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Santa Monica Pier | © Justin Vidamo / Flickr
Santa Monica Pier | © Justin Vidamo / Flickr
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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Los Angeles

Picture of Juliet Bennett Rylah
Updated: 17 October 2018
Los Angeles is a sprawling metropolis, each neighborhood unique. Some are pressed against the sea; others are brimming with tourists hoping for a glimpse of a celebrity, while others are teeming with skyscrapers. The ambitious tourist will have to visit each of them if they aspire to hit these 20 uniquely L.A. attractions.

Santa Monica Pier

Park
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SANTA MONICA, USA - JUNE 19: The amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles California on June 19, 2016. The pier is p
Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles | © Federico Rostagno / Alamy Stock Photo
Santa Monica Pier

Route 66 begins in Chicago, but here is where it ends. The Santa Monica Pier opened in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1916 that carousel carver Charles I.D. Looff and his son added amusement park Pleasure Pier, which grew to include the Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome (a carousel), and various carnival rides. There are several shops and restaurants here, and guests may also use the pier to fish.

Santa Monica Pier, 200 Sana Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA, USA, +1 310 458 8900

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Hollywood Walk of Fame

Memorial
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People visit Walk of Fame in Hollywood, which features more than 2,500 stars with inscribed celebrities.
People visit Walk of Fame in Hollywood, which features more than 2,500 stars with inscribed celebrities. | © Fabio Formaggio / Alamy Stock Photo
Hollywood Walk of Fame

In 1953, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president E.M. Stuart came up with an idea that would culminate in one of the world’s most famous sidewalks: The Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1961, after numerous heated debates over which celebrities should have a star, construction ended on the Walk. Back then, there were 1,558 stars; today, there are over 2,600, with more added every year.

You can find the Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue; Vine Street between Yucca Street and Sunset Boulevard; and Marshfield Way between Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. Along the route, guests will also encounter the historic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, as well as the legendary TLC Chinese Theater, host of numerous notable film premieres and, at least for three years, the Academy Awards. Pause at Sunset Boulevard and Bronson Avenue to get a clear view of the distant Hollywood Sign. Expect these streets to be packed with tourists as well as street performers dressed as favorite characters, vying for attention and tips.

Hollywood Walk of Fame, 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Clifton's Republic

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Clifton’s Republic

Clifton’s Republic is a magical place to eat, drink, and explore. Once a multi-café franchise—founded in 1931 by Clifford Clinton—this specific Clifton’s, in downtown Los Angeles, is the last one standing. It shut down in 2011 for a massive restoration and has been reopening in phases since 2015. Clifton’s stands five stories tall and includes a cafeteria, the Pacific Seas tiki bar, and a Redwoods-themed bar that manifests through taxidermy tableaus and an artificial tree that rises through multiple floors. One of the best secrets is a hidden cave that can be found by locating a second-floor staircase and following it around the bend. The cafeteria serves American comfort food and desserts, the bars sling craft cocktails and beer, while Pacific Seas specializes in Polynesian food and tiki drinks.

Clifton’s Republic, 648 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 627 1673

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Universal Studios Hollywood

Amusement Park
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Universal Studios Hollywood|©Prayitno/Flickr
Universal Studios Hollywood | © Prayitno / Flickr

Though it’s always magical at Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Christmas adds a layer of cheer. Hogsmeade will be decked out in a seasonal fashion, while the Frog Choir will perform holiday songs. You can sip a piping hot butterbeer while watching the nightly light show, and you can stop by any of the many gift shops to pick up a stocking stuffer for the wizards (or muggles) on your list this year.

Elsewhere, guests may enjoy a holiday photo op with the Minions or The Grinch and his faithful dog, Max. Grinchmas, which features ornament decorating and Who-ville performances, is available on select dates. A one-day admission into the park starts at $105.

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Venice Boardwalk

Park
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The Venice Boardwalk, in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California.
The Venice Boardwalk, Los Angeles | © Jon Bilous / Alamy Stock Photo
Venice Boardwalk

Santa Monica is beautiful, but crossing over to Venice is a whole different experience. A stroll down the iconic Venice Boardwalk provides gorgeous ocean views, shopping, food, bars, vendors, and eclectic street performers. Key spots in the area include Venice Skate Park and Muscle Beach Venice.

Venice Boardwalk, 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA, USA, +1 210 396 6764

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Rodeo Drive

Park
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Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California.
Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California | © Jon Hicks / Alamy Stock Photo
Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive is synonymous with luxury and affluence. Though the Beverly Hills street itself is two miles (3.2 kilometers) long, the Rodeo Drive tourists flock to is a much shorter section bounded by Wilshire Boulevard to the south and Santa Monica Boulevard to the north. High-end stores including Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Dior call this area home. Visitors may also want to stop by the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the exterior of which was prominently featured in the film Pretty Woman.

