The Best Things to Do In Los Angeles (Day and Night)
Are you planning a vacation to LA? Looking for fun things to do in LA at night? Maybe you’re already there, feeling a bit overwhelmed by all there is to do! Los Angeles can get overwhelming if you don’t head here with a plan. There are so many wonderful and fun things to do in Los Angeles, and we want to make it easier for you to have a great time in this part of California.
We loved exploring LA and all the things there are to do in this crazy, cool city. We want to share with you the top ten things to do in Los Angeles while you’re here!
Let’s get started! Here are the fun things to do in LA during the day and the fun things to do in LA at night!
Relax at Manhattan Pier and Hermosa Beach
It is about a 30-minute walk, 15-minute bike ride, or an 8-minute drive from Hermosa Beach to Manhattan Beach. We took an Uber from Hermosa to Manhattan for 6$! Both beaches have some great places to eat as well as some amazing views.
Manhattan Pier has a free aquarium at the end (very small but neat!) and Hermosa Beach has some good souvenir shops. We ate at Simmzy’s by Manhattan Beach and their tacos were amazing.
Visit Santa Monica/Venice Beach
When in LA, you must see Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier! A really cool way to do this is to rent bikes at Venice Beach and bike the 25 minutes to Santa Monica Pier. You can stop along the way and see Muscle Beach and the other strange and cool things in Venice. Then, when you get to Santa Monica, there is so much to keep you busy!
There is, of course, the Pier, which has fun rides and carnival foods to eat. And there are usually performers of some sort along the pier. When we were there we saw a guy making balloon creations and several musicians. There were also lots of neat places to get souvenirs.
Santa Monica Place is a fun place if you are looking to see some of the really fancy shops and even grab a bite to eat! Bloomingdales and Nordstrom were two of my favorite shops here. It was fun to browse in these stores and even if you’re not looking to pay a crazy price, they have sales racks with some good deals. I found a good deal on a super cute shirt at Nordstrom so I was happy!
Third Street Promenade is another option to take in some boutique shopping and yummy eats. And plan to take in the sunset while at the Santa Monica pier!
Get Yourself an Ice Cream Cookie
There are so many cool places to get ice cream cookies in LA! I love both ice cream and cookies, so when you mix them together, I am pretty much in heaven. I like to say “Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy ice cream and cookies and when you can buy them both together, that pretty much sums up happiness!”
Do you agree? If so, then head on over to Manhattan Beach Creamery and get yourself a yummy creation! There are once again many choices, so chose wisely! All their ice cream is homemade, so that’s another reason to love this delicious place.
Have Yourself A Sprinkles Cupcake (Or Two)
Who doesn’t love a perfect cupcake? Definitely not me! And you have to try a Sprinkles cupcake if you visit LA. Downtown LA or Beverly Hills are two good spots to pick one up today! So moist and delicious, you’ll want to go back and get another. And since they have lots of cupcakes to chose from, you might have to!
Take a Hollywood Bus Tour
A Hollywood bus tour is an interesting way to see parts of LA. We decided to go with Hollywood City Tours and take the 2-hour tour around Beverly Hills, Hollywood and West Hollywood. We got to see many celebrity homes, stop and have a photo opportunity of the Hollywood Sign, and learn some neat stuff! I thought this was a neat way to see things and make mental notes of places to come back to. It was only 39$ so a great way to travel around and make some memories.
The tour dropped us off on the Hollywood Walk of Fame which was neat! So we got to see the stars of some of our favorite celebrities. There are also lots of shops and restaurants on this strip, so plenty of food options to chose from and a good place to get that Hollywood souvenir. Also, if you like to take in Happy Hour, there are quite a few spots to do experience that here.
Experience Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills is such a cool spot. You can take in all the shops on Rodeo Drive and don’t forget about Sprinkles Cupcakes! There are many photo opportunities here, you can see some expensive cars and maybe even spot a celebrity or two! In Beverly Hills, there are lots of fancy homes so make sure to take a stroll through the neighborhoods. You can also find some parks and gardens with some pretty views.
Images via @your_wandering_foodie
Explore Marina Del Rey
In Marina Del Rey, you can start your day off right by having breakfast at the Jamaica Bay Inn. The food is incredible and the views are amazing! I ordered the crab cakes benedict and eating them while being surrounded by palm trees is the perfect way to start any day! Then you can see some of the boats in the marina, try some paddleboarding, do some shopping, or just wander around this cute place.
FUN THINGS TO DO IN LA AT NIGHT
It’s hard to describe the vibe in LA at night. While you can easily get burnt out seeing all the sights during the day or getting pulled into tourist traps at night, we want to assure you that there a ton of wonderful late-night activities in Los Angeles that will make you keep back here over and over again. Honestly, the magic of LA is so much more visible after dark!
Do all the touristy stuff at Universal CityWalk after dark
Ok, so yes- this is where all the tourists like to hang out. But you’d be surprised to see how much you can have here after 6 pm. Be warned tho- this is one of the many free things to do in LA at night so it does tend to get a little more crowded. However, since it’s right beside Universal Studios, you’re going to easily find a ton of cool things- bars, restaurants, and other places where you’ll easily spend your money without realizing it.
We don’t recommend sticking around here for a long time, but it’s worth checking and grabbing a quick drink (or icecream) and going to explore other parts of LA.
Eat a Donut at Randy’s Donuts
This is a must while visiting California! There are a few places to check out Randy’s Donuts, but Inglewood would be the most popular and it has the giant donut overhead. They have over 40 kinds of donuts to choose from which makes it a difficult decision.
