once-in-a-lifetime things to do in los angeles

If you’re reading this, you’re obviously getting set to travel to the City of Angels for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. In this post, we’ll discuss the top once-in-a-lifetime activities, undiscovered jewels, and unforgettable experiences that make Los Angeles a genuinely magical destination. I’ve been to this dynamic city countless times, with each trip revealing something fresh and different. There is something for everyone in this amazing city, from the flash and glamor of the Sunset Strip to the laid-back attitudes of West Hollywood. 

We’re here to share our personal anecdotes, advice, and firsthand knowledge as your go-to travel resource to make sure your trip to the City of Angels is nothing short of exceptional. Let’s dig in and find out what makes Los Angeles the ideal location for a once-in-a-lifetime experience due to its special features!

#1. Hike to The Hollywood Sign

once-in-a-lifetime things to do in los angeles
Credit: Viator

Since 1923, the Hollywood Sign, which towers over Tinseltown with its large, white letters, has served as a symbol of the entertainment industry. With each step of a once-in-a-lifetime, you’ll feel more closely connected to the splendor and luxury that characterize Los Angeles. The trek itself gives amazing views of the city. Be ready for a short hike that will put your stamina to the test, but the reward is definitely worth it!

You can sign up for a self-guided hiking tour or go on your own solo hike. This 2.5-hour walking tour with a professional guide takes you to the famous Hollywood sign. While hiking around Griffith Park and the Hollywood Hills, you’ll discover more about Los Angeles’ past. Panorama vistas of Burbank, the San Fernando Valley, and the entire city of Los Angeles await you when you successfully complete the course. Along the route, you can run into other hikers from various backgrounds who are sharing stories and taking pictures that would look good on Instagram.

When you reach the top, a panoramic view of the city with the Hollywood Sign prominently displayed in the background will be presented to you. Hiking to the Hollywood Sign is a definite must-do, whether you’re a fan of movies, an adventurer, or just want to see a special view of Los Angeles. Bring your camera, because this experience deserves to be frozen in your mind forever.


#2. Visit Santa Monica Pier

once-in-a-lifetime things to do in los angeles
Credit: Santa Monica

Are you prepared to spice up your trip to Los Angeles with some fun once-in-a-lifetime? Take a look at the well-known Santa Monica Pier. Since it was opened in 1909, this beachside playground has drawn crowds, and both locals and visitors adore it. You’ll be welcomed by a lively atmosphere filled with laughter, excitement, and the salty breath of the Pacific Ocean as you wander along the wooden planks of the pier. Everyone will find something to enjoy here. Yes, from the exhilarating coasters at Pacific Park to the delectable delicacies at the vintage soda fountain.

The Ferris wheel is one of Santa Monica Pier’s features. Take a ride in one of the vibrant gondolas and enjoy the stunning views of the coastline and the glistening waters below as it slowly ascends. This picture-perfect situation will make you long for the carefree days of childhood once more.

Santa Monica Pier offers more than just amusement rides and games. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll, observe fishermen, or take an e-bike tour to see the beach from a new angle. Personalized surf lessons are also available for adventurous travelers. The pier offers a taste of traditional California beach culture. It’s perfect for strolling at dusk, indulging in cotton candy, and enjoying the lively scene.

#3. Take a Celebrity Homes Tour of Beverly Hills

once-in-a-lifetime things to do in los angeles
Credit: Viator

With a Beverly Hills celebrity mansions tour, you can plunge right into the opulent world of the rich and famous. You’ll experience an exhilarating journey through the wealthy communities that Hollywood’s elite call home while getting a glimpse into their lavish lifestyles. Beverly Hills has long been associated with magnificent mansions and celebrity culture. A guided tour is the ideal way to discover this legendary neighborhood. 

Your expert guide will regale you with intriguing tales of the famous people who call this region home as you drive through the tree-lined lanes. Experience the opulent world of Hollywood’s elite with a Beverly Hills celebrity mansions tour. This guided tour takes you through the wealthy communities that Hollywood’s elite call home, offering a glimpse into their lavish lifestyles. The expert guide will share fascinating tales of the famous people who call this legendary neighborhood home. 

