How to Sunday in LA: 12 best Sunday things to do in LA
Anyone who knows me, or follows me on social media, knows that I love Los Angeles. That’s probably putting it lightly; some may even say I’m insufferable about my love for L.A. But it’s because I really do love L.A., and I want others to love it at least half as much as I do. What’s more, I’m resolved to challenge stereotypes about Los Angeles.
The truth is that I often find myself defending L.A. I know, parking is terrible, traffic is the worst, and Hollywood is even worse. Beyond the most common complaints, however, I find frequent stereotypes of L.A. associated with things involving velvet ropes, red carpets, nightclubs, and its sprawling urban jungle. But this isn’t how I picture L.A. at all. While many of these things are associated with L.A. at night, I find Los Angeles to be a daytime city. And there’s no better way to experience L.A. by day than on Sundays.
I strongly believe the best events and things to do in L.A. are on Sundays. So in my latest Los Angeles travel post, I share my favorite events and things to do on Sunday in L.A.
Did you know that California is the top producer of America’s food, and one of the top producers in the world? Odds are that you’ve eaten something this week that came from California. And in Los Angeles we’re lucky because many of Southern California’s great farmers come into the city daily to share their bounty. While you can find a farmers’ market in Los Angeles on any day (and nearly every hour), I believe the best can be found on Sundays. The place to see and be seen is at the Brentwood Farmers Market, lined with local cooks making made-to-order food, gardeners showing off their beautiful flowers and succulents and ton of farmers selling just about anything and everything that’s in season. A couple other favorite Sunday L.A. farmers’ markets include Mar Vista, Main Street Santa Monica and Hollywood.
Trading Posts and Flea Markets
Beyond Los Angeles’ great farmers’ markets is the city’s great trading posts and flea markets. And let me tell you, these don’t play around. The largest, and most popular, is the Rose Bowl Flea Market, which actually takes place at the Rose Bowl it’s so big. Happening the second Sunday of every month, the Rose Bowl Flea Market, which is celebrating its 50th year, has a whopping 2,500 vendors selling everything you could think of. On a much smaller scale, there’s the Melrose Trading Post, which takes place every Sunday, where vendors sell everything from art to antique furniture to artisan goods and vintage and contemporary fashion. Melrose Trading Post also spotlights local musicians every Sunday. (Note that both of these charge a small admission fee.)
Free Yoga and Hiking at Runyon Canyon
Runyon Canyon can get crowded on weekends, and is less hike and more of an uphill walk on pavement, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better outdoor workout with the panoramic views that it boasts. Even better, Runyon Canyon has free yoga classes (donations suggested) daily every morning. Get to Runyon Canyon early in the morning for a quick hike before zenning out and tackling the rest of your Sunday L.A. bucket list. Bonus points: Get to Runyon Canyon early enough, and you may even see a B-list actor pacing up and down while reciting their lines.
Grand Central Market
I’m just going to come out and say that Grand Central Market is my favorite place in Los Angeles. There, I said it. While Grand Central Market has been a downtown Los Angeles landmark for 100 years, it saw a revival a few years ago. In 2014, Bon Appétit named it one of America’s best new restaurants, and I strongly believe that it’s only gotten better. Lining the rows of the open-air market are renowned taquerias, coffee shops, oyster bars, a grilled cheese shop, brewery, BBQ joint, pasta bar, produce market, McConnell's Fine Ice Creams, and so much more. Some of L.A.’s best foods and restaurants can be found here, such as Belcampo, Sticky Rice, Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, and Eggslut. I truly believe that you can’t come to L.A. without visiting Grand Central Market. If going on a weekend, however, I highly recommend going in the morning to beat the lunch rush. Pro tip: Grab a few things before sitting down to eat, or get a spot in one line while your significant other(s) get in line elsewhere.
This should go without saying, but people really love brunch in Los Angeles, especially with such classic brunch restaurants like République, Blu Jam Café and The Griddle Café. However, what I love most about brunch in Los Angeles is the plethora of brunch experiences, like rooftop brunch at Perch in downtown Los Angeles and the brunch party at No Jealousy (yes, a brunch party). Elsewhere, I find that many of L.A.’s best coffee shops are your best brunch options, too, such as Paramount Coffee Project and Bluestone Lane.
Barnsdall Art Sundays
Barnsdall Art Park is one of my favorite under-the-radar parks in Los Angeles. Set atop a hill in East Hollywood, Barnsdall is a unique park featuring a panoramic view of Los Angeles, Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles project (Hollyhock House), a municipal art gallery, and cool events like Friday night wine tastings at sunset during the summer. What’s more, every Sunday Barnsdall Art Park hosts a free two-hour family art workshop. Artist-educators teach these Sunday art classes that explore different forms of art like sculpture, collage, printmaking, painting, and textile art. Additionally, the Municipal Art Gallery is open on Sunday afternoons, while the Hollyhock House is open for tours.
