14 fun and cool activities to do in Los Angeles

Explore 14 fun activities to do in Los Angeles, from a Marina del Rey cruise to a swan pedal boat ride.

The City of Angels has more than its fair share of famous landmarks to explore, but scratch below the surface of LA and you'll find plenty of cool activities to do in Los Angeles that you may not have even thought of.

From soaking in LA’s surf scene to hopping around the city’s best bars, this list of 14 fun activities in Los Angeles will fill you in on what not to miss for couples, families, food lovers, and solo travelers.

Fun things to do in Los Angeles as a couple

Experience the natural beauty of LA from the unique vantage point of a horseback ride through Griffith Park.

1. Go horseback riding through Griffith Park

Maybe you don’t immediately think of rolling green hills and lush nature when you think of LA, let alone horseback riding, but riding horseback through Griffith Park lets you get a slice of LA’s hidden natural side in a memorable and romantic way.

Highlights:

Ride up Mount Hollywood off the typical tourist route, and you will be rewarded with 360-degree views of the city and the Hollywood Sign.

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Soar above LA's landmarks, including celebrity homes and iconic beaches, for a breathtaking aerial perspective of the city.

2. Enjoy a romantic helicopter flight over the city

Few can say they’ve seen LA from above, but those who have know there’s nothing quite like seeing the City of Angels from the clouds. Fly over the celebrity mansions of Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Sign, and the beaches of Santa Monica.

Highlights:

For something extra special, choose a helicopter tour with a touchdown on land to take in the scenery and even enjoy a glass of wine.

Enjoy LA's nature and city skyline in one place while gliding across Echo Park Lake in a swan boat.

3. Ride a swan pedal boat on Echo Park Lake

In Echo Park Lake, you’ll find an urban oasis hidden within the city, and LA’s signature swan pedal boats. Pedaling on the water while surrounded by palm trees, greenery, and skyline views is a great way to unwind and enjoy the quiet side of LA life.

Highlights:

In the summer, the lake’s lotus flowers bloom, transforming the scenery with petals featuring ombre pinks and yellows.

Spend a romantic evening on the water in Marina del Rey with sweeping views and a chance to see sea life.

4. Wine and dine while cruising around Marina del Rey

What could be more romantic than a scenic cruise paired with charcuterie and wine or champagne and brunch? Marina del Rey, along with a stunning coastal backdrop, is known for its calm waterways, luxurious yachts, scenic waterfront, and curious sea lions.

Highlights:

Take your cruise at sunset for an elevated romantic experience and to witness the golden glow over the marina.

Discover the best things to do in Los Angeles as a couple:

Fun things to do in Los Angeles with kids

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Treat your family to thrilling rides and enchanting attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood.

5. Spend a day at Universal Studios Hollywood

Your kids won't forgive you if you don't visit at least one of LA's theme parks, and Universal Studios Hollywood is a crowd-pleasing favorite. With heart-racing rides, live shows, immersive themed areas, and a variety of eateries and shops, there’s something for the whole family.

Highlights:

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter promises an enchanting experience that brings the magic of Hogwarts to life, complete with spell-casting, butterbeer, and a chance to explore Hogwarts Castle.

Address and opening hours:

1000 Universal Studios Blvd., Toluca Lake. Open Thursday-Monday, 8:00 AM-10:00 PM, and Tuesday-Wednesday, 9:00 AM-10:00 PM.

Explore the Universal Studios

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Get up close with marine life, from playful penguins to colorful lorikeets, in an immersive oceanic experience at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

6. Discover LA’s sea life at the Aquarium of the Pacific

Head to Long Beach to experience the Aquarium of the Pacific, home to over 12,000 ocean inhabitants, including green sea turtles and Magellanic penguins. The aquarium's outdoor exhibits, like the Lorikeet Forest, offer a chance to feed colorful birds right from your hand.

Highlights:

Visit the aquarium's immersive 180-degree theater, which showcases ocean documentaries that transport viewers into the deep depths of the ocean.

Feel the electrifying energy of LA's sports fans at a live game, celebrating the city's love for basketball, hockey, and baseball.

7. Experience LA’s sports culture during a live game

Immerse yourself in the sports community of Los Angeles by catching a live game featuring one of the city's top teams such as the Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Dodgers. Each game is an opportunity to experience the city's passion for sports firsthand, from the electric atmosphere of the Staples Center to the historic charm of Dodger Stadium.

Highlights:

Go behind the scenes of LA’s famous sports venues and stand where legends have played on guided tours of locations like the SoFi Stadium.

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Fun things to do in Los Angeles on your own

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Capture the essence of LA with a selfie in front of the iconic Hollywood Sign, a symbol of dreams and cinematic history.

8. Take a selfie with the Hollywood Sign

Visiting Los Angeles isn’t complete without seeing one of the city’s most iconic features — the Hollywood Sign. The Hollywood Sign has evolved into a world-recognized symbol of dreams, ambition, and Hollywood cinema, embodying LA’s storied history and its role as the epicenter of the movie industry.

