Los Angeles is one of those cities that you have to visit at least once during your life. But the thing is, once you go to Los Angeles, you will want to go again and again, because this city has so much to offer, so much to see, so much to experience.
There are guides about thousands of things that you can visit and do in Los Angeles, but you don’t have to limit yourself to the famous streets and highlights. You have to go deeper and live the city, its real soul. You don’t just want to visit the city, you want to feel the city.
And if you want to live an unforgettable experience, that goes beyond what’s written in a travel guide, you are in the right place.
That’s why I decided to write a list of the once in a lifetime things to do in Los Angeles. Because this city has so many exciting experiences to do. So keep reading to plan your best trip to this amazing city.
The 12 once in a lifetime things to do in Los Angeles in 2023 and always
We could easily spend months in Los Angeles without getting bored. There's just so much to do, so it's hard to pick the best things. But we can start from this list and sure enough you will have the best time of your life in the city, an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience!
1. Surf the waves of the most famous beaches in the world
Los Angeles surroundings have some of the most famous beaches in the world, and the great news is that they are also very good to practice surf.
Either you are an expert or you’re just a beginner that want to learn, going to surf in Santa Monica or Venice Beach is a unique experience that you have to try when you are in Los Angeles.
2. Go hiking and reach the Hollywood Sign
Seeing the famous Hollywood Sign is the dream of many travelers heading to Los Angeles.
It’s the best hike you can do in the city, and it’s really worth it at every hour of the day, even at sunrise, sunset, or just when night darkness begins and you can enjoy the lights of the city from up there.
And if you are lazy, you can opt for a pony or horse ride in the area.
3. Taste the city in Downtown
When I say “taste” the city, I really mean it, because in Los Angeles you can really taste whatever you like.
If you go to Downtown, you can basically enjoy every kind of food you are craving, from delicious Asian restaurants, to great craft beers, and very good local food trucks.
Feeling hungry yet?
4. Slide down a skyscraper
If you want to live a breathtaking experience, you should really try this amazing experience in Los Angeles. In Downtown, inside the US Bank Tower building, you can slide down the skyscraper!
This attraction is called OUE Skyspace LA and everyday some brave travelers slide down trying to keep their eyes open.
5. Watch a baseball match
Going to watch a baseball match in Los Angeles is a very nice thing to do, either you love baseball and sports in general or if you are not into sport at all. That’s because the atmosphere and the vibes are really strong and everyone can have a great time, even just by biting a big hot dog while watching the game.
6. Feel like a star in the Dolby Theatre
Obviously the famous theatre where the Oscar ceremony takes place is in LA. And if you want to see it in person and take some pictures like a Hollywood star on the famous stairs, you can do it. You can even visit it inside with a guide.
7. Have a trip to Napa Valley
If you are going to Union Station just to take some pictures and see this famous train station, I suggest you to take a train to Napa Valley. This trip deserves to be on the list of once in a lifetime things to do in Los Angeles.
Napa Valley is a region in the North and it’s famous for its good wine. It’s a good trip to do from LA.
8. Visit the Universal Studios
Do you want to know all the secrets behind the sets of the most beloved Hollywood films and tv series? If so, you have to go to the Universal Studios. It will be like being inside your favorite films.
You can visit Simpsons city, Springfield, and enjoy a beer at Boe’s or lose yourself in the world of Harry Potter, just to mention some things. It’s something you can’t miss in Los Angeles.
9. Have a walk in Rodeo Drive Road
If you want to see the most glamorous shops in LA and maybe spot some celebrities if you are lucky, you have to go to Rodeo Drive Road.
This street is not only full of shops of the most famous and important brands in the world, but it is also famous because it has been used in a lot of films like Pretty Woman, just to mention one. It’s a place to see with your own eyes.
10. Discover the ethnical neighborhoods of LA
LA is a big city, and for this reason it also has a lot of ethnical neighborhoods.
For example, Olvera Street is a street that shows you the Mexican origins of the city. This street has some of the oldest buildings of LA. Today you can find a lot of crafts shops and traditional Mexican restaurants here. If you want to have a taco, this is the place to go.
If you want to discover a bit of Italian-American history in LA, you have to go to El Pueblo neighborhood, where you can visit the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles and see all the historical pictures of the first Italian immigrants in LA.
11. Have a drive on Mulholland Road
This is the road with the best sceneries in LA area. It is up on the Hollywood Hills, and in this road you can spot all the rich villas of some Hollywood celebrities, like Madonna, Roman Polanski, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis.
And you can even enjoy the best views of the city from the top of the hills.
12. Visit the Autry Museum of the American West
You can’t go to Los Angeles without visiting a museum about the West history. In this big Museum you can discover all the native Americans traditions and how the life in Far West was. You can even take a memory picture in a real saloon.
Once in a lifetime things to do in Los Angeles: volunteering
We talked about all the once in a lifetime things that you can do in Los Angeles, and now probably all you want to do is to visit this amazing city, if you have not been there yet, or go back there because you missed something.
But there is one more cool thing that you can do in LA, and this thing can change forever your way of traveling. I am talking about volunteering.
And plus, it is also a way to save tons of money, because in exchange for your help while volunteering, you get free accommodation and sometimes free board.
If you want to try volunteering while traveling, Worldpackers is the best platform to use. You can look for volunteering positions all around the world on Worldpackers platform, and apply to all the positions that you like.
All these experiences can be life changing and it’s a very nice way to spend time during your trip.
Now you know all the best once in a lifetime things to do in Los Angeles. And if you were a bit concerned about spending too much money, you have no excuse because if you volunteer in LA you can save a lot of money to live great experiences. All you have to do is subscribe to one of Worldpackers plans, and then you can start to volunteer and enjoy your trip even more.
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an Italian full time traveler.
After years planning my full time travel, I finally quit my 9 to 5 job to start exploring the world with a one way ticket. My goal is to visit as many countries as I can and to work as a digital nomad while I am traveling, but also to challenge myself doing travel jobs in the places I visit.
I really want to live a lot of different experiences in a way only a real traveler can do.