The Los Angeles Bucket List: 50 Ways to Make Your Vist Amazing

This Los Angeles Bucket List shares our top 50 things to do in the city. Most of the list is family-friendly, with experiences ranging from classic Los Angeles to the best animal encounters.

John grew up in Los Angeles, so he was an official advisor in the creation of the list. Though we visit family in Los Angeles several times per year, we seem to rarely leave the neighborhood he grew up in. And when we do agree to get out there, there are so many options that it’s overwhelming to pick a place to start. 

With that in mind, this list is also an agreement to visit Los Angeles like a tourist might. Each future visit will be an opportunity to tick items off our Los Angeles bucket list one by one. More than a list of things to do, this post is a living document. Check back to see our progress and thoughts about our experiences. 

And if there’s something you think we need to add, share it in the comments below!

Things are changing fast – make sure to double-check what’s open before your trip. And be sure to follow all local guidelines to keep yourself and others safe!

Also, we use affiliate links to keep our blog free for you to read and to pay for the occasional pizza night. If you purchase through a link on our page, we might receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Los Angeles Bucket List Map

Understanding the political boundaries of Los Angeles is kind of a nightmare to outsiders. It’s a tangle of population centers that may be communities or neighborhoods within the city of LA proper, independent small cities, or unincorporated areas of LA county that seem like they are within the city.

Take the Los Angeles beach communities, for example. Malibu and Santa Monica are independent cities; Venice and Playa Del Rey are within the city of LA boundaries; and Marina Del Rey is a small unincorporated area of LA County. Because the political map of Los Angeles is such a puzzle, I took John’s rule and just looked at locations and experiences within the county boundary. That means we included all 75 miles of coastline.

The map below includes points of interest in this post.

Map courtesy of Wanderlog, an itinerary planner on iOS and Android

The Classic Los Angeles Bucket List

These experiences tell the story of Los Angeles, from its prehistoric roots to its establishment as the heart of the movie-making world. 

1. Olvera Street

Olvera Street Sign
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It’s a challenge to get more classic than Olvera Street, also known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles.” This historic street recreates a romantic vision of Old Los Angeles with its structures, street vendors, and cafes. Olvera Street was created in 1930 to preserve and share the traditions and customs of early California. 

Many of today’s merchants are related to those original vendors from almost 100 years ago. This includes Cielito Lindo. The family stand sold tchotchkes and religious artifacts here before perfecting their famous taquitos with guacamole sauce. 

Olvera Street runs through El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. The monument marks the site of the original Los Angeles pueblo where forty-four settlers established a farming community in 1781. Today, El Pueblo is a living museum that serves as the symbolic heart of the city.

2. The Fountain Coffee Room

The Fountain Coffee Room is an iconic diner at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Stars from Marilyn Monroe to Guns and Roses have dined here, but all are welcome to grab a seat at the famous counter. The Coffee Room is known for brunch comfort foods. Order a burger and a slice of pie or their trademark silver-dollar pancakes, and soak up the classic Los Angeles ambiance.

3. La Brea Tarpits

Mammoth Models stuck in tar at La Brea Tarpits
The Lake Pit

The La Brea Tar Pits are an LA landmark that dates back to long before the city was founded. Over the past 50,000 years, local plants, animals, and insects have been trapped by the area’s sticky tar. What you’ll find today is the only active Ice Age fossil excavation site in the middle of a city. 

The park is fun and fascinating for tourists and scientists alike. Check out the park’s active tar pits, play with some super-sized Ice Age mammals, and visit the impressive museum that displays the fossils found on site. 

We visited La Brea Tar Pits in July 2021 and found the site uniquely fun for our fossil-loving family. It’s not hard to find something to pique your curiosity here. 

4. The Hollywood Walk of Fame

Walk of Fame Star on Hollywood Blvd at sunset
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Yeah, it’s cheesy. And lots of people will tell you to skip it. And they may be right. But I’d like to make at least one visit to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There are now over 2,000 squares honoring entertainment stars since 1960. And you never know, you just might stumble across a free public ceremony honoring the latest inductee. 

Once upon a time, you’d have to purchase a map to find your favorites. Now there’s a helpful Hollywood Walk of Fame website that has a map you can review before your visit, and information about upcoming ceremonies.

History buffs will enjoy a Hollywood walking tour to learn how and why the Walk of Fame came to be. 

5. TCL Chinese Theater

Facade of the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd
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There’s a whole section on cool places to watch movies in Los Angeles below, but the TCL Chinese Theatre stands out from the crowd. Since 1927, the site has been home to big-time red carpet premieres and the hand and footprints of the actors starring in them. 

