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A street with trees on both sides. There is a large white house at the end of the street. Liz Kuball

The best things to do in LA this winter

Explore LA’s impressive architecture, must-see art exhibits, and outdoor attractions

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Welcome to Curbed LA’s city guide, a seasonally updated map of 26 essential things to do in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles winters are famously mild, ​which means there’s nothing keeping you in the house. Venture out to cultural institutions, botanical gardens, and even the beach.

This guide spotlights cultural institutions, the outdoors, and beautiful spaces. With winter in swing, picks include El Segundo’s cozy and charming Old Town Music Hall, a photography exhibit in East LA, a tour of old Victorian homes, and an open-air market among old warehouse in Downtown LA.

Looking for more ways to explore the City of Angels?

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1. Descanso Gardens

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1418 Descanso Dr
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
(818) 949-4200
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Descanso Gardens’ 160 acres feature cherry trees, camellias, irises, and ginkgo, all of which should be explosions of color over the next few months. The garden also offers shady, peaceful spots to stop and rest.

Check the events calendar before heading over; Descanso ($9 admission) offers a range of activities from plant sales to the occasional tea ceremony to guided walks through the grounds. If you’re visiting on a weekend, maybe swing by Descanso’s restaurant for brunch.

2. Valley Relics Museum

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7900 Balboa Blvd. C3 & C4 Entrance on, Stagg St
Van Nuys, CA 91406
(818) 616-4083
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Digging Ken Burns’s new country music documentary? This off-beat museum has a huge collection of cool, nostalgic items from the San Fernando Valley, including mementos from the days when some Valley neighborhoods were “full of cowboys, stunt men, and rodeo riders who loved to drink and fight.” There’s a neon sign from North Hollywood’s shuttered Palomino Club—dubbed the “Grand Ole Opry West”—and sparkly costumes and cars decorated by famed country-western tailor Nudie Cohn. They’re packed in alongside hundreds of other rare historic photos and documents from the Valley’s past, such as arcade games and Valley-made vintage BMX bikes. It’s a good, if super-compressed introduction to the area and LA kitsch in general.

3. The Gamble House

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4 Westmoreland Pl
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 793-3334
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This handsome house was the winter residence of David and Mary Gamble. David, an heir to the Proctor and Gamble consumer goods empire, retired and took to wintering in Pasadena. The Gambles hired the architecture firm of Greene and Greene, a team of brothers who combined the bungalow style and Japanese influences and created a large and lavish mansion for the family.

The Greene brothers, focused on the highest level of craftsmanship, even designed the residence’s furniture, rugs, and lighting fixtures, many of which are still in the house today and can be seen on tours.

The Gamble House is considered one of the “ultimate bungalows” designed by the Greene brothers and an important contributor to the architectural evolution of Los Angeles and the nation. Hour-long, docent-led tours of the house run from Thursdays through Sundays. More in-depth, 2.5-hour tours are offered once a month. Pricing for both is available here.

The Gamble House.
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4. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

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1151 Oxford Rd
San Marino, CA 91108
(626) 405-2100
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The Huntington is a splurge, but the $25 admission is more than worth it. One of the most beautiful properties in Los Angeles, the sprawling estate holds more than a dozen themed gardens, including a jaw-dropping Japanese Garden, fragrant rose garden, and colorful desert garden. The admission also includes access to the the grand library and other exhibition spaces that display a wide-ranging mix of artifacts, literature, and paintings, from a Donald Judd prototype to Henry David Thoreau’s manuscript of Walden to an original 1516 copy of the Thomas More book Utopia.

In the foreground are plants, trees, and grass. In the distance is a large white building. It is sunset.
The Huntington.
Jenna Chandler

5. Beachwood Canyon Secret Stairs

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2695 N Beachwood Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Beachwood Canyon is a magical, quaint neighborhood filled with gorgeous homes of a variety of styles dating back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. One of the city’s first planned housing tracts, it has counted many silver-screen stars among its residents.

Tour Beachwood by way of its “secret stairs,” a network of staircases dating back to the streetcar era of Los Angeles. As the neighborhood is quite hilly, the Beachwood Canyon stairs are fairly challenging, adding an aerobic element to sightseeing. There’s a whole book on walking tours of LA’s staircases, and the website for the book includes a PDF map and directions on how to get to and traverse the ones in Beachwood. It recommends starting at Beachwood Cafe.

