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 city lights views, fun night activities, movie palaces that are worth seeing, and some places to get a meal after you're done with all that. Here are 21 great things to do in Los Angeles after the sun goes down.
The Santa Monic Pier is home to a classic seaside amusement park that glows with neon in the night. Take a ride on the iconic Ferris wheel and roller coaster, then go dancing at Rusty's Surf Ranch or grab a bite to eat.
And don't forget to take a photo with the end of US Route 66 sign.
They also host summer twilight concerts.
The Griffith Observatory not only offers fantastic views of the stars above but of the "stars" below as well. The view from this famous vantage point provides an unparalleled panorama of the Los Angeles skyline. Go early—the road leading to the parking lot closes at 10 p.m.
See the Stars Along Hollywood Boulevard
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 stars.
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, the quintessential California-cool boulevard is packed with people shopping at trendy stores like Rag & Bone, Vince, and Warby Parker.
Located next to Universal Studios Hollywood, this late night hot spot is home to lively restaurants and a movie theater. CityWalk also features attractions like indoor skydiving and a dueling piano bar. Throughout the year, concerts and other live events are held in the open-air shopping center.
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.
Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, a retired British ocean liner that sailed for Cunard for decades. Now, the decommissioned ship hosts several night tours, including some that focus on her haunted history. You’ll get to explore the ship and hear stories about some of its most famous "inhabitants."
This is perhaps the only place where you buy 24 carrots then head down the street to Tiffany’s to buy 24 carats.
The charming covered LA Farmers Market sells fresh, locally grown produce and has more than 100 vendors. It's a great place to go for food and entertainment, as well as souvenir shopping.
The high-end shopping next to the market is called The Grove. You can do some shopping there, eat in one of their restaurants, go to the movies, or hang out and wait for the fountains to start dancing.
See the Skyline from the Hollywood Bowl Overlook
The view from Mulholland Drive isn't quite as spectacular as the one from the Griffith Observatory, but it’s a bit more accessible. The overlook closes at sunset, and it can get crowded, so make sure you go early.
Go to a Public Star Party
Once a month, local amateur astronomers set up their telescopes on the front lawn at Griffith Observatory. The expansive sky offers up incredible views of the star-filled sky. These parties give attendees and their families the check to check out the Sun, Moon, and other planets with high-powered telescopes.
Fewer and fewer sitcoms use live audiences these days, but you can still find some chances to watch a television program being filmed. Many shows are taped throughout the day, but late-night shows mat 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 of the hour you get to see on TV!) so be prepared.
If you stay in the Magic Castle Hotel or know a professional magician who can get you a pass, you can spend the evening in this exclusive magic and dinner club.
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.
Catch One of the City's Many Sporting Events
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.
Grauman's is a Hollywood classic, known for hosting Hollywood premieres. its interior decor is Chinese-inspired and the "swish" when the red curtains open adds a sense of drama to any film. Be aware that the classic theater is part of a multiplex, and ask whether your show will be in the big Chinese theater before you buy tickets.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is an exceptionally unique attraction. Even if you don't see a movie there, you can explore its courtyard filled with famous stars' footprints and handprints.
The Egyptian theater is a historic establishment on Hollywood Boulevard. Like its more famous neighbor the Chinese Theater, the Egyptian hosts retrospective film festivals and other screening. Even though it's not as well-preserved as the Chinese Theatre, the remaining details are gorgeous.
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 a beautiful Egyptian-themed interior and its own bit of Hollywood "glam," a small courtyard of hand 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.
You could go to the movies in a hundred places in LA, 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, see memorabilia from the film. And early during the run, they sometimes host post-showing discussions.
Located just a couple of blocks from the pier in Manhattan Beach, The Kettle is a late night go-to for all kinds of local characters. The Kettle is open 24 hours a day and their menus includes a wide range of items, from soup and salad to burgers and fries.
LA's classic Jewish deli, founded in 1931, is open 24 hours a day, except on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Go there for late-night lox and bagels, corned beef, and matzoh ball soup. You can’t miss the giant neon sign out front.
Pink's Hot Dogs, equal part hot dog joint and iconic L.A. institution, serve 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 for celebrities.
Take a scenic drive
Driving in Los Angeles can be a scary thing, but if you do it at night it can be cinematic. Take one of these famous (or not so famous) drives in Los Angeles for spectacular views.