After exploring the Walk of Fame, go on a 30-minute tour of one of the most famous movie theaters in the world. Or you can watch a movie in Auditorium 7, the main theater, which has IMAX and usually shows the latest blockbusters.

6. Santa Anita Park

This storied racetrack opened in 1934, making it California’s first. Framed by the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Anita Racetrack is also considered one of the most beautiful. Racing innovations like the photo finish and an announcer calling the races were introduced here. 

Many of racing’s most famous horses and jockeys are associated with Santa Anita. This includes Seabiscuit who has since been made even more famous by Hollywood. If you’d like to do more than bet on a race here, enjoy breakfast at Clockers’ Corner and then join the fun and free Seabiscuit tour. Call (626) 574-6677 for more details and information.

7. Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory with the LA Skyline in the background
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Griffith Observatory is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic landmarks. Head here to take in Los Angeles bucket list-worthy views of the observatory framed by the city below. You’ll also find one of the best views you’ll find of the Hollywood Sign.

Once you’re done taking in your surroundings, go on in to look through the public telescope, check out the exhibits, and see the show in the planetarium. 

Want to know even more special place? Public and private guided tours cover everything from science to architecture to movie trivia. Yes, lots of movies have been filmed here. 

8. The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary docked in Long Beach Harbor
Gagliardi Photography via Canva

After closing down completely in March 2020, the Queen Mary is back with refurbished rooms and new tours and experiences for visitors in 2023. Originally constructed during the 1930s, the heyday of ocean travel, the ship has weathered the storms of every era since. It’s also one of Los Angeles’s favorite haunted spots and one of its most unique hotels.

9. The Tournament of Roses

Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses is a big deal. Since 1890, the city has hosted the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, a tradition the whole country watches on television. But experiencing these traditions in person is a whole other story.

Tickets for the parade grandstand go on sale almost a year ahead of time. And other lesser-known events that you can’t see on television follow. Floatfest, where you can get an up-close view of the intricately constructed floats, each fully covered in flowers and natural materials, is not to be missed. Given the creativity and painstaking work that goes into each float, seeing them in person is a unique, classically Los Angeles, experience. 

6. Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive Street Sign with Palm Trees in the Background
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Next to Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive might be the Los Angeles area that tourists like me know best. Thank you, Pretty Woman. We probably won’t be shopping much around here, but it’s still fun to join the tourists snapping a photo at Two Rodeo Drive, where Rodeo Drive meets Wilshire Boulevard. 

Cap the experience with lunch and people-watching from the patio of the Regent Beverly Wilshire’s THEBlvd Restaurant.

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Los Angeles Bucket List Studio Experiences

Los Angeles and movie-making pretty much go hand-in-hand. Make time to visit the city’s studios, an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

11. Universal Studios

Founded in 1912, Universal Studios is the oldest continuously operating movie studio in the country. A visit to the Universal Studios theme park combines rides, live shows, and the trademark tram ride that takes visitors behind the scenes of some of their most popular shows. 

I have great memories of visiting here as a kid, and we can’t wait to bring the boys! We started listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (it’s a great audiobook for long road trips btw), so they’ll be ready to go nuts in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Super Nintendo World and Jurassic World will undoubtedly make big impressions too! 

Buy an Express Ticket for front-of-the-line access to each ride, attraction, and show once per day.

12. Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Warner Bros. offers a more traditional studio tour experience, and it’s been something I’ve wanted to check out for years. The Studio Tour takes you to sets of Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and around the studio backlots. 

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Stars Hollow experience will be back during next year’s holiday season. It’s one of the reasons that Los Angeles is high on my list of the best places to visit in California in December. During this time, fans experience The Gilmore Girls’ beloved town decorated for the holidays. There are fun photo ops at the town square gazebo, the Gilmore house, Luke’s Diner, and Doose’s Market. An experience to enjoy with coffee, coffee, coffee, of course!

13. Paramount Studio Tour

Open since 1926, Paramount Pictures is the only major studio still operating in Hollywood. Enter through the famed Bronson Gate, the most memorable of all the movie studio entrances, for a studio tour of the sprawling 65-acre lot and see how movie magic is made. In addition to the general Studio Tour, visitors can book a Paramount Studio VIP tour which includes access to the Archives and Backlot. 

