5 fun things to do in Los Angeles

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Has there ever been a better time to visit LA? If you’re a repeat offender, you’ve probably already ticked off the big-ticket attractions and are ready to try something new. Here are five fun things to do in Los Angeles.

The City of Angels never sleeps. While Los Angeles is a cool city with lots of world-famous attractions, here are some fun things to do in LA when you just want to hang out. 

5 fun things to do in Los Angeles

1- Take a hike in Runyon Canyon

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Sunset Junction in Silver Lake

LA may be famous for its urban sprawl but the city also has a surprising number of parks and outdoor spaces.

Runyon Canyon is perhaps the best known and its proximity to Hollywood Blvd makes it popular with celebs.

Take a stroll along the 5km loop trail and you’re practically guaranteed to bump into Jennifer Aniston walking her dog.

You’ll also enjoy mesmerising views of the city and its surrounds. Nearby Griffith Park is the largest urban park in the USA and has more than 85kms of trails, fire roads and bridle paths.

If you only have time to tackle one, try the East Observatory Trail, which starts near the Greek Theatre on North Vermont Avenue and finishes at the Griffith Observatory.

Those keen to burn off some extra calories can push on to the 495-metre summit of Mt Hollywood for outstanding 360-degree vistas.

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2- Explore the hip neighbourhood of Silverlake

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Recycled handbags in Silver Lake, LA

When you get tired of celebrity spotting in West Hollywood, venture 9km east on Sunset Blvd to the hip neighbourhood of Silverlake.

Ironically, this is where many of LA’s first movies were filmed – its topography being perfect for caper flicks starring the Keystone Cops and Laurel and Hardy (think steep streets and runaway prams).

Today you’ll find vintage record stores, colourful cafes and a vibrant community of painters, artists and musicians.

Pick up a bag made from recycled leather jackets from Dean, a lucha libre wrestling mask from Gypsy or some artwork made from recycled chopsticks at Kellygreen.

The surprises keep on coming at Carroll Avenue in neighbouring suburb Angelino Heights.

It’s the improbable home of LA’s largest concentration of Victorian houses – a delightful montage of extravagant, pastel-toned porches, gables and turrets.

3- Unleash your inner cowboy

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Riding at Sunset Ranch, LA

Covering large swathes of the Hollywood Hills, the mountainous terrain of Griffith Park is ideal for exploring on horseback.

From its stables beneath the Hollywood sign, Sunset Ranch offers a range of guided rides including a one-hour trail ride, a two-hour sunset ride and a four-hour lunch or dinner ride.

As you plod along sandy trails lined with trees, shrubs and mustard plants, keep an eye out for the park’s elusive coyotes and bobcats. Watching the city light up at sunset from the summit of Mt Hollywood is particularly beguiling.

4- Ride the trams and buses 

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Victorian houses on Carroll Avenue, LA

There’s a perception you need a car to get anywhere in LA but the city’s public transport system is a cheap and considerably less stressful way of getting around.

Invest in a train and bus pass for $US5 and you’ll get unlimited access to eight Metro Rail lines and three types of Metro buses(local, rapid and express).

There’s also a DASH bus service that will deliver you to all the major tourist attractions downtown for just 50 cents a ride.

Another popular option is Starline Tours’ hop-on, hop-off service, which has 50 stops throughout Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, including Universal Studios.

5- Eat a meal from a food truck

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LA offers a range of choices when it comes to food

While LA has dozens of splurge-worthy eateries, it’s also home to a roving army of food trucks that serve up tasty treats at kerbside prices.

Highlights include sashimi-grade tuna from Shrimp Pimp, innovative meatballs from Great Balls on Tires and dangerously more-ish cupcakes from Sprinkles.

You can track down a truck by following them on Twitter or by checking websites such as Find LA Food Trucks and Roaming Hunger.

The trucks are now so popular they have their own annual awards called the Vendys.

Last year’s winner was Indian street food specialist India Jones Chow Truck.

While the above suggestions will add some spice to your itinerary, let’s not forget the perennial favourites that have been delighting visitors for years.

You could easily spend a few days in Los Angeles doing the rounds of the city’s popular attractions.

Universal Studios, Madame Tussauds and the California Science Center continually add new attractions and are all worth a repeat visit.

Looking for somewhere amazing to visit in both the USA and Canada? Read this.

Fun things to do in Los Angeles

Fun things to do in Los Angeles

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In 2004 I abandoned a sensible career in IT to travel, write and eat home-brand supermarket food. Now I'm a full-time travel writer and divide my time between Sydney, New York and Europe. I'm a regular contributor to the Sydney Morning Herald, Sun-Herald, West Australian, New Zealand Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, Luxury Travel and GQ magazine. I'm a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers and a judge for the annual Gourmet Traveller, International Traveller and Hotel Management awards. Awards Winner, 2014 ASTW Best International Story over 1000 words Winner, 2010 ASTW Best International Story under 1000 words Winner, 2009 US Travel Association Best US Destination Story Winner, 2007 ASTW Travel Writer of the Year Winner, 2007 ASTW Best International Story over 1000 words Winner, 2006 ASTW Best Destination Story under 1000 words