The Best Things to Do in Los Angeles This Weekend
April 10, 2019
If you only have a weekend to spend in Los Angeles, it may seem overwhelming to figure out what to do and see—and, more importantly, eat. But it is possible to make the most of the city in the space of a few days if you choose your sightseeing wisely.
We’ve made a list of some of our favorite activities and attractions, categorized by theme, from a beach getaway to an artsy weekend to the best getaway for hikers. Luckily, the weather is typically sunny and warm year-round, so our itinerary can be enjoyed in every season. Here are the best things to do in Los Angeles this weekend, whether this is your first time visiting, or you’re a lifelong Angeleno playing tourist in your own city.
Arts & Culture Crawl
Sure, you need more than a weekend to enjoy the Los Angeles arts scene in totality, but there are plenty of hotspots to squeeze into a few days. One of the most recent fixtures of the L.A. arts world is The Broad, home to 2,000 works of contemporary art from the 1950s to the present day. We recommend reserving tickets online though same-day tickets are available. You might have to wait in a long line if you show up empty-handed. While downtown, hit up MOCA, another contemporary art museum across the street from The Broad, and the only artist-founded museum in L.A. From there, take a quick stroll over to the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall for a performance by the L.A. Philharmonic or a range of world-class artists.
Beyond downtown art galleries and concert halls, L.A. is home to The Getty Museum with its 44,000 works of art in Brentwood, and The Autry Museum of The American West in Griffith Park. Immerse yourself in Mexican culture at Olvera Street, known as the birthplace of Los Angeles, or check out pagoda-style buildings and traditional dim sum in Chinatown.
L.A. is also famous for its street art, which can be seen for free across the city, from “Peace Elephant” by Shepard Fairey in West Hollywood to “Watts Towers” by Simon Rodia in Watts to “Luminaries of Pantheism” by Levi Ponce in Venice.
L.A. seems to have been designed for foodies, with its array of cuisines, both high-end and casual, spanning the city. Prepare to show up hungry and have an open mind, whether your idea of an epic meal involves food trucks or a five-course tasting menu. For an unforgettable breakfast, try Russell’s in Pasadena for an old school diner feel. For a “brekkie” with an Aussie flair, head to Little Ripper Coffee in Glassell Park for a flat white, Vegemite jaffle, or avo toast. If you don’t mind waiting in line, don’t miss Eggslut at Grand Central Market downtown for classic comfort food in a bustling market atmosphere.
For lunch and dinner, the options are plentiful. For food truck enthusiasts, check out this handy list from Time Out, including everything from Kogi BBQ to bagels and lox, and from Yeastie Boys to classic Mexican fare at El Chato. If you’re looking for a more swanky scene, head to Kardashian-approved Nobu in Malibu for sushi with an ocean view or classic Spago in Beverly Hills, a celeb-studded mainstay known for its candlelit patio area and A-list service.
L.A. also provides no shortage of microbreweries and gastropubs. From Zymurgy Brew Works & Tasting Room (where you can concoct your own beer) to Common Space (where you can try a Jasmine Rice Saison made from white pepper yeast), your weekend brewery hopping adventures won’t come to an end any time soon.
From Malibu to Long Beach, L.A.’s beaches are as diverse as its restaurant options. Surfers love Zuma Beach in Malibu, which may look familiar if you were ever into “Baywatch.” Rock climbers will also love scaling Point Dume and catching stunning views of the Pacific from the top. Santa Monica’s beach may be flooded with tourists due to its boardwalk roller-coaster, outdoor festivals, and ongoing events, but it’s also one of the city’s most beloved beaches for its cleanliness and proximity to nearby shops, restaurants, and bars, like those found at outdoor Third Street Promenade. Venice is Santa Monica’s grittier neighbor, world-renowned for its bohemian spirit and street performers. A little farther south, you’ll find laid-back Manhattan Beach, where you can hike or bike along the oceanfront Strand. Or keep traveling south to Long Beach, which kids will adore for the Aquarium of the Pacific, home to 11,000 animals in over 50 exhibits, and riding along the boardwalk in a beach surrey.
Take a Hike (or a Walk)
From 300-acre Debs Park on the east side to Portuguese Bend in coastal Palos Verdes, L.A. is home to an array of epic trails for hiking, biking, or simply having a stroll. In Griffith Park, sweat it out across more than 53 miles of impressively rugged terrain while taking in views of the Hollywood sign. Head to Franklin Canyon, which is less crowded than nearby Runyon Canyon, for 5 miles of trails, a 3-acre lake, picnic grounds, and an outdoor amphitheater. Or check out Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, a dramatic desert paradise with rock formations you may recognize from movies like “Blazing Saddles” and “The Flintstones.” Want to keep things more low key? Visit one of L.A.’s many botanical gardens, like The Huntington in San Marino or those within the L.A. Zoo. You might even see a gorilla or two.
Glitz & Glamour
Has there ever been a city more synonymous with glitz and glamour than L.A.? Even if you think you’re above typical Hollywood tourist fare, like the Walk of Fame or the Universal Studios backlot tour, there is still something magical about stargazing at Griffith Observatory, made forever famous by James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause.” Even if you don’t end up buying anything on Rodeo Drive, seeing the place where Julia Roberts schooled a snobby saleswoman in “Pretty Woman” and Alicia Silverstone practiced retail therapy in “Clueless” can be gratifying. And there’s a reason they call this place the “City of Angels,” which you’ll soon find out at one of many rooftop pool bars—whether you’re turning golden under blue skies or sipping a drink under the stars while surrounded by stars, you tend to feel pretty heavenly.
Written by Erica Garza for Knockaround.