Trip inspiration
Katie Sagal

Los Angeles Staycation - Ideas to Plan a Fun Weekend at Home

We all love a good vacation. But sometimes, life gets in the way and we can’t get out of town for a variety of reasons. That’s where the idea of a Los Angeles staycation comes in handy. Explore your local city with fresh eyes, seeing and doing things you’ve never done, or only done once. You could even stay in a hotel to make it seem like more of an escape from daily life. If you’re in Los Angeles looking for some ways to explore your hometown, then check out this list of our favorite things to do in L.A. for a fun staycation. Our top staycation ideas include:

  • Aquarium of the Pacific
  • OUE Skyspace L.A.
  • Natural History Museum
  • California Science Center
  • Newport Landing Whale Watch Cruise
  • L.A. Zoo & Botanical Gardens
  • Roller-Skating in Santa Monica
  • The Huntington Library & Gardens
  • Griffith Park

Save on Admission

Looking to save on tickets to your favorite Los Angeles staycation ideas? Pick up a Go Los Angeles® Card to save up to 50% on top area museums, tours, activities, and more. See all available attractions and prices – here.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Image of Animal, Aquarium, Fish, Sea Life, Water, Adult, Male, Man, Person, Aquatic, Child, Female, Girl, Shoe, For the animal lovers, this is one attraction that shouldn’t be missed as part of a delightful and educational staycation for the whole family. This particular aquarium’s unique focus on the creatures of the vast Pacific makes it an ideal way to learn more about the natural world in your very own backyard, too! They also host periodic special events and programming that you can take advantage of as a local, so be sure to check out the website before your visit. Getting In: Aquarium of the Pacific tickets are included with the Go Los Angeles Card.

OUE Skyspace L.A. & Skyslide

Image of City, Condo, Housing, Urban, Office Building, High Rise, Apartment Building, Outdoors, Pool, Water, Person, Metropolis, You may have lived in L.A. for quite some time, but have you ever taken the opportunity to see your home city from a bird’s-eye perspective? Head to OUE Skyspace, at the top of the US Bank Tower, for unparalleled views of the city in all directions, from the ocean to the mountains. An extra fun element of this attraction is the Skyslide option – an add-on activity that allows you to slide down from the 70th to the 69th floor of the building in an all-glass exterior slide. It’s a heck of a trip and is quite a thrill. Getting In: OUE Skyspace LA tickets are included with the Go Los Angeles Card. Skyslide is available for an upgrade fee paid directly to the attraction.

Natural History Museum

Image of Indoors, Museum, If you’re a history buff or a big fan of the natural world, then this museum is for you. This was actually the first museum in L.A. (the more you know...) and today boasts an impressive collection of natural and cultural artifacts from around the globe. You’ll find everything from dinosaur fossils to Aztec art and artifacts. They also boast rotating special exhibits on various topics, so there’s always something new to explore! Getting In: Natural History Museum tickets are included with the Go Los Angeles Card.

California Science Center

Image of City, Shop, Shopping Mall, Urban, Downtown, People, Person, This is a great attraction for families, and is conveniently located in Exposition Park right next to the Natural History Museum –so make a day of it! They have well over 100 interactive exhibits, including fascinating and informative displays of live animals in their famed “Ecosystems” galleries. The big draw, however, is the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which has recently arrived in California. You could also see an IMAX film on a relevant topic, which will make the afternoon just that little bit extra special. Getting In: The California Science Center is free to explore; California Science Center IMAX tickets are included with the Go Los Angeles Card.

Newport Landing Whale Watch Cruise

Image of Animal, Mammal, Sea Life, Whale, Fish, Shark, In search of something truly special for your staycation? Then a whale watch cruise it is! This delightful and educational excursion is an excellent way to not only see more of your city via the water, but also to appreciate the natural environment in a way you might not have before. Come here to see these majestic creatures in the wild, from Giant Blue Ways to smaller Minke Whales. The kind of whales you’ll see varies seasonally, so be sure to ask your captain what to expect! Getting In: Whale watch tickets are included with the Go Los Angeles Card.

L.A. Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Image of Flower, Plant, Leaf, Mimosa, Image credit: L.A. Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
While you may have taken the kids to the zoo a time or two, have you really spent time exploring the Botanical Gardens? Head to this combo attraction to not only enjoy a visit to your favorite critters, but a chance to stroll through some of the most beautiful gardens around. You’ll also learn about the vital connections between plant and animal life in the world’s ecosystems, and see how both depend upon one another for survival. Getting In: LA Zoo & Botanical Gardens tickets are included with the Go Los Angeles Card.

Roller-Skating in Santa Monica

Image of Chair, Furniture, Indoors, Restaurant, Person, Dining Table, Table, Canopy, If you’re in search of some old-fashioned fun, why not try your hand at roller-skates after all these years? Cruise around the Santa Monica Boardwalk on your skates, and enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Adults and kids alike will delight in this fun activity. You can rent skates easily from Perry’s Beach Café, which also doubles as an excellent place for some tasty lunch or snacks (see above - doesn't it look relaxing?) Getting In: Perry’s Beach Café rentals are included with the Go Los Angeles Card.

The Huntington Library & Gardens

Image of Nature, Outdoors, Pond, Water, Scenery, Grass, Park, Pagoda, Prayer, Shrine, Temple, Another option for you horticultural enthusiasts is the Huntington. This distinctive attraction combines the appeal of some glorious gardens with the that of an art gallery/research library all into one amazing package. After your leisurely stroll through the gardens, check out the paintings and rare books within, including a Gutenberg Bible and a printing of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Getting In: Huntington Library & Gardens tickets are included with the Go Los Angeles Card.

Griffith Park

Image of Road, Outdoors, Car, Vehicle, Aerial View, Vegetation, Image credit: Griffith Park Facebook page.
Last but certainly not least, be sure to visit your hometown park! This massive urban park is filled with fun things to do, from the usual outdoor fare like picnics, hikes, runs, and bike rides to informative attractions like the Observatory, the Autry Museum of the American West, and the above-mentioned zoo & botanical gardens. You could easily spend an entire day enjoying this massive park, but you could also make a few hours here part of a larger itinerary. Either way, it’s good to support your local parks! Getting In: Griffith Park is free to explore; attractions inside the park may charge admission.

Don’t Forget to Save

There you have it – our favorite suggestions for Los Angeles staycation ideas. Whether you’re the type that loves to explore and learn new things, or just love to kick back and relax, we’re sure you’ll be able to create that perfect staycation plan. Remember, if you’re looking to spend wisely while enjoying your local attractions, pick up a Go Los Angeles® Card today!

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