Top 10 Things To Do In Los Angeles

Travel guide for planning a vacation or trip to Los Angeles, including top tourist attractions and things to do.

Los Angeles is the spot for tourists in Southern California. Celebrities, museums, amusement parks, television and movie studios, and historic sites are just a few of the attractions available to visitors. And the weather is perfect almost all year long. The top ten things to do are:

10. Visit CBS Television Studio for The Price Is Right

Built in 1952, CBS Television Studio is the home of many television favorites including The Young & the Restless, The Late, Late Show and The Price is Right. While you cannot watch a taping of your favorite soap opera, you can be a guest of television's longest running game show, The Price is Right. To be a contestant, you need to either request tickets via CBS Studios, 7800 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 or order online at http://etix.cbs.com/etix/main/mainE.jsp. Be sure to get there early (8:00 am is the latest you can arrive) and bring cards or games as you will have wait for hours while others are being interviewed and you cannot leave the studio. Bring your enthusiasm and a good attitude and you might hear Rich Fields say "Come on down!" Even if you aren't picked as a contestant, it is fun watching how the show is taped.

9. La Brea Tar Pits

Take a step back in time at the La Brea Tar Pits and the George C. Page Museum. Since 1906, more than one million bones from animals such as saber-toothed cats, mammoths, wolves, bears and birds have been excavated from the tar pits here. While the smell is not pleasant, the tar pits themselves are fascinating. You can view students and workers currently excavating bones and see the tar bubbling up in the park. The museum holds what is recognized as the largest collection of finds from the Ice Age including plants and animals. Among the many exhibits are how mammoths grew teeth and the only known saber-tooth cat found with its mouth closed. Admission is $7 for adults, $2.50 for children and the museum is open Monday through Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.

8. Rodeo Drive/Spago

Rodeo Drive is a favorite shopping destination of celebrities and commoners alike. Lined with stores such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany, Armani, Louis Vitton and Hermes, Rodeo Drive is arguably the most famous and costly row of shops in the world. While you may not be able to afford to purchase anything, it is free to walk up and down, browse and celebrity watch. Make sure you visit on a weekday or Saturday -- most shops are closed on Sunday. If you are in the mood for some world class culinary cuisine and you have a few dollars to spend, stop by Spago, two blocks east of Rodeo Drive. It has been a favorite of celebrities for years and it is no small wonder with Chef Wolfgang Puck overseeing the preparation of food. You can choose among such favorites as seared rare tuna with port wine shallots or risotto with sautéed porcini mushrooms. If you are lucky, you might even get to meet Wolfgang himself.

7. Cemetaries

It might sound odd, but Los Angeles has several tours that make the cemetery rounds. If you cannot spot any celebrities while they are living, you can pay your respects to their final resting place. Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park has perhaps the highest number of celebrities of any cemetery in the world. Located off Wilshire Boulevard, this small cemetery is the final home of many great performers and graves are easy to locate. Mel Torme, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, George C. Scott (although unmarked), Carroll O'Connor, Natalie Wood, Dean Martin and most notably, Marilyn Monroe are buried here, although as you walk around, you will see plenty of names of songwriters, musicians, actors and directors you recognize. Attracting over one million visitors a year, Forrest Lawn Glendale Cemetery is also a popular destination. Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman married in the chapel there years ago. Among the celebrity legends buried there are Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart and Sammy Davis Jr. Be sure to act respectful while visiting as you would with any cemetery and be especially mindful of any services that might be occurring while you are visiting.

6. Petersen Automotive Museum

The Petersen Automotive Museum began in 1994 and its benefactor is Robert E. Petersen, the founder of Hot Rod, Car Craft and Motor Trend magazines. It is the host of countless classic cars, motorcycles and trucks filling more than 300,000 square feet over four floors. The first floor is dedicated to the history of automobiles. The second floor has five revolving exhibits that include different types of cars including hot rods, race cars, cars owned by celebrities and the technology and design of automobiles. The third floor is dedicated to children with its hands on learning center. The fourth floor is used for conferences and functions. Among the exhibits currently there are Musclecars: Power to the People and Southern California: Vacationland USA. Admission prices: Adults are $10, students with ID are $5.00 and children 5-12 are $3.00. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm.



