10 Things to Do in Los Angeles in a Day

What is Los Angeles Most Famous For?

Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller
11 Sep, 2018

Los Angeles is often associated with glamour, fame, and fortune thanks to its many Hollywood studios, upscale shopping streets, movie theatres, and large mansions in Beverly Hills. If you’re lucky, you may even spot Hollywood’s A-listers going about their day on the city’s many tree-lined boulevards.

Families can enjoy hours of fun at elaborate theme parks, Santa Monica Pier, and Griffith Park, while music lovers can enjoy classical and contemporary music at numerous concert halls within Los Angeles. The city features a seemingly endless list of attractions and activities to suit just about any traveller, so check out our list of things to do in Los Angeles for some ideas on where to start.


Start the day at Santa Monica Pier

Ride the Ferris wheel for views of the Pacific Ocean

Santa Monica Pier attracts families with its beachfront promenade and the impressive carnival rides and kid-friendly games you’ll find there. Founded in 1909, this traditional amusement park is where you can ride the iconic Santa Monica Pier Carousel, which dates back to the late 1930s. Fairground rides typically cost between $5 and $10 each. Cycling is a popular activity as the pier features a 26-mile-long pathway that runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean. Fitness enthusiasts can work out at an outdoor body-building gym located south of the pier.

Location: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA

Phone: +1 310-458-8901

  • Couples
  • Families
  • Photo

Must-See: Paramount Pictures Studios

Join the 2-hour tour to see studio sets of your favourite TV shows

Paramount Pictures Studios offer daily tours of its many movie sets and sound stages for about $58 per person. The 2-hour studio tour takes place in the morning and afternoon, with a guide sharing interesting facts about this renowned film studio. You may even catch some of your favourite TV shows being filmed during your tour. If you’re a fan of ghost stories, Paramount Pictures Studios’ After Dark tour is a 2.5-hour-long walking tour that includes a visit to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Location: 5515 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038, USA

Open: Daily from 9am to 8.30pm

Phone: +1 323-956-1777

  • Families
  • History
  • Photo

photo by Coolcaesar (CC BY-SA 4.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred


Snack at the Original Farmers Market

Grab a California roll at this foodie market

The Original Farmers Market attracts foodies with its extensive range of fresh produce and food vendors. The marketplace dates back to 1934, and has since attracted many Hollywood icons over the years, including Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, and Shirley Temple. Today, you can find a variety of cuisine and sweet treats, from Texan barbeque, burgers, and pizzas, to sushi, Chinese stir-fries, and paella.

Location: 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

Open: Monday – Friday from 9am to 9pm, Saturday from 9am to 8pm, Sunday from 10am to 7pm

Phone: +1 323-933-9211

  • Shoppers
  • Food

photo by Infernalfox (CC BY 2.5) cropped, calibrated, blurred


Get active at Griffith Park

Enjoy views of LA at the Griffith Observatory

Griffith Park, located 2.5 miles east of the Hollywood Bowl, is one of the largest municipal parks in the USA. It offers a variety of activities for all visitors, including hiking, golfing, cycling, and horseback riding. There are over 50 miles of trails, many of which are set close to waterfalls and lagoons within the park. You can also visit rare wildlife at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, catch a concert at the Greek Theatre, and enjoy panoramic views of Los Angeles at the Griffith Observatory.

Location: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

Phone: +1 323-913-4688

  • Families
  • Photo
  • Budget

Shop at Rodeo Drive

Look out for celebrities at this upscale shopping street

Rodeo Drive is where you may spot Hollywood’s rich and famous going about their day in Los Angeles. This 2-mile-long shopping street has over 100 designer boutiques and jewellery stores, such as Gucci, Dior, Harry Winston, and Giorgio Armani. There are plenty of 5-star hotel spas and beauty salons, where you can splurge on nail services, body massages, and facials.

Location: 328 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, USA

  • Couples
  • Shoppers
  • Luxury

Explore Sunset Boulevard

Go for a drive along the palm-lined Sunset Strip

Sunset Boulevard and the streets around it are lined with palm trees and neon-lit billboards, resulting in beautiful snapshots. The most popular street is called Sunset Strip, which runs through Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Here, you can enjoy live music and stand-up comedy at legendary spots such as The Roxy Theatre and The Laugh Factory.

Location: Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069, USA

  • Photo
  • Nightlife
  • Budget

photo by MikeJiroch (CC BY-SA 3.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred


Must-See: Hollywood Sign

Head to Lake Hollywood Park for the best view

The iconic Hollywood Sign, standing at 44 feet, can be spotted from just about anywhere in downtown Los Angeles. Erected on Mount Lee in 1923, there are 3 hiking trails leading to the sign, with the shortest one spanning 3 miles and starting at the Griffith Observatory parking lot. If hiking to the summit sounds too strenuous, make your way to Lake Hollywood Park, which has a great viewpoint of the landmark.

Location: Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA

Phone: +1 323-258-4338

  • Photo
  • Budget

Eat California roll

Enjoy this fusion snack while learning about Japanese culture in Little Tokyo

The California roll is an inside-out maki (roll) that’s made by rolling rice, seaweed, imitation crab, sliced cucumber, avocado, and sesame seeds. Locals claim that it dates back to the 1960s, and the best place to enjoy this fusion roll is in Little Tokyo. Also called Sushi Row, this busy foodie district is also where you learn about Japanese American history at its national museum, cultural and community centre.

Location: Little Tokyo, Central LA, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

  • Food

photo by jonathanvalencia5 (CC0) cropped, calibrated, blurred


Go for a stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Pose for a photo in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre

The Hollywood Walk of Fame commemorates notable actors and filmmakers by memorialising their handprints, signatures, and nameplates with a large golden star. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, this area is often packed with camera-toting tourists looking to spot their favourites along the sidewalk. Another popular landmark here is the TCL Chinese Theatre, which has been showcasing the latest Hollywood films since 1927.

Location: N Highland Ave & Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA

Phone: +1 323-469-8311

  • History
  • Photo
  • Budget

End the day watching a concert at Hollywood Bowl

Catch classical music by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

The Hollywood Bowl has been hosting some of the world’s biggest concerts since 1922. Located 1 mile north of the TCL Chinese Theatre, the open-air amphitheatre can accommodate over 17,000 people at a time. Among the many music legends who have performed here are Elton John, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. Fans of classical music can catch the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which comprises 80 musicians performing film scores, Broadway tunes, and jazz music.

Location: 2301 North Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA

Open: Daily from 10am to 6pm (box office)

Phone: +1 323-850-2000

  • Couples
  • Families
  • Nightlife
  • Luxury

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