Burbank, CA is a thriving media town and next-door neighbor to Los Angeles. Because of its close proximity to the center of the film and TV industry, Burbank incorporates quite a bit of this culture into its own city limits. For example, giants such as Disney, NBC, and Warner Brothers maintain significant production sites in the city. Burbank has plenty to offer visitors, both connected to Hollywood and separate from the stars and red carpets. Here are the best things to do in Burbank, California.
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1.Burbank Aviation Museum
© Burbank Aviation Museum
The Burbank Aviation Museum, which is also known as the Portal of Folded Wings, is a non-profit establishment that celebrates the interesting local aviation history of the Burbank region. Situated at the corner of the Valhalla Cemetery, the museum’s main landmark is a massive, beautifully decorated archway with fanciful ornamentation and a large dome. Displays highlight memorabilia and information about pioneers of the flight industry such as mechanics, engineers, and the pilots themselves. Outside, the museum presents grand examples of the shining stars of aviation—airplanes. Perhaps the most famous of these flying creatures is a model of the Challenger space shuttle.
Valhalla Memorial Park, 1533 N Ontario St, Burbank, CA 91507, Phone: 818-845-3300
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© Colony Theater
With a legacy of over 40 years, Colony Theater is a small theater that is beloved in the Los Angeles community. Drawing from the large pool of acting talent in the area, the Colony puts on quality performances in an intimate setting. This excellence has been recognized, with the theater’s company named among the “25 Notable US Theater Companies” in the Encyclopedia Britannica Almanac. The theater presents a regular schedule of plays as well as special performances by notable guests. The space can be utilized for film screenings, showcases, meetings, and other special events, and the Colony also has dedicated children’s programs.
555 N 3rd St, Burbank, CA 91502-1103, Phone: 818-558-7000
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© Columbia Ranch
Columbia Ranch holds an important place in the history of the American film industry. Located in Burbank, the territory, now known as Warner Bros. Ranch, covers a 40-acre plot of land and includes many famous historical sets. Some of these locations are the home where the Waltons lived, the family home in the film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and settings for Bewitched and The Partridge Family. Even the famous fountain used in the opening credits of the television show Friends sits here, which only adds to the compilation of memorable film and TV sets to be found. The lot features several differently styled houses, open green spaces, and a paved street area.
411 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505, Phone: 818-954-2652
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4.Flappers Comedy Club
© Flappers Comedy Club
Flappers Comedy Club is a one-stop shop for everything humor-related in Burbank, California. This lively company, which has been around in various forms since 2000, brings together quality comedy performances, delicious food, and educational comedy workshops. This club plays host to the noted yearly Burbank Comedy Festival, at which up-and-coming talents can strut their stuff. On non-festival days, the club has performances in its three spaces, the bar, the main room, and the Yoo Hoo room. Flappers has prix fixe and full restaurant menus, and even the kids are welcome to come along to certain family-friendly shows, where they are served goodies from the “two milk minimum” menu.
102 E Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502, Phone: 818-845-9721
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5.Gordon R. Howard Museum
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The Gordon R. Howard Museum is the place to go to step outside all things Hollywood and learn more about Burbank’s important place in history. The Victorian home that contains the museum was built in 1887, and inside one can find a plethora of fascinating historical information and artifacts about the city. These exhibits shine light on former residents of Burbank, many of whom have become the namesakes of its various streets and landmarks. They also pay homage to the city’s police force, fire brigade, and architectural monuments. In addition, the Burbank Historical Society has curated items such as memorabilia from Disney and a retro car.
115 Lomita St., Burbank, CA 91506, Phone: 818-841-6333
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© Courtesy of Eric Hood - Fotolia.com
Griffith Park covers a whopping 4,310 acres, making it one of the largest city parks in the entire United States. Given all this space, the park has plenty to offer visitors in its Los Feliz locale. For example, Griffith Park is home to the famous Griffith Observatory, known for its stunning panoramic views of downtown Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, and Hollywood. Additionally, the park plays host to the infamous Hollywood sign and the Los Angeles Zoo. Griffith Park certainly qualifies as a multi-use space, and beyond its manmade attractions, it also provides a number of hiking and equestrian trails for rugged adventurers.
4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 9002
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© Helitours LA
Helitours LA presents guests to the City of Angels with a truly one-of-a-kind opportunity. Given that this helicopter tour company is the only one allowed to operated out of Van Nuys Airport, its bird’s eye excursions are a unique way to see Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles from above. The tours pass over every single important landmark in the city, including the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and Universal Studios, and the pilot is glad to point out any sights passengers are especially interested in seeing. The helicopter departs from its own private terminal, adding to the VIP feel of this experience.