Parking is scarce on the winding streets (some of which are permit-only parking), so why not take Metro’s 180/181 bus lines or the Beachwood DASH bus up to the start of the walk? All of those buses pick up near the Hollywood/Vine subway stop and W Hotel on the Walk of Fame.

A street with trees on both sides. There is a large white house at the end of the street.
Homes in Beachwood Canyon.
Liz Kuball

6. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Cabrillo Beach

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3720 Stephen M White Dr
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 548-7562
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Los Angeles’s famously warm winters mean the beach is not off limits. Get more bang for your buck by cramming two activities into one fun day, and hitting up the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium then having some fun in the sun at the nearby Cabrillo Beach.

The Southern California-focused aquarium has been around since 1935, and has won numerous conservation awards for its role in educating the public about the mysteries of the deep. In late January, the aquarium will have a whole day of fun to kick off the start of the whale watching season. The Frank Gehry-designed aquarium is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free, but the aquarium asks for suggested donations of $5 for adults and $1 for children. After the aquarium, relax by throwing a blanket out on Cabrillo Beach and enjoying the sun and sand.

7. Lovell House

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4616 Dundee Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 304-5548

The home that launched architect Richard Neutra’s career 90 years ago is now available for private tours. The Lovell Health House, which you might recognize from L.A. Confidential, “helped create a template for sleek, streamlined homes.” Suspended on the side of a cliff below Griffith Park, the residence is framed in concrete and steel, but inside, it’s lofty and airy with dramatic views. To schedule a tour, contact lovellhealthhousetours@gmail.com.

8. Hollyhock House

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4800 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 913-4030
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In July, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The house represents not just a beautiful Wright creation and his first house in Los Angeles, but also a “germination of what became California Modernism.” A recent restoration brought the house back to as close an approximation as possible of how it looked in 1921, when it was completed. It features the plaster, elaborate ceiling moldings, and accordion glass doors that it was intended to have.

Furnished with a mix of original furniture and detailed reproductions, the house is open for self-guided tours Thursday through Sunday each week; standard admission is $7. After your tour, stick around for a picnic in Barnsdall Art Park.

Hollyhock House.
Michael Muraz (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

9. Château Marmont

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8221 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 656-1010
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If you’re doing Los Angeles, you should probably spend at least a little time on the iconic Sunset Strip, and for that we recommend the Chateau Marmont. Built in the 1920s as the city's first earthquake-proof apartment building, it became a hotel and the place for stars to misbehave in the 1930s; it’s been that way ever since.

The rooms and bungalows are shockingly expensive, but make a reservation for lunch, enjoy the restaurant patio, then sneak a look around the pool and grounds, shrouded in foliage and perched tastefully above the Strip.

Chateau Marmont.
Shutterstock

10. Heritage Square Museum

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3800 Homer St
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 225-2700
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Heritage Square is an elegant reminder that Los Angeles once boasted a slew of ornate Victorian homes. The museum is made up of eight historic structures—homes and mansions, a depot, barn, and drugstore—that have been preserved to showcase the “everyday lives of Southern Californians” at the turn of the century. The museum is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, with guided tours (included in the $10 admission) departing hourly from noon to 3 p.m.

Heritage Square Museum.
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11. The Getty

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1200 Getty Center Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 440-7300
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Funded by oilman J. Paul Getty’s trust, the Getty is one of the most breathtaking places in Los Angeles. Its light-colored marble buildings bob and weave among pools, fountains, and a circular garden designed by Robert Irwin, all on top of a ridge high above the 405 freeway with 360-degree views. Plus you get to take a funicular up there. The permanent collection isn’t particularly beloved, but there are several exhibits worth checking out right now including “True Grit: American Prints and Photographs from 1900 to 1950,” “Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics,” and “Unseen

35 Years of Collecting Photographs.” It’s all free except for the parking ($20; $15 after 3 p.m.).

The Getty.
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12. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

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5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 857-6000
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LACMA is one of LA’s most prominent museums. Its vast permanent collection holds famous works of art, including Henri Matisse’s “La Gerbe,” Ed Ruscha’s “Standard,” and Diego Rivera’s portrait of Frida Kahlo.

