We’ve looked into traveling to a few of the world’s great cities before, from Miami to Rome and several in between. In this post, we’re going to take a similar look at Los Angeles –– the “city of flowers and sunshine,” and by all means another selection that belongs in the company of the world’s great urban destinations. Home to Hollywood, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Dolby Theater, among other major attractions, it’s a place most anyone can enjoy visiting.
Here, we’ll look at some of the best things to do if and when you make it to LA.
While going for a hike may not be everyone’s cup of tea (especially on vacation), an exception should absolutely be made for Runyon Canyon Park. It’s a beautiful spot for a hike, dotted with palm trees, and according to LAMag.com, nearly two million visitors go every year. The magazine also mentions that it’s not the easiest hike though, so make sure you go prepared and don’t overexert yourself.
Another great hiking spot, if you get a taste for the outdoors around LA, is the Bridge To Nowhere –– a 10-mile hike that crosses rivers and canyons. You can even go bungee jumping from the bridge at the summit!
Los Angeles is a huge city, and one increasingly known for being full to bursting with foodie hot spots. The Grand Central Market is one of the most popular of these spots, offering spectacular varieties of dishes and treats like carnitas, pupusas, and agua fresca. The market is also home to the famous Eggslut restaurant, which has had so much success with its gourmet egg dishes that it’s begun to open restaurants around the world. Outside of the Market, meanwhile, another option where you can find multiple dining options is Smorgasburg, a weekly food fest that’s guaranteed to make you break any and every diet.
Apart from these large and varied options, there are a number of farmers’ markets visitors might enjoy as well. They tend to offer free entry, but you should of course bring cash to support those last-minute cravings (everything looks amazing, so be prepared to go over budget –– and be happy about it!).
Many visitors wouldn’t even think to look for poker in Los Angeles; Las Vegas gets all the attention with regard to casino activity, and many simply assume that such activity is forbidden in most other cities. The fact of the matter, however, is that LA is home to several legitimate poker rooms that are well worth checking out, if you enjoy a game now and then. Poker.org identifies the Bicycle Casino, Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady, and Hollywood Park Casino specifically as some of the must-see venues in LA.
The Bicycle Casino actually contains the largest card room ever, and features the “Live at the Bike” cash game show –– an entertaining event streamed in real time from Monday through Friday. Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady is a great casino for low-stakes players, and it’s said that the local poker players praise the dealers for their professionalism (which isn’t always a given). The Hollywood Park Casino meanwhile enjoys the most central location, and is a spot for a bit of poker celebrity sighting (with ESPN World Series of Poker commentator Norman Chad being a regular).
For whatever reason, axe throwing has gained some serious popularity over the years –– a sort of new alternative to bowling. We’re not sure if it’s the cathartic action of hurling a (rather large) axe through the air towards your target, or if it’s just an interesting sport. Either way, it’s caught on, and it’s particularly prevalent in Los Angeles, where there are several places to give it a try and have some fun.
NYTimes.com recommends Mo’s House Of Axe, which is an axe-throwing house as well as a bar and restaurant. But again, there are plenty of places to check out, if you happen to get a taste for the activity.
Finally, remember that Los Angeles is sometimes described as a weird city (in a fun way), and its museums often reflect this. For instance, you might visit a place like the California Institute of Abnormal Arts (this isn’t a typo). While it has undergone a few changes over the years (including a bizarre name change to “Chinatown East”), it’s still pleasantly weird, showcasing a “freak show experience” (per its own Facebook page), unusual art, magic shows, and even puppetry.
If you’re looking for something more normal, meanwhile, there’s always the Getty Center or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) –– both outstanding museums to explore, perhaps on a typically scorching LA day.
All things considered, Los Angeles is a city where you can’t possibly be bored. With so many things to do and places to visit, your most common complaint will probably be that there are too many choices to make. But that’s okay! Just plan your trip wisely… and remember that you can always deviate from the plan if something interesting comes up.