It's only natural to be skeptical about a list like this. How can anyone pick just a dozen things to do in Los Angeles when there are so many to choose from? Here's how we did it: First, we found out which ones are most popular, based on tourism data and our observations after more than a decade of doing things in Los Angeles. Then, we asked our readers and thousands responded, voting for their favorites.
This list highlights the top dozen most popular things to do in Los Angeles based on that. but LA is a big place and it could keep you busy for weeks. In fact, it has so many great things to do that even some of our own personal favorites didn't make the list. If you've been to LA and done those top sights before - or if something a little less mainstream is your preference, try this list of the "best of the rest" or browse through an A to Z listing.
Los Angeles Legendary Beaches
Where North America meets the Pacific Ocean and far enough south that it's often warm enough to enjoy them, Los Angeles boasts miles of beaches - and all of them are open to the public. They're an iconic part of most people's image of Los Angeles.
The Santa Monica Bay creates a stretched-out, backwards C-shaped shoreline, with most of its beachfront facing west, except Santa Monica and Malibu. In Orange County, the coastline turns, giving their beaches a south-facing view.
You'll find all kinds of beaches around LA - active ones lined with volleyball nets, quiet and natural spots, places to have a meal or take a nap on the sand. Every few miles, a pier juts out into the ocean, often in spots that the surfers love.
Pros and Cons
Our favorite thing to do at a Los Angeles beach is a walk or a run, especially in the lively South Bay beach towns - Redondo, Hermosa and Manhattan Beach. We always find lots of other active folks out and about - and plenty of great beachfront homes to envy. It's a unique part of the Los Angeles lifestyle.
On the downside, the beach areas are foggier than you might expect, often stuck in all-day gloom for the entire month of June (or longer). On a sunny summer weekend, parking can be hard to find near the best beaches.