Where To People Watch And Soak Up Local Culture In Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a city made for people watching. From the iconic Hollywood walk of fame to the brightly decorated murals in Echo Park, LA is full of colorful characters that attract the attention of locals and visitors alike. Here are some of the best spots for people watching in L.A.
Barnsdall Art Park & Hollyhock House Photograph
This historic park serves as a public art gallery, architectural exhibit, and entertainment venue. It was donated by Aline Barnsdall and today it remains a unique cultural park that hosts cinema nights, wine tastings, and a number of other events that bring together young adults, couples, and families in one unique setting.
4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA, 90027
Vista Hermosa Natural Park
This park offers a nice place to wander through gardens and enjoy the outdoor space. There's a grassy field with beautiful views of the Downtown skyline and plenty of places to enjoy a picnic. There's also a playground where the kids can play.
100 N Toluca St, Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA, 90026
Exposition Park offers plenty of green space, a beautiful Rose Garden, and gazebos and fountains that give it a charming atmosphere. The park has hosted the Olympics in the past and it is scheduled to again host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games. It spans 160 acres and has a number of museums as well as a nature walk and a butterfly garden.
700 Exposition Park Dr, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA, 90037
Silver Lake Reservoir
Silver Lake Reservoir has two dog parks, a playground, and a field where everyone can run around. There's also a basketball court and a 2.2 mile trail that's great for runners and walkers. Whether you want to enjoy a picnic or spend some time with the family, this is a great park. Many running clubs meet here as well.
Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA
This famous park in Santa Monica offers beautiful views and a lovely setting where you can enjoy a relaxing walk along palm-lined paths. This park is popular with tourists for its bluff-top trail that provides stunning views of the California coastline and the Santa Monica Mountains. You'll feel like you're wandering through a postcard.
Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA, 90401
The Original Farmers Market
First established in 1934, the Los Angeles Farmers Market began with just 18 farmers who set up stalls to sell their produce directly to the public. The market grew from there and today it is filled with not just fruit and vegetable stands but also food stalls, jewelry stands, and booths that sell everything from kitchen items to toys.
6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA, 90036
Coldwater Canyon Park
This Beverly Hills park is frequented by a number of well known residents. It's a casual setting with a relaxing vibe and well maintained facilities. This is a small park, but it makes a nice spot to take a break while the kids explore the playground.
1100 N Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA, 90210
Echo Park Lake
This family-friendly park looks out on the Downtown Skyline. The park has beautiful fountains and the Lady of the Lake statue. Visitors can rent a paddle boat and float on the lake or simply take a walk along the footpath which explores the local plants of the area. You can also grab a casual bite to eat at Beacon Cafe.
751 Echo Park Ave, Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA, 90026
Dating back to 1886, this is the oldest park in Los Angeles. It is a large space spanning about 600 acres and offering nice views of the Valley, Downtown, and the Hollywood Hills. There's a popular space in the park for dog owners to entertain their pets with balls and games. There are also baseball fields and picnic areas as well as playgrounds for the kids. During the early morning you may hear some gunshots from the nearby Police Academy during practice at the firing range. It's no reason to be alarmed.
929 Academy Road, Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA, 90012
Garfield Park is a popular space for families to gather and celebrate family reunions or birthdays. There's a playground where the kids can get their energy out as well a rose garden and a wholesome atmosphere. During the summer months the park hosts a summer concert series.
1000 Park Ave, South Pasadena, CA, 91030
This beach, which has the same name as the town Redondo Beach, is a beautiful and popular stretch of coastline. It's popular for a number of reasons. The family-friendly beach and pier area has plenty of shopping and restaurant options at the north end of the beach. It's more of a wharf, marina, and shopping center than an actual pier, but there are plenty of activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, glass bottom boat tours, live music, dining out, ice cream, and more. The beach itself stretches to the south of the pier area, and it's a wide, sandy, clean stretch with comfortable waves all the way down (2.5 miles) to Torrance County Beach and Rat Beach. This stretch of beach is at the end of the Green Line of the metro, making it a popular spot for locals to get to easily. It's also popular with visitors, as plenty of affordable hotels are in the area, along with bike paths and kid-friendly activities.