Rodeo Drive between Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA, USA

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Jumbo's Clown Room

Bar, American, $$$
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Thai-Photo-3
© Kate Santos
Jumbo’s Clown Room

Those who seek to have a raucous time like a local may drop by Jumbo’s Clown Room. This small, red and black bar has been around since the ‘70s when opened by the eponymous circus clown. These days, it’s famous as a bikini bar, with talented dancers and contortionists conquering the stage nightly. Performers choose their own songs on an old jukebox, with song selections including metal, ‘90s alt rock, and ‘70s and ‘80s throwbacks. Guests may not take pictures, and tips for dancers are expected.

Jumbo’s Clown Room, 5133 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 666 1187

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Museum of Jurassic Technology

Museum
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Museum of Jurassic Technology

It’s hard to explain what this museum is exactly. It isn’t organized in any logical way, and some of the information may not be entirely true. Yet it’s one of the most fascinating places in L.A., containing a surreal assemblage of seemingly unrelated objects. There is a collection of very, very tiny sculptures, each made from a strand of hair; a room full of letters sent to the Mount Wilson Observatory; a gallery consisting solely of paintings of dogs who were involved in the Soviet Space Program; decaying dice from magician Ricky Jay; and a Russian tea room where human guests share the space with unusually tame birds.

Museum of Jurassic Technology, 9341 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, USA, +1 310 836 6131

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Thu:
2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Fri - Sun:
12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

The Broad

Museum
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The Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles, CA
The Broad Museum, Los Angeles | © Robert Landau / Alamy Stock Photo
The Broad

This museum opened in downtown L.A. in 2015, and it contains some 2,000 pieces of contemporary art, including Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog and selfie-favorite, the Infinity Mirrored Room by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Guests must reserve tickets in advance online and should book an additional ticket for the Infinity Mirrored Room if they wish to see it. Food and cocktails are available at the adjacent modern American restaurant, Otium.

The Broad, 221 S Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 232 6200

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Tue - Wed:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu - Fri:
11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sun:
10:00 am - 6:00 pm

LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

Museum
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Chris Burden, Urban Light.
Chris Burden, Urban Light. | © Wiki Commons
6. LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) Unlike MOCA, LACMA isn’t the sole reserve of contemporary art, but does engage its visitors with a contemporary mindset in the context of art’s long and ancient history. This idea is carried by the 340-tonne boulder, suspended above a concrete trench – called Levitated Mass, the artwork can provide an unconscious connection between the museum’s earliest exhibits dating from the beginning of art history, to the present day. This is a deliberate manipulation by director Michael Govan, who since 2006 has been giving LACMA the much-needed push towards the modern, despite its role as the West Coast’s leading art history museum. LACMA contributes in no small way to the evolution of LA as a key player in the US art industry, and this will only increase after its upcoming remodelling by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, known for his unconventional style. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, United States
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Mon - Tue:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu - None:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri - None:
11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sat - Sun:
10:00 am - 7:00 pm

Getty Center

Museum
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Getty Center in Los Angeles, California
Getty Center in Los Angeles, California | © Andria Patino / Alamy Stock Photo
Getty Center The Getty Center, opened in 1997, is breathtaking in many ways. Architect Richard Meier is behind its modern design, and its position on a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains offers incredible views. Thoughtful exhibits, spectacular gardens and a restaurant and café stand to keep guests entertained for hours. Admission is free. Parking is $15.

Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 310 440 7300

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Sun:
10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Sat:
10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Tue - Fri:
10:00 am - 5:30 pm

Chinatown

Park
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Street view of china town in Los Angeles, California, USA
Chinatown, Los Angeles | © Shawn Hempel / Alamy Stock Photo
Chinatown

Chinatown is full of superb dining destinations, art galleries, and unique shops. Chinatown Central Plaza is a popular spot for photos, and nearby General Lee’s is great for a balanced cocktail. Other highlights include the diverse art galleries of Chung King Road, a bronze statue of film star Bruce Lee, and the top food offerings tucked into the nearby Far East Plaza.

Chinatown Central Plaza, 943 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Griffith Observatory®

Museum, Park
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Griffith Observatory - Los Angeles, California, USA
Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles | © Diego Grandi / Alamy Stock Photo
Griffith Observatory®

Griffith Park consists of over 4,000 acres, with highlights including train museum Travel Town, its gorgeous hiking trails, and, of course, the Griffith Observatory®. Guests may peer through telescopes, check out a show at the planetarium, or explore astronomy exhibits. Admission is free, while tickets to the planetarium shows range from $3–7.

