The Top Things to Do in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has so many things to do that it can be hard to narrow down your options. This is a list of the most popular things to do in LA based on popularity. I used the best statistics I could find on overall number of annual visitors pulled from anywhere I could find them. These attendance numbers have been published either by the venue or another news source in the last five years.

View a Map of LA's Top Attractions to put them in perspective and calculate the distances between them.

If you're on a budget, check out my list of the Top Free Things to Do in LA, and for a more comprehensive guide to LA attractions, check out the Mega Guide to Things to Do in LA.

01 of 11

The Beach/Pacific Ocean

Manhattan Beach, CA
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

Of the 46 million overnight visitors to LA and Orange Counties, most of them will find their way to some point along the over 80 miles of Pacific coastline. Many of them are surprised how cool it is at the beach in LA. Even in summer, beach temperatures average a high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

02 of 11

Venice Beach

Venice Beach Boardwalk, Los Angeles
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

The 16 million visitors to the Venice Beach Boardwalk are there for the funky vibe, rollerblading beach babes, muscle-bound weight-lifters and wacky street performers as well as the beach experience.

03 of 11

Disneyland Resort

it's a small world ride at Disneyland
Photo © 2015 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

Close to 15 million people visit Disneyland every year, with 5 million of those also taking in Disney's California Adventure next door.

04 of 11

Universal Studios Hollywood

Archway Between Hippogriffs and Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World Hollywood
Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
Theme Parks & Rides
4.4

Between 4 and 5 million visitors cross the Hollywood Hills to explore Universal Studios Hollywood for a backstage look at the movie industry with a few thrill rides thrown in.

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05 of 11

Chinese Theatre

Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Photo © 2013 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

I think the 4 million visitors reported to visit the Forecourt of the Stars at the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theatre) on Hollywood Blvd is an understatement, based on how many people park at Hollywood & Highland, and doesn't factor in the tour buses that start and end here or drop of their camera-laden masses for a 15-minute photo opportunity. That's just a guess based on average population density per square meter every time I've visited.

06 of 11

Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm Entrance
Photo © 2014 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

A lot of the 3.5 million visitors to Knott's Berry Farm are locals, but die-hard amusement park fans with both younger and older kids who have already done Disneyland frequent the park as well. Knott's Ghost Rider is one of the top wooden roller coasters in the country, and overall, Knott's is the best theme park bargain in the area with a lot of bang for your buck.

07 of 11

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel
Photo © 2015 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

3 million visitors choose the Santa Monica Pier and beach as their preferred LA coastal experience. Many of them also find their way to the 3rd Street Promenade or Main Street, Santa Monica to spend some money in the many shops and restaurants there.

08 of 11

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

3 million hard-core coaster enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia every year. Graduating from Disneyland and Knott's to Magic Mountain is a rite of passage for So Cal teens.

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09 of 11

Queen Mary

Queen Mary
Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

1.5 million visitors board the Queen Mary in the Port of Long Beach each year. The famous luxury oceanliner that acted as a troop transport in WWII has been a Long Beach landmark attractions and hotel since the 1970s.

10 of 11

Getty Center

The Getty Center in Los Angeles
Photo © 2015 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

1.4 million people ride the monorail to this art fortress on the hill in Brentwood, overlooking West LA. The Getty contains one of the most extensive private art collections in the world, divided between the Getty Center and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

11 of 11

Aquarium of the Pacific

Penguin at Aquarium of the Pacific
Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
Family Attractions
4.2

1.3 million guests have close encounters with sharks and other sea creatures at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.