Admission is $20 for LA residents and $25 for visitors who live outside the county, but you can view two of the museum’s most popular installations—“Urban Light” and “Levitated Mass”—for free. Both are located outside the museum’s doors. LACMA’s sprawling campus connects to the La Brea Tar Pits, and there’s a hardy network of walking paths between the two, making it a lovely place to stroll.

LACMA is closed Wednesdays. Admission is free for LA residents after 3 p.m.

Urban Light.
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13. Leimert Park Village

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Leimert Park—voted Curbed LA’s 2016 neighborhood of the year—was developed in the 1920s from a design by the Olmsted brothers, and for many years was a whites-only neighborhood. Once that kind of housing discrimination became illegal, wealthy African-Americans began to move in, and, by the 1970s, Leimert became the epicenter of black arts culture in Los Angeles, eventually breeding the LA Rebellion film movement and the famous World Stage open mic nights.

Leimert Park Village is a walkable and diverse cluster of small, local businesses, including the Eso Won Bookstore, ​the relatively new California Jazz and Blues Museum, and Harun Coffee.

14. The Broad

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221 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 232-6200
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In short time, The Broad Museum atop Bunker Hill in Downtown has made itself an indispensable part of Los Angeles’s cultural landscape. Through February 16 it’s exhibiting a survey of the work of Iranian American artist Shirin Neshat, whose “stark and powerful work in photography, film and video addresses issues around migration and exile as well as the West’s preconceptions about Islamic culture.”

Within the confines of the honeycomb-covered building by Diller Scofido + Renfro, guests to The Broad will also find contemporary art galore from the likes of Ed Ruscha, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari, Kara Walker, Jeff Koons, and Jasper Johns. The infinitely Instagramable piece by Yayoi Kusama entitled “Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away” is back, but it requires separate reservations to enter. Guests can make that reservation once they're inside the museum.

The Broad is open daily except Monday, and entrance is free. Admission to the Neshat exhibit costs $20, and requires advance reservations. Tickets can also be reserved in advance online for regular admission. Another option, however, is an on-site standby line for those who like to live spontaneously.

A large white building. There is a street in the foreground and a yellow bus is parked outside of the building.
The Broad.
Liz Kuball

15. The Museum of Contemporary Art

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250 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 621-2766
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Check out the first Los Angeles commission by 2019 Pritzker Prize winner Arata Isozaki. The recent award thrust the under-celebrated building back into the spotlight. Clad in red sandstone and opened in 1987, it features geometric forms, including glass pyramids that were designed to serve as skylights.

Be sure to venture inside. The Los Angeles Times says MOCA “has the makings of a possible sleeper-hit” with its new exhibit, “With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art, 1972–1985.” Artists in this movement “practiced a postmodernist art of appropriation borne of love,” working with a plethora of mediums evoking sources from around the world, from “Islamic architectural ornamentation to American quilts, wallpaper, Persian carpets, and domestic embroidery.”

(Tip: The museum offers a buy-one-get-one-free deal on admission when you ride Metro.)

A group of buildings surround a fountain. The buildings are all different shapes, colors, and styles of architecture.
MOCA.
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16. Angels Flight

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350 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013

If you want an old-timey LA experience, it doesn’t get any better than Angels Flight—a tiny railway that climbs up and down Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles. The two tangerine-colored train cars, named Sinai and Olivet, are more than 100 years old. The short ride costs $1 each way, or, if you have a TAP card, just 50 cents.

In the foreground is the entrance to a railway with train tracks. The sign on the entrance reads Angels Flight. Behind the railway are buildings and a park with trees and flowers.
Angels Flight.
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17. Grand Central Market

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317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Bustling Grand Central Market has seen quite a bit of change in the last few years. Trendy new vendors have come in, and the face of the market and the crowd that it caters to has altered. For better or for worse, this latest iteration of the market encapsulates an ongoing process all over Downtown, as buildings once neglected and underestimated continue to be polished up and reframed as the hot new thing. The market is a wonderful place to stop for a pupusa, a bowl of vegan ramen, or a burrito-sized taco.

Grand Central Market.
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18. The Last Bookstore

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453 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 488-0599
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Get cozy among the books at this independent bookstore, one of many in Los Angeles. As LA Weekly notes, “its stunning in-store design” with “books forming gravity-defying arches and typewritten scrolls acting as flowing overhead banners” is as much of a draw as its used book collection. Housed in an old bank, The Last Bookstore is huge, and its inventory includes all sorts of genres (new and used), plus vinyl records.

