19 Fun Things to Do in Los Angeles, California at Night

View of highway and city skyline at dusk, Los Angeles, California, USA
Pete Saloutos / Getty Images

You'll find comedy clubs, bars, brewery tours, and nightclubs galore in Los Angeles, but sometimes you just want something a bit different.

If you're not ready to go to bed after dinner and are looking for something fun, unique, and exciting to do after the sun goes down, the city is full of lively places to hang out: spots with great views of the city's lights, movie palaces that are worth seeing, and great eateries to grab a meal after you're done with all that. Here are 19 great things to do in Los Angeles at night.

01 of 19

Hit the Rides at Santa Monica Pier

Ferris Wheel, Santa Monica Pier

 Geoffrey George/Moment/Getty Images Plus

Address
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA
Phone +1 310-458-8900

The Santa Monic Pier is home to a classic seaside amusement park that glows with neon lights after dark. Take a ride on the iconic Ferris wheel and roller coaster, then grab a bite to eat at Mariasol Cocina Mexicana or Pier Burger before dancing at Rusty's Surf Ranch. And don't forget to take a photo with the US Route 66 sign, the last stop on the iconic road trip. If you're here in the summer, be sure to swing by for Twilight on the Pier, a free music festival held once a week. Note that the pier is open daily until 10 p.m.

02 of 19

Look Up at the Night Sky at Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory at Twilight
Wes Tennyson/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0
Address
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
Phone +1 213-473-0800

The Griffith Observatory not only offers fantastic views of the stars above but also of the "stars" below. The view from this famous vantage point provides an unparalleled panorama of the Los Angeles skyline, which is particularly enjoyable to look at during sunset.

From 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, you're welcome to peer up at the night sky through one of the free public telescopes on hand, with telescope demonstrators available to help you get the most out of your visit. Alternatively, you can attend a star party, held once a month between 2 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. During these events, local amateur astronomers set up their telescopes on the observatory's front lawn, inviting attendees and their families to learn more about the sun, moon, and planets by trying out their equipment.

However you want to plan your visit, go early: The road leading to the parking lot closes at 10 p.m.

03 of 19

See the Stars Along Hollywood Boulevard

Hollwyood Walk of Fame

Betsy Malloy

Address
Hollywood Boulevard, Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
Phone +1 323-469-8311

No trip to Hollywood would be complete without a walk down the famous Walk of Fame. And at night, the sidewalks glow with reflected light. Spend time finding your favorite actors, directors, musicians, and even fictional characters like Mickey Mouse and Kermit the Frog. If there's one star in particular that you're looking for, head to the Walk of Fame's official website and look up their name on the Star Map.

04 of 19

Shop and Eat on Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Address
1118 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, USA
Phone +1 424-291-3120

The lively part of Abbot Kinney is only a few blocks long, but it's always packed in the evening. In addition to boisterous bars and acclaimed restaurants including Felix and Gjelina, the quintessential California-cool boulevard is packed with people shopping at trendy stores like Rag & Bone, Vince, and Warby Parker. Come on the first Friday of every month between 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., when there are dozens of food trucks serving up everything from short-rib burgers to Desi street food.

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05 of 19

Spend an Evening at Universal CityWalk

Neon Signs and shops at Universal CityWalk

 ferrantraite/iStock Unreleased

Address
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608, USA
Phone +1 818-622-9841

Located next to Universal Studios Hollywood, CityWalk is an entertainment complex home to lively restaurants and cocktail bars, shopping, and a movie theater with a seven-story IMAX. You'll also find fun attractions like indoor skydiving at iFly Hollywood, a dancing water fountain display, and mini golf. Throughout the year, concerts and other live events are held in the open-air shopping center.

06 of 19

Dance the Night Away on the Sunset Strip

Evening on the Sunset Strip

 Aerial Hollywood/Moment/Getty Images/Plus

Address
9009 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069-1818, USA
Phone +1 310-278-9457

If you are looking to party, some of the most infamous and raucous nightclubs in the country make their home along L.A.'s Sunset Strip, between Doheny Drive and Crescent Heights Boulevard. Here, you'll find everything from The Roxy to The Viper Room. Afterward, grab a snack at a favorite late-night haunt like the Pink Taco.

