded by natural elements of stone, rock, waterfalls, and beautiful flower arrangements.

The spa boasts separate facilities for men and women, including a variety of hot and cold pools, steam baths and dry herbal saunas, massage showers, powder rooms and quiet lounge areas in which to relax.

308 N. Oxford Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90004, Phone: 323-734-7000 Photo: Beverly Hot Springs

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»Honeymee

Honeymee

Everything about Honeymee is unexpected, from the small, unassuming shop in a mini-mall inKoreatown, to the window serving only a few flavors of their pure milk ice cream. When everyone else is competing to create the most outrageous ice cream flavor, Honeymee is going back to basics: They make rich, creamy ice cream with milk from a certified Kosher family-owned dairy factory, add a bit of certified pure honey or honeycomb and very little else.

They put it in a cup, cone or a delicious sweet bun and send you straight to heaven. Simple does not mean unsophisticated, just the opposite.

3377 Wilshire Blvd Suite 116, Los Angeles, California 90010, Phone: 213-267-0020 Photo: Honeymee

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»Mystery Trip

Mystery Trip

Mystery Trips is an event planning company that provides just that: mystery trips to weird, fun and unusual places. The company organizes trips for a variety of events, such as corporate events and team building, birthdays, networking and other special occasions, which can incorporate anything from visits to historic landmarks and museums to gourmet restaurants or a sumo-wrestling match – you just never know.

Types of trips are decided by founder Dave Green according to you and your guests and trip durations vary, but usually last between six and eight hours, with three or four venue stops. If you are looking for fun things to do in LA, give this unique company a call. Trip costs include transportation in buses, limos and vans, one meal, and admission fees to whatever venues are on the list. Alcohol costs extra (Phone: 310-650-5656).

Next read: Los Angeles to San Diego Photo: Mystery Trip

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»Xoia Vietnamese Eats

Xoia Vietnamese Eats

Located in the hip and happening area of Echo Park, Xoia Vietnamese Eats serves an enticing array of modern Vietnamese food with a Latino twist. Owner Thien Ho serves a full Vietnamese menu that draws inspiration from her husband Jose Sarinana's heritage, and the surrounding neighborhood, offering an exotic fusion of Asian-Latino fare.

Feast on dishes such as Mi Quang pork tacos or pho beef and don’t miss the Banh mi sandwiches packed with pork carnitas and lemongrass, which are richly flavored with broth stock that sings of Asia. For a zesty bite, try the curry-flavored sauce with shrimp, pork and banana blossom that hails from Hoi An, with crispy rice crackers as a side.

For a sweet treat, end the meal with some green papaya and homemade Vietnamese coffee ice cream.

1801 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90026, Phone: 213-413-3232 Photo: Xoia Vietnamese Eats

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»San Antonio Winery

San Antonio Winery

Established in 1917, the San Antonio Winery produces a range of red varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and white varietals of Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Chardonnay.

The estate boasts a modern tasting room where a selection of the farm’s wines can be tasted with daily tastings, artisan tastings and semi-sweet tastings.

The trattoria-style Maddalena Restaurant at the San Antonio Winery is perfect for a romantic celebration. The restaurant serves brunch, lunch, and dinner. If you are looking for date ideas in LA, try this unique attraction.

737 Lamar St, Los Angeles, California 90031, Phone: 323-223-1401 Photo: San Antonio Winery

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»Sunset Ranch Hollywood

Sunset Ranch Hollywood

Sunset Ranch is a horse ranch on the outskirts of Hollywood that offers a range of horseback riding tours for all levels of rider. Several types of tours are available, including hourly lunch time and evening rides, longer day rides, and romantic horseback proposal tours.

One of the most popular tours is the ‘Best View and BBQ’ Tour, which consists of a two-hour evening ride to Mount Hollywood, taking in magnificent 360 degree views of the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, Rancho Palos Verdes and the famous Hollywood sign, followed by a barbeque and live country music back at the ranch.

Another fun trip is the Friday Night Fiesta Ride, which is a four-hour ride suitable for competent riders that makes a round-trip expedition through Griffith Park, stopping at the Viva Fresh Mexican Restaurant in Burbank for lunch on the way.

3400 N Beachwood Dr, Los Angeles, California 90068, Phone: 323-469-5450

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»L&E Oyster Bar

L&E Oyster Bar

If you crave fresh oysters, head to L&E Oyster Bar in Silver Lake. Located on Silver Lake Boulevard, L&E Oyster Bar is a new seafood restaurant that serves freshly farmed oysters, fish and other oceanic delights and crisp wines in a funky atmosphere. Parisian bistro meets Brooklyn funk in this small and cozy eatery with a busy vibe, whose friendly, hipster staff makes you feel right at home. Owners Dustin Lancaster and Tyler Bell wanted to create an oyster bar similar to those in coastal Europe.

