Los Angeles Bucket List: 150 of the Best Things to Do in L.A.
Alright, so I like lists. No, not like Christmas lists or to-do lists, since anyone who knows me knows that I have a pile of uncompleted to-do lists, and sometimes just make lists to check items off. These are more like life or dream lists, and what many people call a bucket list. At the end of the day, they are adult versions of the lists we had as kids, like building a blanket fort and kissing a girl (on the lips). These days my list involves things like wanting to go spelunking (largely so I can just say, "I've gone spelunking."), visiting my 48th, 49th, and 50th states, and sleeping in a tree (alright, so perhaps that last one was on my list as a kid, too).
These lists of mine, like my “30 at 30” and on-going list of doing at least one new thing (or challenge) per month, aren’t the end, but rather a means to an end. Because if a life or bucket list becomes the end, then I believe we miss out on the chance for it to empower us and teach us something about the world, ourselves, and how far we really can go. Simply put, I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I hadn’t lived a well lived life, nor do I want to wait for a time to do things I’ve always wanted, when that time isn’t guaranteed to me. I want to do those things while I can. Or as Thoreau said, "To live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
I had my “30 at 30” list, I have my on-going monthly list, and now I have this new list, my Los Angeles bucket list of 150 things to do in Los Angeles. I had originally considered naming this the “Top 150 Things to do in L.A. Before You Die.” But then that just makes it sound like I have a lifetime to do these things, and I want to do them all now (and have already done many of them already). That and maybe you're a vegetarian, and while this may be the top things to do in Los Angeles for me, perhaps you don't want to order off the secret menu at In-N-Out or indulge in delicacies at a restaurant called, Animal. So this is largely in part an on-going list of things I want to do in Los Angeles, while also representing what I really think are some of the best things to do in L.A.
A couple disclaimers are necessary, however. One is that I wrote down 110 of these before I started consulting other people and other Los Angeles bucket lists (like this fantastic Los Angeles bucket list by Caroline on Crack). I wanted this to really represent both things I really wanted to do in L.A., but also what I really believe are some of the best things to do here. But as you’ll see, the list isn’t exactly 150. That’s because I want to hear from you about what you think are the best things to do in L.A., so I can continue to add and grow my Los Angeles Bucket List.
Los Angeles Bucket List
Do free yoga at Runyon Canyon.
Go to a "star party" at Griffith Observatory.
Do a progressive meal around Grand Central Market.
Bike The Strand.
Have a tiki drink at Tiki Ti.
Eat a French dip sandwich from the place it originates, Cole’s.
Have the bartender’s choice at speakeasy bar, The Varnish.
Get a haircut and a free drink at the Blind Barber.
Watch a movie at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Have a drink at Townhouse, an actual speakeasy during prohibition.
Take a picnic and watch a concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
See a show at the Greek Theatre.
Have a taco...from a food truck...after last call at the bar.
Order some macarons at Botega Louie.
Go to the drive-in movies at Vineland Drive-In Theater.
Have a cocktail at sunset at the Hotel Erwin.
Take surfing lessons in Malibu.
Go wine tasting at Malibu Wines.
Have a beach bonfire at Dockweiler Beach.
See a show at the Troubadour.
BYOB and have the jerk chicken at Cha Cha Chicken.
Order the Trust Me at Sugarfish.
Go to happy hour at the Original Farmer’s Market.
Have a drink at the bar at Chateau Marmont.
Go sky diving over the Pacific Coastline.
Hike Echo Mountain to the ruins of the former Echo Mountain Resort.
Sunbathe on the beach at Matador Beach.
Road-trip up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) through Malibu.
Go to Milk for the macaron ice cream sandwich.
Ride in an antique car at the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo.
Go paddle boarding with whales in Redondo Beach.
Have a big stack of pancakes at The Griddle.
Have a rare whisk(e)y from the Daily Pint.
Go paragliding over the Santa Monica Mountains.
Order a nuage "cloud" cake at Bo Nuage.
Eat a burger from Father’s Office.
Go hang gliding over Malibu.
Eat the duck fat pizza and drink the Jimmy Conway at Love and Salt.
Learn to sail a boat in Marina del Rey.
Take a home brewing class at Culver City Home Brewing Supply.
Dress up and participate in Halloween in West Hollywood.
Order the Cavatelli alla Norcina at Bestia.
Get invited to the Magic Castle.
Go to a television show taping.
Attend one of the major award shows.
Watch a Lakers game at the Staples Center (preferably on the court).
Get a dodger dog at Dodgers Stadium.