14. See a Live Taping of Price is Right

Attending a live studio taping of the Price is Right has been on the Los Angeles bucket list of many folks over the past 50+ years. My Dad has watched the show for as long as I can remember. I’d love to see him get a shot to name prices live rather than complaining about the contestants’ guesses on TV. You used to have to wait in line for hours outside, but now you can get your Price is Right tickets ahead of time online.

Los Angeles Bucket List Movie-Watching

I love seeing big billboards for the latest blockbusters around Los Angeles. Nowhere else can put me in a movie-watching mood like this city. So it should come as no surprise that in LA you can find some of the coolest places to catch a flick anywhere. 

15. Boat Cinema

An empty Lake Castiac
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For a rustic summer setting, head to Castaic Lake. Here movies are screened outdoors, where they can be watched from the beach or a boat on the lake. Yep, that’s right. You can watch a movie like Jaws while hanging out on a mini boat in the lake. Pack a picnic, purchase one on-site, or have Canoe Concessions deliver a boat-side pizza. 

16. Cinespia

Every year, Cinespia screens classic favorites at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This is a quintessential LA experience, so don’t be surprised by crowds. Pack a blanket and a picnic, get there early and enjoy the pre-show DJ as the sun sets.

17. The Roosevelt Hotel

Hollywood’s Roosevelt hotel dates back to the city’s Golden Era. Built in 1927 and located on the Walk of Fame, the hotel has famously hosted stars like Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, and Clark Gable. Now it fittingly shows classic films in its storied spaces. 

Indoors, classics are screened at the Cinegrill Theater, the latest version of a bar once frequented by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Bogart. Enter behind the bookcase in the lobby, order an Old Fashioned, and enjoy films like Casablanca in a room that pays homage to historic Hollywood glam.

On Tropicana Movie Nights, the iconic Tropicana Pool is transformed into a movie theater. Swim or lounge poolside while sipping on themed cocktails and enjoy your popcorn under the stars. 

After the movie, head to the Spare Room for inventive cocktails and games that range from Monopoly and Mancala to bowling. High-class bowling on vintage lanes, that is. This venue gets crowded, so make a reservation to guarantee your spot. Just be prepared to pay $100 to reserve bowling lanes for one hour.

18. El Capitan Theater

Like the Egyptian and Chinese Theaters nearby, El Capitan Theater was built by Sid Grauman and Charles Toberman in the 1920s. In 1989, Disney launched a two-year restoration of the theater to recreate the look and feel of the original building.

Today, the El Capitan is known as Disney’s Home on Hollywood Boulevard and is the perfect place to stop in to watch a family movie. Not only does it feature a glamorous environment, but you might also have a chance to enjoy live preshow entertainment. You can also buy special treats from the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop next door.

19 – 21. Even more excellent places to watch an outdoor movie in Los Angeles

In a city like Los Angeles, the heart of the movie universe with amazing weather year-round, it’s no surprise that there are lots of good places to watch an outdoor movie. Others worthy of checking out include:

  • Rooftop Cinema Club: tickets include headsets so you can actually hear the movie.
  • Street Food Cinema: live audience games and yummy street food complete this experience.
  • Paramount Drive-In Theaters: Good old drive-in movies are alive and well in Southern California. Originally opened in 1947, Paramount is an ideal option for a classic drive-in movie experience.

Bucket List Beach Experiences in Los Angeles

Los Angeles County has 75 miles of coastline, stretching from Malibu to Long Beach. So it’s no surprise that after movies, the beach is the next thing that comes to mind when thinking of LA. And yet, our family has visited a local beach there only once in the past 10 years! Time for that to change.

22. Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Ferris Wheel lit up at dusk
Daniel Figueiredo from Getty Images via Canva

This Pier’s Pacific Park is home to its famous Ferris Wheel, which will be instantly recognizable to many who visit LA. With rides, games, and its iconic spot over the ocean, this is a must-visit stop, especially if you’re visiting Los Angeles with kids.

We’ve technically checked this one off the list, but our visit was long before we had kids. It’s time for a return.

23. Annenberg Community Beach House

Once a beach house owned by William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies, the Annenberg Community Beach House is open for public use. 

Families are welcome to use the splash pad, playground, and concessions. You can also reserve a canopy on the beach or book admission to the pool. Pool admission includes access to changing rooms and lockers for extra convenience. All you need to bring is your towel! 

Beach gear can be a pain to pack when traveling, so a day at the Annenberg Community Beach House feels like an easy introduction to the Los Angeles beach scene. As long as you do a bit of planning.

