California can be a very exciting place to visit. The people, weather, and whole atmosphere of the state have a special feel to it; a vibe if you will.
It might even be as special as wanting to stay an extra few days or even a few weeks! Depending on how long of a vacation you really want to take.
Let’s not kid ourselves, going back to work after an amazing vacation…is not a delight. So why not spend a little extra time in California, and spend a long weekend in Los Angeles.
Whether you’re already staying in Los Angeles, or have always wanted to visit, take a trip to the “City of Angels” and see what the hype is really about.
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Let’s get going and take a look at a list of things to do around Los Angeles over a long weekend!
Table of Contents
- El Matador State Beach
- Manhattan Beach
- Santa Monica State Beach
- Hermosa Beach
- Brush Canyon Trail
- Runyon Canyon Park
- Trebek Open Space
- Westchester Golf Course
- Heroes Golf Course
- Los Feliz Golf Course
- Outdoor Tours
- Elite Adventure Tours
- Bikes and Hikes LA
- Free Things to do in Los Angeles
- Pacific Coast Highway Drive
- Sunset Strip
- Live TV Tapings
- Follow Paparazzi
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Family Events
- Inside the Walt Disney Archives
- Online Yoga Story Time
- Jurassic Quest Drive-Through
- Aquarium of the Pacific Virtual Tour
- Cultural Events
- Carlos Almaraz: Evolution of Form
- Tuesday Night Project: This is not Just the Asian Night
- Black Matter
- California African American Museum 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
First up on the list of things to do in Los Angeles this weekend, beaches! Who doesn’t love going to the beach? The warm sand between toes, the shining sunlight, and of course the ocean as far as your eye can see.
El Matador State Beach
This is said to be one of the most picturesque beaches in California. This beach is a destination for beachgoers, weddings, and photographers. The beach has huge rocks that are tens of thousands of years old. For the brave and experienced, there are secret sea caves that can be explored. (Not recommended without the knowledge of a guide or expert.)
The parking lot is placed on top of a bluff and has picnic tables that offer views of the Pacific Ocean.
The stairs leading down the bluff make way to the sprawling beach. The scenery on top of the bluff is breathtaking, and overlooks a kelp forest, the deep blue sheen of the sea, and possible sights of migrating whales! This destination is a sightseer’s dream.
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A sprawling two-mile oceanfront and 115 acres of the sandy beach area is the perfect place for a sunny afternoon. This is a top option on the list of things to do over a long weekend in Los Angeles.
A 900-foot pier at the end of the Manhattan Beach Boulevard splits the beach in half. Fishing is permitted off of the pier all year round. Don’t worry about parking as there are 450 public parking spots right next to the beach.
Sunbathing, swimming, and surfing are the biggest attractions at Manhattan Beach.
The north end of the beach, called El Porto, is a very popular surf spot. If you are interested, there are even surf lessons you can take. Tell your friends you learned how to surf over your weekend in Los Angeles!
Santa Monica State Beach
Perhaps one of the most widely talked about beaches in Los Angeles, Santa Monica State Beach is among the most popular with both tourists and locals.
A great view of the ocean, and in the backdrop, the widely popular Santa Monica Pier, this beach is a photographer’s dream. Everyone that I have ever talked to recommends going to the pier without hesitation.
With a Ferris wheel, roller coasters, game kiosks, and carnival-style food, this is weekend fun for the entire family.
And with the three-mile shoreline, the sandy beach offers a nice running or walking path. Surfing, swimming, and paddle boarding are all popular water activities. And of course who could forget beach volleyball.
Hermosa Beach is part of the three-beach trifecta made up of beach cities in and around Los Angeles. Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach (mentioned above), and Hermosa Beach. This huge stretch of beaches is actually connected by a series of boulevards that you can walk in a day to see all three!
20 minutes south of Los Angeles International Airport this beach offers tourists a little bit of everything, including a great location. Water sports are popular, as well as volleyball, jogging or running, and just hanging out spending the day at the beach.
This particular beach offers a daily farmer’s market and is home to one of the most well-renowned jazz clubs in LA, The Lighthouse Café. This is definitely the place you need to go if you’d like to see jazz in Los Angeles this weekend.
See Related: Top 20 Black Sand Beaches in the World
Are you all about the outdoor adventure?
Do you want to feel the earth crunch beneath your two feet as you hike a trail?
Look no further, because LA is a great place to explore all of the trails! These are some great trails to consider on your list of what to do in Los Angeles this weekend.
Did you know you could actually hike up to the top and even further behind the world-famous Hollywood Sign? I had no idea! But I will definitely be doing that on my next trip to LA.
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Brush Canyon Trail
This spectacular hike is known for its difficulty through steep terrain, but the views offered at the end of the hike is well worth the pain. You know what they say…no pain, no gain.
The hiking trail is part of the historic Griffith Park and is widely used among locals and tourists alike. This trail offers a fun side attraction on the way to the top: Adam West’s Bat Cave, home of the world-famous Batmobile in the 1960’s Batman TV Series.
