There are a staggering number of things to do and see in between Los Angeles and Anaheim (in neighboring Orange County). A good majority of visitors are headed to Anaheim for a visit to the Happiest Place on Earth. Disneyland Resort, which encompasses the original Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, is easily the area's biggest attraction and one of the biggest in the world.
You'll find all of our resources on what to do and see in Los Angeles below. Hop to them now or keep reading!
Whether or not Disneyland is your major attraction, there is no shortage of other major attractions, events and activities to fill the rest of your days. Theme park lovers (that’s us!) have many options. For thrill-seekers, nearby Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia offer a number of Coasters with a capital C. Just to be clear, we're talking reaching top speeds of 82 mph in 2.3 seconds up 205 feet in the air and coming back down at a death-defying 90 degree angle aboard the Xcelerator at Knott's. Six Flags Magic Mountain has no shortage of thrills and boasts the most roller coasters in the world, adding it’s 20th coaster in 2019!
For those of you interested in sightseeing, movies or Harry Potter, Universal Studios Hollywood should be on your Los Angeles must-do list. Stargazers can hit The Original Farmers Market and its next-door neighbor The Grove shopping mall for shopping and celeb spotting. Celebrate Hollywood with a visit to the famed sign that sits atop the Hollywood Hills (but bring your hiking shoes!), then make stops at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Beverly Hills and Hollywood Boulevard.
Every visitor should make at least one trip to the beach. There are plenty to choose from in Los Angeles and Orange County. In Orange County, Huntington City Beach is perhaps the most quintessentially California surfin' beach and boasts miles of beach coastline perfect for a beach bonfire, a bike ride or a nice walk, and has plenty of parking. Other family-friendly OC beaches are Laguna Beach, Little Corona and Seal Beach.
In Los Angeles County, Mother's Beach at Marina Del Ray and Mother's Beach in Long Beach are both on bays, making the waves tamer for the little ones. Just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Mother's Beach in Long Beach is The Queen Mary and the nearby Aquarium of the Pacific. The Annenberg Community Beach House at Santa Monica State Beach is another great spot for families. It has a playground, splashpad, pool (open seasonally), restaurant and activities. After a day in the sun, spend the evening at the Santa Monica Pier. It has an old-fashioned amusement park in Pacific Park, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, an arcade, a trapeze school and fishing. While this area gets quite congested, there are multiple options for parking.
There are wide, smooth sidewalks that connect to Venice Beach to the south if you want to rent bikes to take a family bike ride along the coast so see Muscle Beach, the skate park, graffiti walls and other unique sights of Venice Beach.
There are some great museums in the area of Los Angeles if you are looking for a bit of culture or learning. Take a trip back to the Ice Age to learn about woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats at the La Brea Tarpits and Museum. The California Science Center (near the Coliseum) holds the Space Shuttle Endeavor along with other fun exhibits. Climb your way to the top of Griffith Park to the Griffith Observatory for views of “la la land” and telescopes and a planetarium that are out of this world. Head two-by-two to the Skirball Cultural Center for their giant Noah’s Ark exhibit. The Getty Center offers art, gardens and sweeping views of the Los Angeles Area. They have a family room, family tours and Art Detective cards for kids, but don’t be surprised if your tadpoles most enjoy getting the wiggles out by rolling down the grassy hills and exploring the gardens.
Rides, Parades & Shows
- 9 Not-to-Miss Disney California Adventure Attractions
- 9 Not-to-Miss Disneyland Attraction & Shows
- 9 Not-to-Miss Universal Studios Hollywood Attractions
- 9 Not-to-Miss Knott's Berry Farm Attractions & Experiences
- Ranking Universal Studio Hollywood's Top Rides
- Best Southern California Theme Parks by Age Group
- Guide to Disneyland's FASTPASS Service
- Guide to Disneyland Height Requirements
- Guide to Universal Studios Hollywood Height Requirements
- Mom's Secrets to Taking a Baby to Disneyland
- 19 Top Tips for Disneyland in Summer
- 5 Orange County Family Beach Adventures
- The 15 Best FREE (Or Almost Free) Things to Do at Disneyland
- Entertaining Small Children at Universal Studios Hollywood
- The Ins and Outs of Disneyland Dining Reservations
- Best Disney California Adventure Quick Service Restaurants
- Best Disney Table Service Restaurants at Disney California Adventure
- Orange County's Must-Eats Under $5
We hope you've found this overview of what to see and do in Los Angeles helpful in planning a visit to Los Angeles. You'll find more resources and tips inside our Los Angeles Planning Guide.