24. Zuma Beach

Zuma Beach Lifeguard Tower
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Located in luxurious Malibu, home to the rich and famous and some of California’s best beaches, Zuma beach is considered to be an example of Southern California’s finest. With miles of wide, clean sand, relatively mild waves, beachside snacks, and amenities like parking and clean bathrooms, this is the beach that John compares to most others that we visit. So it’s time for the rest of the family to see it for ourselves!

25. Point Dume

Aerial View of Point Dume
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Located at the far southern end of Zuma Beach, Point Dume is a nature preserve set on a rocky bluff that extends into the ocean. A walk here reveals views of sea lions, harbor seals, and dolphins in Santa Monica Bay below. This is also a popular spot for viewing gray whales from November through April.

The rocks below the Preserve are a popular rock-climbing location and include beginner-friendly routes. Rock and Rope Adventures offer lessons and routes here tailored to families with children 6 and over.

26. El Matador State Beach

El Matador State Beach is a wild stretch of white sand, with towering cliffs and rugged rock formations. It is one of many small beaches that make up the Robert H. Meyer Memorial Beach. The signs pointing to the small parking lot are easy to miss, keeping this sight somewhat hidden from the masses. Once you find a place to park, steep stairs lead down a 150-foot bluff, so it’s not the best place to bring a big cooler and beach toys. 

There’s not a lot of entertainment here aside from soaking in the gorgeous coastline. Pack a picnic for a sunset dinner, grab a blanket, and find a new favorite little cove to soak in the views. 

27. Leo Carrillo State Beach

Sea Cave at Leo Carrillo Beach
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For a site that combines movie magic with beach-going, head to Leo Carrillo State Beach. See if you can recognize the scenes from Point Break, Grease, The Karate Kid, and Cast Away that were filmed here. 

Oh, and there are some amazing tide pools and cool sea caves to explore too!

28. Dockweiler State Beach

Dockweiler State Beach at Sunset
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LA beaches aren’t as flexible about bonfires as those to the south in the OC, but taking in a sunset next to a bonfire on the sand is still a quintessential Los Angeles activity. Dockweiler is known for having 70 bonfire pits to gather around. With a wide stretch of sand, volleyball courts, good swimming, and restrooms nearby, you can stake out your fire ring early and hang out until the evening.

Los Angeles Outdoors Bucket List

Outdoor adventures aren’t usually the first thing one has in mind when visiting a big city like Los Angeles. But given that it’s on the coast, surrounded by mountains, and enjoys sunny weather year-round, you can bet that there are some amazing outdoor adventures to be found!

29. Hike to the Hollywood Sign

Back of the Hollywood Sign
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You can’t hike to the Hollywood Sign and see it from the front. The best views of that angle are said to be from Griffith Observatory or the Hollywood & Highland Shopping Complex. But, like countless others, I still wanna hike up there.

Luckily there’s a whole website dedicated to viewing and hiking to the Hollywood sign that links to the most popular trails. There are also guided hikes to the sign that offer more background on Hollywood’s history…and keep you from getting lost!

30. Party with Real Stars at Mount Wilson Observatory

Most Los Angeles visitors know about Griffith Observatory, but the lesser-known Mount Wilson Observatory also offers some great experiences for armchair astronomers and space-curious kids. 

Take a public tour to see the Observatory’s historic 100-year-old telescopes up close. Even better, head up the mountain on a public ticket night when visitors can actually view the stars through them. Mount Wilson Observatory has the largest telescopes in the world that allow public viewing. 

Also, check the Observatory’s calendar for the next family-friendly star party. These events use telescopes provided by members of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, not the big ones inside. But the enthusiastic teaching and sharing makes for a fun experience and is a wonderful introduction to star-gazing.

31. Run in Runyon Canyon

Views of a trail through Runyon Canyon
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Enjoyed by millions of people each year, 160-acre Runyon Canyon is a popular park for locals looking for a place to enjoy the great outdoors. Yes, even the famous ones. Here you can enjoy hiking or trail running at a variety of levels, many with beautiful views from lookouts like Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest. 

One major benefit of enjoying the outdoors in Runyon Canyon is that you can bring your pup along. Some of the trails allow dogs off-leash, and there are even water fountains for pups. If your dog is visiting LA with you, you’ll both love spending some time here.

32. Explore Malibu Creek State Park

Waterfall in Malibu Canyon State Park
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I listed several bucket list locations in Malibu in the beach section, but Malibu offers outdoor fun for visitors away from the beach too. Malibu Creek State Park features 8,000 acres of rolling plains, oak trees, and dynamic peaks. There is a wide range of trails to explore and even free guided hikes to introduce visitors to the park on weekend mornings.

