28 Popular Los Angeles Bucket List Activities and Food

Updated

Los Angeles is one of the hottest places in the United States and draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. With its unique location, you have access to world cuisine, cultural activities, and hundreds of items that make it onto peoples’ bucket lists.

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As a native Californian born and raised in SoCal, trust me when I say that you can’t limit yourself to Los Angeles the city. When you plan out a bucket list like this, you need to include places in the county of LA and a little beyond, too. Why? Because this whole area encompasses practically all of the best things to do in Southern California.

Spring and Summer LA Bucket List Items

Heading to Los Angeles for the warmer spring and summer months? Put these activities on your travel bucket list.

1. Go on a hike and find The Bridge to Nowhere

Hiking enthusiasts will love this 10-mile trek through trail and stream to find the famous bridge. The bridge was originally supposed to connect the area to a highway. Unfortunately, the highway washed away, but the bridge is still there.

2. Go on a walk along Santa Monica Pier

If you prefer a more leisurely activity, take a drive down to Santa Monica. Walk the famous pier, ride the Ferris wheel, and chow down on local delights at any of the area restaurants or pop-up food stands along the pier.

3. Pick out produce at the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market

The Los Angeles Farmer’s Market is a local institution and is open seven days a week. The market started back in 1934, and today, you’ll find hundreds of permanent vendors who make the market come alive. Satisfy your need for heat at a hot sauce shop, get some fresh made alligator gumbo, or choose all the produce you’ll need for your weekly meals.

4. Catch a show at the Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is a spectacular open-air music venue that’s been wowing crowds of all ages since 1922. Its stage has seen greats of all genres from Billy Holiday to Yo-Yo Ma to The Beatles. Enjoy a night under the stars as you revel in the music of world-famous artists. Go on July 4th to enjoy a spectacular fireworks show that is second to none.

Winter and Fall LA Bucket List Items

The best part about coming to Los Angeles during fall or winter is that the weather is amazing, the sun still shines, and there is plenty you can do indoors or out. If you’re making a travel bucket list for Los Angeles, don’t shy away from the fall and winter months.

5. Hike to the Hollywood Sign

Have you ever seen the Hollywood sign in movies or TV shows? Well, it’s a real Los Angeles landmark, and you can hike to it! The hike is uphill and can be challenging for some people. 

Pro tip: The trail is fully exposed to the sun, so start early and get back before it gets too hot.

6. Go on a celebrity homes tour

You can’t visit Los Angeles without catching a glimpse of the homes of celebrities. There are numerous tour companies, and all of them do a great job of showing you around and giving you a star-studded experience.

7. Attend a Rose Bowl game

Start the New Year right by watching the most anticipated Rose Bowl game on January 1st. Tickets sell out months ahead so if you’re planning on catching a game, buy your tickets as soon as they’re available for purchase online.

8. Take in some culture at The Getty Museum

Wander the hallways and admire some of the finest art from Greece and Italy, Europe in the Middle Ages, and global photography from its inception to today. Once you’ve gotten your fill of art, be sure to walk through the stunning gardens before you leave.

9. Stroll through the Huntington Gardens

The Huntington Gardens are perfect for a long afternoon. You’ll want to bring your camera for picture taking as you stroll through the 16 themed gardens including the famed rose garden, herb garden, Japanese garden, and children’s garden.

10. Glimpse the stars at Hollywood Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is where you can walk along and search for your favorite actor’s or actress’s star on the sidewalk. To date, 2,709 actors and artists have been honored with a star, and star-placing ceremonies are ongoing. 

Pro tip: Check the Hollywood Walk of Fame website for upcoming ceremonies. If you’re there at the right time, you might catch a glimpse of actual Hollywood stars!

LA Bucket List Ideas for Kids and Families

There are tons of fun and adventures to be had as a family in Los Angeles. Here are several of our favorites.

11. Catch a game at Dodger Stadium

Root on the home team, eat a Dodger Dog, catch a fly ball, and have the time of your life. Can there be anything better?

12. See animals at the Los Angeles Zoo

Take a safari in the heart of Los Angeles as you visit over 2,200 animals including mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Exhibits are first class and are perfect for animal lovers of all ages.

Pro tip: If you go in December, be sure to catch LA Zoo Lights and tour the zoo at night when it turns into a magical wonderland.

13. Experience culture on Olivera Street

Olivera Street is an experience in Mexican culture that dazzles the senses with festive sights, mouthwatering smells, and cultural festivities that make the area come alive. Walk the streets, pop into the many shops that sell artisan goods, and grab an authentic Mexican meal before you leave.

14. Have fun at the California Science Center

You could spend all day and go back for more when you visit the California Science Center. There are daily exhibits and programs for kids of all ages, special events, and tons of hands-on activities that will keep you busy for hours.