Choose from over ten types of fresh oysters, ranging from Kachemaks from Alaska to salty shells from Mermaid Cove, as well as Canada and New Zealand. Fresh fish on the menu includes house-smoked trout, whole branzino, and wild salmon, accompanied by heavenly homemade sauces and sides.

1637 Silverrake Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90026, Phone: 323-660-2255 Photo: L&E Oyster Bar

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»Melting Pot Food Tours

Melting Pot Food Tours

Melting Pot Food Tours offer delicious food tasting tours in and around Los Angeles for food lovers. Visit some of LA’s best-known foodie spots and sample some of the local and ethnic cuisines this vibrant city is so famous for. Run by gourmand sister team Lisa and Diane Scalia, Melting Pot Food Tours aims to introduce visitors to the world-class cuisine of LA and ignite the passion for food they have had all their lives.

Tours include visits to the Original Farmers Market, Old Pasadena, the East LA Latin Flavors Tour, and a visit to Thai Town with celebrity chef Jet Tila. Meet the brains behind the fantastic food you will taste on the way, from farmers, local producers, and grocers to vendors, vintners, and chefs. Explore the neighborhoods which are home to the delicious cuisine and taste samples of everything along the way (Phone: 424-247-9666). Photo: Melting Pot Food Tours

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»Auntie's Fry Bread

Auntie's Fry Bread

Auntie’s Fry Bread is the place to go for distinctive Native American fare in the heart of Los Angeles. Serving delicious fry bread tacos made from a traditional family recipe, the Koyama Family bring a little bit of Montana to LA.

The golden fry bread tacos are the most popular dish on the menu and can be taken savory or sweet, with toppings such as beef and bean chili, slow-cooked BBQ beef, ranch chicken or vegetables, cinnamon, caramel, honey or plain. Wash it all down with the creamy, sweet root beer Sioux City Sarsaparilla – the perfect accompaniment to fried bread tacos.

Food Truck Roaming LA, Los Angeles, California 90015, Phone: 310-571-8951

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»Nethercutt Collection

Nethercutt Collection

Boasting some of the world’s most beautiful classic cars, the Nethercutt Collection is an exquisite assemblage of vintage automobiles and rare collectibles, ranging from mechanic musical instruments to antique furniture. Over 250 American and European vintage cars dating from 1898 to 1997 are at the heart of the collection, with automobiles from the Antique, Vintage, Classic and Post-War eras, all of which are in pristine condition and maintained to remain drivable.

Founded in 1971 by J.B.Nethercutt, who spent a lifetime following his passion for collecting valuable objects, the museum is housed in two beautifully appointed exhibit facilities consisting of two grand salons, a mezzanine level and a music room. Standing outside the museum is a 1937 Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson Locomotive and a 1912 Pullman Private Car .

15151 Bledsoe St, Sylmar, California 91342, Phone: 818-364-6464 Photo: Tatjana Balzer/Fotolia

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»Casa Vega

Casa Vega

A San Fernando Valley fixture for over 55 years, Casa Vega is a family-owned Mexican restaurant that serves authentic, delicious Mexican food and drinks in a warm and vibrant atmosphere. Opened in 1956 by Rafael ‘Ray’ Vega, and currently owned by his daughter, Christy Vega, the restaurant draws a mix of regulars, visitors and celebrities to dine in true Mexican style.

Feast on traditional corn and flour tortilla chips and beer-battered halibut tacos with chunky guacamole salsa or burritos with refried beans, marinated flank steak or pulled pork. Sip on coconut margaritas or Casa Vega margaritas on the rocks, and don’t miss the ever popular Tequila chocolate pots, which are a highlight of the evening. Located on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, Casa Vega is open all week.

13307 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, California 91423, Phone: 818-788-4868 Photo: Casa Vega

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»The Murder Mystery Company

The Murder Mystery Company

Murder She Wrote meets Cluedo with the Murder Mystery Company, who pride themselves on being the “the experts in mystery entertainment”, offering public and private interactive murder mysteries. The company performs weekly interactive mystery shows in which someone dies in a comical way and the audience has to solve the crime.

Professionally trained actors bring live-action excitement and intrigue to the event, and guests are immersed in the mystery as they are turned in suspects or sleuths by the expertly trained playwrights and are encouraged to use their detective skills to solve the crime and discover the killer together.