The Last Bookstore.
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19. Hauser and Wirth

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901 E 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 943-1620
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If you’re headed to the Arts District to eat and drink, carve out some time for... art. The Los Angeles outpost of Hauser and Wirth is the most obvious choice, and it’s free. The sprawling campus occupies an old flour mill and features beautiful galleries, along with a courtyard and landscaping by Los Angeles landscape architect Mia Lehrer (including a chicken coop—with Instagram-famous chickens). Located on East Third Street, it’s walking distance to Angel City Brewing and Downtown LA’s Little Tokyo neighborhood, where you should absolutely stop for a bowl of ramen.

A giant white building with a large entrance that has an arch. There are trees outside of the building.
Hauser & Wirth.
Liz Kuball

20. “George Rodriguez: Double Vision”

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1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(323) 265-8841
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Raised in South Central and Downtown Los Angeles, photographer George Rodriguez has devoted his expansive career to documenting civil rights activism and pop culture legends, from Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, and N.W.A. to the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising and the East Los Angeles Walkouts. On exhibition at the Vincent Price Museum through February 29, this retrospective spans four decades of his work. Admission is free; the museum is closed Sundays and Mondays and is otherwise open noon to 4 p.m., except Thursday, when hours are noon to 7 p.m.

21. Smorgasburg

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777 Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 988-8890
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Every Sunday, the walkable open air market known as Smorgasburg takes over a row of old warehouses between Seventh and Eighth streets off Alameda. Now known as ROW DTLA, the warehouses hold high-end design and clothing boutiques and restaurants, including Tartine. But at Smorgasburg you can score every type of food your stomach desires, from vegan ice cream sandwiches to guava cheese pastelitos to uni to smoked alligator. It’s open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.

Smorgasburg.
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22. Eames House

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203 Chautauqua Blvd
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

One of the most important homes in Los Angeles, the personal residence of prolific designers Charles and Ray Eames is widely considered the “epitome of Midcentury California design.” That’s saying a lot in a city overflowing with experimental, groundbreaking, and stunning architecture.

On a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and partially shrouded by a row of eucalyptus trees, the Eames House was designed by the couple over a two-year period in the late 1940s, and its steel frame was erected by five men in just 16 hours. Using prefabricated, mass-produced materials to build a house was a total innovation at the time, and the “home became internationally known as a warm and ‘human’ solution to standardized prefabricated domestic building.”

The house is open for visits (exterior only) six days a week for $10. Reservations are required 48 hours in advance.

A rectangular house with windows surrounded by trees and plants. The front of the house is white with multiple windows.
Eames House.
Shutterstock

23. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

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6300 Hetzler Rd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 558-5547
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Do this one before the temperatures climb and the sun gets too intense. The “hike” to the overlook is short and steep: either march up 282 stairs or wind around a more gradual, switchbacking dirt path. Both routes end in the same place, and when you get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with expansive Los Angeles Basin views, including an Instagram-worthy shot of the Downtown skyline.

24. California African American Museum

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600 State Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90037
(213) 744-7432
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Exposition Park is home to multiple museums, but if you can only visit one, make it the California African American Museum. Its mission is to showcase under-represented artists of color, with an emphasis on art connected to California. Current exhibits include “Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th Century” and “Making Mammy: A Caricature of Black Womanhood, 1840–1940.”

Admission is free, and the museum is closed Monday. Before or after your visit, walk through the elegant Exposition Park Rose Garden.

25. Pann's Restaurant

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6710 La Tijera Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(323) 776-3770
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Chilly days call for pancakes all day, and if you’re going to eat pancakes, do it at Pann’s. Arguably the best remaining Googie diner in Los Angeles (with one of the best neon signs), the restaurant has been running since 1956 and was designed by Armet and Davis, a firm that mastered a “Jetson kind of aesthetic” that defines Googie style.

Pann’s.
Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0)

26. Old Town Music Hall

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140 Richmond St
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 322-2592
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Best known as the “Home of the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ,” the theater is as cozy as it is charming, with a pair of large crystal chandeliers and velvet curtains. Opened in 1920 as a live performance venue for employees of the nearby Standard Oil Refinery, the theater operates today as a venue for jazz concerts and old movies, including a run of The Thin Man movies and a festival of Three Stooges flicks in January. Tickets are $10 and can only be purchased at the box office.

