Los Angeles is a city people love to hate. Brimming with traffic, smog, and children clamoring to meet Mickey, many travelers choose to skip it altogether.
But Los Angeles has plenty of attractions to make a visit worthwhile, even if you’d rather have each of your toenails removed than spend one minute waiting in line for It’s a Small World.
On our jam-packed week in the city, we skipped Disneyland and still never ran out of fun things to do.
Here is our list of what to do in Los Angeles besides Disneyland:
Many of the greatest musicians in the world have graced the stage at the Hollywood Bowl. Attending a performance at this famous outdoor venue is a must.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Cirque Musica concert, despite the rain! (According to locals, L.A. hadn’t had rain in July for more than 100 years before our visit. We are seriously cursed with bad weather.)
Purchase tickets in advance online.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
As a diehard Gilmore Girls fan, I was thrilled to visit many of the places where the show was filmed!
For a great view of the Los Angeles skyline, head up to Griffith Observatory. The view is even better at night.
Craving some beach time? Check out Venice Beach. The whole area has an offbeat, skater vibe, and we enjoyed spending an afternoon exploring the boardwalk.
Santa Monica Pier
For a classic California beach experience, head to Santa Monica. The beach is gorgeous and if you’re ready to brave some crowds, Santa Monica Pier is iconic.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I’m completely obsessed with Harry Potter (I’m convinced the owl carrying my Hogwarts Acceptance letter is still out there somewhere looking for me), so I obviously had to pay a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Iced Butterbeer? Yes, please.
Knott’s Berry Farm
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, Knott’s Berry Farm is the amusement park for you. Spend your day riding roller coasters for a fraction of the cost of visiting Disneyland. Save even more by purchasing tickets several days in advance online.
Take a trip up to the most iconic Los Angeles-area landmark: the Hollywood Sign.
Hiking up to the sign can be tricky, but the views are amazing. We didn’t have time for the hike, so we drove up as close as we could get.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
While the Hollywood Walk of Fame takes you right into the heart of L.A.’s most “touristy” area, complete with overpriced themed-restaurant and tacky souvenir shops, scouting out your favorite celebrity’s star on the Walk of Fame or handprints at the TLC Chinese Theatre is a lot of fun. Not to mention free.
Nothing says “California” quite like a burger and milkshake from In-N-Out.
I first discovered In-N-Out while visiting my brother in San Francisco, and it’s since become a staple of every trip to California.
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