1521 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506, Phone: 818-478-2215
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8.Johnny Carson Park
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Johnny Carson was once a household name and face who appeared on the television screens of Americans during the late-night hours to introduce special guests and generate smiles. Carson initially hosted The Johnny Carson Show, but then became the leading personality on The Tonight Show, which he hosted for nearly 30 years. Although his reputation in show business has already given Carson a kind of immortality, this host now has a physical monument in the form of Johnny Carson Park, an urban green space in the city of Burbank. Johnny Carson Park sits at the corner of Bob Hope Drive and Riverside Drive, just across from NBC Studios, where Carson recorded The Tonight Show. It includes a bronze plaque dedicated to its namesake.
400 Bob Hope Dr, Burbank, CA 91505, Phone: 818-238-5300
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9.Market City Caffe
© Market City Caffe
Market City Caffe is a Burbank café with true Italian roots. The owner contacted countless members of his family living in Naples, Italy, to acquire the classic recipes that today make up Market City’s menu. The café serves up a wide selection of Italian offerings, but its homemade ravioli holds a place of particular distinction. Market City has lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch services as well as special events like its Red Sauce Sundays and specially curated beer dinners. The dining area in the restaurant is a pleasant mix of sleek furniture and rustic exposed brick wall trimmings. Families are welcome at Market City, where kids eat free.
164 E Palm Ave., Burbank, CA 91502, Phone: 818-840-7036
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10.Martial Arts History Museum
© Martial Arts History Museum
The Martial Arts History Museum is part of a larger thriving museum scene across the Los Angeles area. This Burbank establishment is built for kids and serves to teach them about the martial arts traditions of a number of countries in Asia, including China, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines. This global exhibition focus is complemented with local stories of how martial arts are portrayed and enjoyed in the United States. The museum has cultural and artistic elements and holds many interesting artifacts, such as anime prints, the headband used in the film Karate Kid, and Chinese lions. The Martial Arts Museum also presents DragonFest, an annual expo focused on martial arts, manga, anime, and cosplay.
2319 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506, Phone: 818-478-1722
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© Orbic Air
Orbic Air offers its clients a unique opportunity to experience all the beauty of Los Angeles from above. The company has a fleet of helicopters that can be used for a range of services, including aerial photography and video recording, charter flights, helicopter training, and helicopter tours. Orbic makes its home base at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, a convenient launching point for its many trip offerings. Tours can include mountaintop landings, romantic lunches or dinners, winery excursions, and air-only tours with special themes like a focus on celebrities or a twilight setting. Charters are available to nearby cities as well as concerts and major sporting events.
10750 Sherman Way, Burbank, CA 91505, Phone: 818-561-4838
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© Sunnyday Scoot
Sunnyday Scoot is a remarkable way to “scoot” around Los Angeles on a unique city tour. As part of a Sunnyday Scoot excursion, guests drive along the city streets to various sites of interest. Tour members ride in Scoot’s three-wheeled, open-air scooters in pairs, meaning they can switch off driving at each stop. During these stops, a trained guide offers information about some of LA’s most interesting landmarks. In addition to tourist rides, Sunnyday Scoot also runs 1-hour adventure tours as well as LED night rides and specialty romance packages. These packages include a private couples scoot, picnic, and photo shoot.
1 E Linden Ave, Burbank, CA 91502, Phone: 818-687-2668
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13.The Starlight Bowl
© The Starlight Bowl
The Starlight Bowl is an open-air concert and performance venue in Burbank. This amphitheater-style venue has 3,000 covered seats and 2,000 lawn spaces. The Starlight Bowl was built in 1950, and today it hosts popular singers and musical groups. It regularly sells out its summer concert seasons, welcoming families and young people in its comfortable picnic area and stadium seating. Part of the City of Burbank parks and recreation network, the Starlight Bowl is committed to reducing waste and offers patrons options for recycling and composting on the premises. The amphitheater offers drinks and concessions at its on-site eatery, Canyon Grille.
1249 Lockheed View Dr., Burbank, CA 91501, Phone: 818-238-5300
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14.Urban Press Winery
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When people think of wine in California, their thoughts immediately turn to Northern California and famous regions such as Napa Valley and the Russian River Valley. Los Angeles rarely comes up in the conversation, but Urban Press Winery is changing that by bringing high-quality wine culture to the LA metropolitan area. This downtown Burbank boutique winery was born 20 years ago when its founder began making craft wines in his garage. Since then, Urban Press has grown into a reputable purveyor of quality local vintages. The winery has a full menu of wines for tasting as well as sales by the bottle and a calendar full of special, neighborhood-focused events.
316 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502, Phone: 818-561-4858
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15.The Palm Coffee Bar
© The Palm Coffee Bar
The Palm Coffee Bar is a hip coffee shop in Burbank, opened in 2018 by married duo Ben and Joanna Heart Milliken. The coffee shop strives to provide an alternative to more traditional cafes in the neighborhood, showcasing lively vacation-themed decor and serving up innovative drinks seven days a week. Beverages are crafted from beans sourced from Equator Coffee, showcased in traditional favorite drinks like cortados and cappuccinos or innovative lattes infusing ingredients like matcha. Diners can also enjoy beverages from Tenzo and Mighty Leaf Tea, along with a selection of pressed juices, bottled wellness drinks, and locally-produced kombucha. Cafe fare includes vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free sandwiches, muffins, croissants, and pastries.
