warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

5 Must Do 'Tourist-y' Things In L.A.

Kristy Plaza |
June 23, 2014 | 10:27 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Whether you have just arrived in L.A., are only visiting or have lived in L.A. your whole life, there are some things that have to be done to have the full experience. You have access to premiere entertainment and amazing events in Los Angeles. So whatever you do, it will be fun and memorable. 

Even if you don't want to be a typical tourist or skip the crowds, some things are worth doing once. 

5. Hang Out in Hollywood

Hollywood, California (Flickr/Ed McGowan)
Hollywood, California (Flickr/Ed McGowan)
From the chance celebrity sightings to the Hollywood wax celebrities, there is no shortage of good times in Hollywood. There will be tons of tourists and lots of tour buses, but everyone comes to be a little bit closer to the stars we all know and love- even those we can't stand but are good actors. 

Even walking around, you are touching fame. The Walk of Fame is where you can see many actors and actresses immortalized in cement. If you're lucky, maybe you will see a celebrity impersonator and take goofy pictures. 

Take a break and catch a show at the Pantages Theatre. Many great plays and musicals have played through these halls. Then go visit the Grauman's Chinese Theatre and see where the award shows and premieres started.

Maybe do some shopping at the Hollywood and Highland Center. Or pick up a cream puff from Beard Papa. Whatever you do, it is sure to be a great place to just walk and take in the crazy "Hollywood" industry without the crazy paparazzi. 

4. See that View at the Hollywood Sign

View from above the Hollywood Sign. (Kristy Plaza/Neon Tommy)
View from above the Hollywood Sign. (Kristy Plaza/Neon Tommy)
Once you're done in Hollywood, you have to go up to the sign! That iconic sign, always shown in movies when someone is coming to L.A. So why not go enjoy a landmark in L.A.!

One way to get there, the safest, is to go through the Hollyridge Trail. Just make at the end of the trail, hike for about half a mile, a quick walk up Mt. Lee and there you go. You will be standing right behind the sign, taking in the sight of the Hollywood District. 

Another way is through Brush Canyon Trail. It's a steep mile hike that leads to Mt. Lee, but you get there with a bit more of a workout. 

Or the longest? Go through Runyon Canyon. It's four miles and goes though many steep ups and downs but you will sweat. And when you make it to the top of the sign, it will feel like a victory. 

The view is just gorgeous. 

ALSO READ: 5 Reasons Los Angeles Is A More Exciting City To Live In Than New York 

3. Visit the Griffith Observatory

View of City of Angeles from Griffith Observatory. (Flickr/Kelvin Cheng)
View of City of Angeles from Griffith Observatory. (Flickr/Kelvin Cheng)
Slightly north of the Hollywood Sign is Griffith Observatory. You can spend hours here, actually having fun learning about the stars. Inside the observatory, there is the Hall of Sky and Hall of the Eye where you can see the relationship between humans and the stars.

Learn all about the planets in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Catch a short film about the history of the observatory in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater. 

The best sights are the sights of the city and the stars. From the observatory, you can see a beautiful view of our fair Los Angeles, the City of Angeles. And if you get tired of seeing the artificial lights, just look up into the vast unknown of the sky.

Be warned: on "date nights" the Griffith Observatory always seems to be full of couples. 

2. Go to the Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Beach and Pier (Flickr/Juan Hernandez)
Santa Monica Beach and Pier (Flickr/Juan Hernandez)
Why does anyone come to California? What's a huge perk of living in L.A.? The beach! The stereotypes of Californians flocking the beaches, taking in the sun and waves had to start somewhere. Sue us for liking to have fun in the water.

One of the best beaches to go to is the Santa Monica beach and Pier. Spend a whole day relaxing, sunbathing or surfing until your legs feel like jelly. Being at the beach, laughing with friends and family, it's fun.

After that, hit the pier and play some games. Win a prize and eat a hot dog. Then go on the ferris wheel that has become an L.A. landmark. 

If you still aren't sure, go to Santa Monica Place. This three story, open-air mall is full of the best shopping and dining places. 

1. Be Immersed in Art at LACMA

That photo at LACMA in Urban Light. (Flickr/Jim Kleckner)
That photo at LACMA in Urban Light. (Flickr/Jim Kleckner)
Los Angeles Museum of Art, or otherwise known as LACMA, is where to see and be in art. There are 20 acres of buildings, holding art from the Rocco period to modern works from around the world. There is always some new exhibit or event happening.

Right next door is the La Brea Tar Pits, where there is real tar still bubbling. After thousands of years, countless civilization changes, history is happening! Well it's a bed of tar but the metaphor of survival and life is why you should go and stare at it.

But the reason why everyone should visit LACMA is for something that is outside of the museum. It's the lamp post, an installation of Chris Burden called Urban Lights. Take that picture that we all do. Stand in the middle of the lights, be silly with friends or stare space with a significant other.

Whatever you do, the photo after will be magical.

Reach Executive Producer Kristy Plaza here. Follow her on Twitter here



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.