The Murder Mystery Company offers private murder mystery events for a range of occasions, as well as a public dinner theater where shows are staged and audiences get to partake while having dinner.

51 N San Pedro St, San Jose, California 95110, Phone: 888-643-2583 (website) Photo: The Murder Mystery Company

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»Aloha Brothers Surf Lessons

Aloha Brothers Surf Lessons

Learn how to surf LA-style with Aloha Brothers. Run by Nick Fowler and his team of surfing gurus, whether you are a beginner planning to learn from scratch, or looking for an experienced instructor to help you progress, Aloha Brothers will have you surfing in no time.

Lessons are held throughout the year and boards and wetsuits are provided. Lessons can be booked singularly or as a block booking at a discounted rate and need to be booked in advance due to popularity. Even if surfing isn’t for you, experiencing the power and the beauty of the ocean firsthand promises to be a good one (Phone: 323-316-8108). (website) Photo: PJ Gomez / Aloha Brothers Surf Lessons

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»The Greek Theatre

The Greek Theatre

The Greek Theatre is an internationally renowned venue in the picturesque locale of Griffith Park that presents an array of world-class performances throughout the year. So named for its architectural design, which is akin to that of a Greek Temple, the theater was designed by Samuel Tilden Norton and built in 1929, and has since become a world-renowned entertainment venue.

This 5,900-seat landmark of Hollywood has played host to some of the most memorable live performances in music history, including performances by Neil Diamond, Harry Belafonte, and Chicago. The theater also played a starring role in the Russell Brand movie, ‘Get Him to the Greek’.

Dine under the stars as you take in a show with a Greek Picnic Basket, which consists of delectable finger foods, dips, and snacks, as well as beverages of your choice. There are also some restaurants close to the venue for seated dining before or after an event. If you are looking for date ideas in Los Angeles, visit this unique venue.

2700 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90027, Phone: 844-524-7335 Photo: The Greek Theatre

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»The Grove

The Grove

The Grove is a huge shopping and entertainment complex on Grove Drive in Los Angeles. It boasts a selection of shops, boutiques and designer stores, as well as theaters, restaurants, bars, and clubs. A variety of shops offer everything from the latest fashions and beauty products to home décor, and must-have gadgets, while over 18 eateries serve a range of cuisine from Italian to Mexican.

Fourteen state-of-the-art movie theaters promise fantastic entertainment, with theater concierge services, secure ticketing purchasing, and weekly specials. Explore the nearby Farmers Market with a free ride on the Grove Trolley, a 1950s Boston battery-powered street car. Sip coffee while you watch the Dancing Fountain, located at the heart of the Grove and which dances to a variety of songs by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Lionel Richie.

189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, California 90036, Phone: 323-900-8080 Photo: hdemestier/Fotolia

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»Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Madame Tussauds Hollywood

The ninth of its kind in the world, Madame Tussauds is a wax museum and popular tourist attraction on Hollywood Boulevard. Established by sculptor Marie Tussaud, the museum features life-like wax models of favorite celebrities, film and music stars and other famous people. The museum features 115 wax figures of a variety of stars, the first of which to grace the museum halls were those of Beyoncé Knowles and Jamie Foxx, followed by other notable people, such as Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Depp, Michael Jackson and Clint Eastwood.

The largest figure in the museum is that of Shrek, which is made from plastic rather than wax as it is place outside the hall each day to attract passersby and would otherwise melt in the hot California sun. The museum is located next to the famous TCL Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame, where the handprints and stars of all of Hollywood’s legends have been set into the sidewalk.

6933 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, California 90028, Phone: 323-798-1670 Photo: Madame Tussauds Hollywood

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»The GRAMMY Museum

The GRAMMY Museum

Dedicated to the history and winners of Grammy Awards, the GRAMMY Museum is an interactive, educational museum that explores and celebrates the creative process. Opened in December 2008 and located in Los Angeles’ vibrant downtown district of L.A. LIVE, the museum features four floors of inspiring, interactive, and hands-on exhibits, displays and programs that aim to inspire and teach visitors about the world of music.

The museum boasts an extensive collection of historical music artifacts from a variety of genres, including instruments, costumes, records and recordings, and hand-written lyrics by some of music’s greatest artists. Exhibits include collaborative videos, touch-screens, and recording booths to explore with the aim of helping students, visitors, and budding artists to use music as a gateway to shape their cultural identity. The GRAMMY Museum also frequently holds live performances, classes, seminars and discussions at its Clive Davis Theater with award-winning musicians such as John Legend.

800 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90015, Phone: 213-765-6800 Photo: LATCB

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25 Best Things to Do in Los Angeles