Griffith Observatory, 2800 E Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 473 0800

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The Grove

Shopping Mall
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The Grove Farmers Market retail entertainment shopping mall  Los Angeles California United States
The Grove, Los Angeles | © Peter Horree / Alamy Stock Photo
The Grove

This open-air mall is home to shops, restaurants, bars, an American Girl café, and a movie theater. It’s known for celebrity sightings and a trolley that ferries guests from one end of the mall to the other. Adjacent to The Grove is the Original Farmer’s Market, which has been there since 1934 and where numerous food vendors offer all sorts of fare, from casual to upscale.

The Grove, 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 900 8080

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Sun:
10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri - Sat:
10:00 am - 10:00 pm
Mon - Thu:
10:00 am - 9:00 pm

Museum of Broken Relationships, Hollywood Boulevard

Museum
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Museum of Broken Relationships
Museum of Broken Relationships | Courtesy of the Museum of Broken Relationships LA
Started in the city of Zagreb, Croatia, the Museum of Broken Relationships recently opened a second location in Los Angeles. This museum holds mementos of all mediums from any sort of lost relationship, curating them in displays that will make your heart twinge, or at least make you reflect on your own relationships.
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Grand Central Market

Market, American, Dim Sum, Seafood, Street Food, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, $$$
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Grand Central Market, Broadway, Downtown Los Angeles, California
Grand Central Market, Los Angeles | © Citizen of the Planet / Alamy Stock Photo
Grand Central Market

Established in 1917, Grand Central Market is a one-stop shop for every craving. A hodgepodge of vendors offer an overwhelming selection of various cuisines, plus there’s coffee, beer, wine, ice cream, and juice. In addition to meals, which are perhaps best enjoyed on-site via counter seating, guests may also shop for produce and sundries here.

Grand Central Market, 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 624 2378

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Hollywood Forever

Cemetery, Memorial
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Los Angeles, California, United States of America - January 7, 2017. Tomb of actors Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr., at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Lo
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles | © Alizada Studios / Alamy Stock Photo
Hollywood Forever

This cemetery is known for its famous permanent residents, including director Cecil B. DeMille, actress Judy Garland, and The Beatles’ George Harrison. Johnny Ramone of The Ramones was cremated after his death in 2004, but a bronze statue stands as a memorial to the musician in this cemetery. Though graveyards are typically linked with either the tragic or the morbid, Hollywood Forever regularly hosts concerts, film screenings, and other events for the living to enjoy.

Hollywood Forever, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 469 1181

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Eames House

Building
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The Eames Foundation in Pacific Palisades is the original case study house and residence of architects & designers Charles and Ray Eames.
The Eames Foundation in Pacific Palisades is the original case study house and residence of architects & designers Charles and Ray Eames. | © Stephanie Braconnier / Shutterstock
Eames House

Designers Charles and Ray Eames–the husband-and-wife duo who gave us the Eames chair—built the Eames House in 1949 as part of the Case Study House Program; thus, the Eames House is also known as Case Study House No. 8. The couple lived in this home until their deaths in 1978 and 1988, respectively. Since 2004, the Eames Foundation has managed the house. Guests can see the home’s striking exterior for $10 (reservations required 48 hours in advance) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with the exception of Wednesdays and Sundays. Interior tours are $275 for up to two people.

Eames House, 203 Chautauqua Boulevard, Pacific Palisades, CA, USA, +1 310 459 9663

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Venice Canals

Building, Park
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The Carroll Canal photographed by Aurelia Dumont Photography at sunrise in the iconic Venice Canals Historic District in Venice Beach, CA 90291.
Venice Canals, Los Angeles | © aureliadumontphotography / Alamy Stock Photo
Venice Canals

For a pleasant stroll, visitors may seek out the Venice Canals. Developer Abbot Kinney, who was hoping to recreate the appearance of the canals found in Venice, Italy, installed several man-made canals in 1905. In 1910, other developers made six more canals. While the original canals fell into disrepair and were ultimately filled, the other six were restored in the ‘90s and remain today.

Venice Canals, 200 Linnie Canal, Venice, CA, USA

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Runyon Canyon

Park
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View of mountains, Los Angeles Runyon Canyon Park.
View of mountains, Los Angeles Runyon Canyon Park. | © MILA Zed / Shutterstock
Runyon Canyon

One of Los Angeles’ best-known hiking destinations is Runyon Canyon Park, which consists of some 130 acres and starts just two blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard. The untamed chaparral and stunning views draw many joggers, walkers, and hikers (and sometimes their dogs) daily.

Runyon Canyon, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, 2000 N Fuller Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 666 5046

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