Stuff to do in LA!
There's a lot to LA. Beaches and marinas along the coast. Moving inland, there's the modern business center, called Century City because it used to be the 20th Century Fox studios and lots. (There still are some studios.) Next mid-Wilshire where the LaBrea tarpits are. Then areas like Koreatown, on the way downtown. Downtown is a mix of new buildings and old. (Old for LA, that is.) You might be surprised to learn that many of the NYC and other city scenes you see on TV and in movies are actually shot downtown LA. There are plenty of towns further in as well, like Pasadena, home of the Rose Parade and Old Town Pasadena. Some of the inland area is known as the Inland Empire.
This page is not fully organized. Just browse it to find what you seek.
There's great music and theater in LA. Happily, Goldstar Events puts prices within reach.
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From my world travels I can tell you that there is no better way to see a place than on a walking tour. (And it's terrific when the tour accomodates wheelchairs too!)
The Los Angeles Conservancy is THE souce for walking tours!
They have docent-led tours, audio and print self-guided tours, and more.
The Los Angeles Conservancy is into preservation of Los Angeles as well, so you know you'll get a deeper knowledge of what you see. You can join the conservancy for just $40 which gives you their newsletter and 50% off their tours, or take any tour for just $10. Thats's the lowest price I have ever seen for a quality tour in the US.
From November - January, you can even ice skate outdoors — Downtown on Ice at Pershing Square.
Just $6 for admission and $2 for skate rental.
Pershing Square: 532 South Olive Street, Los Angeles
go to the website of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and click Pershing Square.
Can't make it to LA yet but want to get a feel for its history? Visit the website. It's full of factoids and images. They even have a great online tour called Curating the City. Check out their Wilshire Blvd online tour. Wilshire, and the tour, goes from Santa Moncica to Downtown.
- The USC Department of Geography has a Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tour. Just looking over the site, you'll get a good feel for the neighborhoods of downtown LA.
- Active Arts at the Music Center
"Programs that engage people from diverse backgrounds and experiences and establishes an ongoing series of admission-free or low-cost recreational art-making events at the Music Center. ACTIVE ARTS encourages people to sing, dance, play music, and tell stories together just for the sheer enjoyment and love of it. Participants in these programs activate the Music Center with creativity, social interchange, and cultural diversity reflective of our city's best facets and honoring human creative potential." (This is part of the Music Center.)
- Drum Downtown "free once-a-month drum circles on selected Saturday mornings on the Music Center Plaza. Fun for drummers and non-drummers of all ages who live life on the beat."
- Check out what's happening at the Music Center.
"Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles along Grand Avenue, the Music Center is home to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Performances, tours and great dining await you at the Music Center."
You can get to these places on the Metro Red Line.
- Interested in the industry? Check out the Hollywood Entertainment Museum at 7021 Hollywood Blvd, 323-465-7900. The site explains: "The Museum, designed as an educational attraction, celebrates and interprets the history of Hollywood and the entertainment arts. Film, television, radio and sound recording at long last have a special place in the Museum."
- There's another Hollywood museum on Highland, across from the Hollywood Bowl (just south of the 101). Again, I have not been there yet.
- Hollywood Guiness World of Records is right at Hollywood Blvd and Highland, at 6764 Hollywood Blvd, 323-463-6433. Open 10am to midnight. Part of a combination discount admission.
- You can get a Hollywood CiityPass (citypass.com or 707-256-0490). As I write this June 2007, the price is $49.95 adult and $39.95 for ages 3-11. These tickets are sold on Hollyood Blvd right off of Highland. A pass is good for 9 days and includes:
• Starline Movie Stars Homes Tour - 2 hour bus tour
• Hollywood Wax Museum (6764 Hollywood Blvd, 323-462-5991)
• Hollywood Behind-the-Scenes Tour with Red Line Tours - 75 minute narrated walking tour
• and either:
• Kodak Theater 30 minute guided tour
• or The Hollywood Museum housed in the beautiful art-deco (former) Max Factor building.
Of course, you can buy tickets to each of these attractions individually, too.
- Hollywood & Highland. My overall thoughts on this place is that it's a high-priced shopping mall that destroyed the ambiance of the old Graumans theater. I think over time some reality-priced stores have come in though. For example, The Gap.
On the upside, it is kind of cool to see the hand imprints and Walk of Fame and in the summer there's a free concert series.
Its webcam can show you what it looks like right now and you can see whose prints are there. And there are...
Events at Hollywood & Highland — some free, some not.
- See a show. That's right, live theater. There is actually plenty of it. Tons of tiny theaters. You can find out what's on in the LA Weekly's Theater Guide and be sure to check out Goldstar Events, which I've tried my best to point out to you here.
- About.com host Kayte Deioma, writes Your Guide to Los Angeles for Visitors.
