Wondering what things to do in Los Angeles at night? There are so many great nighttime activities, from catching a show at the Hollywood Bowl, to getting an epic view of the LA skyline at the Griffith Observatory, to a haunted backlot tour of Paramount Studios, we’ve put together an epic list of the top 14 things to do in LA at night. If you’re here for a few days or more, be sure to check out our exhaustive list of the 50 best things to do in Los Angeles.
Get the most out of your trip to LA by reviewing our guide to the top 14 interesting and popular nighttime destinations in LA.
1. Santa Monica Pier
Of all the things to do in Los Angeles at night, strolling the Santa Monica Pier is definitely one of the most classic. This pier is like a mini amusement park sitting out over the Pacific Ocean featuring restaurants, a Ferris wheel, and a roller coaster. Positioned close to the downtown Santa Monica shopping, it’s a convenient spot to add to your Santa Monica day trip.
Originally built in 1909, The Santa Monica Pier has shown up frequently over the years in popular tv shows and many hit movies, such as Iron Man and Forest Gump.
What can we say? Does “The Happiest Place On Earth” sound like a place that you’d want to visit? When it comes to fun for the whole family, Disneyland and their adjacent park, California Adventure, can literally take multiple days to fully explore if you have the time. From all the themed rides, to the various mini-productions throughout the day and into the daily nighttime fireworks display, there are non-stop activities. And, with Disneyland’s new “Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge” area open, there are even more areas of the park take in.
3. Third Street Promenade
If shopping is your thing, then the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade will be the place you’ll want to spend some time. This broad street stretches many blocks and is closed to vehicle traffic, so it feels very open and inviting. The Promenade attracts many street performers of all types, so between stores, you can be sure to see something interesting, and sometimes, amazing.
Being close to Downtown LA and right next to the Santa Monica Pier, this outdoor mall is a very popular shopping destination for tourists and locals alike. With many popular and up-and-coming shops along the promenade, there is sure to be something for just about everyone during your shopping trip.
4. Hollywood Boulevard
If you want to dive deep into Hollywood culture, then Hollywood Boulevard is a great destination. Featuring many famous hotels, and the popular Hollywood Walk of Fame, this street is a lively mix of entertainment and commerce.
There are many notable destinations along Hollywood Boulevard including the Capitol Records Tower, The Hollywood Sign, Madame Tussauds Museum, the Pantages Theatre, and many more.
5. Universal Studios Hollywood
If you like movies, then you’ll probably like Universal Studios. Founded in 1910 in Los Angeles as a tourist attraction where visitors could get an “inside look” what went into filming their favorite movies. It has grown significantly throughout the years and in addition to still operating movie studios, it offers amazing rides, shows, and live entertainment based on popular movies and tv shows. In fact, Universal Studios Theme Parks is the 3rd largest theme park operator in the world based on visits per year. If you are looking for a fun day for the entire family, Universal Studios Theme Park is an truly entertaining option.
6. The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary, an impressively large passenger cruise liner that first sailed her weekly transatlantic voyages starting in 1936 between England and New York. This ship now rests in a permanent berth in the Long Beach Harbor, not far from downtown LA. Extravagant for its time, passengers could enjoy one of the 2 indoor swimming pools, beauty salons, paddleball courts, multiple libraries, and a music studio. You can take a tour of this impressive antique ship and even book a room to stay onboard to get the full experience.
7. Griffith Observatory
Sitting on top of a hill in Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory has arguably the best view of Los Angeles of any building you can visit. With a close view of the Hollywood sign, the observatory is a popular tourist destination and can be visited most times of the day. Along with a large park area for relaxing, the observatory has multiple displays and space-related exhibits and has been free to the public since it opened in 1935. If you visit at night, you’ll be treated to the opportunity to look through the main refraction telescope. If you do, you’ll be in good company, as over 7 million people have viewed the stars through this particular telescope, making the most viewed telescope in the world.
8. IN-N-Out Burger
A Classic West Coast favorite, In-N-Out Burger stands alone at the top of the fast-food food chain. Unlike other fast-food restaurants, here you are presented with a purposefully sparse and easy-to-read menu that only serves a few main items, but has these few things perfected. No frozen food to be found here – everything is fresh, and you can even watch as they smash the freshly peeled potatoes through a cutter and into the oil to become the golden brown french-fries that you are eating minutes later. There is probably no other restaurant that typifies the California lifestyle better than In-N-Out, so you’d better add this to your LA todo list pronto!
9. Paramount Studios After Dark Tour
The Paramount Studios After Dark Tour is a great option for film lovers who want a unique tour experience. Starting off with a glass of champagne at dusk, this 2-hour walking tour takes you through some of the most legendary parts of the Paramount backlot. You’ll walk through the creepy Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and be guided through some mysterious and shadowy corners of the studio that the daytime visitors have never seen. Be sure to check out this one-of-a-kind nighttime tour!
10. Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard is one of the main LA thoroughfares, winding all the way from the coast, through Beverly Hills and West Hollywood and into downtown. One particular portion of Sunset Boulevard, known as the “Sunset Strip”, is a 1.5-mile stretch and is home to many popular restaurants, rock clubs, and night clubs. This area is also famous for its many colorful advertising billboards that fill both sides of the boulevard.
11. Universal CityWalk Hollywood
Universal Citywalk Hollywood is a fun nighttime destination that is adjacent to the Universal Studios theme park. This 3 block shopping and dining destination covers 3 whole blocks and features many popular restaurants, stores, a 19 screen movie theatre, indoor skydiving and much more. The Citywalk is styled after the traditional Hollywood architecture and mimics various sites from around Los Angeles. If you are looking for an exciting and entertaining thing to do in Los Angeles at night, we definitely recommend Universal Citywalk.
12. Downtown Disney
Downtown Disney is a shopping and dining destination directly outside the Disneyland theme parks and connects the parks directly to the popular Disney Hotels. This destination is a fun thing to do in Los Angeles at night, with street musicians and performers providing entertainment, and featuring many popular themed stores and restaurants. Even if you aren’t planning on visiting Disneyland, downtown Disney is still worth a visit if you are looking for a fun and entertaining evening out.
13. Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is known as the premier outdoor Amphitheater in Los Angeles, and the lineup of artists each year is packed with the biggest acts, bands, and orchestras from around the world. Sitting in hills directly above LA, it is a magical location, and It was even voted by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the top 10 music venues in America. If you know when you’re visiting LA, make sure to check out the upcoming lineup of artists here. If you enjoy live shows, then we would recommend adding the Hollywood Bowl to the top of your todo list in LA. – You won’t be disappointed.
14. The Staples Center
If you’re in LA and want to experience a Laker Game, or see one of the many top music acts that come through town, you’ll most likely be visiting the Staples Center. This huge facility is located in downtown LA right next to the LA Convention Center and is home to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Los Angeles Clippers among other professional sports teams. If you are are a sports fan and looking for an exciting thing to do in Los Angeles at night, we’d highly recommend catching a game if you can. Check out the Staples Center schedule here to see what’s coming up and if it could fit into your visit to LA.