12 easy things to do in Los Angeles

Looking to round out plans for your visit to Los Angeles? Discover some easy and memorable things you can add to any itinerary.

Who doesn’t visit Los Angeles with low-key dreams of being discovered on Sunset Boulevard? Or of rubbing shoulders with celebrities at an exclusive restaurant? If you’re planning a trip to LA, you might already have some special experiences on your agenda. But what if you find yourself with an unexpected window in your itinerary?

Whether you’re a first-time or frequent visitor to the City of Angels, there’s no shortage of standout spots you can round out your trip with at the last minute. Many are free and require no reservations, making them easy to add without too much effort or expense. Read on for your guide to some of the city’s quintessential sights.

Start your journey with Capital One Travel

Eligible Capital One cardholders can book the perfect getaway with Capital One Travel, an online booking experience that simplifies your travel planning. The site sorts and compares thousands of options to help you find Capital One Travel’s best prices for hotels, airfare and rental cars.1 Plus, eligible Capital One cardholders can earn enhanced rewards on hotels and rental cars when booking through Capital One Travel.

Plus, you can elevate your stay at a luxury Los Angeles hotel from the Premier Collection with a $100 experience credit and other premium benefits on every booking.1

You can also check out the Capital One guides to New York City and Chicago if your travels take you there.

How to get around in LA

With so many places to go in LA, it’s good to know your options for getting around. Each mode of transportation offers a different level of convenience and price. 

Thinking of renting a car? Eligible Venture X and Venture cardholders qualify for complimentary status upgrades in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® car-rental loyalty program.2 As a member, you’ll skip the rental counter at pickup and drop-off at selected locations. Membership also unlocks many other special perks to help you travel the world your way.

Prefer to travel by public transit? If you’re flying in from LAX, the FlyAway® Bus will get you to popular points in town and back to the airport for 10 bucks or less. The city’s Metro system has a trip planner that will instantly map your best routes and methods of transit. Before you travel, be sure to check the transportation services’ websites for the latest information on fares and schedules.

You could also call a ride-hailing service. Use their apps to get a fare estimate before you request a ride so you can compare it with your transit options.

12 easy things to do in Los Angeles

You can view this list as a starting point for exploring LA or as a supplement to your existing itinerary. You may need to plan some activities in advance. But you can decide on many at the last minute. And several are totally free.

1. Catch an exhibition at The Getty

The Getty Center is one of the most visited museums in the country, and it’s free. Inside this impressive structure atop the Santa Monica Mountains, you’ll find pre-20th-century European works of art, photography from the 19th century to the present, contemporary sculptures and more. While you’re there, stroll through the Central Garden, enjoy a picnic on the lawn or get creative with the little ones in the family room. You can even catch a live concert in the summertime. 

2. Hike Runyon Canyon

California is known for its beautiful vistas and the trails that lead you there. And when you’re in LA, a hike through Runyon Canyon delivers some stellar city views. With 130 acres of undeveloped land, the park sits above the City of Angels in the Hollywood Hills. No matter whether you’re a novice hiker or a terrain-traversing pro, or if you just want to take a scenic selfie, Runyon Canyon has trails for every skill level.

3. Try all the food trucks

Los Angeles has no shortage of fine dining options. You might even spot a few celebrities if you eat at one of its more famous restaurants. But for a true taste of LA, hit up some food trucks. From gourmet grilled cheese to Korean BBQ and pretty much everything else imaginable, you’ll find culinary treasures on almost every corner. And of course…tacos.

4. Take in a Major League Baseball™ game

You can’t get more LA than an MLB game.* But getting tickets isn’t always easy. If you’re an eligible rewards-earning cardholder, you can book through Capital One Entertainment for cardholder-only access to certain premium seats.3 Sign in to Capital One Entertainment on the Capital One Mobile app or on your desktop or tablet to find your tickets to the action.

5. Window-shop on Rodeo Drive

There’s no better place to enjoy some retail therapy than the famous Rodeo Drive. Running through upscale Beverly Hills, Rodeo is home to some of the world’s most luxurious brands. Even if you’re not in the market for anything, the window-shopping is spectacular.

6. Take the Walk of Fame

Home to over 2,600 stars and stretching 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is iconic. The first star was laid in 1960, and more are added every month. You can map out where your favorite stars are before you take this Tinseltown trek or just take a stroll and see who you find.

7. Cruise Venice Beach

A trip to LA isn’t complete till you stick your toes in the sand. World-famous Venice Beach promises that and so much more. Stroll the boardwalk and catch free performances from singers, jugglers or even fire-eaters. Work out at the famous Muscle Beach Gym with a day pass. Or if you’re looking to see more in less time, you can pick up a bike rental at Venice Beach.

8. Dive into the La Brea Tar Pits

As the world’s only active urban ice-age excavation site, the La Brea Tar Pits allow you to step back in time in a way you can’t at many other museums. The pits were first excavated in 1901, revealing a wealth of historical relics. Since then, fossils and bones have continued to be discovered. General admission is $15 or less, and admission is free for active and retired military personnel, California teachers and children under 2. LA County residents get free admission for two hours every day. Booking advance tickets online is highly recommended.

9. Visit the Griffith Observatory

This “gateway to the cosmos” is an astronomer’s dream come true. The Griffith Observatory is considered a leader in public astronomy, and its iconic exterior helps make it one of the city’s most loved cultural attractions. Grab a telescope while you’re there and take a gander at the stars above. 

10. See the Hollywood Sign

A top 12 list of things to do in LA wouldn’t be complete without mention of the Hollywood Sign. While it’s pretty easy to catch a glimpse of it from the city below, your best bet for a view is to start in Griffith Park. There you’ll find hiking trails running from the Griffith Observatory to Mount Hollywood. If you’re not feeling up to the hike, don’t worry—you can get a great view from the Hollywood Reservoir, and it’s a nice and easy walk.

11. Take a walk (and do lots more) in the park

Located in downtown LA, Grand Park calls itself “the park for everyone.” Stroll through 12 acres of green spaces and take part in a variety of activities year-round: Plan a picnic, play in the splash pad, walk your dog, or practice your downward dog in a yoga class. Food trucks also make the rounds Monday through Thursday. Open daily from dawn to dusk, Grand Park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in the heart of the city.

12. Catch a show—on screen or stage

Need to step out of the sun for some indoor fun? The Highland Theatres on North Figueroa show first-run movies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for six dollars. Or catch a performance by the Upright Citizens Brigade at either of their locations (Franklin Village or Hollywood) for just five bucks.

Never-ending fun in Tinseltown

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach or a glamorous Hollywood experience, you’re sure to find plenty of fun in the sun in La-La Land. And with these go-to ideas for quick inspiration, you can keep the action rolling for as long as you like.

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