I think this is the best guide to LA and things to do. There is an entire navigation listing on the left. For example, summer concert series listings, 4th of July stuff, and Free Things to do in Los Angeles.
- The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce's website provides tons of information about Hollywood including history, demographics, business information, and places to visit. (The visitor's info link also lists info on obtaining show tickets.)
- The Hollywood Entertainment District is a new name for the area between LaBrea at Santa Monica to Hollywood Blvd and Vine. Learn about it and see what's happening in the area at its website.
Marina & Beach Cities
if you're here for the sun and water, check out these great coastal towns.
- Marina del Rey is one of my favorite places. Watersports, bike paths, free summer concerts, fresh air, places to walk, and more, are all listed here - along with info on how to get there and get around.
- Santa Monica, home of the famous pier and grass-overlooking-the-water scenes that you've seen in film and on TV many a time.
The pier is also home to Pacific Park: 12 rides including the world’s only solar powered Ferris wheel. (As seen in The Net & other films.)
- Hermosa Beach
- Redondo Beach
- Manhattan Beach
There are sailing clubs all over this coast. If you want a great deal on sailing without having to own your own boat, you can become a cooperative owner with the Fairwind Yacht Club. If you're single, check out the singles sailing clubs in Long Beach (Long Beach Singles Sailing Association), Dana Point (Singles at Sea), and San Diego (Polaris).
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary has classes on things like Sailing Fundamentals, Basic Coastal Navigation, and GPS. Here's the list of So Cal area districts, the list of So Cal classes and the site of the Marina del Rey chapter. You can find more at SailingLinks.com.
Info on other cities within LA
- Beverly HIlls, CIty of Beverly Hills Official Website
Misc stuff all over LA...
- Walk! They say nobody walks in LA. Sadly, it's pretty true. But not totally. And heck, you're just visiting... So I suggest to you...
City Walks: Los Angeles: 50 Adventures on Foot (City Walks) — a deck of cards is a set of walks through various parts of LA. A great way to really see and discover LA. I know the author. (Yep, a Mac user. Now.) I heard how much research (walking) he did to work this out for you.
- Free walking tours by The Studio for Southern California History.
- Experience LA: Cultural Treasures and Regional Transit is an excellent site with a wealth of information about LA. You'll find tons of info about what LA has to offer. Great for locals, and great for visitors too; there's info on public tansit, and highlights public tranit-friendly destinations. I recommend that local bookmark this site.
- Museums and their free adminssion days.
- Find destinations by category or search or under metro adventures.
- Event calendar.
- LA.com has leads to a lot of entertainment. And...it has a clearly displayed Search field right at the top! It gets one zillion points from me just for that. Sort of celebrity oriented, which isn't my thing.
The site says: LA.com is a new insider's guide to Los Angeles.
- And now for the actual tickets... the best tip I can give you is Goldstar Events. Be sure to check it out for great deals.
- The Official site of the City of Los Angeles covers info about the government and police departments, the weather, Convention Center info, and events.
- The LA Times provides LA Times Calendar Live.
I don't have full faith in it though, having been through the hassle of trying to get things listed. And it costs money to really use it.
- Another source of information about LA (and elsewhere) is @LA, "The Guide to Sites Relating to Southern California and Greater Los Angeles." The site claims, "Serving Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties If it's on the web and in LA it's in @LA." Among other things, this site will save you from needing a map to the stars' homes, and provides a list of film shoots going on in the area. (My link takes you directly to the LA tour stuff page. Once there, drop back a level if you want. The Los Angeles city link leads to tons more.
- The LA Weekly has event listings. The print version is free and can be picked up at most music and video rental shops, etc. The link here goes to the only version.
- Another site is called Open Here. There's a bunch of links for LA.
- And if its a tech event you're interested in, you have to check out the Southern California Technology Calendar by Christian Gray and his associates. You can subscribe to receive an email about events.
- For West Hollywood events, check the West Hollywood City Government site. It's home page lists news such as current events. (Did you know that Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood was the part of Route 66?) The three miles of Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood is the City’s main street. Lots of shots and outdoor cafes.
- Then there's Things to Do in Los Angeles. The site says it is a "directory of places to eat and things to see & do in the City of Angels and the San Fernando Valley. Also serving Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties." And that it has 1,000 photos in our architecture and has history sections.
- For neighborhood guides and event info visit SoCal.com.
- Free concerts and other performances — the Summer Series at California Plaza.
The series starts in June.
- Find a party, or club. Maybe PubClub.com's LA section can help. There is a lot of info there to help you become familiar with the entire area.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (founded 1889) has approximately four hundred parks and recreation facilities. For automated info on these parks, you can call (323) 913-4688 or 1-888-LAPARKS. I think this is the best place to start looking for its info on the web: laparks.org/info.htm. At either link, the Directory link is chock full of info for you. Or, if you know the name of the park you see, use the Park Location List.