5. Forrest Ackerman Sci-Fi Museum

One of the little known museums in Los Angeles, Forrest Ackerman has been a collector of science fiction memorabilia since his career as an actor, writer and producer began in the late Twenties. He is such a favorite of science fiction and monster buffs, he made a cameo appearance in Michael Jackson's Thriller video. Among the items he has amassed is life-like masks of Lon Chaney Jr., Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, the original cape worn by Lugosi in Dracula, and a manta ray spaceship from War of the Worlds. He has over 50,000 books, 125,000 movie stills, masks, mannequins and movie props. Because of his age (89), you can only visit on Saturdays when he is in town. More information and directions can be found at http://www.seeing-stars.com/Museums/ForrestAckerman.shtml.

4. Universal Studios

Want to see how a big budget movie is made? At Universal Studios, you can catch behind the scenes action at the world's largest studio to learn how movies are made. You can walk through the sets where such hits as The Scorpion King and Jurassic Park were filmed. You may even get to see a future blockbuster being shot. The special effects studio will teach you how scenes in your favorite movies were actually done or you can even create your own incredible shot. Visit Lucy, Ricky, Ethel and Fred as you walk through the interactive I Love Lucy museum. But that's not all! Universal is also a fun filled theme park. Be prepared for thrills if you dare to ride their newest indoor rollercoaster, Revenge of the Mummy, the Ride. Be sure to take in the Shrek 4-D attraction, where the characters seem to jump off the screen. And don't forget to stop by the Nickelodeon Blast Zone to meet the Rugrats and Spongebob Squarepants.

3. Sunset Boulevard/The Sunset Strip

One of the most famous streets in the world, Sunset Boulevard has been immortalized in movies, songs, and television. Along the strip, you will see the Chateau Marmont, a favorite hotel of celebrities and the place where John Belushi died of a drug overdose in 1982, The House of Blues (featuring great live music), The Vipor Room and the Comedy Store where comedians like Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel, Yakov Smirnoff, and Jay Leno got their big breaks. Further down the strip, you will find The Whiskey (formerly The Whiskey A Go-Go) where The Doors, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Kinks played in the Sixties. The strip also include the original Tower Records which still hosts spur of the moment concerts and autograph sessions in the store.

2. J. Paul Getty Center

Lying on a hill atop Los Angeles is the famed J. Paul Getty Center and Museum. When you first arrive at the Getty Center plaza by tram, the first thing you notice is the amazing architecture. Each building is beautifully designed and brightly lit due to the design to allow in natural light. There are bountiful gardens located all over. The Center Garden is always adding new plants and changing as a reminder to the visitor that this too is art. The view of the Los Angeles skyline is breathtaking, especially when seen at dusk. You can also see the Pacific Ocean and the San Gabriel Mountains from here. Upcoming exhibitions include The Making of Furniture, Imagining the Orient and Drawn to Rome. Among the art on display at the Center includes that of Raphael, Monet, Rembrandt, and Leonardo da Vinci. The Center is open every day of the week except Monday and admission is free (although parking is $7 per car).

1. Hollywood

No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to Hollywood. Whether it is walking the Walk of Fame looking at the celebrity stars, visiting the footprints found at the legendary Grauman's Chinese Theatre, or walking through the historic Roosevelt Hotel to simply viewing the famous Hollywood Sign, a trip to Los Angeles is not complete without a visit to Hollywood. You can also see the Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards and American Idol season finales. There's also the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, The Hollywood Wax Museum and Guiness Book of World Records Museum. Finish your visit with landmark restaurants like The Dresden, The Formosa Café or The Pig N Whistle on Hollywood Boulevard.

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