2922 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505, Phone: 818-919-1375
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16.Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
© Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
Warner Brothers Studios is one of the most iconic names (and logos) of the entire film and television industry. This studio has produced some of America’s favorite shows, like The Big Bang Theory and Friends as well as hit movies like Argo and the Batman film series. On a studio tour, guests can ride a trolley around the lot and learn about the history and production capabilities of Warner Brothers. The tour includes visits to several different backlots as well as special exhibits dedicated to the DC universe and the world of Harry Potter. Finally, a trip to a specialized soundstage offers a peek into what goes into the complicated film and TV production process that takes place at the studios every day.
3400 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505, Phone: 877-492-8687
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17.Wildwood Canyon Park
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Wildwood Canyon Park is a fun place to step into the great outdoors. The park emerges from Burbank’s Harvard Road and leads to a series of hiking trails of varying difficulties. One moderate trail runs for just over 2 miles and features not only views of the nearby Verdugo Mountains, but also sightings of beautiful wild flowers native to the area. Leashed dogs are permitted on the trails at Wildwood Canyon Park. In addition to pathways, it also has an open, grassy space with room for relaxing or hosting a picnic. The Burbank Nature Program regularly hosts events at the park.
1701 Wildwood Canyon Drive, Burbank, CA 91501, Phone: 818-238-5440
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18.Hollywood Walk of Fame
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The Hollywood Walk of Fame, which lists the names of some of the most famous stars of the silver screen, is famous the world over. However, few know about its equally interesting younger brother in Burbank, the Animal Walk of Fame, which displays the names as well as the paw and footprints of some of the industry’s best-known animal celebrities. The Animal Walk of Fame is located in front of the Burbank Animal Shelter, and its concrete tiles list famous animal actors like Benji and Lassie, with separate tiles immortalizing their unique prints. This small monument was established along with the PATSY Awards, which celebrate animals in film.
1150 N Victory Pl, Burbank, CA 91502
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19.Blue Palms Brewhouse
© Blue Palms Brewhouse
Blue Palms Brewhouse is a local alehouse that specializes in tap and bottled craft beers and delicious snacks and comfort food dishes. The Blue Palms beer rotation incorporates a regularly updated list of 24 in-house creations, ranging across all brew types from pale ales and stouts to pilsners and ciders. Flights are available for guests to enjoy a mini-tasting, and every beer is served in the proper glass at the appropriate temperature. The menu complements Blue Palms’ signature drinks superbly, with perfect “beer snacks” like salty pretzel balls and nachos as well as a long list of entrees, including a variety of burgers and sausage sandwiches.
6124 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, Phone: 323-464-2337
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Specially designated as a Significant Ecological Area within Los Angeles County, the Verdugo Mountains are a breath of fresh, clean air against the urban backdrop of LA. The open space preserve containing the mountains covers a territory of 244 acres, with a host of sycamores, oaks, big leaf maples, and other tree species. The area also makes a home for a number of natural springs and streams, adding yet more biodiversity to the preserve. These mountains include park spaces owned by the surrounding municipalities, Burbank included. A number of hiking trails run through the preserve, allowing hikers to glimpse the beautiful vistas created by the mountains.
End of Oakmont View Drive, Glendale, CA 91208
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20 Best Things to Do in Burbank, California
- Burbank Aviation Museum, Photo: Burbank Aviation Museum
- Colony Theater, Photo: Colony Theater
- Columbia Ranch, Photo: Columbia Ranch
- Flappers Comedy Club, Photo: Flappers Comedy Club
- Gordon R. Howard Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Radoslaw Maciejewski - Fotolia.com
- Griffith Park, Photo: Courtesy of Eric Hood - Fotolia.com
- Helitours LA, Photo: Helitours LA
- Johnny Carson Park, Photo: Courtesy of fotobieshutterb - Fotolia.com
- Market City Caffe, Photo: Market City Caffe
- Martial Arts History Museum, Photo: Martial Arts History Museum
- Orbic Air, Photo: Orbic Air
- Sunnyday Scoot, Photo: Sunnyday Scoot
- The Starlight Bowl, Photo: The Starlight Bowl
- Urban Press Winery, Photo: Courtesy of haveseen - Fotolia.com
- The Palm Coffee Bar, Photo: The Palm Coffee Bar
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
- Wildwood Canyon Park, Photo: Courtesy of lily - Fotolia.com
- Hollywood Walk of Fame, Photo: Courtesy of Tom Nance - Fotolia.com
- Blue Palms Brewhouse, Photo: Blue Palms Brewhouse
- Verdugo Mountains, Photo: Courtesy of Alice - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Kit Leong - Fotolia.com