Because this park was once owned by 20th Century Fox, it is also a popular place to visit movie sites. The outdoor set of M*A*S*H was set here, and the site still draws visitors 50 years after it first premiered. 

One of the most popular sections of the park is the swimming hole featured in Planet of the Apes. The secret’s out on this one and sunbathers and hikers flock here to cool off in the summertime. Book a campsite to stay overnight and take a dip with fewer crowds.

Check out our post on the best California State Parks for more tips on visiting Malibu Creek and more of California’s favorite family-friendly parks.

33. Wander Descanso Gardens

The mission of Descanso Gardens is to connect people with nature, and they’ve created a series of exhibitions and experiences to do just that. From towering ancient ferns to trails filled with roses and camellias, there’s plenty to do here to occupy all of your senses. Kids love to ride the train, and the annual winter light show, Enchanted, transforms the garden into an interactive forest of light that Angelenos flock to every year.

34. Fly a Kite Near the Korean Bell of Friendship

Korean Bell of Friendship at Sunset
Adam Higgitt from Getty Images via Canva

Perched on a hill looking over the Pacific, the Korean Friendship Bell is one of the most lovely and peaceful spots in the LA area. The paint on this 12-foot tall, 17-ton gift may have seen better days, but it doesn’t take away from the beauty of this iconic gift from South Korea. 

Bring a picnic and let the kids run around the grassy bluff of Angel’s Gate Park while you’re there. Even better, bring a kite. To hear the bell ring, make sure you visit on one of four dates: July 4, Aug 15, Constitution Week in September, or New Year’s Eve. 

35. Canoe the Venice Canals

Bridge over Venice Canals
Chris Putnam via Canva

For a unique LA outdoor experience, row, row, row your canoe through the Venice Canals. Created in 1905 as part of a vast entertainment district, the canals now wind through one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city. It’s a remarkable way to explore the area. Sunset tours are a popular option for photographers!

36. Enjoy an LA Drive

Los Angeles is not exactly known for enjoyable driving experiences. But at the Porsche Experience Center, you can have an unforgettable experience while picking up some new driving skills too. This 53-acre course can be your playground for the day as you handle curves, tackle Ice Hill, and play with Porsche acceleration. 

Toast your achievements while watching others on the track from Restaurant 917.

37. Take a Ride in the Echo Park Swan Boats

Echo Park Lake Fountain
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Somehow getting out on the water, even in the middle of the city, always feels like an adventure.

Los Angeles’ Echo Park may look familiar to fans of The Fast & The Furious. Today, the popular neighborhood is filled with creatives and holds one of the city’s unique outdoorsy activities: the Echo Park Swan Boats. These pedal boats offer a memorable way to get outdoors together. You can reserve your boat to tour Echo Park Lake during the day or at night when they’re illuminated for a special experience.

Los Angeles Arts and Culture Bucket List

In a cosmopolitan city like LA, there are always interesting places in the art and culture scene. The following are museums, gardens, and cultural experiences that we can’t wait to check out!

38. Wander the Huntington Library

Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library
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A world-class research library, art museum, and 130-acre botanical garden, Huntington Library welcomes visitors with wide-ranging interests, including families. Their self-guided Just-for-Kids tour helps the youngest visitors explore the grounds in a way that’s fun for the whole family. The last stop on the tour is the Children’s Garden where kids can play in the water, make music, and run through fairy doors. Families can also join a family program or garden party and get their science on in the Conservatory’s hands-on exhibitions.

39. Picnic at the Hollywood Bowl

Over the past century, the iconic Hollywood Bowl has hosted everyone from Billie Holiday to the Beatles to Yo-yo Ma. One of the most popular ways to experience a show here is to start by ordering a picnic ahead of time and soaking in the ambiance from one of the picnic areas before the show. For a special occasion, splurge on a box for prime viewing and have dinner served right at your seats!

40. Attend a Concert at the Disney Concert Hall

The Disney Concert Hall in Downtown LA
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When they aren’t at the Hollywood Bowl, Disney Concert Hall is home to the LA Philharmonic. The building is both an architectural landmark in downtown LA and one of the world’s most sophisticated concert halls. Pre-performance programs and events make experiencing classical music accessible and fun for new audiences.

41. Buy a Book at The Last Bookstore

Stacks of hardcover books
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Located in a 22,000-square-foot space in the Spring Arts Tower, The Last Bookstore is California’s largest used and new book and record store. Snap photos in and around the beloved book arches and the creatively installed labyrinth of books upstairs. Then support the cause of keeping actual books and records in the world by picking up a copy to take home.