There are the traditional kinds, as well as raised kinds, filled kinds and other crazy flavors like fruit loops! Guess you’ll just have to make more than 1 trip! And then don’t forget to have your picture taken under the giant donut!
You know, proof you went and also to be able to post it on your Instagram and make all your donut-eating friends back home jealous.
Take in a Concert at the Hollywood Bowl
With about 18,000 seats this truly is an incredible, intimate venue. The seats slowly slope down to the stage which is lower than all the seats, and you have a good view no matter where you sit. We saw the Jonas Brothers here and we were in section D and had an amazing time! Some of the seats were enclosed so you had your own little section and other areas were benches. You could even order food and drinks from your seat and it would be brought right to you!
Get you bowl on at Highland Park Bowl
While this might not be the most touristy activity- it is one of the most fun things to do at night at LA. Yes, we’re talking about pizza (they have other foods too!) and bowling and live music. A fun thing to note- it’s a 21+ place after 8 PM
We like to suggest checking out Highland Park Bowl to friends who have to LA before or are here for a few extra nights because it’s a great way to enjoy being around friends without running around trying to check items off your sightseeing list.
See Downtown LA
Downtown LA is a pretty cool spot to see. If you’re a beach person this might not be your spot, but there are definitely some really neat places to check out. Yes, there are a ton of things to do here during the day; the Grammy Museum is a fun idea if you are into music and history of it. There is also the LA Public Library which is neat to go inside. It is huge with lots of floors and different sections.
And if you’re looking for a view, the Korean Air Building or the OUE Skyspace LA offers just that. Skyspace even has a giant glass slide! There are also so many restaurants to chose from. Perch has a good view and good food, a win-win.
Check out a Movie at Midnight
One of our favourite fun things to do in LA at night is to go check a late movie. Want to see something specific? No worries- because Los Angeles where all the stars live, and the city is full of wonderful theatres that are probably playing what you want to watch. So grab a date ( or make it a girls’ night) and head over to one of the many wonderful cinemas still around! Our favorites are Street Food Cinema (outdoors) and El Capitan Theatre (fully restored movie palace).
Grab a drink above the city.
We love the Mondrian’s Skybar at night. Sitting on the rooftop of the Mondrian Hotel it’s the perfect place to grab a drink with friends or a date, and go for a dip if you want. The vibe is super chill, and the open-air bar with its’ great poolside cocktails is what LA nights are all about, and honestly one of the best things to do in Hollywood at night.
Grab Dinner in Chinatown
Ok, so yes- you can check out Chinatown during the day, too. But there’s something so special here at night. It’s like the vibe changes. We highly recommend grabbing a few friends (or a date) and being open to any and all of the fun activities that this lovely and fascinating part of the city offers without judgment. We’ve never regretted a trip to Chinatown, and have some fo the best stories to prove it.
Get Your Lights on at Urban Light
You can’t come to Los Angeles and not take an Instagram photo in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Yes, you know the one that you see all over your insta feed. And while you can go here during the day, the magic ( and beauty) is coming here at night and really playing with your camera to capture Chris Burden’s s 202 vintage street lamps sculpture properly enough to do it justice.
Go on a Neon Cruise
Hosted by Glendale’s Museum of Neon Art, the Neon Cruise is a narrated tour on a convertible bus showing the sights and sounds of downtown L.A., Hollywood, and Chinatown. The 3+ hours cruise also teaches you more about neon signs that you thought you could possibly learn (similar to the Neon sign museum in Las Vegas). Totally worth $65 tickets, as it’s one of the few nighttime activities in LA that combines history and fun!
Explore History and Haunted Encounters on Queen Mary
Ok, so this is for the history lovers, and those who love mysteries and haunted encounters. If that’s you- then we highly recommend checking this out and finding out why Time magazine listed this as one of the “Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America.
Head over to Koreatown
Ok, yes we know that this is a huge area, but we’ve gone ahead and narrowed it down to our favourite fun things to do in Koreatown. These are basically things that you wouldn’t really think of adding your things to do in Los Angeles list, but you’ll be so happy that you did! You’re going to notice at our list of fun things to do in LA includes a lot of 24-hour places in Koreatown. We’re not ashamed of it.
Get your spa game at Wi Spa. This can be a standalone activity (ie after a long week of exploring LA) or one of the many ways to explore Koreatown. This 24-hour spa has steam rooms, saunas, showers, and hot and cold tubs as well as a restaurant and a rooftop terrace. Yes, we said spa. And yes you should check it out at least once.
Grab a bit at BCD Tofu House. The 24-hour Koreatown location on Wilshire has been the home of many late-night shenanigans. You’ll find all your favorite Korean dishes here.
Get glazed at California Donuts. Yes, it’s a 24-hour donut shop in Koreatown. Yes, you need to go here, and yes they have those instagrammable donuts. But also, these taste so good. where one can satisfy any late-night cravings for sweets.
Here’s the thing- we can write a list of a 100+ things that we love doing in LA, and it still wouldn’t cover all the fantastic activities, so you’ll have to head down here and find you favorite things- especially when it comes to finding the best things to do in LA at night!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine is someone who is constantly searching for the next adventure! And she loves it when that includes food and travel, her two main loves. Her website is yourwanderingfoodie.com where she shares her latest recipe creations and all things travel. Follow her on Instagram @your_wandering_foodie to see photos of her trips and delicious foods. You can find her booking that next flight or sipping tea while she measures flour for a batch of cookies!