Los Angeles is a big city with so much to offer – culture, sunshine, moviestars, beaches, but most visitors don’t stray too far off the beaten path. Here are some ideas for seeing more of the fabulous city.

See our list of the 49 best things to do in Los Angeles here.

1. Greystone Mansion and Park

Greystone Mansion

Greystone is essentially a really expensive home and grounds turned into a park. The house has been the site for many films, including There Will Be Blood, The Loved One and The Bodyguard, The Witches of Eastwick, The Big Lebowski,  Ghostbusters II, Death Becomes Her, and Jumpin’ Jack Flash. The grounds are free to wander and feature beautiful Italian and English gardens. Guided tours of the interior can be reserved through the web site. Great views. Free. www.beverlyhills.org/exploring/greystoneparkmansion (Photo from Wikipedia.)

2. Genwa Korean BBQ

Genwa Korean BBQ

There’s plenty of restaurant options in Koreatown, but Genwa is known for their high quality meats and large selection of banchan, or side items served along with the meat and rice. Genwa is in a refined setting and the tables feature state-of-the-art smokeless grills. There are locations in both Beverly Hills and Mid Wilshire. www.genwakoreanbbq.com (Photo by T.Tseng.)

3. Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon Park

Runyon Canyon offers hiking with great views of Los Angeles not far from the city. It can be accessed just off Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. It’s dog friendly. You might even have a sweaty celebrity sighting. www.runyoncanyon-losangeles.com (Photo by Ryan Vaarsi.)

4. Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery has been a Santa Monica dining institution since 1925. Their Godmother sandwiches is consistently ranked as one of the best sandwiches in Low Angeles. In addition to their famous sandwiches, Bay Cities also sells soups, pasta dishes, salads, and other Italian specialties. The fresh-baked, chewy Italian bread may be the main draw here. www.baycitiesitaliandeli.com (Photo by Navin Rajagopalan.)

5. Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles

Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles

Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles was opened in 1975 by Harlem native Herb Hudson, who brought the chicken and waffles concept to Los Angeles from New York. Chicken and Waffles were first popularized in Harlem in the 1920’s. Roscoe’s soul food restaurant is loved by such American icons as Barack Obama and Snoop Dogg. In addition, the iconic restaurant has been mentioned in songs by Ludacris and Notorious B.I.G. and has appeared in the films Jackie Brown, Rush Hour, and Swingers. www.roscoeschickenandwaffles.com (Photo by Elliot.)

6. ArcLight Cinemas

ArcLight Cinemas

ArcLight Cinemas is the best way to see a movie in Hollywood. The top-notch 14-theater is known for its reserved seating in comfortable seats and superior sound system. Unlike most movie theaters, no commercials are shown before the movies. The complex also has a nice restaurant and bar, and drinks can usually be brought into the theaters.

The historic the Cinerama Dome is also part of the ArcLight Cinemas complex. It was built in 1963, and it’s unique geodesic dome was designed to present widescreen Cinerama films. Today, movies are shown there in a three-projector format, and it is one of only three theaters in the world that offers that format. www.arclightcinemas.com (Photo by Iman1138.)

7. Seven Grand

Seven Grand

Seven Grand is a dark and clubby whiskey bar in Los Angeles resurgent downtown. The atmosphere is somewhat reminiscent of a hunting lodge, and there’s lots of pool and other games. Outside, Seven Grand has a great balcony area. www.sevengrandbars.com (Photo by Sam HowzitCC-BY-2.0.)

8. Pink’s Hot Dogs

Pink's Hot Dog

The hot dog stand has been the “Hot Dog to the Stars” since 1939, when Paul and Betty Pink started their business as a hot dog cart near the corner of La Brea and Melrose. They moved into their current building in 1945, and today they sell up to 4,000 hot dogs and sausages every day. It’s still a family-run business. www.pinkshollywood.com (Photo by Dylan Ashe.)

9. Wacko Soap Plant

Wacko Soap Plant

Wacko’s is full of either stuff you don’t really need, or essential stuff, depending on your perspective. Lucky shoppers can discover gems such as a Star Wars Darth Vader Limited Edition Cookie Jar, Slicey the Pig Dashboard Wobbler, or an Iggy Pop Action Figure. Wacky, eclectic and oddball stuff, indeed. www.soapplant.com

10. Tiki-Ti Cocktail Lounge

Tiki-Ti Cocktail Lounge

This is a legendary, old-school tropical drink bar opened by Ray Buhen way back in 1961. Over 90 exotic drinks are available – all made by hand. Favorite drinks include the Blood and Sand and Ray’s Mistake (Dark Corub Rum, Super Secret Flavor, Botanic Liquers, Passion Fruit). It’s a small place with smoking allowed. Cash only. www.tiki-ti.com (Photo by Sam Howzit.)

