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Light, Camera, Action! Fun Things You Can Only Do in Los Angeles!

Image via Flickr CC - bcgrote

This blog post was updated on September 1, 2022.

Los Angeles is a unique city that attracts everyone who wants to be a star. But the City of Angels also  offers terrific weather and dazzling ocean views. And there are tons of special things you can do, like watching your favorite artist at the Hollywood Bowl, or soaking up the sun as you amble through Venice Beach.

Here’s a list of some popular things you can only do in Los Angeles.

Step Back in Time at the Eames House

Image via Flickr: CC 2.0 - Edward Stojakovic

Image via Flickr: CC 2.0Edward Stojakovic

L.A. is definitely a mecca for mid-century design aficionados as it’s chockfull of modernist structures. Diehard architecture fans hop on flights to Los Angeles just to visit the home of the famous design duo, Ray and Charles Eames. Managed by the Eames Foundation, the home – virtually untouched since the Eames’ themselves lived there – is now a historic site and event venue. Visitors can reserve spots to tour the outside grounds or the interior (for an additional fee). The Eames Foundation hosts exhibitions and events, some of which take place at the equally historic Eames office and at other venues in Los Angeles.

Stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame


There’s something oh-so-Tinsel Town about reading the names on the glittering stars embedded in the sidewalk along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. What’s even more fun is seeing the people who stop to pay homage to their favorite stars. Fans are particularly fond of the stars that commemorate Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Elvis Presley. You’ll also find some odd additions to the pantheon, including Hugh Hefner, the Harlem Globetrotters, the members of the Apollo 11 Mission, and…the Chevy Suburban? You can check the Hollywood Walk of Fame website to see if a star ceremony will be happening while you’re in town, and the best part is – they’re free to attend.

Experience Mexican Culture on Olvera Street

A trip to L.A. wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down the famous Olvera Street, dubbed “the birthplace of Los Angeles.” This bustling Mexican marketplace is lined with stalls owned by descendants of the original vendors who started them in the 1930s. Grab a few tacos, listen to live music, and bask in the culture of this historic area.

See the Future at the Echo Park Time Travel Mart

Time travelers, we’ve got you covered. #onestopshop

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The Echo Park Time Travel Mart definitely falls under the category of things you can only do in Los Angeles L.A. It’s a unique, time-travel-themed shop that sells quirky goods from the past, present, and future. (Emergency Mummy Kit, anyone?) However, the best part is that sales of the entertaining goods support a literacy tutoring center that helps area kids improve their creative and expository writing. You can even buy student publications when you swing in to pick up your Woolly Mammoth Chunks.

You may also like: How to Take a Star-Studded Tour of Los Angeles

Eat at Canter’s Deli


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L.A.’s iconic Canter’s Deli has made numerous appearances in films and TV shows over the years. Its retro atmosphere, classic deli menu, and laid-back vibe make for a perfect casual dining spot any time of day. Literally. since the deli is open 24 hours. Whatever you do, be sure to save room for one of their famous black-and-white frosted cookies for dessert.

Enjoy the View from the Griffith Observatory


The nationally recognized Griffith Observatory is open to those interested in astronomy Tuesday through Sunday. The Observatory — located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood — doesn’t just offer great views of the stars above, it also boasts one of the best views of Los Angeles. Don’t miss out on the observatory’s very cool Tesla coil – a must-see! Pro tip: This is also an excellent place for people and dog watching.

Travel Through Time at the Getty Villa

Things you can only do in Los Angeles like go to the Getty Museum

Known to locals as simply “The Getty,” this L.A. institution will let you travel the globe without leaving the city. The Getty Villa is dedicated to European art — particularly Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art — and is breathtakingly grand. The villa was established first, before the rest of the museum, and it was built with pools, gardens, and sculptures surrounded by the kind of white marble columns that you’d expect from the Parthenon. The museum showcases everything from classic paintings to stone busts of emperors and goddesses. Perhaps the museum’s best known holding is Van Gogh’s Irises, which the Getty Foundation purchased in 1987 for a then-record $54 million.


Explore Venice Beach

You’ve seen Venice Beach even if you’ve never stepped foot in Los Angeles. The palm trees lining the coast are iconic images of a tropical paradise often used in movies and TV shows, and they’re all the more impressive for being just a stone’s throw away from a lively, eclectic boardwalk. You’ll find people of every sort at Venice Beach. From skateboarders and body builders to street performers and fortune tellers, not to mention food truck vendors. There’s always some kind of action happening at Venice Beach.

You’ll also find countless shops, cafes, arcades, bookstores, fashion boutiques, tattoo parlors, antique dealers, and other odds and ends. Another great thing about Venice Beach is that it’s just a small part of the greater neighborhood of Venice, so once you’re done strolling down the shore or the promenade, you can keep going!


Take a Film Studio Tour

Things you can only do in Los Angeles like movie studio tour

Do you love movies? Have you always wanted to see where Jeopardy is filmed or walk through the creepy Bates Motel from Psycho? L.A. is home to numerous movie studios, including Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Universal Studios.

Each studio offers its own tour. These range from short, one-hour walking trips to all-day adventures where you can explore everything from Jurassic World rides to sets and props from the Harry Potter franchise. If you’re traveling to Los Angeles because you love the glitz and glam of Hollywood, a studio tour will drop you right into the spotlight. Lights, camera, action!


Shop (or Pretend to Shop) at Rodeo Drive

Things you can only do in Los Angeles like Rodeo Drive

When you think of Beverly Hills, you probably think of Rodeo Drive. Another iconic destination in L.A., Rodeo Drive is the gathering place of the rich, powerful, and glamorous. Ferraris gleam in the sunlight. Luxury brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton line the sidewalks. Palm trees sway over cobblestone streets. Once upon a time, Julie Roberts came here for her famous shopping spree in Pretty Woman.

The good news is that you don’t have to be fabulously wealthy to enjoy Rodeo Drive. There are plenty of small-scale places to grab a coffee or an artisan pastry, and window shopping, of course, is free. You can explore at your leisure, and you’ll have prime selfie material to boot!


Learn a Ton at the Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum is located in Little Tokyo and preserves more than 100 years of history. The museum collections include art, photographs, documents, videos, textiles, and poetry, all dedicated to preserving the influence and culture of Japanese Americans. There’s even an archive of home movies made by everyday Japanese Americans throughout the century. Past exhibits include “Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty,” a fun and colorful multimedia display about everyone’s favorite feline. Another was “Sadako’s Cranes,” a collection of 1,000 paper cranes folded by a 12-year-old girl who passed away from radiation poisoning after WWII.

If you’re at all interested in the Land of the Rising Sun, make time for one of the world’s largest hubs of Japanese culture. The Japanese American National Museum is a place that combines education and entertainment all at once.

So are you feeling impulsive, looking for some last-minute travel options? Well, there’s always something to do in Los Angeles, often something that you can only do in Los Angeles.


What are some of your favorite things that you can only do in L.A.? Let us know in the comments section.

About the author

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing ( and Bouchard Design Co. (

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1 Comment

  • John Pycior says:

    The Santa Monica Pier…
    The Getty Museum
    Griffith Park