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1. Descanso Gardens

1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Descanso Gardens’ 160 acres feature cherry trees, camellias, irises, and ginkgo, all of which should be explosions of color over the next few months. The garden also offers shady, peaceful spots to stop and rest.

Check the events calendar before heading over; Descanso ($9 admission) offers a range of activities from plant sales to the occasional tea ceremony to guided walks through the grounds. If you’re visiting on a weekend, maybe swing by Descanso’s restaurant for brunch.

1418 Descanso Dr
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

2. Valley Relics Museum

7900 Balboa Blvd. C3 & C4 Entrance on, Stagg St, Van Nuys, CA 91406

Digging Ken Burns’s new country music documentary? This off-beat museum has a huge collection of cool, nostalgic items from the San Fernando Valley, including mementos from the days when some Valley neighborhoods were “full of cowboys, stunt men, and rodeo riders who loved to drink and fight.” There’s a neon sign from North Hollywood’s shuttered Palomino Club—dubbed the “Grand Ole Opry West”—and sparkly costumes and cars decorated by famed country-western tailor Nudie Cohn. They’re packed in alongside hundreds of other rare historic photos and documents from the Valley’s past, such as arcade games and Valley-made vintage BMX bikes. It’s a good, if super-compressed introduction to the area and LA kitsch in general.

7900 Balboa Blvd. C3 & C4 Entrance on, Stagg St
Van Nuys, CA 91406

3. The Gamble House

4 Westmoreland Pl, Pasadena, CA 91103
The Gamble House.
Shutterstock

This handsome house was the winter residence of David and Mary Gamble. David, an heir to the Proctor and Gamble consumer goods empire, retired and took to wintering in Pasadena. The Gambles hired the architecture firm of Greene and Greene, a team of brothers who combined the bungalow style and Japanese influences and created a large and lavish mansion for the family.

The Greene brothers, focused on the highest level of craftsmanship, even designed the residence’s furniture, rugs, and lighting fixtures, many of which are still in the house today and can be seen on tours.

The Gamble House is considered one of the “ultimate bungalows” designed by the Greene brothers and an important contributor to the architectural evolution of Los Angeles and the nation. Hour-long, docent-led tours of the house run from Thursdays through Sundays. More in-depth, 2.5-hour tours are offered once a month. Pricing for both is available here.

4 Westmoreland Pl
Pasadena, CA 91103

4. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108
In the foreground are plants, trees, and grass. In the distance is a large white building. It is sunset.
The Huntington.
Jenna Chandler

The Huntington is a splurge, but the $25 admission is more than worth it. One of the most beautiful properties in Los Angeles, the sprawling estate holds more than a dozen themed gardens, including a jaw-dropping Japanese Garden, fragrant rose garden, and colorful desert garden. The admission also includes access to the the grand library and other exhibition spaces that display a wide-ranging mix of artifacts, literature, and paintings, from a Donald Judd prototype to Henry David Thoreau’s manuscript of Walden to an original 1516 copy of the Thomas More book Utopia.

1151 Oxford Rd
San Marino, CA 91108

5. Beachwood Canyon Secret Stairs

2695 N Beachwood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
A street with trees on both sides. There is a large white house at the end of the street.
Homes in Beachwood Canyon.
Liz Kuball

Beachwood Canyon is a magical, quaint neighborhood filled with gorgeous homes of a variety of styles dating back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. One of the city’s first planned housing tracts, it has counted many silver-screen stars among its residents.

Tour Beachwood by way of its “secret stairs,” a network of staircases dating back to the streetcar era of Los Angeles. As the neighborhood is quite hilly, the Beachwood Canyon stairs are fairly challenging, adding an aerobic element to sightseeing. There’s a whole book on walking tours of LA’s staircases, and the website for the book includes a PDF map and directions on how to get to and traverse the ones in Beachwood. It recommends starting at Beachwood Cafe.

Parking is scarce on the winding streets (some of which are permit-only parking), so why not take Metro’s 180/181 bus lines or the Beachwood DASH bus up to the start of the walk? All of those buses pick up near the Hollywood/Vine subway stop and W Hotel on the Walk of Fame.

