Things to Do in Los Angeles - page 3
LA Live is at the heart of the action in downtown Los Angeles. It is the sports, music, and entertainment hub surrounding venues like the Staples Center and Los Angeles Convention Center. The energetic collection of nightclubs, restaurants, venues, movie theaters, and even museums truly has something for everyone. A few highlights include the iconic Conga Room, the Nokia Theater, and Lucky Strikes and Lounge bowling center. LA Live is also home to the GRAMMY Museum and its decades of music industry history.
With more than twenty restaurants there plenty of dining options. Some of Los Angeles’s best luxury hotels can be in surrounding skyscrapers. Live entertainment and special events are frequent, and award shows and red carpets can also be seen here on a regular basis. The ever-modern structures and lights of LA Live are set to continue to expand, so we can expect much more entertainment to come out of this cultural center in years to come.
Founded in 1964 as the third outpost of an American chain based on a Paris disco, this Whisky a Go Go was the first U.S. club to popularize the use of go-go dancers in suspended cages. The Doors were briefly the house band in the mid-1960s, and ever since, musical acts have included up-and-coming bands that have gone on to be enormously popular in a variety of genres – hard rock, metal, reggae, New Wave, grunge and more.
The Whisky, as it’s locally known, is easy to spot along the Sunset Strip, as there is always a line of patrons out front waiting to get into a show. Remaining true to its roots, the club continues to feature emerging bands rather than headliners. However, as many famous acts can claim the Whisky’s stage as the site of their first gig, it remains a historical landmark on the L.A. rock’n’roll scene.
An all-ages venue not known for its food, The Whisky offers a limited menu including burgers, fries and bar snacks. Only cash is taken at the on-site box office from Monday-Friday.
Set in the heart of downtown Los Angeles and billed as the ‘world’s shortest railway,’ Angel’s Flight has vintage California style. If you recognize the smartly painted orange-and-black cars, it’s likely because the railway boasts dozens of onscreen appearances, includingPerry Mason andLa La Land.
Housed in the historical Max Factor Building, the Hollywood Museum is a popular destination for visiting cinephiles and Old Hollywood enthusiasts. Home to thousands of objects, from costumes and photographs to movie props—and even a Rolls-Royce once owned by Cary Grant—it also features makeup rooms once used by Max Factor himself.
Inspired by Harlem’s 1920s jazz clubs, the Viper Room is one of Los Angeles’ most legendary music venues. Once partly owned by Johnny Depp and long a magnet for Hollywood stars, the Sunset Strip nightclub has earned its place in rock ‘n’ roll lore: legends like Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, and The Strokes have all taken to its stage.
A commercial fixture in Santa Monica since the 1960s, this open-air, car-free three-block-long pedestrian mall (on Third Street between Wilshire Boulevard and Broadway) was re-designed in 1989 and officially named the Third Street Promenade. Only two blocks east of the amusements of the Santa Monica Pier, the promenade is one of the most popular tourist destinations on LA's Westside.
Set in Los Angeles, California, the Petersen Automotive Museum portrays the history of cars and their influence on American life. The building spans three floors and 25 galleries, with seasonal exhibits and a diverse collection of more than 150 rare and classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
Founded in 1988, the Autry Museum of the American West—commonly known as “The Autry”—shares stories and artworks from the region’s diverse residents, both past and present. Cofounded by entertainer and actor Gene Autry (once known as “America’s Favorite Singing Cowboy”) the museum maintains two Los Angeles locations.
Once the flagship of the Cunard Line, the elegant ocean liner RMSQueen Mary sailed between Southampton, England, Cherbourg, France, and New York City from 1936 to 1967. Now permanently moored in the port of Long Beach,the Queen Mary serves as a floating hotel, restaurant, special event venue, and tourist attraction.
The Los Angeles Broadway Theater District is the first and largest theater district in the United States. Los Angeles has always been a performing arts and entertainment hub, and the artistic area was listed and entered into the National Register of Historic Places. It consists of twelve historic movie theaters lining six blocks of Broadway Street. The theaters were built as early as 1910, when Los Angeles was comparatively quite small in population. By 1931, when a few of the theaters were completed, Los Angeles had the highest concentration of cinemas in the world.
Walking along Broadway Street, with the many marquees and lavishly decorated exteriors, one gets a true sense of the era frozen in time. Routine efforts are made to ensure the conservation of the area architecture and cinematic palaces and to keep the history alive in the district. Though these days, most of the theaters are used for special events or markets rather than showings of films.
More Things to Do in Los Angeles
The Hammer Museum is a Los Angeles arts and culture hub run by UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture, housing everything from old master paintings to contemporary works. Since the museum is free, it's great for budget-conscious travelers that love the arts. You can stroll the galleries, relax in the courtyard, or join for a docent talk.
Perched high above the city of Los Angeles, the J. Paul Getty Museum (The Getty) is home to a stellar art collection—with pieces spanning the ages from Renaissance to Pop Art—as well as Richard Meier’s cutting-edge architecture and serene, seasonally changing gardens. On clear days, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of LA and the Pacific coast beyond.
As the main hall of the Los Angeles Music Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is home to some of the best musical performances in the LA area. It was built utilizing a “total design” aesthetic, meaning that every detail from the carpeting to the engineering was coordinated for uniformity of design. Historically its halls and stage have been home to everything from the LA Philharmonic to the Academy Awards, though these days it’s the site of the LA Opera and Glorya Kaufman dance performances (which often brings in traveling dance troupes.)
Excellent acoustics create resonating sounds across its four-tiers of seating, while crystal chandeliers and wide stairways add to the ambiance of elegance. The Los Angeles Music Center that it is part of it is one of the three largest centers for performing arts in the United States, and some of classical music’s greatest performers have graced its stage.