Explore the splendor and architectural wonders of Beverly Hills, including the famous Playboy Mansion and the homes of A-list celebrities. Capture famous faces while admiring famous locations like the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. This tour offers an inside look into Hollywood’s elite and leaves behind fascinating stories and memories.

Read Also: Best Hotels in Beverly Hills: Top 21 Hotels 2023

#4. Go Shopping on Rodeo Drive

Credit: Love Beverly Hills

Shopaholics and fashionistas, unite! You must absolutely take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime to visit the legendary Rodeo Drive if you happen to be in Los Angeles. This posh shopping district has earned a reputation for luxury and sophistication and draws shoppers from all over the world. As soon as you enter Rodeo Drive, you’ll be surrounded by exclusive boutiques and designer shops that present the hottest trends and sought-after fashion labels. This palm-lined street is a hotspot for luxury shopping, with brands like Chanel, Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton all represented.

A leisurely trip down Rodeo Drive is an experience in and of itself, even if you don’t intend to spend a lot of money on designer items. You are immediately transported to a world where elegance is supreme by the immaculately maintained stores. Also the immaculately styled window displays, and the swanky atmosphere.

Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles is a hub for fine dining, people-watching, and shopping. It’s a perfect destination for fashion enthusiasts and those looking to enjoy a luxurious atmosphere. Whether you’re a fashionista or just looking to indulge in a gourmet meal, Rodeo Drive offers a unique shopping experience. So unleash your inner fashionista and get ready to strut your stuff on this iconic boulevard.

#5. Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Credit: Hotels.com

Put on your walking shoes and embark on a star-studded journey along the renowned Hollywood Walk of Fame. Any fan of pop culture must stop by this renowned avenue, which is decorated with brass stars honoring famous people from the entertainment business. Keep an eye out for the names of your favorite actors, musicians, and other notables embedded in the sidewalk as you go along Hollywood Boulevard.

An experience that ties you to the heart and soul of the entertainment business is walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s like taking a tour through history, with each star standing for a significant contribution to the entertainment industry. However, the Walk of Fame is made up of more than just a list of names. Boulevard entertainers, souvenir shops, and people dressed as movie stars along this lively and busy boulevard. You might even see a fake Superman or Marilyn Monroe posing for the ideal picture.

Don’t forget to check out the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, which is famous for the legendary handprints and footprints of Hollywood. Admire the lavish architecture while taking in the glitzy atmosphere that permeates the area.

#6. Drive Down the Pacific Coast Highway

Credit: Viator

Put your safety belt on, roll down the windows, and head out on the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the world’s most beautiful drives. With amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and access to some of California’s most scenic locations, this breathtaking coastal road spans more than 600 miles. Depending on your inclination, you can take this famous roadway north or south from Los Angeles. Regardless of the route you take, get ready for an incredible adventure that will take you past jaw-dropping cliffs, immaculate beaches, and quaint coastal towns.

The splendor of nature can be seen as you travel along the Pacific Coast Highway. Admire the stunning meeting of the mountains and sea at Big Sur’s rocky cliffs. Visit remote beaches, feel the sand under your toes, and let the sound of the waves crashing calm your spirit. You’ll pass quaint communities like Santa Barbara, Monterey, and Santa Cruz along the journey, each with its own distinct personality and attractions. Enjoy some local cuisine, visit some art galleries, or just take a leisurely stroll through the quaint neighborhoods.

This beautiful trip offers a chance to get away from the city and reconnect with the magnificence of nature. So start your car, and crank on your favorite music for road trips. Then, let the Pacific Coast Highway lead you on an exciting journey.