Highlights:

Take a guided walking tour of the Hollywood Hills while learning about the history of Hollywood and celebrities past and present.

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Don't just see the surf culture of Los Angeles — experience it yourself with surf lessons at some of LA's most famous beaches.

9. Hang ten and experience LA’s radical surf culture

Dive into the heart of Southern California's lifestyle by embracing LA's surf scene at iconic spots like Malibu, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica. Whether you're a seasoned surfer or eager to catch your first wave, the city's diverse coastline offers waves for all skill levels.

Highlights:

Surfing in LA is a way to connect with the local community, immerse yourself in the laid-back beach lifestyle, and experience the thrill of riding the waves.

Take a surf lesson

Pedal through LA's diverse landscapes, from urban streets to scenic trails, for a active way to explore the city.

10. Explore the sights of LA on two wheels

Biking around LA is an active way to explore the city's diverse neighborhoods and scenic landscapes, and it’s a solo-traveler friendly option. Popular biking areas include Griffith Park's extensive network of paths, the lavish streets of Beverly Hills, and the bustling bike lanes of Downtown LA.

Highlights:

As a favored local mode of transportation, biking immerses you in LA’s vibrant street life and connects you to hidden gems off the beaten path. If you don’t know where to start, have a guide lead the way on a biking tour.

Discover the best things to do in Los Angeles on your own:

Fun things to do in Los Angeles if you like food and drinks

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Discover LA's nightlife through its hidden speakeasies and rooftop bars.

11. Go bar hopping at some of LA's best speakeasy bars

From rooftop bars with panoramic city views to cozy, dimly lit speakeasies, LA's nightlife invites you to taste its diverse flavors and spirits. This eclectic mix provides an exciting way to experience the local scene, whether you're a cocktail aficionado or a beer enthusiast.

Highlights:

LA's eclectic bars capture the dynamic spirit and creativity of the city. Exploring local bars is perfect for anyone seeking to connect with LA’s unique character.

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Savor the flavors of local wines in LA, or head to Malibu's lush vineyards, where the ocean meets the vines.

12. Sip your way through LA's wine destinations

Explore the unique wine scene of Los Angeles, where urban wineries and intimate tasting rooms showcase the innovative spirit of local vintners. Here, you can enjoy an array of wines, from robust Zinfandels to elegant Chardonnays, reflecting the diverse terroirs of the surrounding regions.

Highlights:

Make it a day trip and head over to Malibu, where you’ll find Malibu sun-kissed vineyards and some of the city's finest wines against the backdrop of scenic coastal views.

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Uncover the flavors of Downtown LA, from innovative street food to gourmet experiences.

13. Hunt for the best food and drinks in Downtown LA

LA's food scene is like no other. In Downtown LA, you’ll find the heart of the local food scene, where street food, upscale dining, and avant-garde cuisine mix and mingle. After you’ve had the street tacos, don’t miss the maple bacon donuts.

Highlights:

Venture into the historic Grand Central Market, where food stalls have been serving up diverse and delicious fare to Angelenos for over a century.

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Shop and dine like a local at LA's historic Farmers Market, enjoying fresh, farm-to-table bites.

14. Shop like the locals at LA's Original Farmer's Market

LA's Original Farmers Market has been a popular location for local produce and culinary delicacies for almost a century. One of the most fun things to do in Los Angeles as a foodie is to tour the market, learn about its history, and sample its best cuisines.

Highlights:

Don't miss the chance to enjoy the market's famous Sunday brunches, where you can indulge in fresh, farm-to-table dishes while soaking up the lively atmosphere of this LA hotspot.

Discover the best things to do in Los Angeles if you like food and drinks:

FAQs

What are some fun things to do in Los Angeles at night?

When it comes to cool things to do in Los Angeles at night, there are many locations to choose from. Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, Universal CityWalk, and the Santa Monica Pier provide the best entertainment options, while Griffith Observatory offers a quieter experience under the stars.

Are there any fun day trips from Los Angeles that I should consider?

Just outside of central Los Angeles, you can visit places like Malibu, Ojai, and Santa Barbara. Drive further inland for a few hours to see the desert town of Palm Springs and the nearby Joshua Tree National Park.

What are some popular festivals or events in Los Angeles?

Some of the most popular cultural festivals in Los Angeles include the LA Film Festival, held in June, and the Pan African Film and Arts Festival in February. For music lovers, there's the Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival and the Cuban-American Music Festival. Families will enjoy the annual Los Angeles County Fair.

What are some family-friendly fun activities to do in Los Angeles?

No family vacation to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to one of the theme parks like Disneyland or Universal Studios. Other options include Santa Monica Pier, the Natural History Museum, the California Science Center, and the Aquarium of the Pacific.

What are some fun outdoor activities to do in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles offers a wide range of fun outdoor things to do. From outdoor film screenings to surfing at Venice Beach to rock climbing, horseback riding, and informative walking tours, there are many unique things to do in the glorious Los Angeles sunshine.