2695 N Beachwood Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90068

6. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Cabrillo Beach

3720 Stephen M White Dr, San Pedro, CA 90731

Los Angeles’s famously warm winters mean the beach is not off limits. Get more bang for your buck by cramming two activities into one fun day, and hitting up the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium then having some fun in the sun at the nearby Cabrillo Beach.

The Southern California-focused aquarium has been around since 1935, and has won numerous conservation awards for its role in educating the public about the mysteries of the deep. In late January, the aquarium will have a whole day of fun to kick off the start of the whale watching season. The Frank Gehry-designed aquarium is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free, but the aquarium asks for suggested donations of $5 for adults and $1 for children. After the aquarium, relax by throwing a blanket out on Cabrillo Beach and enjoying the sun and sand.

3720 Stephen M White Dr
San Pedro, CA 90731

7. Lovell House

4616 Dundee Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The home that launched architect Richard Neutra’s career 90 years ago is now available for private tours. The Lovell Health House, which you might recognize from L.A. Confidential, “helped create a template for sleek, streamlined homes.” Suspended on the side of a cliff below Griffith Park, the residence is framed in concrete and steel, but inside, it’s lofty and airy with dramatic views. To schedule a tour, contact lovellhealthhousetours@gmail.com.

4616 Dundee Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027

8. Hollyhock House

4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Hollyhock House.
Michael Muraz (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In July, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The house represents not just a beautiful Wright creation and his first house in Los Angeles, but also a “germination of what became California Modernism.” A recent restoration brought the house back to as close an approximation as possible of how it looked in 1921, when it was completed. It features the plaster, elaborate ceiling moldings, and accordion glass doors that it was intended to have.

Furnished with a mix of original furniture and detailed reproductions, the house is open for self-guided tours Thursday through Sunday each week; standard admission is $7. After your tour, stick around for a picnic in Barnsdall Art Park.

4800 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

9. Château Marmont

8221 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046
Chateau Marmont.
Shutterstock

If you’re doing Los Angeles, you should probably spend at least a little time on the iconic Sunset Strip, and for that we recommend the Chateau Marmont. Built in the 1920s as the city's first earthquake-proof apartment building, it became a hotel and the place for stars to misbehave in the 1930s; it’s been that way ever since.

The rooms and bungalows are shockingly expensive, but make a reservation for lunch, enjoy the restaurant patio, then sneak a look around the pool and grounds, shrouded in foliage and perched tastefully above the Strip.

8221 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046

10. Heritage Square Museum

3800 Homer St, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Heritage Square Museum.
Shutterstock

Heritage Square is an elegant reminder that Los Angeles once boasted a slew of ornate Victorian homes. The museum is made up of eight historic structures—homes and mansions, a depot, barn, and drugstore—that have been preserved to showcase the “everyday lives of Southern Californians” at the turn of the century. The museum is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, with guided tours (included in the $10 admission) departing hourly from noon to 3 p.m.

3800 Homer St
Los Angeles, CA 90031

11. The Getty

1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049
The Getty.
Shutterstock

Funded by oilman J. Paul Getty’s trust, the Getty is one of the most breathtaking places in Los Angeles. Its light-colored marble buildings bob and weave among pools, fountains, and a circular garden designed by Robert Irwin, all on top of a ridge high above the 405 freeway with 360-degree views. Plus you get to take a funicular up there. The permanent collection isn’t particularly beloved, but there are several exhibits worth checking out right now including “True Grit: American Prints and Photographs from 1900 to 1950,” “Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics,” and “Unseen

35 Years of Collecting Photographs.” It’s all free except for the parking ($20; $15 after 3 p.m.).

1200 Getty Center Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90049

12. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Urban Light.
Shutterstock

LACMA is one of LA’s most prominent museums. Its vast permanent collection holds famous works of art, including Henri Matisse’s “La Gerbe,” Ed Ruscha’s “Standard,” and Diego Rivera’s portrait of Frida Kahlo.

Admission is $20 for LA residents and $25 for visitors who live outside the county, but you can view two of the museum’s most popular installations—“Urban Light” and “Levitated Mass”—for free. Both are located outside the museum’s doors. LACMA’s sprawling campus connects to the La Brea Tar Pits, and there’s a hardy network of walking paths between the two, making it a lovely place to stroll.

LACMA is closed Wednesdays. Admission is free for LA residents after 3 p.m.