It is known for its breathtaking views of the city along the way, and at the end of the thousand-foot elevation gain, ends up behind the world-famous Hollywood Sign.
6.5 miles worth of trail leads you through several ecosystems, so be careful where you step! Always make sure to bring a lot of water, and give yourself plenty of time going both up and back down, some of the areas gain a lot of elevation in a short period of time.
In the morning hours when the trail is less used, be on the lookout for mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, and rattlesnakes!
Look up and see Cooper’s Hawks soaring high above the peaks scanning for small mice and other prey. Look closely in the wildflowers and see honeybees pollinating.
Runyon Canyon Park
This expansive park is home to a number of trails that range from a variety of levels from the novice hiker to the extreme.
The main trail or East Trail is an easy-going meandering trail. Less traveled, and a bit more challenging the West Trail leads to a nice overlook of the city with a moderate elevation gain. There is also an off-leash dog park where dog-friends and human-friends can catch up together.
Along the way, the trails offer beautiful views of the entire cityscape. It puts into perspective how big the city of LA truly is.
Both trails allow hikers to see some of LA’s biggest mansions, the sheer size of some are mind-boggling.
Trebek Open Space
Right down the road from Runyon Canyon Park, is a sixty-two-acre open area donated by the late Alex Trebek.
Pay your respects by enjoying this wonderful natural area directly located in the Hollywood Hills.
These fire roads provide great hiking for humans and horses alike. Weddings, picnics, and photography are also activities that take place in Trebek Open Space. Mountain biking is also a very popular activity on the trails.
A sunny day brings people from all over to enjoy this beautiful natural area within the city. Furry friends are always welcome on the trails!
Some people might not know this, but LA is a huge golf destination.
You would of course know this if you were a golf fanatic. With some 300 days of sun per year, you can’t beat the conditions of an LA golf course.
Westchester Golf Course
Located just north of LAX, this beautiful 18-hole public golf course is friendly to both the novice and expert golfer. This is the perfect place to play a quick round of nine before your flight leaves!
With views of the Westside beaches and communities, this lovely course offers an affordable challenge for all ages.
There is a driving range as well as daily instructors. The course is a casual feel to the course, without sacrificing the quality of the greens. There’s even nighttime play, just don’t forget your glow in the dark balls!
Heroes Golf Course
This beautiful course is open to the public and tee-times are processed on a first-come-first-serve basis. All veterans play for free.
The golf course is a wonderful spot to come and enjoy a nice afternoon round of golf. There are lessons available as well for the less-experienced golfer.
The course itself is a beautiful spot to come and enjoy the beautiful LA weather, and meet people, veterans alike. This course is located nearby the West LA Veterans’ Affairs Campus, housing homeless veterans in a wing connected to the hospital and its campus. It is a wonderful project that has housed thousands of homeless veterans and helped them grow and develop a new path in life.
Los Feliz Golf Course
This par 3, nine-hole course is the perfect option to play golf at on a long weekend in Los Angeles.
Located in beautiful North LA, this picturesque course offers fun for all skill levels.
Reviews say this course demands accuracy, whilst being short enough to work on both your short game and putting skills. Because golfers know, there is no game without a good short game.
Make sure to check out the course that golfers are calling the “hidden gem” of LA golf courses.
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Elite Adventure Tours
Want to roll around LA in style? Well, look no further, because Elite Adventure Tours has the ultimate VIP experience for you.
Following COVID-19 guidelines, this tour company offers exclusive behind the scenes looks at some of the most luxurious parts of LA.
You and your friends or family can be treated like a celebrity going to a red carpet premier! This private tour group offers adventures around the city in luxury. Each tour is unique and geared towards creating an unforgettable experience.
Their main goal is safety this year, with limited numbers of people in tour groups, this is a truly exclusive and private tour. By land, air, or sea, you can choose from a number of different ways to travel around LA in style.
Want to arrive on a yacht? They can arrange that.
Bikes and Hikes LA
Even if you aren’t familiar with California, you might have heard of Bikes and Hikes LA. This is a world-renowned tour group that is known for their friendly staff and great tours.
They offer biking and hiking tours, corporate group adventures, and private tours all over LA.
This company follows all COVID-19 guidelines and is one of the safest options if you are looking for a safe and environmentally friendly option to tour the city.
A few tours they offer include: Hollywood bike tours, the number one Hollywood Sign hike, celebrity bike tour through Beverly Hills, and guided nature walks along some of the best beaches in LA.
See Related: 9 Best California Road Trips
Free Things to do in Los Angeles
Still can’t find something to do over the long weekend in LA? Is the vacation fund running a bit thin? Look no further, these are some of the best free events in Los Angeles this weekend.
Pacific Coast Highway Drive
Known as one of California’s most famous drives, the Pacific Coast Highway will surely leave you speechless. If the LA sun is out, make sure to take a drive up or down the PCH. This stretch of road wraps along the coastline, giving way to beautiful views and even better memories with friends and family.