- Griffith Park started as a donation of 5 square miles by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith in December 1896. Today it has 4,218 acres of natural area, picnic and sports areas, 53 miles hiking and horse trails, and 28 tennis courts. It includes the Griffith Observatory, Laserium, Greek Theatre, Travel Town (for kids), the Los Angeles Zoo, the Museum of the American West (Gene Autry Museum), Pony rides, Train rides, three public golf courses including a driving range, bicycle rental. It's open from 5am - 10:30pm; some parks closing at sunset. For park info, trail maps, and special event info, phone the Communications Center at (323) 913-7390.
- Boundless playgrounds are playgrounds where children of all abilities can play side-by-side. The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks has two so far and more on the way.
• Shane’s Inspiration: Griffith Park, 4800 Crystal Springs Dr, 90039
• Aidan's Place: Westwood Recreation Complex, 1350 Sepulveda Blvd, 90025
Maps to both are here at shanesinspiration.org, along with the full story on boundless playgrounds, which are nationwide and are the brianchild of Catherine Curry-Williams, Scott Williams, and Tiffany Harris.
Other park-type things to do:
- Los Angeles Bike Paths is the place to learn about bike paths in Los Angeles and Northern Orange County. Discover the paths, find out about riding groups and rides. Learn what people think about the paths.
- The Los Angeles Equestrian Center — 480 Riverside Dr. Burbank, CA 91506.
- Rollerskating and bicyling on the beach is easy to do thanks to all the private rental places along the paths. Just show up on any path and you'll notice one. For example:
• Venice Bike and Skates, 21 Washington Blvd, Venice, (310) 301-4011
- Train rides: There are two places in LA for kids to ride trains. One is at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum at 5202 Zoo Drive in Griffith park most Sundays from 11-3. (Linked above too.) The other I am still searching for.
TV Show Tickets, Filming
A "Hollywood" thing to do, see a show being taped, be an extra...
- To see shows taped CBS Studios (Beverly at Fairfax) pick up tickets at the Farmer's Market office.
- On the main tourist streets you may find a person hanging out passing out tickets to TV shows and sometimes to movies.
- To see a specific TV show taping try the show's website.
- On Camera Audiences: This site lets you apply for ticket to be in live studio audiences. I have no idea how effective it is.
- TVTickets.com — I have no idea how effective or legitimate it is.
- HollywoodTickets.com — I have no idea how effective or legitimate it is.
- TVTix.com — I have no idea how effective or legitimate it is.
- BeInAMovie.com — I have no idea how effective or legitimate it is. Supposedly you can end up being an extra.
Everyone's heard of DisneyLand but there are actually many more great theme parks, adventure parks, ride parks... whatever you want to call them. This list is the newest one on this page so it's just getting started.
- Adventure City: A small but dense park full of rides for younger children and it has 2 rollercoasters. (It's located within Hobby City, in Buena Park. There is also a small petting zoo there. Current on August 2005, admission is $12.95 for ages 13 months to 55 years. 12 months and younger are free. I think $9.95 after 55. A writeup can be found at Info can be found at mouseplanet.com.
- Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park.
- Six Flags Magic Mountian. Roller Coasters that make your brains shake and I'm convinced cause brain damage. No customer service. No concern for handicaps. No respect for attendees. And thanks to lack of enforcement about bringing drinks on coasters my friend and I got the scare of a lifetime when coke flew into our faces on a steep downhill so if you go, be sure to check that people aren't carrying things. Personally, I don't recommend the place.
- Universal Studios, Hollywood: not a place I recommend. At $10 to park and $59 to get in you're paying about $10 or more per "ride." Ride through a staged earthquake, be in a studio fire, but with such canned theatrics that it's just corny. If you have a lot of money to spend and are into "kitch" and Hollywood, you'll get a kick out of it. (Or if they're giving a full year for the same prices and you can come back serveral times to mitigate the cost.) But it's not a cheap kick or good value. I'd choose DisneyLand over Universal Studios any day.
If you want to get out and enjoy the air, and help our quality of life as well, there's the Angeles Chapter Sierra Club. The chapter covers LA and Orange counties. There are several "conditioning" hikes that take you through some beautiful areas and are not too taxing.
Rollerskating is not just for children. Most rinks have adult-only nights. Here are the two that I can recommend. (I love skaing.)
- Moonlight Rollerway — a great indoor wooden-floored rink in Glendale.
Once you've been there you'll recognize it in many a movie.
- Skateland — Northridge's popular skaing rink.
Have a drink. Perhaps stop into a bar you've seen in a film at some time. Visit the World's Best Bars website to learn about some of LA's bars.
In addition to this Los Angeles section, I have an entire website, called LosAngelesAreaLife.com.
Disclaimer: I've visited and used these links & and am happy to recommend them. However, I am in no way responsible for their content and cannot be held responsible for the results of your experiences with them.