Fisherman's Wharf, Redondo Beach, California, 90277
Little Tokyo Historic District
Located in downtown L.A., this is the largest official Japantown in the U.S. and was declared as a National Historic Landmark District in '95. It's commonly referred to as Little Tokyo, and offers plenty of activities. Visitors can go shopping or enjoy various Japanese restaurants. There are also a number of art galleries including the Union Center for the Arts which focuses on both visual and performance art. Also, don't miss the James Irvine Japanese Garden, the Kyoto Gardens on top of the Double Tree, the Japanese American National Museum, or the Koban Center. And go shopping at the Japanese Village Plaza and the Galleria.
LA, California, 90012
Walk of Fame
Located along Hollywood Blvd, the popular Walk of Fame is a series of stars embedded into the sidewalk with the names of famous people from the movie industry. Visitors can see more than 2,600 brass stars that honor movie and TV stars, producers, musicians, directors, and even fictional characters. With millions of visitors every year, this is a very popular attraction in Hollywood. The streets of the Walk of Fame are also lined with shops, restaurants, and other Hollywood tourist attractions.
Hollywood, LA, California, 90028
The Original Muscle Beach
The "Original" Muscle Beach is a park just south of the Santa Monica Pier where, in the 1930's and 1940's, the exercise and fitness boom took off. Visitors here can find a variety of exercise and strength training equipment such as ropes, rings, and bars. Then, head to the beach to show off your muscular body. (Another spot in Venice Beach also has the name "Muscle Beach", but this one was first.)
Santa Monica, California, 90401
Griffith Park sits at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains and stretches for over 4,300 acres (1,740 ha). It's one of the largest urban parks in the country. While it's technically a city park, much of the land is fairly rugged and unkept. However, in this park visitors can find a variety of attractions and activities such as the LA Zoo, Griffith Observatory, the Autry Museum of the American West, the Bronson Caves, the Hollywood Sign, various train exhibits, golf, and more. Furthermore, hiking and horseback riding on the various trails are a popular activity where visitors and locals alike can get out into nature and enjoy the views overlooking the city below.
Mount Hollywood Drive, LA, California, 90068
Santa Monica State Beach
The beach of Santa Monica located around the pier and heading north is technically a state park area. Visitors and locals flock here for the gorgeous sand, fun waves, and sunshine. The beach itself is quite wide, with plenty of room for everyone. It's a family-friendly area and somewhat crowded in the warmer months. Naturally, the activities on the pier bring a crowd, too. While the beach is free, you might have to pay for parking. Along the beach and within the nearby blocks are bike paths (part of The Strand), shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Santa Monica, California, 90401
This 12 acre downtown park offers a bit of green space in the middle of the urban setting. It opened in 2012 and has many places where you can enjoy a picnic, relax in peace, or simply people watch. There's a fountain and hidden benches where you can enjoy a good book. There are also a number of community events and public performances held here.
198 North Hill Street, Downtown, LA, California, 90012
Santa Monica Pier
This large and vibrant pier is an iconic destination in Los Angeles. It's located at the foot of Colorado Avenue along a beautiful golden sand beach in Santa Monica. The pier is more than just a pier - there's a small amusement park, concession stands, and plenty of places to take in the views or enjoy some fishing. Perhaps the most notable attraction at the pier is the iconic Ferris wheel.
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, 90401
Los Angeles State Historic Park
Located right next to Chinatown, this 32 acre park offers impressive views of Los Angeles's downtown. It regularly hosts festivals and events including craft fairs and music festivals making it the perfect place to take in the local culture. There's also a nice bridge with a scenic overlook, as well as an orange grove and landscaping that is designed to thrive in the desert environment. Head to the park to explore for a bit, then hit up one of the many restaurants nearby.
North Spring Street, Chinatown, LA, California, 90012
Third Street Promenade
This high end pedestrian area is perfect for shoppers looking for everything from the quirky to the posh. There are boutique shops, fine dining restaurants, and plenty of entertainment options in the area. The district attracts locals and tourists alike and it is easily accessible from Downtown Los Angeles. There's also a 26 mile bike path that runs along the waterfront. The promenade is famous for its street performers and fascinating people-watching.
Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, California
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $12 to $189. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $57. A few of the best options are below.
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