Another signature drive in LA is undoubtedly the Sunset Strip.
This world-famous 1.5-mile stretch of road is a great way to blow some free time and enjoy all of the sights there are to see. The people, music, and food are sure to catch your attention, along with the beautiful old architecture from the 1920s and 30s.
Live TV Tapings
Be a part of a live studio audience! With live tapings like shows such as Wheel of Fortune, you could actually be a part of the audience. Tickets are free but are required in advanced if you want to gain same-day entry.
Sneak your chance to see a real celebrity in LA. Remember they’re all people, just like the rest of us, they need groceries too!
Grab this tour of celebrity homes and Hollywood superstars to check out some insanely cool homes.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Even if you can’t find the real person, you can still get your picture taken with their name!
Head to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where you can find nearly 3,000 different stars, each with a different celebrity name on it.
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Are there kids along for this long weekend trip? If so, check out these great options for family events in Los Angeles this weekend.
Disclaimer: All events are subject to change during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inside the Walt Disney Archives
In this amazing exhibit, discover over 400 items of Disney memorabilia, including art, props, costumes, and exclusive objects that have never been displayed before now.
Although the kids will thoroughly enjoy this exhibit, adults and collectors alike will be fond of this massive exhibition. Anyone who is fond of the Disney classics is surely going to enjoy this special event.
Online Yoga Story Time
At the Venice Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library, the staff is offering storytime along with a yoga session.
This can be fun for both the kids and parents while being safely socially distanced at home.
Jurassic Quest Drive-Through
Located just North of LA in Pasadena, more than 70 photorealistic dinosaurs are coming back from extinction to invade Southern California! This is an interactive experience and fun for the entire family.
This experience includes moving and realistic, life-like dinosaurs. Displayed in realistic scenes, these dinosaurs can be heard roaring through the jungle.
Safe and socially distanced, this drive-through experience can be done from the safety of your own vehicle.
Aquarium of the Pacific Virtual Tour
Safe at home, this virtual tour allows the whole family to experience the Aquarium of the Pacific and their Northern Pacific Gallery.
With this tour you can gain knowledge of your favorite cold water animals and get an inside peek at the Sea Otter Habitat.
Meet with team members and the animal care team to ask questions and see what it’s like to work with animals every day.
Are you looking for something to expand your mind while in LA? I have a list of cultural events in Los Angeles this weekend that may spark your interest.
Carlos Almaraz: Evolution of Form
This exhibit offers an inside look at the artists early life, that significantly impacted his art forms. Including his time in New York in the 60s which inspired his minimalism, to his more colorful and figurative works after returning to Los Angeles.
Short stories about life’s cancellations are the focus of this event. What happens when a world pandemic turns your’s and everyone else’s world upside down? Life was put on hold, and important events and everyday life were cancelled.
So what did some people do about it? They wrote, and they have stories to tell.
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Tuesday Night Project: This is not Just the Asian Night
The Tuesday Night Project presents a showcase of Asian-American creative expression, including a discussion about their multigenerational approach to art and community.
This showcase also includes a look back at their flagship program Tuesday Night Café, a free public art and performance series in Little Tokyo in LA that has been taking place since 1999.
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Namwali Serpell, a literature professor at Harvard, is hosting an in-depth discussion on the origins of Afrofuturism.
California African American Museum 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration
Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day immersed in art, culture, and community. This will be an online event hosted by the California African American Museum.
There is a variety of impactful programs and activities for all ages, with a panel that will be focused on his legacy.
So now that you’ve seen a variety of things to do in Los Angeles, it’s time for you to decide what’s next!
If you are in Los Angeles for a long weekend and have some free time for yourself, check out a few of these options listed above and enjoy that beautiful California sunshine!
Take a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, learn about the rich culture and diversity of LA, or simply enjoy an afternoon sunset on the beach.
Whatever it is you choose to do over a long weekend in LA, be sure to make the most of your experience.
There are countless things to do, and surely you won’t be able to fit all of them in a single weekend, but that’s ok! You can always come back, and experience what LA really has to offer, time and time again.
Los Angeles is its own city, with new opportunities around every corner. It is a city where you can get both lost and find yourself all in the same day. And that is the beauty of the City of Angeles.
Whatever it is you choose to do over the long weekend, make your experiences memorable, and do something new to you, something out of your comfort zone, because what’s life without a little excitement!
By the way, have you wondered the difference between San Diego and Los Angeles?
Both places look the same, but the distinction between them will always be visible in food, beaches, and even culture. We suggest that you learn the best California road trips to guide you through your journey.
If you plan to go to the northern part of California, there are enormous things that you can do. Better learn from it to find out.
Exploring San Francisco’s walking tours is another good option to experience. It is best to bring someone with you to enjoy it.
If you plan to bring your girlfriends with you, be sure to search for activities to do to make your San Francisco trip worthwhile.