15. Get a dose of history at La Brea Tar Pits

Step back in time and catch a glimpse of what life would have looked like for dinosaurs in Los Angeles thousands of years ago. Stand in awe at the mammoth and mastodon exhibits, check out the latest excavations, and learn about the fossils pulled from the area tar pits.

16. Go to an amusement park 

I’d be remiss to invite you out to the Los Angeles area and fail to mention visiting Universal Studios. The rides and activities are a blast, and you’ll want to make sure you catch the Jaws, Back to the Future, and Jurassic park attractions. There’s one other thing everyone should do at least once and that’s taking a backlot studio tour! You’ll get to view actual film sets and get regaled with inside stories from the tour guide.

Unique LA Bucket List Ideas

These activities are things you’ll only find in Los Angeles. I highly recommend each one.

17. View the stars at Griffith Observatory

Not only can you view the stars through telescopes available to the public, but you can enjoy the world-class planetarium, observe live Tesla Coil demonstrations, wander through 60 exhibits, and explore the universe all from a hilltop in Los Angeles.

18. Be part of the studio audience for a live show

Have you ever wanted to be in the studio audience for The Ellen Show or Dr. Phil? Well, if you’re in L.A. you can! There are plenty of shows you can get tickets for, including Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Price is Right, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, and The Voice.

Pro tip: You need to obtain tickets anywhere from six to eight weeks in advance. Check the website of the show you want to attend for info on tickets, parking, and showtimes.

19. See a Broadway show at the Pantages

At the Pantages Theater, the lights, sounds, and shows of Broadway come to you. Popular Broadway hits like Hamilton and Wicked, and countless other musicals and plays have graced the stage.

Pro tip: If planning to see a show here, purchase tickets ahead of time. Some shows do sell out.

20. Watch a movie at El Capitan Theater

The El Capitan Theater opened in 1926 and since then has become one of the most iconic theaters in all of California. Disney premiers are often held here, and the red carpet is frequently rolled out for Hollywood stars. 

Pro tip: Check their website for up-to-date showtimes and ticket information.

21. Find a new read at The Last Bookstore

Step into the largest new and used bookstore in the state of California and explore the printed, written word. There are over 250,000 books to peruse, as well as vinyls and graphic novels. There’s even a labyrinth to walk through and a rare books collection with first and rare editions of books that will make your eyes pop.

22. Attend the Rose Parade

If you’re in Los Angeles on New Year’s Day, you won’t want to miss seeing the Rose Bowl Parade in person. It might be on the chilly side, but in classical SoCal fashion, you can just about count on there being plenty of sunshine for the parade.

Pro tip: Go early to save your seats. It’s open seating, and the stands fill up fast!

LA Food and Restaurant Bucket List Ideas

Are you planning out a foodie road trip? Then don’t forget to add these stops to your food bucket list!

23. Order a burger at In-N-Out

You literally cannot get more Californian or Los Angeles than In-N-Out. It’s the official burger of all Californians and we’ll wait in ridiculously long lines to get our hands on one. 

24. Enjoy a classic hot dog at Pink’s

This staple began as a hot dog cart in 1939 thanks to a $50 loan to the owner from her mother! Today, the family-owned, mouth-watering, beloved hot dog chain is 78 restaurants strong.

25. Try the Chicken and Waffles at Roscoe’s

Ready for some dinner after a long day exploring? Chow down on Roscoe’s famous chicken and waffles. If you’ve never had the combination, you’ll be glad you opted to try this delicious combination of sweet waffles and savory, tender chicken cooked fresh to order.

26. Chow down on delectable delights at Porto’s

Porto’s Bakery is a beloved favorite of Angelinos and loyal fans across the state. What started in a small storefront in 1976 has grown to several locations across the LA area. The story of the Porto family is just as heartwarming as their delectable delights.

Pro tip: If you only get one thing, sample their famous ham and cheese croquettes.

27. Enjoy an ice cream sandwich from Diddy Riese

Diddy Riese is the hottest ice cream sandwich shop around. They serve up ice cream sandwiches made to order Subway style. You pick your cookies and your ice cream and it gets sandwiched right in front of you. You can always find a line of students from the local colleges eager to get one or two of these delectable treats. 

Pro tip: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are their busiest days, so go during the week for a shorter line. And even if there is a line, you should stay and wait it out. You’ll thank me later.

28. Have dessert for breakfast at The Donut Man

The Donut Man is famous for churning out freshly baked donuts loaded with seasonal fruit. His most beloved creation is a glazed donut split in half and stuffed with west-coast strawberries.

There’s So Much to Do in Los Angeles!

Are you excited to explore sunny Southern California? I hope this list has given you a little taste of the many incredible things to do in and around Los Angeles. But let me tell you, I didn’t even scratch the surface. If I told you about all the hikes, biking trails, theaters, restaurants, and kid-friendly places there are, this article would be a mile long. I hope you get to visit and see how great it is yourself!

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