Los Angeles, the City of Angels, offers many exciting activities to explore. From iconic landmarks to unique experiences, LA never has a dull moment. This article will cover the top once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles, along with some tips and recommendations to help you plan your perfect LA adventure.
Take a Helicopter Tour of Los Angeles
A. Introduction to Helicopter Tours in LA:
Helicopter tours in Los Angeles are one of the most once-in-a-lifetime things to do in Los Angeles, offering a unique and breathtaking perspective of the city’s iconic landmarks, beautiful beaches, and stunning natural landscapes. From the Hollywood Hills to the Pacific Ocean, a helicopter tour is an unforgettable experience that allows you to see LA from a bird’s eye view.
B. Best Helicopter Tour Companies in LA:
There are several reputable helicopter tour companies in LA, including Star Helicopters, Elite Helicopter Tours, and Orbic Air. Each company offers different tour options, from short sightseeing flights to custom tours.
C. What to Expect During a Helicopter Tour:
Once in a lifetime, things to do in Los Angeles include taking a helicopter tour where you can soar above the city and witness some of the most iconic landmarks from a unique perspective. You’ll fly over the Hollywood Sign, the Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills, and other landmarks. You’ll also see stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Pier, and Malibu beaches. Helicopter tours typically last between 15 minutes to an hour, depending on your chosen tour package.
D. Tips for Choosing the Best Helicopter Tour for You:
When choosing a helicopter tour, consider your budget, the tour length, and the landmarks you want to see. It’s also important to consider the helicopter’s safety record and the experience and qualifications of the pilot. Additionally, check if the tour company provides headphones for noise reduction and in-flight commentary.
E. Top Landmarks to See During a Helicopter Tour:
- The Hollywood Sign: Fly over the iconic Hollywood sign and snap a photo from above.
- Beverly Hills: Get a bird’s eye view of the luxurious mansions and lush greenery of Beverly Hills.
- Santa Monica Pier: See the colorful Ferris wheel and carnival atmosphere of the Santa Monica Pier.
- Venice Beach: Fly over the quirky beach community of Venice Beach and its famous boardwalk.
- Malibu Beaches: Witness the stunning coastline and beautiful beaches of Malibu, including Zuma Beach and Point Dume.
- Downtown LA: Fly over the skyscrapers and bustling streets of downtown LA, including the Staples Center and LA Live.
- Griffith Observatory: Get a panoramic view of the Griffith Observatory and the surrounding hills.
- Universal Studios Hollywood: See the theme park’s iconic rides and attractions from above.
Hike to the Hollywood Sign
A. Overview of the Hollywood Sign Hike:
Hiking to the Hollywood Sign is one of the once in a lifetime things to do in Los Angeles. An iconic landmark that overlooks the city, the Hollywood Sign provides an excellent opportunity for a hike. The hike is a moderate-level trail suitable for most fitness levels and offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding hills. It is a must-do for anyone visiting Los Angeles.
B. Best Times to Hike to the Hollywood Sign:
The best time to hike to the Hollywood Sign is early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. It is also recommended to avoid weekends and holidays when the trail can be crowded.
C. What to Expect During the Hike:
Once in a lifetime, things to do in Los Angeles include hiking to the Hollywood Sign. The 3.5-mile round trip hike will have you gaining an elevation of around 1000 feet and offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding hills. The trail is well-marked and depending on your fitness level, it can take between 2-3 hours, allowing plenty of time to take pictures along the way.
D. Tips for a Successful Hollywood Sign Hike:
- Wear appropriate hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
- Stay on the designated trail and respect the natural environment.
- Do not climb or attempt to touch the Hollywood Sign.
- Stay aware of wildlife, including snakes and coyotes.
- Consider bringing a camera or phone to take pictures of the stunning views.
- Check the weather before starting your hike and avoid the trail during extreme heat or rain.
E. Alternative Hiking Options in LA:
If you’re looking for alternative hiking options in LA, consider these trails:
- Runyon Canyon Park: A popular hiking spot that offers stunning views of the city and the Hollywood Sign.
- Griffith Park: A massive urban park that offers a variety of hiking trails, including the famous Bronson Canyon Trail.
- Eaton Canyon Trail: A beautiful trail that leads to a stunning waterfall in the San Gabriel Mountains.
- Malibu Creek State Park: A scenic park with trails that offer views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Visit Universal Studios Hollywood
A. Overview of Universal Studios Hollywood:
Universal Studios Hollywood is a world-renowned theme park and working movie studio in Los Angeles. It features a variety of attractions and experiences based on popular movies and TV shows.
B. Best Time to Visit Universal Studios Hollywood:
Once in a lifetime, things to do in Los Angeles include visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, but the best time to do this is during the weekdays, particularly in the off-seasons of spring and fall when the crowds are smaller. To get the most out of your experience, it is best to avoid visiting during weekends, holidays, and the peak summer season, when the park can be very crowded.
C. Top Attractions and Experiences at Universal Studios Hollywood:
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: This themed area of the park brings the world of Harry Potter to life with rides, shops, and restaurants.
- Studio Tour: This guided tour takes you behind the scenes of the working movie studio, including special effects demonstrations and visits to iconic movie sets.
- Jurassic World: The Ride: This thrilling water ride takes you through the world of Jurassic Park and features animatronic dinosaurs.
- Transformers: The Ride-3D: This immersive ride takes you on a high-speed adventure with the Transformers.
- The Walking Dead Attraction: This experience brings the popular TV show to life with a maze-style walkthrough attraction.
D. Tips for Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood:
- Arrive early to beat the crowds and maximize your time in the park.
- Purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines at the ticket booths.