Read Also: UNIVERSAL CITY HOTELS: Top 10 Hotels in Universal City

#7. Go Star-gazing at Griffith Observatory

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Have you ever wondered what lies beyond Los Angeles’ glitz and glamor? Visit the Griffith Observatory to escape the city lights and set out on a celestial adventure. This famous monument, perched on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood, offers stunning views of the universe and the opportunity to come close to the stars. In this once-in-a-lifetime journey, the magnificent Art Deco building that has helped to make it a beloved Los Angeles icon since its completion in 1935 will greet you as you ascend to the observatory. A world of celestial wonders is waiting to be explored once you step inside.

Both astronomy experts and curious tourists can enjoy the variety of telescopes, exhibitions, and planetarium performances at the Griffith Observatory. Explore the interactive exhibits, discover the grandeur of the cosmos, and be amazed by the complex operation of our solar system. A wonderful experience can be had at Griffith Observatory when the sun sets and the stars come out to play. Visitors can stroll across the wide lawn, observe far-off galaxies, and catch meteor showers. 

In addition to a 40-minute immersive performance in the Planetarium theater, a small group tour offers an in-depth overview of the Observatory’s science, history, design, and movie trivia. Awe-inspiring and humbling, stargazing at Griffith Observatory awakens a sense of wonder and curiosity, as well as a sense of our position in the cosmos. It’s a unique opportunity to experience LA.

#8. Tour the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Credit: 10Best

Visit the LACMA, or Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to immerse yourself in a world of artistic marvels. This renowned organization is the largest art museum in the western United States and is situated in the center of Miracle Mile. It houses a sizable collection that crosses centuries and continents. LACMA offers an enthralling voyage through time, whether you’re an art connoisseur or simply admire the beauty of human ingenuity.

The LACMA museum houses a varied collection of artwork that includes both modern and historical pieces. Visitors can browse galleries filled with European paintings, Asian pottery, and Latin American sculptures. The Chris Burden Urban Light installation is a recognized feature that captures the interaction between art and life in Los Angeles.

In addition to being a well-known museum in Los Angeles, LACMA is a cultural center that conducts a number of events, movie screenings, and concerts every year. Utilize these once-in-a-lifetime journeys to enhance your experience and interact with Los Angeles’ thriving arts scene.

#9. Visit Universal Studios Hollywood

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At Universal Studios Hollywood, the best vacation spot for movie buffs and thrill seekers, experience the enchantment of Hollywood. Immerse yourself in the entertainment industry by visiting renowned sites like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and going on a studio tour to see the magic that happens behind the scenes. Along the route, enjoy iconic movie locations and props.

However, Universal Studios Hollywood is more than just movie fantasy; it’s also an exhilarating theme park. Put on your safety belt and buckle up for exhilarating rides like the Jurassic World ride, where you’ll interact with dinosaurs. Experience the thrill of a fast-paced chase on the Fast & Furious Supercharged attraction, or take part in the conflict between good and evil on Transformers: The attraction-3D.

Live events, exciting street performances, and mouthwatering eating options are available at Universal Studios Hollywood in addition to the rides and attractions. It’s a full-day excursion that will make you smile, jump with joy, and create lifelong memories.

#10. Spend a Day on Catalina Island

Credit: TripAdvisor

Unbelievably, sometimes leaving Los Angeles is one of the once-in-a-lifetime things to do. And a tranquil island break to Catalina Island is one of the best ways to get away from the rush and bustle of Los Angeles. This lovely hideaway, which is only offshore, offers the ideal fusion of unspoiled nature, outdoor activities, and laid-back island ambiance.

Take a ferry from Newport Beach and allow the sea breeze to carry you to a peaceful place. You’ll be welcomed by picturesque streets lined with shops, enticing restaurants, and warm cafes as soon as you arrive on Catalina Island. Take a leisurely stroll through Avalon and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and magnificent waterfront vistas.

Adventurers can enjoy a variety of outdoor pursuits on Catalina Island, such as zip line tours, scuba diving, snorkeling, and relaxing on gorgeous beaches. While zip-line trips provide stunning views, these activities showcase the abundant marine life that exists beneath the water’s surface. Worries can be reduced by unwinding on a seashore picnic or soaking in the tranquility of the surroundings.

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