LA may be best known for its Hollywood attractions and glittering storefronts. But Los Angeles’ beautiful year-round weather also makes it the perfect destination for those who love to enjoy the great outdoors. Looking to soak up some of that legendary California sun on your next trip to Los Angeles? Check out a few of the best outdoor activities in LA according to our travel experts, including... 
  • Griffith Park
  • LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens
  • Santa Monica
  • Theme parks
  • Tours
  • Whale watching
  • And more!

Hike Griffith Park

If you’ve come to L.A. for the celebrity culture but are itching to get outside, then why not trek up to the Hollywood sign? Embark on a three-hour adventure to hike from the Greek Theater in Griffith Park to the iconic sign in Hollywood Hills. Bonus—this hike includes a chance to explore the historic Griffith Park Observatory. 

Photograph nature at the LA Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Looking to spice up your Instagram feed? Pop by the L.A. Zoo in Griffith Park to hang out with all your favorite critters, including vividly-plumaged birds, mammals from all around the globe, and fascinating amphibians like the internet darlings, axolotls. There are also several botanical gardens on the grounds, so you can get some great plant photos, too.  griffith observatory los angeles

Ride the World’s Only Solar-Powered Ferris Wheel

Indulge your childhood nostalgia for amusement parks and head to Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier. There you’ll find over a dozen rides, games, and attractions from roller coasters to the iconic Ferris wheel powered by that persistent LA sunshine. There are also plenty of places to shop and eat, so you can make an entire afternoon out of it.

Take the Kids to a Theme Park

In a similar vein, if you’d like to go all-out on the outdoor amusement parks, places like Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain are excellent options. Knott’s is a local indie outpost with plenty of unique roller coasters and other rides. It also boasts a sister waterpark, if you’re visiting in season. Magic Mountain does the brand proud with its signature combination of exhilarating rides and playful characters. los angeles santa monica

See Celebrity Homes on a Bike Tour

Sure, you can take a bus tour through the neighborhoods of the rich and famous, but you wouldn’t get any exercise or sunshine while doing it. Take a self-guided bike tour to get a peek at the glam life via routes that buses can’t or don’t go on, including highlights like Marilyn Monroe’s old apartment, Rodeo Drive, the Beverly Hills Sign, and many more.  

Go whale watching

Seek out these majestic creatures on a whale-watching cruise. Our favorite cruise escorts you out to one of the largest marine sanctuaries in California on an exciting two-and-a-half-hour journey. Keep your eyes open for dolphins, plus several different varieties of whale, including California Gray Whales, Minke Whales, Humpback Whales, Orcas, and even the massive Giant Blue Whale. Another excellent opportunity for unique photos. Just don’t forget the sunscreen! los angeles whale watching

Work on Your Tan in the Harbor

Looking for a leisurely way to spend an hour or so that gets you out of the city? Try a Los Angeles Harbor Cruise, a sightseeing excursion that’s the perfect excuse to soak up that Vitamin D. En route you’ll even learn a thing or two about the Vincent Thomas suspension bridge, the Angel’s Gate Lighthouse, San Pedro Bay, and much more.

Go Roller-Skating

Head to Santa Monica to enjoy the ultimate in outdoors fun – an afternoon spent roller-skating! Courtesy of Perry’s Beach Café and Rentals, you can snag a pair of skates for the entire day and explore the beach, the boardwalk, and beyond. Or, opt for a mountain bike rental for a different kind of exercise. They also have an excellent and healthy food menu, should you decide to enjoy a beachside snack.  huntington los angeles

Marvel at the Huntington

Make the trek out to San Marino to wander around some of the most beautiful gardens in the Los Angeles area—the botanical gardens at the Huntington Library. Comprised of sixteen different stunning gardens including a botanical conservatory, a children’s garden, a rose garden, a Japanese Garden, and even a Shakespeare Garden, this 120-acre paradise is a plant-lover’s dream. Oh, and the library is pretty cool, too. Looking for more nature spots in Los Angeles? We’ve got a few recommendations.

Learn about Paleontology at La Brea Tar Pits

Want to see one of the most prolific excavation sites in the country? La Brea Tar Pits has been the source of over a million Ice Age fossils, ranging from prehistoric flora to gigantic fauna like saber-toothed cats and dire wolves. The Observation Pit is a must-see for anyone curious about the work professionals do to uncover such fascinating specimens.  los angeles santa monica

Surf, Snorkel, Paddle-board, and Swim

Get out onto the water and enjoy some classic water sports. Equipment rentals abound, or, if you’re a real pro, you can bring your own. Some top beaches for all kinds of outdoor entertainment include Leo Carrillo State Park, El Porto Beach, Abalone Cove Ecological Reserve, Surfrider Beach, and the beloved Rosie’s Dog Beach. At any of these, you can enjoy the best outdoor activities in Los Angeles to your heart’s content.

Take a Day Trip

Expand your horizons beyond the immediate Los Angeles area. Enjoy a road trip to one of the many nearby treasures, several of which boast top outdoors activities. From Palm Springs to Thousand Oaks to Mt. San Antonio, options abound. Check out our post on our favorite day trips from Los Angeles for more. 

Travel to Ancient Greece and Rome

Classical art and architecture buffs will delight in an afternoon spent roaming the remarkable Getty Villa. A modern recreation of an ancient Roman country house known as the Villa dei Papiri, the Getty Villa is a dream to behold. In addition to its engaging architectural history, the villa also boasts four gardens filled with Mediterranean plants. There’s also an interior just bursting with art and antiquities, should you want to venture indoors for a time. 

Save on Outdoor Fun in Los Angeles

To save on admission to several of these top outdoor activities and other popular Los Angeles attractions, pick up a Go Los Angeles pass. You can pay up to 50% less on combined admission to the best cruises, tours, museums, and more.

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