Order the godmother sandwich at Bay Street Deli.
Get the chicken and waffles at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles.
Walk down the streets of Sunset Boulevard during the L.A. Pride Parade.
Take the ferry to Catalina Island....on your birthday.
Have a breakfast burrito at Lucky Boy.
Order any number of meat delicacies at Animal.
Hike the 10,000-foot Mt. Baldy.
Go to a Thursday night Sunday concert at Santa Monica Pier.
Attend the LA County Fair.
Visit Bronson's Cave, a.k.a. Batman's Bat Cave.
Go to a summertime Friday Night Wine Tasting at Barnsdall Art Park.
Have a drink on a weekend afternoon at the Bungalow.
Visit L.A.’s first post-prohibition distillery, Greenbar Craft Distillery.
See the sea caves at Rancho Palos Verdes.
Order a fried seafood platter at Neptune’s Net.
Attend the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival.
Walk the hidden staircases of Los Angeles.
Hike the Hollywood Sign.
Visit the world's largest stretch of the Berlin Wall at the Wende Museum.
Take a tour of SpaceX.
Visit one of Los Angeles’ oldest bars, the 100-year-old King Eddy.
Go yachting off the coast of Los Angeles.
Go to the Pasadena Bowl Flea.
Order off the “Secret Menu” at In-N-Out.
Attend a UCLA/USC football game.
Visit every brewery in Los Angeles.
Do the California double-double: Snowboard and surf in 1 day.
Order milk and cookies at Milk Jar Cookies.
Get a cupcake from the Cupcake ATM at Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Eat a California burrito from Cactus.
Kayak down the Los Angeles River.
Have a Ramen Burger from The Original Ramen Burger.
Enjoy a drink on the beach in Malibu at Paradise Cove.
Discover the underground prohibition tunnels of Los Angeles.
Hit golf balls off the roof in Koreatown.
Take a hike to Murphy Ranch, formerly a Nazi bunker in the early 1900s.
Go for a scenic drive on the Angeles Crest Highway.
Have a gourmet ice cream sandwich from Diddy Riese.
Order a Chicago deep-dish pizza from Hollywood Pies.
Have a day at the races at Santa Anita Racetrack.
Order any number of Southern Thailand dishes at Jitlada.
Go on a ride through Jurassic Park...at Universal Studios.
Take a champagne brunch cruise.
Take a sushi class at the California Sushi Academy.
Ride in a bi-plane over Downtown Los Angeles.
Drive a race car at the Irwindale Speedway.
Be invited to take a ride in the Goodyear Blimp.
Ride in a helicopter over the Los Angeles coastline.
Take an airplane flying lesson.
Go to a show at the Getty Center.
Attend an event at the Annenberg Beach House.
Attend the Tournament of Roses Parade
Attend the Rose Bowl college football playoff game.
See a show at the Pantages Theatre.
Enjoy a bowl of soup and classic deli sandwich at Greenblatt’s Deli.
Order a donut from the Donut Man.
Peruse The Last Bookstore.
Attend a Johnnie Walker’s House of Walker soiree.
Have a drink at sunset in Malibu in a daybed at the Blue Lounge at Moonshadows.
Enjoy dinner and a show at The Edison in Downtown Los Angeles.
Go to LACMA for the Urban Light.
Take Amtrak from Union Station down the Pacific Coast.
Ride a bike down the empty streets of Los Angeles for Ciclavia.
Go to the Ktown Night Market.
Spend the night in the Penthouse Suite at the Beverly Wilshire (or perhaps just have a drink there).
Go for an evening of Lucha VaVOOM at The Mayan.
Order the short rib tacos at the Kogi BBQ Truck.
Travel through time at the Time Travel Mart.
Visit the La Brea Tar Pits.
Check out the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center.
Catch an improv show at UCB Theatre.
Have a martini on the 34th floor of the Westin Bonaventure at Bona Vista Lounge.
Go to Bob’s Big Boy on Saturday night for car-hop service.
Take a hot sauce factory tour.
Go to a Sunday brunch party at Bagatelle.
Walk across Mulholland Dam to view Lake Hollywood.
Browse the vinyl selection at Amoeba Music.
Go to the 27th-floor observation deck at City Hall.
Go on a VIP backlot tour of Warner Bros Studios.
Visit the Annenberg Space for Photography.
Enjoy a French meal at Thomas Keller's Bouchon in Beverly Hills.
Drive Mulholland Drive in a convertible.
Attend the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Go to an NFL game in Inglewood.
Run (or just attend) the L.A. Marathon.
Do a 5k at Dodger Stadium.