5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

13. Leimert Park Village

Los Angeles, CA

Leimert Park—voted Curbed LA’s 2016 neighborhood of the year—was developed in the 1920s from a design by the Olmsted brothers, and for many years was a whites-only neighborhood. Once that kind of housing discrimination became illegal, wealthy African-Americans began to move in, and, by the 1970s, Leimert became the epicenter of black arts culture in Los Angeles, eventually breeding the LA Rebellion film movement and the famous World Stage open mic nights.

Leimert Park Village is a walkable and diverse cluster of small, local businesses, including the Eso Won Bookstore, ​the relatively new California Jazz and Blues Museum, and Harun Coffee.

14. The Broad

221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
A large white building. There is a street in the foreground and a yellow bus is parked outside of the building.
The Broad.
Liz Kuball

In short time, The Broad Museum atop Bunker Hill in Downtown has made itself an indispensable part of Los Angeles’s cultural landscape. Through February 16 it’s exhibiting a survey of the work of Iranian American artist Shirin Neshat, whose “stark and powerful work in photography, film and video addresses issues around migration and exile as well as the West’s preconceptions about Islamic culture.”

Within the confines of the honeycomb-covered building by Diller Scofido + Renfro, guests to The Broad will also find contemporary art galore from the likes of Ed Ruscha, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari, Kara Walker, Jeff Koons, and Jasper Johns. The infinitely Instagramable piece by Yayoi Kusama entitled “Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away” is back, but it requires separate reservations to enter. Guests can make that reservation once they're inside the museum.

The Broad is open daily except Monday, and entrance is free. Admission to the Neshat exhibit costs $20, and requires advance reservations. Tickets can also be reserved in advance online for regular admission. Another option, however, is an on-site standby line for those who like to live spontaneously.

221 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012

15. The Museum of Contemporary Art

250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
A group of buildings surround a fountain. The buildings are all different shapes, colors, and styles of architecture.
MOCA.
Shutterstock

Check out the first Los Angeles commission by 2019 Pritzker Prize winner Arata Isozaki. The recent award thrust the under-celebrated building back into the spotlight. Clad in red sandstone and opened in 1987, it features geometric forms, including glass pyramids that were designed to serve as skylights.

Be sure to venture inside. The Los Angeles Times says MOCA “has the makings of a possible sleeper-hit” with its new exhibit, “With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art, 1972–1985.” Artists in this movement “practiced a postmodernist art of appropriation borne of love,” working with a plethora of mediums evoking sources from around the world, from “Islamic architectural ornamentation to American quilts, wallpaper, Persian carpets, and domestic embroidery.”

(Tip: The museum offers a buy-one-get-one-free deal on admission when you ride Metro.)

250 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012

16. Angels Flight

350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013
In the foreground is the entrance to a railway with train tracks. The sign on the entrance reads Angels Flight. Behind the railway are buildings and a park with trees and flowers.
Angels Flight.
Shutterstock

If you want an old-timey LA experience, it doesn’t get any better than Angels Flight—a tiny railway that climbs up and down Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles. The two tangerine-colored train cars, named Sinai and Olivet, are more than 100 years old. The short ride costs $1 each way, or, if you have a TAP card, just 50 cents.

350 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013

17. Grand Central Market

317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Grand Central Market.
Shutterstock

Bustling Grand Central Market has seen quite a bit of change in the last few years. Trendy new vendors have come in, and the face of the market and the crowd that it caters to has altered. For better or for worse, this latest iteration of the market encapsulates an ongoing process all over Downtown, as buildings once neglected and underestimated continue to be polished up and reframed as the hot new thing. The market is a wonderful place to stop for a pupusa, a bowl of vegan ramen, or a burrito-sized taco.

317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013

18. The Last Bookstore

453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
The Last Bookstore.
Shutterstock

Get cozy among the books at this independent bookstore, one of many in Los Angeles. As LA Weekly notes, “its stunning in-store design” with “books forming gravity-defying arches and typewritten scrolls acting as flowing overhead banners” is as much of a draw as its used book collection. Housed in an old bank, The Last Bookstore is huge, and its inventory includes all sorts of genres (new and used), plus vinyl records.