11. Venice Canals Walkway

Venice Canals Walkway

Southern California’s town of Venice was founded in 1905 as a beach resort town, and canals were dug by the developers to mimic the canals of Venice, Italy. A few gondolas actually still remain, and the canals run like streets between beautiful bungalows. There’s great walking along the wandering pathways next to the canals. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice_Canal_Historic_District (Photo by Raymond Shobe.)

12. Nethercutt Museum

Nethercutt Museum

The Nethercutt is a car museum that is free and contains mostly pre-1940 automobiles, plus a Canadian Pacific locomotive and Pullman car. Tours of the general collection and the locomotive and Pullman car are self-guided. The Collection Tour is guided and lasts 2 hours – make reservations on their web site. The Collection Tour includes glimpses of rare collectible automobiles, radiator hood ornament collection, antique musical instruments and players. www.nethercuttcollection.org (Photo by Konrad Summers.)

13. Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Beverly Hills Hotel

This place oozes Hollywood. It’s swank, chic and classy, and the stars really come here. Enjoy lunch by the pool, a relaxing afternoon tea, or late night dinner. Specialties include the McCarthy Salad and the Kobe Burger with Truffle Provolone, Caramelized Onions, Avocado on a House-Made Bun. Pricey. www.dorchestercollection.com (photo by Courtney “Coco” Mault.)

14. Old Place Restaurant

Old Place Restaurant


Old Place is on scenic Mulholland Highway between Kanan and Malibu Canyon Roads – getting there is half the fun. It opened 70 years ago by cowboy actor Tom Runyon, and eating there feels like being in an old Western movie. Start with a Noodle & Cheese bake appetizer before sinking your teeth into the Oak-grilled Black Angus Sirloin. The Cornell Winery is conveniently located next door and has a tasting room. Call for reservations. www.oldplacecornell.com

15. Din Tai Fung Dumpling House

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House is a Taiwanese restaurant that specializes in Shanghai Soup Dumplings. The dumplings are known as Xiaolongbao or XLB, and they are chewy, moist, translucent skins full of meat and hot juices. In 1993, Din Tai Fung was named as one of the top ten restaurants in the world by the New York Timeswww.dintaifungusa.com (Photo by Benny Wong.)

16. The Getty Villa

Getty Villa


Everybody knows about the Getty Center, but the Getty Villa is somewhat overlooked. The Getty Villa opened in 1974 on the Getty property in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood and displays the Getty Antiquities Collection of arts and antiquities from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etrusca. The art inside spans 7,000 years from the Stone Age to the fall of the Roman Empire. The building itself was inspired by the Roman Villa of the Papyri, and the sculptured gardens and serene pools are perfect for strolling and taking photos. Visiting the Getty Villa is free, but visitors must print out a timed ticket online. Parking is $15, so consider using public transportation.

Unfortunately, Getty was never able to visit the museum before his death in 1976. The Villa closed for renovation in 1997 for a lengthy renovation and didn’t reopen until 2006. www.getty.edu/visit/villa (Photo by Dave and Margie Hill/Kleerup.)

17. Santouka Ramen

Santouka Ramen

Santouka Ramen is a large Japanese chain that has a only US locations, including this Irvine location in the Mitsuwa Market food court. It’s not about the ambiance – it’s about fresh and delicious traditional ramen soup. Miso Ramen – a mixture of pork broth and a rich and hearty miso paste. Shio Ramen – mild and creamy soup seasoned with salt and topped off with a Japanese pickled plum. www.santouka.co.jp (Photo by John Ong.)

18. Tacos Baja Ensenada

Tacos Baja Ensenada

As good as fish and shrimp tacos get – perfectly battered, deep fried, and topped with shredded cabbage, tomato, onions, cilantro, cream, salsa and roasted chili peppers. Also great shrimp cocktails, cheviches and quesadillas. In a small shop in East LA with a patio out front. www.tacosbaja.com (Photo by stu_spivack.)

19. Musso and Frank Grill

Musso and Frank Grill

The restaurant opened in 1919 and is Hollywood’s oldest eatery. Named for original owners Joseph Musso and Frank Toulet, this classic restaurant still features menu items such as Welsh Rarebit, Lobster Thermidor, and their famous chicken pot pie. Sit at the long counter or in one of the red booths and order up a martini while waiting for your meal to arrive. www.mussoandfrank.com (Photo by Arturo Sotillo.)

20. Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Sure, it’s famous, but it’s also touristy and cheesey, so lots of people don’t bother to see it. Still, it’s classic Hollywood, and cheesey can be fun with the right attitude. It is quite possibly the world’s most famous sidewalk, and it spans 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. Over 2,500 stars are embedded in the sidewalk. www.walkoffame.com (Photo by Christian Haugen.)


Featured photo by Raymond Shobe. All photos CC-BY-2.0.

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