42. Marvel at the Wonder of Space Flight

Space Shuttle Endeavor in ready to launch mode
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Standing beneath a space shuttle is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The California Science Center is one of two places in the country where you can visit a shuttle in person. The space shuttle, Endeavour, is currently housed in the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion while the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is completed. Once it moves to its permanent home, it will be displayed in a vertical, “ready to launch” position making the Center the only place in the world to view a complete Space Shuttle System.

Admission to the permanent galleries of the California Science Center, including the shuttle exhibit, is free, and doesn’t require reservations.

43. Purchase a One-Of-a-Kind Item

Every Sunday, rain or shine, the Melrose Trading Post pops up on the Fairfax High School campus. Artists from all over the city sell and shop here, making it a great place to discover unique finds and meet interesting people. Food trucks and live music add to the market’s creative vibe. 

The market is also a fundraiser for local schools. Tickets for visitors 12 and up are required for entry. Over the past 25 years, ten million dollars have been raised in support of local artists and education programs.

44. Tram Up to the Getty Center

Distant view of the Getty Center
simonkr from Getty Images Signature via Canva

Take the tram up to the Getty Center to view some of art history’s great works. Located on a bluff in the tony Brentwood neighborhood, you’ll also enjoy gorgeous views of the city below from the Center’s gardens and outdoor spaces.

First-time visitors can get to know the galleries using family-friendly Art Detective Cards. Then venture outside to discuss your favorites with a picnic on the lawn near the Central Garden.

Admission to the Getty is free, but parking is $20. At the time of writing, advance-timed reservations are still required to visit.

45. Downtown LA Architecture Tour

Union Station in Los Angeles
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I love architecture tours. They are a wonderful way to understand the character of a city and learn about its hidden history.

The tour company, Travel Curious, offers private architecture tours of downtown Los Angeles.  Walk alongside a local expert to explore and learn about landmark buildings like Union Station and the Biltmore Hotel. 

Los Angeles Bucket List for Animal Lovers

Our kids love animals, and LA has some great experiences that allow you to get up close and personal with them. The following are some bucket list Los Angeles experiences that animal lovers of all ages will enjoy.

46. Sing with Gibbons

Pakhnyushchyy from Getty Images via Canva

The Gibbon Conservation Center is a non-profit dedicated to the conservation, study, and care of gibbons (aka super-cute small apes often confused for monkeys). Tour the center on a weekend or enjoy special experiences like a private sunrise tour timed to the gibbons’ morning song. There are also wonderful volunteer opportunities here for lucky locals. 

47. Breakfast with Sharks

One thing that makes the Aquarium of the Pacific stand out is its immersive experiences that allow visitors to go beyond looking at marine life. Here you can help staff give sharks their breakfast before the aquarium opens. You can also hop on an excursion boat to go whale watching or view the marine animals at their homes in the harbor. Even general admission allows visitors to interact with jellyfish on the outdoor Harbor Terrace!

Buy tickets ahead of time to skip the line.

48. Coffee with Cats

Crumbs & Whiskers, Washington DC’s Cat Cafe, has made it to the west coast. Cat lovers ages 7 and up can visit for snacks and kitten cuddles.

The cafe is filled with rescue cats looking for their forever homes. If you fall in love with a kitten over coffee, you can adopt it and bring it home. Just make sure to order your snacks and drinks before your visit, as they are brought in from a neighboring partner cafe.

49. Play with Wolves

Pack of wolves walking through woods
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Courageous families can visit Shadowlands for an up-close experience with the resident wolves. Shadowlands is dedicated to teaching children about the important role wolves play in the environment and has created programs with families in mind accordingly. Visitors learn about the facility’s 10 wolves and also have a chance to feed and pet them.

Right now Bug would probably run in the other direction, but I know this is something the boys would love to do when they’re a bit older.

50. Ride Horses by the Ocean

Horseback riding is a popular activity throughout California, and in Los Angeles, you can expect the experience to come with a beautiful ocean view. Oceanview Performance Horses provides 90-minute trail rides to visitors with, you guessed it, views of the ocean throughout. Located in lovely Rancho Palos Verdes, they offer peaceful, relaxing rides through the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve. 

We hope you have a wonderful, unforgettable experience-filled, visit to LA. If you’ve ticked any of the above activities off your list, let us know. We’ll be updating the list as we go too…even if it takes years!

Road Trip Planning Basics

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