8 Coolest Things to Do in Burbank, CA

Photo by Julie May on Unsplash
Photo by Julie May on Unsplash
Emma Murphy

Burbank, California, has all the old-style Hollywood glamor you’d expect – but also many modern innovations. From film studios and live shows to nature and museums, there’s plenty here to keep you entertained. These are the great activities we recommend.

1. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Amusement Park

This is one of the most-popular tours in Burbank, and it’s easy to see why. Within the Warner Brothers Studio, you’ll see back lots and sets from famous movies and television shows such as Casablanca (1942) and Friends. As the studio is constantly shooting, every tour is unique. One of the newest additions is an interactive soundstage — Stage 48: Script to Screen. Here, you’re able to immerse yourself in the process of creating your own show, do a screen test in Central Perk, design a costume for the next superhero epic or even take a whirl around Gotham in a Bat-pod. There’s also a museum with costumes, props and scripts from Warner Bros history. And, action!

2. The Hollywood Sign

Building

Although you can’t hike directly to the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, there is a legal trail that allows you to look out over the sign, which dates back to the 1920s awhen it was used as an advertisement for a real-estate venture. The sign originally read “Hollywoodland.” When the Great Depression hit, maintenance on the sign stopped, and eventually, the “land” part was taken down. Now there are organised tours so you can catch a glimpse of this legendary landmark, which is just a short way from Burbank.

3. Griffith Observatory, East Observatory Road

Building, Museum, Park

Arguably one of the best lookout points in L.A., the Observatory itself also offers hosts of activities once inside. Not only does the Observatory provide free public telescope usage almost every clear-skied evening, it also holds public star parties once a month where visitors can look through a variety of telescopes with well-informed amateur astronomers. Leading from Griffith Park to the Observatory is a bevy of hikes, from the well-known Firebreak trail to the lesser-known Western Canyon loop. The Berendo Stairs, located at the intersection of Berendo Street and Cromwell Avenue, also offer an alternate route up to the Observatory (there are even benches at either end and the midway point of the 181 stairs). A short trip from Burbank, this attraction wields high rewards.

4. Martial Arts History Museum, West Magnolia Boulevard

Museum

Since the mid-’60s, martial arts movies have been Hollywood hits, so what better place to discover the history of the fighting style than the Martial Arts History Museum? The museum shows how Asian and American culture has blended in the past century; it starts from the birth of martial arts in eastern Asia, covering fighting styles as diverse as kung fu, ninja, and kali. It boasts a media room with memorabilia from martial arts films, an exhibit on the history of anime, and a scavenger hunt for the younger visitors.

5. The Starlight Bowl

Theater

The Starlight Bowl is a picturesque venue for live music, capturing the beauty and elegance of post-war American architecture with dramatic canyon views. There’s also a dedicated dance area if you’re feeling brave enough. On any given night, there can be 5,000 attendees: 3,000 seated and 2,000 on the lawn. It’s the perfect place to watch the sun go down and enjoy a great live show.

6. Wildwood Canyon Park, Burbank

Park

The Wildwood Canyon Park offers some of the best scenery in Southern California; on a clear day, you can see to downtown LA. Settled in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, Wildwood Canyon is sheltered by a canopy of oak trees. There are many leisure activities available within the park, including horseback riding, hiking, and biking. For horse riders, there are Hunt Ranch corrals and a horse staging area within the park, while hikers have a system of steep mountain trails to navigate and an average hike length of five miles. There are also plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting. Home to rare birds like the sharp-shinned hawk and the rufous-crowned sparrow, as well as animals like the cactus deer moose, gray fox, and the western skink.

7. Burbank Philharmonic

Theater

The Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra was set up in 1991 to provide quality music to local people, whether pop, classical, musical themes, or big band. Designed to be accessible to the whole family, it covers anything from Beethoven to Berlin, Mozart to Michael Jackson, and Chopin to Copland. Conductor Maestro Steven Kerstein is credited with the diversity of performances. The Orchestra also runs an instrument amnesty program, through which underprivileged students can receive donated instruments to help them fulfill their musical potential.

8. Chandler Bikeway East End

Park

In 2004, this disused railroad track was converted to a bike path, and you can walk, jog, run, skate or cycle along the 2mi (3.2km) trail and enjoy the scenic views. There are murals, sculptures and other art installations along the route, thanks to the Burbank Art in Public Spaces Program, which aims to bring art to the people. Once a month, the trail is visited by the Sidewalk Astronomers, a group dedicated to astronomy education. They bring their telescopes and teach people about the wonders of our galaxy and beyond.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

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