- Consider purchasing Universal Express tickets to skip the lines for popular attractions.
- Bring comfortable shoes and clothing for a day of walking and standing.
- Check the park’s website for showtimes and ride closures before your visit.
- Bring a refillable water bottle, as the park has water fountains.
E. Alternative Theme Park Options in LA:
If you’re looking for alternative theme park options in LA, consider these parks:
- Disneyland: The original Disney park is located in nearby Anaheim and features classic rides, attractions, and new experiences.
- Knott’s Berry Farm: This theme park features classic thrill rides, family-friendly attractions, and live entertainment.
- Six Flags Magic Mountain: This thrill-seeker’s paradise features some of the world’s tallest and fastest roller coasters.
- Legoland California: This theme park is geared towards families with younger children and features rides, shows, and attractions based on Lego.
Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
A. Overview of the Pacific Coast Highway Drive:
The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as California State Route 1, is a scenic coastal highway that stretches along the California coast for over 600 miles. It is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world, offering stunning ocean views, a rugged coastline, and charming seaside towns.
B. Best Time to Drive the Pacific Coast Highway:
The best time to drive the Pacific Coast Highway is during spring and fall shoulder seasons when the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. Avoid the peak summer season, which can be very crowded, and winter, when the road may be closed due to storms.
C. Top Scenic Stops Along the Pacific Coast Highway:
- Big Sur: This stretch of coastline is considered one of the most beautiful in the world and offers breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and mountains.
- Hearst Castle: This historic landmark was once the home of media mogul William Randolph Hearst and features opulent architecture and beautiful gardens.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium: This world-renowned aquarium features exhibits and displays of the marine life of Monterey Bay.
- Point Lobos State Reserve: Once in a lifetime, things to do in Los Angeles include visiting the natural reserve, where visitors can witness stunning coastline views and observe diverse wildlife, such as sea lions and otters.
- Bixby Bridge: This iconic bridge is one of the most photographed spots on the Pacific Coast Highway and offers stunning coastline views.
D. Tips for a Successful Pacific Coast Highway Drive:
- Plan your route and allow plenty of time for stops and photo opportunities.
- Check the weather and road conditions before your trip, especially during winter.
- Bring layers of clothing, as the weather can be unpredictable.
- Bring plenty of snacks and water, as there are few food options along the way.
- Drive cautiously and be aware of other drivers, especially on narrow, winding roads.
- Consider staying overnight in one of the charming seaside towns along the way to break up the drive.
E. Alternative Scenic Drives in LA:
If you’re looking for alternative scenic drives in LA, consider these options:
- Angeles Crest Scenic Byway: This mountain drive offers stunning views of the San Gabriel Mountains and the Angeles National Forest.
- Mulholland Drive: This iconic drive winds through the Hollywood Hills and offers stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains.
- Palos Verdes Drive: This coastal drive offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and is known for its beautiful homes and scenery.
- Sunset Boulevard: This famous street winds through the heart of LA and offers a glimpse of the city’s history and culture.
Attend a Live Taping of a TV Show
A. Overview of Attending a TV Show Taping:
Attending a live taping of a TV show is a unique and exciting experience that allows you to see your favorite TV shows being filmed in person. Los Angeles is home to many TV studios that offer audiences opportunities to attend popular TV show tapings.
B. Best TV Shows to Attend a Taping in LA:
Some of the best TV shows to attend a taping in LA include:
- The Ellen Show
- Jimmy Kimmel Live
- The Price is Right
- Dancing with the Stars
- The Voice
C. What to Expect During a TV Show Taping:
When attending a TV show taping in Los Angeles, expect to arrive early and wait in line to enter the studio. Once inside, you will be seated in the audience and given instructions on when to applaud, laugh, or cheer. This once in a lifetime experience is one of the many things to do in Los Angeles and the taping may take several hours, and breaks may be taken for the cast and crew to rest or adjust the set.
D. Tips for Attending a TV Show Taping:
- Reserve your tickets in advance, as they often sell out quickly.
- Dress appropriately and comfortably for the weather and studio temperature.
- Bring snacks and water, as food may not be allowed inside the studio.
- Follow the instructions given by the studio audience coordinator.
- Avoid taking photos or videos during the taping, as it may be prohibited.
- Be prepared to wait in line and arrive early to ensure a good seat.
E. Alternative Entertainment Options in LA:
If you’re looking for alternative entertainment options in LA, consider these options:
- Visit a comedy club, such as the Comedy Store or Laugh Factory.
- Attend a live theater performance like the Pantages Theatre or the Ahmanson Theatre.
- Visit an amusement park, such as Disneyland or Universal Studios Hollywood.
- Attend a concert or festival at one of LA’s many music venues, such as the Hollywood Bowl or the Greek Theatre.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to take a helicopter tour in LA?
The best time of day to take a helicopter tour in LA is early morning or late afternoon when the weather is usually clear, and the lighting is optimal for capturing stunning aerial views.
What should I wear on a helicopter tour?
It’s recommended to wear comfortable, dark-colored clothing to reduce glare and reflection on the windows. Avoid loose items and jewelry that can get caught in the helicopter.
What are some free things to do in Los Angeles?
Some free things to do in Los Angeles include visiting the Getty Center, exploring Griffith Observatory, taking a stroll along Venice Beach, and hiking in Runyon Canyon Park.
How much time should I plan for a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood?
It’s recommended to plan for a full day at Universal Studios Hollywood to experience all the rides, shows, and attractions it offers.
How long does it take to hike to the Hollywood Sign?
The hike to the Hollywood Sign takes approximately 2-3 hours round trip, depending on your trail and your hiking pace.