Hands down, Smorgasbord is my favorite weekly event in Los Angeles. Why you ask? Well there’s nowhere else you’ll have 60 food carts and trucks set amidst one of the city’s coolest complexes, ROW DTLA. First known as LA Terminal Market, ROW DTLA has a 100-year history, where produce sellers used to line the rows of buildings in the early 1900s. Today, however, it’s gotten a new life as a cool mixed-use space of boutique shops, restaurants, pop-ups and more. The main event is every Sunday morning and afternoon, when nearly 60 food vendors, including many of the best in So Cal, descend on ROW DTLA. Some favorites include Brothecary, Sticky Rice, Burritos La Palma, and Donut Friend. Additionally, there are a number of pop-up shops, like Brown Bag Books Choncordia Skateboards and No Tox Life. Bring an empty stomach and a full wallet.
Sunset (or sunrise) hike
Sunset hikes probably seem like more of a daily, than weekly, occurrence to my friends and anyone who follows me. Truth be told, if it wasn’t for the access to the mountains and outdoor possibilities, there’s no way I could live and thrive in L.A. But that’s the thing, there are so many hiking trails in L.A., from quick hikes of places like Runyon Canyon to the more than 50 miles of trails in Griffith Park. Others include strenuous full-day hikes, like Mount Wilson or Mount Baldy, while personal favorite hikes of mine include Temescal Canyon, which affords great views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Often, on Sundays I’ll hike in the morning and then follow it up with a visit to the farmers’ market.
Craft brewery tour
Spoiler alert: Los Angeles has some amazing craft breweries. While San Diego often gets the attention of craft beer, and for good reason, the last few years has seen craft beer take off in Los Angeles. Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, for example, won "Best Large Brewpub" and "Best Large Brewpub Brewer" just a few years ago by one of the most prestigious beer festivals, Great American Beer Festival (GABF). And many Los Angeles breweries are bringing home GABF medals annually. But while you can now find craft breweries in just about every Los Angeles neighborhood, I’d recommend doing a self-guided L.A. craft brewery tour in either the Arts District or Torrance. That’s because this is where some of the best L.A. breweries are, but also the highest concentration of breweries. In Torrance, for example, you have several breweries, like Smog City, Monkish and Strand, which are within a mile of one another. Alternatively, you can take a guided Los Angeles craft beer tour with LA Beer Hop.
Wine tasting in Malibu
Yes, as a matter of fact, there are wineries in Los Angeles. While L.A. is certainly no Napa or Sonoma, what it lacks in number of wineries, it makes up in unique winery experiences. And for a unique wine tasting experience, look no further than Malibu Wines. Set in the hills of Malibu is Malibu Wines, which is the wine tasting spot on weekends because of food trucks, live music and locally-made wine for visitors to enjoy outdoors. However, reservations are highly recommended (for a fee) on weekends. While Malibu Wines can get busy on weekends, I often prefer Rosenthal Wine Bar & Patio, which actually sits across from the Pacific Ocean on Highway 1, and also has live music and food trucks on weekends.
Beachfront picnic and campfire
While it’s a no-brainer to go to the beach in Los Angeles, it’s not just anywhere that you can have a bonfire on the beach (legally). And for that you’ll have to go to Dockweiler Beach, which is in my favorite Los Angeles beach town, Playa del Rey. Playa del Rey, located just south of Venice a few miles, is where you’ll find Dockweiler State Beach, featuring nearly four miles of shoreline, part of which includes fire rings that are available for use. It’s first-come, first-served, so during summer months, you’ll want to arrive early. Bring your own firewood, picnic and s’mores, and go crazy. This is the only place you can legally have a campfire on the beach in Los Angeles, although further south there is a small selection of fire rings in San Pedro at Cabrillo Beach. (More info, and the proceeding photo, courtesy of Visit Marina del Rey here.)
Rooftop Cinema Club
One of my favorite all-time things to do in Los Angeles is going to the outdoor movies. And there are so many unique outdoor movie experiences in L.A., from Cinespia’s outdoor movies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery to Street Food Cinema to actual drive-in movies at Vineland Drive-In. One of the best outdoor movie experiences in L.A. is Rooftop Cinema Club, which is just as it sounds. The organization hosts cinema nights on rooftops in multiple cities, including a couple different venues in Los Angeles. What's great about Rooftop Cinema, beyond the cool factor and views, is the fact that you're given wireless headphones to drown out that loud popcorn eater, and can kick back in comfy deckchairs. The current season is wrapping up as night temperatures start cooling down, but there are numerous movies, including Sunday evening showings, happening through November on the rooftop of NeueHouse in Hollywood.