07 of 19

Spend a Haunted Night at the Queen Mary

RMS Queen Mary Ocean an Dome in Long Beach
Angel Di Bilio / Getty Images
Address
1126 Queens Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90802, USA
Phone +1 562-435-3510

Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, a retired British ocean liner that sailed for Cunard for decades. If you're into spooky experiences, the decommissioned ship hosts several night tours that focus on her haunted history. Among the different options, you can explore the ship and hear stories about some of its most famous "inhabitants," attend an interactive seance in the onboard theater, or "dine with the spirits" at Sir Winston’s Restaurant and Lounge.

08 of 19

Visit Farmers Market and The Grove

Evening at The Grove, Los Angeles

 CARUSO

Address
189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
Phone +1 323-900-8080

This is perhaps the only place where you buy 24 carrots then head down the street to Tiffany’s to buy 24 carats. With more than 100 vendors, the charming covered LA Farmers Market sells fresh, locally grown produce along with flowers, jewelry, and clothes. It's a great place to go for food and entertainment, as well as souvenir shopping. Next to the market is The Grove, a high-end shopping complex with brands like diptyque and Nordstrom. You can continue your shopping excursion here, or opt to catch a movie or hang out and wait for the fountains to start dancing.

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09 of 19

See the Skyline from the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook

USA, California, Los Angeles, Downtown and Hollywood Freeway 101 from Hollywood Bowl Overlook, dawn
Walter Bibikow / Getty Images
Address
7036 Mulholland Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA
Phone +1 310-589-3200

The view from Mulholland Drive isn't quite as spectacular as the one from the Griffith Observatory, but it’s a bit more accessible. Nestled above the Hollywood Bowl, the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook offers views of the Hollywood Sign, the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater, downtown L.A., and Griffith Park Observatory. It closes at sunset, and it can get crowded, so make sure you go early.

10 of 19

Be in a Studio Audience

Studio Audience for the League of Legends North American Championship

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Fewer and fewer sitcoms use live audiences these days, but there are still opportunities to watch a television program being filmed. Many shows are taped throughout the day, but late-night shows may tape two episodes back-to-back, with one episode's taping running into the evening. These tapings can last up to several hours (a far cry from the hour you get to see on TV!) so be prepared. 

11 of 19

Go Under the Spell of Old Hollywood at the Magic Castle

Magic Castle Hotel in LA

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Address
7001 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028-8600, USA
Phone +1 323-851-3313

If you stay at the Magic Castle Hotel (or know a professional magician who can get you a pass), you can spend the evening at the exclusive Magic Castle Club next door. You'll find a variety of magic shows on display—ranging from sleight-of-hand tricks in an intimate gallery to grand illusions on the big stage—as well as a full-service dining room and a selection of bars. But be warned: To maintain a classic Hollywood vibe, all members and guests are required to dress in evening wear or business attire that is conservative, formal, and elegant.

12 of 19

Catch One of the City's Many Sporting Events

Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Address
1111 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA
Phone +1 213-742-7100

The Los Angeles area has no shortage of professional sports teams. With two professional teams each for hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, and football, the chances of a game happening on a night that you’re there are very good. If you're hoping to catch sight of a celebrity while you cheer on your favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center will be your best bet.

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13 of 19

Watch a Film at the Famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

Grauman's Chinese Theatre at Night

Betsy Malloy

Address
6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028, USA
Phone +1 323-461-3331

TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theatre) is a Hollywood classic, having hosted red carpet premieres and other special events since it first opened in 1927. Today, it's part of a multiplex, but you can still catch a movie inside the original theater (or, if you prefer, a film within the world's largest IMAX auditorium).

Even if you don't see a movie here, we recommend signing up for the 30-minute VIP tour of the theater. During your visit, you'll learn all about its history, including fun facts about past Hollywood premieres. Afterward, check out the Forecourt of the Stars, which is filled with famous stars' footprints and handprints.

