Griffith Observatory is a place to see stars and incredible views of the city. (©Sidney Pan/Shutterstock)
Los Angeles is one of the most famed cities of the world, mainly because of its film and television industry, but it is so much more.
Take in the art scene; finding museums from the traditional to the contemporary. The music industry thrives as well and top artists routinely entertain thousands indoors at the Staples Center or outdoors at the Hollywood Bowl. Get out of the city to hike trails or go up a mountain for a closer look at the stars or an incredible view of the city below.
These are experiences that should not be missed on a journey through the City of Angels.
TCL Chinese Theatre and The Walk of Fame
Walk down Hollywood Boulevard and it's impossible to miss the grandeur of the TCL Chinese Theatre—formerly known as Grauman's Chinese Theater. The theater has magnificent 40-foot high distinctive curved walls with copped-topped turrets. Inside the theater, where some of biggest movie premieres in the world have been held for decades, huge coral-red columns support a bronze roof 90 feet up, providing a unique atmosphere.
Purchase tickets for a regular screening and/or splurge for a tour to get an in-depth look at one of the most iconic theaters in the world. Before the showing, stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and take time to see the numerous stars—literally—underfoot on the The Hollywood Walk of Fame before visiting the Forecourt of the Stars to see cement handprints and footprints of Hollywood legends.
Opened just in 2015, this contemporary art museum is home to over 2,000 works of art.
Take audio tours through the museum which encompasses 120,000 square feet and be inspired by the artistic mastery from a wide array of artists including Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jasper Johns.
Admission is free and open Tuesday through Sunday.
Museum of Death
True, this weird and creepy educational museum is a bit off the beaten path but it deserves a stop in for its tasteful display of cases from serial killers to cannibalism to cult recruitment. Step inside the world's largest collection of serial killer art work and original crime scene notes and photos from cases like the Black Dhali murders, Charles Manson crime scenes and more. Leave knowing more than you could want to know about the history of death and enjoy a renewed sense appreciation of the fragility of life.
The Staples Center
Want to rub elbows with Jack Nicholson—not literally, though—in person or see one of today's hottest music stars in action? The Staples Center is the place to be.
L.A.'s sports arena is home to the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks in addition to the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings. See all kinds of shows ranging from Roger Waters to Pitbull and Lady Gaga throughout the year. The center doesn't host daily tours, so the action happens during home games and live music events.
Eating Sweet or Savory at Bottega Louie
There is much to be savored at Bottega Louie, a combination restaurant, gourmet market, patisserie and café.
Specializing in Italian food, Louie's authentic New York-style pizza hot from a brick oven is not to be missed. Kids are sure to be delighted by the patisserie's varied selections including its noted macarons.
The Griffith Observatory is one of southern California's most popular sites to visit as well as being one of the most visible, perched high above the city on Mount Hollywood.
That perch makes it one of the best places to see the world famous Hollywood Sign, but it is much more than just a place with incredible views of Los Angeles.
Dedicated to the advancement of the science of astronomy, the Observatory is open Tuesday through Sunday and visitors can look through telescopes and discover exhibits such as the Rebel Without a Cause Monument and the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater for free. See shows in the planetarium for a nominal charge.
See the Stars at Paramount Studios
For TV and movie lovers its, well, paramount to roll down Melrose Avenue in Hollywood to take a tour of Paramount Studios.
Paramount is the only major studio left in Hollywood and has three separate tours—ranging from two to four 1/2 hours—that gives a behind-the-scenes look at its over 100 years of television and film making.
Paramount's "Wings" won the first Academy Award for best picture in 1927 and has produced diverse fare from "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Godfather" saga to "Ferris Buellers' Day Off." It's a working lot, so don't be surprised to see stars from your favorite TV show or possibly catch a potential award-winning film in action.
Hike Runyon Canyon
Getting out of the city to clear your head and get some exercise is relatively simple with Runyon Canyon Park just two blocks away from Hollywood Boulevard.
The trail is a 2.5 mile loop that is open dawn to dusk for hikers, bikers, runners, dog walkers and the like. In addition to getting exercise, one of the rewards is excellent views including Catalina Island and the Griffith Observatory. Watch for real stars as the trails are popular with celebrities.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Plan to spend some time at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art as it is the largest art museum in the western U.S., housing over 130,000 objects.
Discover post-war exhibits in the immense Broad Contemporary Art Museum and head to the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion to see rotating major exhibitions.
The Hollywood Bowl
Be enthralled by performances from the Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl, the place to hear the best in music from spring to fall. In addition to the Philharmonic, the largest outdoor venue in the country, tickles musical fancies to the tune of jazz festivals to Tony Bennett and "Mamma Mia!"
Pack a special picnic basket to share as food and wine are allowed or purchase a special experience where a three-course menu and drinks are delivered to your seats.
Shop on Rodeo Drive
In the heart of Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive is one of the world's most distinctive shopping areas.
Two Rodeo Drive's cobblestone street is just three blocks long but is home to over 100 high-end boutiques such as Harry Winston, Chanel and Versace. Purchasing is not a requirement; merely enjoying stunning window displays is a common practice.
After a long afternoon of walking, pop into the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel, known for its role in "Pretty Woman." At the in-house nail salon—Nail Bar—sip Champagne as the movie plays during manicure and pedicure services.