Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world

Jen's Los Angeles Bucket List


I've lived in Southern California for over 15 years. When my friends and family asked me for advice on interesting things to do and places to go in L.A., I made a Los Angeles Bucket List. Now, I'm sharing that list with you! I've personally done everything listed below, except those items indicated by a *.

I hope this list inspires your future adventures!

Jen (California, USA)

P.S. Before you head to L.A., check out the novel Lost in Los Angeles (about a young woman who comes to L.A. looking for a reason to live). Her incredible experience includes some of the top bucket-list-worthy Los Angeles adventures. Use it like an insider's Los Angeles travel guide to plan your own itinerary.


Hike as close as legally possible to the Hollywood Sign

Be part of the audience for a TV show filming
(The Big Bang Theory, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Extra)

Look through a telescope and check out the architecture and the views at Griffith Observatory

Ride the rides and see the shows at Universal Studios Hollywood

See a movie at TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly: Grauman's Chinese Theatre)

See a movie at Disney's El Capitan Theatre

Have dinner at Miceli's Restaurant in Universal City, where the servers sing

Step onto the backlot of Warner Bros Studios on one of their VIP tours

Watch celebrities arrive on the red carpet at a movie premiere

Check out the celebrity hand and footprints in front of TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly: Grauman's)

Look at the art, architecture, and views at J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center

Take the short walk/hike to the "Batcave"

See a musical at the beautiful Pantages Theater (for even more excitement, go on opening night)

See the lake of tar and the statues outside the La Brea Tar Pits

Play with interactive exhibits, watch an IMAX movie, and see Endeavour at the California Science Center

Find the name of a star that you know and love (it won't be difficult) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Take a horseback ride overlooking Hollywood with Sunset Stables

Get a free bird's-eye view of downtown L.A. from the 27th floor observation deck at Los Angeles City Hall

Walk across Mulholland Dam and around Lake Hollywood

See possible future stars at an improv show at Groundling Theater

Ride Los Angeles Live Steamers' 7 1/2" model trains in Griffith Park (Sundays)

Stroll through historic Union Station

Have lunch and browse the tiny shops on Olivera Street

Shop in the little stores and dine on tasty Japanese foods in Little Tokyo

Ride the merry-go-round that inspired Walt Disney in Griffith Park

Try a hamburger, fresh-cut fries, and a shake at In-N-Out burger

Check out the shiny, silver, funky exterior of Walt Disney Concert Hall

Take a docent led tour of the underground art of the Metro Red Line subway stations

Sample local produce at a Sunday morning farmer's market (multiple locations, including Hollywood)

Take a ride on Angel's Flight, a very short funicular railway

Try dim sum in Chinatown

Look for baby animals at the Los Angeles Zoo

Browse the high-end shops on Rodeo Drive

(If you're an actor) Audition for Universal Studios Hollywood

(If you or your kids love trains) Admire retired train cars at Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park


See the Tournament of Roses Parade (usually on January 1st; Pasadena, CA)

Check out the Oscars red carpet the day before the Oscars (one day in February)

Attend the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (one weekend in April)

Attend the young adult book festival YallWest (one Saturday in April or May)

Walk or bike through car-free streets of L.A. at CicLAvia (various dates)

Go cherry picking (late May and/or early June; Leona Valley, CA)

See a summer concert at the Hollywood Bowl, a huge outdoor amphitheater (June through September)

Experience Halloween Hollywood-style at Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights (select nights in October)


Go to Disneyland (Anaheim, CA)

Hike to the M*A*S*H filming site (Malibu, CA)

Go to the beach and wade into the Pacific Ocean, and stay to watch the sun set over the water

Stroll the canals in Venice (Venice, CA)

Check out the sidewalk vendors' funky art and the street performers on the boardwalk at Venice Beach (Venice, CA)

Ride the Ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica, CA)

Scramble over the rock formations at Vasquez Rocks, a popular filming location (Agua Dulce, CA)

Wander the gardens and check out the art at Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botantical Gardens (San Marino, CA)

Pick your own fruits and veggies at Underwood Family Farms (Moorpark, CA)

See the ocean glow during a night cruise with the Dana Point Ocean Institute (Dana Point, CA)

Have a lakeside picnic at Lake Balboa (Encino, CA)


Kayak into sea caves around the Channel Islands (boat trips depart from Ventura, CA)

Ride a golf cart on and snorkel the waters off Santa Catalina Island (Catalina, CA)

Go whitewater rafting on the Kern River (Kernville, CA)


Visit Hearst Castle (San Simeon, CA)

Go to the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego (San Diego, CA)

Go to Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada) - and take a helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon

Climb sand dunes and explore caves in the Mojave Desert (Mojave, CA)

Drive up PCH from Morro Bay to Monterey (Morro Bay to Monterey, CA)


Attend a movie premiere:
Finding Dory at Disney's El Capitan Theatre
Divergent at Regency's Village Theatre and Regency's Bruin Theatre
Planes at Disney's El Capitan Theatre
The Lion King 3D at Disney's El Capitan Theatre
Red Riding Hood at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (now TCL Chinese Theatre)

Act in a movie scene

Go to a TV show finale and afterparty (American Idol)

See magicians perform at the Magic Castle

Attend a celebrity hand and footprint ceremony at TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's)