Opened in 2008 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Grammy Awards, the Grammy Museum celebrates all aspects of the music industry. Located in the LA Live entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles, it’s the largest music-themed museum in LA, with four stories and over 30,000 square feet (2,787 square meters) of space.
One of the most popular, influential comedy clubs in L.A., the Laugh Factory Hollywood bills itself as being in that celebrated zip code – but is actually a few blocks shy of the neighborhood. First opened in 1979, the club was a then 16-year-old’s enterprising answer to a comedian’s strike just up the street at the Comedy Store; young Jamie Masada got a loan from a family friend, bought a building, and started the city’s first comedy club that paid all of its performing comics for their work.
Masada would go on to become a comedian, manager and producer, helping the cast of 1990s TV comedy “In Living Color” achieve fame, and continuing to support minority comics via the Laugh Factory. The club is an ideal place to see emerging acts, watch showcases headlined by Kevin Nealon, Tim Allen and Tom Arnold, and witness comedy stars like Dane Cook and Dave Chappelle test their endurance by vying for the title of longest one-person comedic performance – presently longer than seven hours.
A 160-acre park that sprawls along the Hollywood Hills, Runyon Canyon Park is where Angelenos go to hike and be seen. Full of dogs and their spandex-clad owners, a walk here is a regular routine for both aspiring performers and famous celebrities, singles of every age and persuasion, and folks who are simply single-minded about their fitness.
Devoid of shade and full of dirt-packed paths, Runyon’s various features allow you to customize your workout. The Fuller Avenue entrance requires one of two steep climbs, either up a winding series of high, uneven steps, or up a long hill with two switchbacks; these two climbs can be combined in a challenging loop. The Mulholland entrance enables you to either head up into the steepest hills for the most challenging terrain, or to take a mostly flat, 15-minute route straight out to a viewpoint; this second option leads to both the stairs and the long hill up from Fuller, so you can tack on either route – or neither.
Runyon looks and feels its best on L.A.’s clearest days, generally from late November to early May; throughout the summer and fall, it can get extremely hot up here anytime after 8 a.m. More often than not, though, the paths and lookout points here offer panoramic views of the city’s coastline, Westside, West Hollywood, Hollywood and Downtown.
The Hard Rock Café has become a center of international pop music and nostalgia, presenting some of the industry’s best memorabilia alongside service of classic American meals. What began in London in 1979 has since grown to be present in over 60 countries, each presenting its own unique style. The Hard Rock Café Hollywood in particular has quite a rock star heritage — in fact, it’s right beside the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As such it routinely has access to some of music’s best memorabilia across all genres, including The Doors, Metallica, and Ray Charles (to name a few!)
At 20,000 square feet in size, the Hard Rock Café Hollywood is one of the largest as well. There is a live music area regularly featuring fantastic performers, with a bar, retail store, and interactive touchscreens which allow visitors to experience the other Hard Rock locations worldwide.
Located on the I-5 Freeway, 10 minutes south of Downtown L.A., this fortress-like, faux-Mesopotamian complex houses the city’s only shopping outlets. (The outlet malls in Camarillo and Ontario both lie outside of Los Angeles County.)
With 115 outlet stores, including Banana Republic, Calvin Klein and Old Navy, the Citadel can be a multi-hour diversion. Several casual/fast food restaurants provide a sense of true Southern California cuisine, with outposts of Ruby’s Diner and Hot Dog on a Stick, as well as Maui Style Hawaiian BBQ and Nibi Pho Bistro; the latter reflects the influence of Orange County’s Vietnamese population, which is the largest in the country.
If you’ve ever wanted to skydive, you may have this image of jumping out of a plane with a parachute strapped to your back. iFLY Hollywood takes the experience indoors, allowing for the adrenaline rush and sensation of flying in a controlled, safe environment. The indoor wind tunnel is controlled by professional operators, who create a current of 150 mph using fans at the top of the flight chamber. It is the only wind tunnel in Los Angeles, and no experience is necessary to jump in and enjoy the thrill.
Lasting just over a minute, it is a realistic simulation of the free fall feeling one gets while skydiving. Flyers are horizontal for the duration of the flight, and with additional training can learn to do turns and other maneuvers. Each person is outfitted with a flight suit and helmet and given professional instruction. It’s also fun just to watch as others float suspended in the air current.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this graceful valley swath beside the San Gabriel Mountains was first developed in the 1880s by railroad barons and hoteliers to lure winter-weary Easterners out west. Today Old Pasadena—sometimes known as Old Town Pasadena—is best known for its museums and the annual Rose Parade and Rose Bowl college football game.
Among the oldest and most storied Major League Baseball stadiums, Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium has attracted sports fans since its opening in 1962. Located in the city’s Elysian Park neighborhood, the landmark happens to be the country’s largest baseball stadium, and it also regularly hosts concerts and other events.
An iconic symbol of the golden age of movies open for business since 1926, Paramount Pictures Studio is the only major film studio still operating in Hollywood's commercial district. Popular for its studio tours, the sprawling 65-acre lot features huge iron-scrollwork gates and Spanish-style architecture, as well as realistic replicas of vintage city streets.
A U.S. National Historic Landmark District, Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo was founded in the early 1900s and is one of just three Japantowns in the country. The compact neighborhood in downtown LA is home to cultural attractions, shops selling Japanese goods, and dozens of restaurants serving sushi, ramen, and other Japanese and Asian fusion cuisine.
The first theater in Hollywood to host a national movie premiere, the Egyptian Theatre, built in the 1920s, remains a major Los Angeles landmark today. Adjacent to the TCL Chinese Theatre and ornamented with Egyptian-style statues, columns, and other architectural features, it occupies a key place in cinematic history.
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