14 of 19

Explore the Historic Grauman's Egyptian Theatre

Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, CA

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Address
6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
Phone +1 323-461-2020

Built in 1922, the Egyptian Theatre is a historic establishment on Hollywood Boulevard. Like its more famous neighbor, the Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian hosts retrospective film festivals, movie premieres, advanced screenings, and other film events. Although it was badly damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, Netflix purchased it in 2020 to give it a "rewind rehab," and will restore architectural details throughout the space, including the ceiling's sunburst organ grille. Renovations are expected to be complete in late 2022.

15 of 19

See a Movie at a More Intimate LA Theater

Vista Theater
 Wikimedia Commons
Address
4473 Sunset Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA
Phone +1 323-660-6639

Residents of the Los Feliz neighborhood routinely line up down the street to see a movie at the Vista Theater. It's a charming throwback to grander days of movie-going, with its beautiful Egyptian-themed interior and, similar to TCL Chinese Theatre, a small courtyard with handprints and footprints out front. And here's a bonus: the theater has only one screen, so you won’t have to argue about what to watch.

16 of 19

Watch Classic and Cult Cinema at the New Beverly Cinema

The Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles

TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Address
7165 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036-2548, USA

You could go to the movies in a hundred places in L.A., but this one is different. Owned by director Quentin Tarantino, the New Beverly shows classics and oddball cult favorite films. Tarantino does most of the monthly programming, choosing films that sometimes come from his private collection. The theater is also known for refusing to use digital projection. Tarantino says, "As long as I'm alive and as long as I'm right, the New Bev will be showing double features in 35mm."

If Tarantino has a new film out, there's no better place to see it. Expect to see unique pre-show content as well as memorabilia from the film. Early during its run, the New Bev sometimes hosts post-showing discussions.

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17 of 19

Go From the Beach to the Bar at The Kettle

The Kettle
Wikimedia Commons
Address
1138 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-5330, USA
Phone +1 310-545-8511

Located just a couple of blocks from the pier in Manhattan Beach, The Kettle is a late-night favorite for all kinds of local characters. Welcoming hungry customers since 1973, The Kettle serves up classic diner fare, including buttermilk honey-fried chicken and biscuits, braised pot roast, angel hair carbonara, and burgers. It's open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday, and from 6 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday.

18 of 19

Have a Corned Beef Sandwich at Canter's Deli

Canter's
 Wikimedia Commons
Address
417 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
Phone +1 323-651-2030

LA's classic Jewish deli, founded in 1931, is open 24 hours a day, except on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Go for late-night lox and bagels, corned beef, and matzoh ball soup, or pick up freshly baked goods in the morning. The adjacent cocktail lounge, open from 10:30 a.m. to 1:40 a.m., hosts local bands and open mic nights, with the likes of The Doors, Joni Mitchell, and members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers having shown up for midnight jam sessions over the years. Check the schedule to see what's on before your visit.

19 of 19

Eat a Hot Dog at This LA Institution

Pink's Hot Dogs Stand in Los Angeles an night

Evan Hurd Photography/Corbis Historical/Getty Images 

Address
709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038-3338, USA
Phone +1 323-931-4223

Pink's Hot Dogs, an equal part hot dog joint and iconic L.A. institution since 1939, serves hot dogs and loaded chili-cheese fries all day, but it's also a popular spot at night. Most of its "dogs" are, not surprisingly, named after celebrities or movies, such as the Lord of the Rings Dog (BBQ sauce and onion rings) and the Brando Hot Dog (mustard, onions, chili, and shredded cheddar cheese).

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What can you do in L.A. if you're under 21?

    There are plenty of things you can do in L.A. if you're under 21, including catching a movie at TCL Chinese Theatre, grabbing a late-night bite at Pink's Hot Dogs, and taking a ghost tour of the Queen Mary.

  • Where is the party scene in L.A.?

    A lot of the city's top nightclubs, bars, and lounges can be found in Downtown and Hollywood, including The Edison, The Rooftop at The Standard, and The Mayan.

  • What food is L.A. famous for?

    Some of the top foods to try in L.A. include tacos, French dip sandwiches, and Dodger dogs from Dodger Stadium.

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19 Fun Things to Do in Los Angeles, California at Night