Los Angeles is more than just a city to me—it’s a mosaic of memories, moments, and magic. Those distant echoes? They’re from a jazz quartet in Leimert Park. That golden hue at dusk? It’s the city’s own salute as day turns to night over the Santa Monica Pier. That buzz you feel when you’re walking down Sunset Boulevard? It’s the city’s ever-present pulse. Heading into 2023, for those who’ve walked these streets a thousand times or are just mapping out their first LA adventure, I’ve handpicked 30 Best Places to Visit in Los Angeles you can’t miss. They aren’t your typical tourist checkboxes; they’re the beating heart of our city’s rich narrative.
1. The Getty Center
Nestled atop the Santa Monica Mountains, The Getty Center is more than just Richard Meier’s architectural masterpiece. While the art within speaks volumes, it’s the sweeping views of our city that truly take your breath away.
Every corner of this place whispers a piece of LA’s story—both the artistry inside and the sprawling panorama outside.
2. Universal Studios Hollywood
Deep in the heart of LA lies Universal Studios Hollywood—our tribute to the cinematic dreams that this city breathes. Beyond being one of the best places to visit in Los Angeles, it offers a front-row seat to the movie magic that’s fueled imaginations worldwide.
While each attraction has its charm, there’s something truly spellbinding about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a testament to the tales and magic that resonate with all who visit. Dive in, and let the stories envelop you in a world only LA can conjure.
3. The Griffith Observatory
Perched like a sentinel over LA, the Griffith Observatory is where our city meets the cosmos. It’s not just a place—it’s an experience.
Those public telescopes? They’re your passport to distant galaxies, while right beneath, the sprawling City of Angels paints its own celestial picture, especially as the sun bids its amber adieu.
Venture inside, and the exhibits and planetarium narrate the universe’s mysteries, making the infinite feel intimately Angeleno. It’s a dance of stars and city lights, and everyone’s invited. Here, it’s not just about what to gaze upon but also what to do in Los Angeles when you want a mix of education and inspiration.
4. The Hollywood Walk of Fame
In the heart of LA, where dreams are woven into the pavement, you’ll find the Hollywood Walk of Fame. More than just star-studded tiles, it’s a chronicle of legends that have graced the world of entertainment. Stroll its expanse, and feel the legacy of icons beneath your feet.
Right there, the TCL Chinese Theatre stands as a timeless sentinel—inviting you to measure your handprints against those who’ve made cinematic history. It’s not just a walk—it’s a journey through Hollywood’s luminous legacy. And yes, it tops the list of things to do in Hollywood.
5. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
In LA’s vibrant tapestry of culture, LACMA stands as a beacon. Far from just a museum, it’s a journey that sweeps across 6,000 years, threading tales from ancient civilizations to Impressionist strokes.
Each gallery, each artifact, tells a story that transcends borders and epochs. As you approach, the glow from the Urban Light installation beckons—a modern-day homage to the city’s ceaseless creativity, capturing moments and memories one snapshot at a time. Dive deep into this repository and let LA’s artful soul embrace you.
6. Santa Monica Pier
There’s a certain magic where land meets the Pacific, and Santa Monica Pier captures it all. This isn’t just a pier; it’s a rendezvous of history and contemporary delights. Pacific Park, with its nostalgic charm, spins tales of yesteryears amidst the laughter of present-day thrill-seekers.
Dine al fresco at a pier-side eatery, savoring both the cuisine and the endless ocean expanse, or simply amble along its length, feeling the rhythmic pulse of the waves and the whispers of countless sunsets. More than a destination, Santa Monica Pier is an LA favorite, embodying the fusion of past and present.
7. The Broad
Amidst the bustling heartbeats of Downtown Los Angeles stands The Broad—an ode to the now, to the avant-garde, to the voices that shape today’s artistic landscape. More than just a repository, it cradles over 2,000 contemporary masterpieces within walls that themselves defy convention. Its architecture? A dialogue between form and art.
The best part? The embrace of The Broad is open to all, free of charge, though a nod to foresight with an advance reservation is wise. Here, in every curve and canvas, you’ll discover a slice of LA’s modern spirit, making it one of the top things to do in downtown LA.
8. Dodger Stadium
Tucked away in the heart of LA is more than just a ballpark—it’s an echo of roaring crowds, historic pitches, and the timeless dance between bat and ball. Dodger Stadium, standing as the venerable third elder in Major League’s pantheon, resonates with tales of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ grandeur.
It’s not merely about catching a game; it’s about sinking into those stadium seats, beholding the city’s vast stretch, and biting into the legendary Dodger Dog. Here, in every curve and canvas, you’ll discover a slice of LA’s modern spirit, making it one of the top things to do in downtown LA.
9. Venice Beach Boardwalk
Where LA’s spirit unfurls with every step, that’s Venice Beach Boardwalk for you. It’s not just a walkway; it’s a living tapestry of our city’s diverse heartbeat. As you meander, you’ll cross paths with the soulful notes of street performers, the brushstrokes of sidewalk artists, and treasures only Venice vendors can conjure.
Just a stone’s throw away, witness the graceful ballet of skateboarders and the iconic display of might at Muscle Beach. Here, the pulse of LA’s eclectic and active soul is palpable, awaiting your every footfall.
10. Disneyland Resort
Just a heartbeat away from LA’s urban sprawl lies a realm where dreams intertwine with reality—Disneyland Resort. It’s not merely an amusement park; it’s a mosaic of wonderment spanning two majestic realms: the iconic Disneyland Park and the ever-evolving Disney California Adventure.
As you wander its realms, new enchantments beckon, like the immersive Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, ensuring the magic never fades. Moments are suspended in a timeless embrace, and the sheer joy of imagination unfurls with each adventure. An LA escapade isn’t complete without a waltz in this world of wonders.
The local perspective VS that of visitors
Every time friends visit me in LA, their departure is laced with tales of sun-soaked boulevards, vibrant street murals, and the irresistible hum of nightlife. “How do you ever leave this place?” they often muse, with their minds firmly anchored to memories of panoramic sunsets from Griffith Observatory or the spontaneous street performances at Venice Beach. Whenever they ask about things to do in LA this weekend or what are the hot things to do in LA today, I always have a fresh recommendation.
Years later, we’ll find ourselves laughing over that “iconic celebrity spotting” at The Grove, or the taste of the city’s best tacos that lured them back for seconds. It’s true, LA’s magic sticks, long after the plane has taken off. If there’s one thing I’ve come to realize, it’s that LA isn’t just a destination – it’s a story waiting to be told, time and time again.
Los Angeles is a hub of vibrant experiences, ensuring you’re never short of options. Whether you’re hunting for fun things to do in Los Angeles or craving diverse culinary adventures that rank among top California places to visit, the city promises a delight.
Opt for an extended stay and relish the luxury and unique charm offered by Los Angeles’ top accommodations. Discover Best Places to Visit in Los Angeles, from thrilling theme parks to serene gardens, timeless art, and iconic landmarks.
Thinking of planting roots here? LA’s neighborhoods boast a tapestry rich in culture, thanks to our colorful mosaic of residents. Whether strolling Hollywood’s iconic pathways or gazing from Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles captivates with its enchanting soul. Step into 2023 with this guide, embracing LA’s vibrant energy to craft an unforgettable year ahead. LA, in all its splendor, is ready for you to dive in.”
As someone deeply rooted in Los Angeles, we invite you on an elevated adventure. Together, let’s uncover those hidden sky-high gems that many, lost in the daily grind, might have overlooked.