453 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

19. Hauser and Wirth

901 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
A giant white building with a large entrance that has an arch. There are trees outside of the building.
Hauser & Wirth.
Liz Kuball

If you’re headed to the Arts District to eat and drink, carve out some time for... art. The Los Angeles outpost of Hauser and Wirth is the most obvious choice, and it’s free. The sprawling campus occupies an old flour mill and features beautiful galleries, along with a courtyard and landscaping by Los Angeles landscape architect Mia Lehrer (including a chicken coop—with Instagram-famous chickens). Located on East Third Street, it’s walking distance to Angel City Brewing and Downtown LA’s Little Tokyo neighborhood, where you should absolutely stop for a bowl of ramen.

901 E 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

20. “George Rodriguez: Double Vision”

1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, CA 91754

Raised in South Central and Downtown Los Angeles, photographer George Rodriguez has devoted his expansive career to documenting civil rights activism and pop culture legends, from Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, and N.W.A. to the 1992 Los Angeles Uprising and the East Los Angeles Walkouts. On exhibition at the Vincent Price Museum through February 29, this retrospective spans four decades of his work. Admission is free; the museum is closed Sundays and Mondays and is otherwise open noon to 4 p.m., except Thursday, when hours are noon to 7 p.m.

1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Monterey Park, CA 91754

21. Smorgasburg

777 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Smorgasburg.
Shutterstock

Every Sunday, the walkable open air market known as Smorgasburg takes over a row of old warehouses between Seventh and Eighth streets off Alameda. Now known as ROW DTLA, the warehouses hold high-end design and clothing boutiques and restaurants, including Tartine. But at Smorgasburg you can score every type of food your stomach desires, from vegan ice cream sandwiches to guava cheese pastelitos to uni to smoked alligator. It’s open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.

777 Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90021

22. Eames House

203 Chautauqua Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
A rectangular house with windows surrounded by trees and plants. The front of the house is white with multiple windows.
Eames House.
Shutterstock

One of the most important homes in Los Angeles, the personal residence of prolific designers Charles and Ray Eames is widely considered the “epitome of Midcentury California design.” That’s saying a lot in a city overflowing with experimental, groundbreaking, and stunning architecture.

On a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and partially shrouded by a row of eucalyptus trees, the Eames House was designed by the couple over a two-year period in the late 1940s, and its steel frame was erected by five men in just 16 hours. Using prefabricated, mass-produced materials to build a house was a total innovation at the time, and the “home became internationally known as a warm and ‘human’ solution to standardized prefabricated domestic building.”

The house is open for visits (exterior only) six days a week for $10. Reservations are required 48 hours in advance.

203 Chautauqua Blvd
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

23. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

6300 Hetzler Rd, Culver City, CA 90232

Do this one before the temperatures climb and the sun gets too intense. The “hike” to the overlook is short and steep: either march up 282 stairs or wind around a more gradual, switchbacking dirt path. Both routes end in the same place, and when you get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with expansive Los Angeles Basin views, including an Instagram-worthy shot of the Downtown skyline.

6300 Hetzler Rd
Culver City, CA 90232

24. California African American Museum

600 State Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037

Exposition Park is home to multiple museums, but if you can only visit one, make it the California African American Museum. Its mission is to showcase under-represented artists of color, with an emphasis on art connected to California. Current exhibits include “Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th Century” and “Making Mammy: A Caricature of Black Womanhood, 1840–1940.”

Admission is free, and the museum is closed Monday. Before or after your visit, walk through the elegant Exposition Park Rose Garden.

600 State Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90037

25. Pann's Restaurant

6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Pann’s.
Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0)

Chilly days call for pancakes all day, and if you’re going to eat pancakes, do it at Pann’s. Arguably the best remaining Googie diner in Los Angeles (with one of the best neon signs), the restaurant has been running since 1956 and was designed by Armet and Davis, a firm that mastered a “Jetson kind of aesthetic” that defines Googie style.

6710 La Tijera Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045

26. Old Town Music Hall

140 Richmond St, El Segundo, CA 90245

Best known as the “Home of the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ,” the theater is as cozy as it is charming, with a pair of large crystal chandeliers and velvet curtains. Opened in 1920 as a live performance venue for employees of the nearby Standard Oil Refinery, the theater operates today as a venue for jazz concerts and old movies, including a run of The Thin Man movies and a festival of Three Stooges flicks in January. Tickets are $10 and can only be purchased at the box office.

140 Richmond St
El Segundo, CA 90245