When someone says ‘Los Angeles’ to you, do you think first of Hollywood stars or golden sandy beaches? Chances are it’s one of the two, or even both. And that’s not where the fun ends either: LA has some of the world’s best theme parks and is home to both the Lakers and the Dodgers, offering ample chance for sports fans to get acquainted with ball games, American-style.
Theme parks in LA
LA may not quite be the theme park capital of America (that title surely must go to Orlando) but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got plenty to offer thrill-seekers, both young and old.
Universal Studios Hollywood is "The Entertainment Capital of L.A." and the only movie and television-based theme park to offer guests the authenticity of a working movie studio. Within its gates, the rich heritage of movies past and all the stars and excitement of today's Hollywood truly come alive. One of the main attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood's is the world-renowned behind-the-scenes 'Studio Tour' which offers guests a unique opportunity to embark on a journey around the inside workings of one of the most elusive businesses. The Tour navigates the 415-acre movie studio complex of soundstages, facades, working sets and special effects attractions.
If you are on holiday in LA with the family and are around for a week or so, then the half-hour drive to Disneyland Park, the original Disney theme park and the only one that Walt Disney himself designed, and Disney California Adventure, ‘the home of Disney’, in Anaheim is often on the agenda. Transport yourself to the magical world of Disney, or ask your concierge for public transport advice.
Knott’s Berry Farm is another great option if you are looking for theme-park thrills from roller coasters, water rides and live entertainment, but need to stick to a budget. If you want to devote your theme park time solely to water parks, then try Raging Waters in San Dimas.
No list of things to do in Los Angeles should be complete without a chance to experience at least a little of what Hollywood has to offer! Hollywood itself is not a huge district of LA, so depending on what you are after, you should be able to get a taste in an hour or two.
Take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame to see the celebratory stars of some of film and TV’s favourite players, or head down Hollywood Boulevard to see if you can spot any stars in real life. The famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is also not to be missed, outside of which you can see how your handprints measure up to those of the rich and famous.
Right next door to Grauman’s you’ll find the Hollywood & Highland centre, which offers shopping, dining and nightlife, and also a viewing bridge where you should be able to get a good look at (and a good photo of) the famous Hollywood sign. Another, perhaps more tranquil, spot to get an awesome view of the sign is from the gardens of the Griffith Observatory.
Another popular way to see the best of what Hollywood has to offer is either on a ‘behind the scenes’ studio tour, like the one at Warner Brothers Studios. Alternatively, try one of the many Hollywood bus tours, which allow you to explore the glamour of Sunset Boulevard, see the homes of Hollywood glitterati and find out more about the rich and famous – all while you are sitting down.
If you’re feeling peckish and are in the mood for a taste of traditional Hollywood food, try The Musso & Frank Grill, the oldest restaurant in Hollywood and one which prides itself on its old school daily ‘features’ of corned beef and cabbage, bouillabaisse and homemade chicken pot pie. For more information about Los Angeles dining, take a look at our restaurants page.
Fancy catching some live music in a one-of-a-kind venue? Be sure to check out what’s on at the Hollywood Bowl during your stay. The largest natural amphitheatre in America, the nearly 18,000 seat venue offers a programme of classical, jazz, pop, and world music, plus some incredible fireworks displays too.
If you’re big on your spectator sports, then LA still won’t disappoint, as it is the proud home to both the LA Lakers and the LA Dodgers. Baseball fans can catch a game at the Dodger Stadium, or book themselves onto one of the walking tours of the ballpark, all of which is wheelchair accessible. Alternatively, head to the Staples centre, home of the LA Lakers, Sparks and Clippers, to catch a basketball game or one of the many headline music acts and other events hosted at the arena.
Finding somewhere along the shore to partake in a little sport yourself is not difficult in Los Angeles, thanks to the ample room and facilities for surfing, swimming, volleyball, fishing, ball games, sailing and much more on the area’s various beaches. Then there are the many cycle and hiking trails surrounding the coast and the nearby hills.