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Classic LA Tourist Attractions (That Aren’t Corny) If You’re In Town For The Super Bowl

I have no shame in admitting that I live up to some most LA stereotypes. I live off of avocado toast and kombucha, spend more time curating my Instagram feed than I probably should, and struggle with dressing for temperatures below 50 degrees. But unlike most Angelenos these days, I actually grew up here.

Having lived in LA most of my life, I know which of the city’s many tourist attractions are worth seeing and which are totally overrated. Hollywood Walk of Fame? Don’t do it. Rodeo Drive? Meh. So I’m the perfect person to offer advice for anyone coming to town for Super Bowl LVI, happening at SoFi Stadium on February 13th. With that aim, I’m giving you the inside scoop today on which classic LA tourist attractions you should make time for before kickoff.

From Santa Monica to Downtown LA to Echo Park, keep reading below for every popular LA marvel to add to your Super Bowl weekend itinerary.

HIKE RUNYON CANYON

Runyon Canyon in Hollywood is the best way to get some fresh air (er, smog), exercise the Super Bowl Sunday hangover away, and see one of the best views in LA. You might even see a handful of celebs and influencers getting their workout in. There are a few different trail options you can take at Runyon — varying in difficulty and length — but all of them are doable for any fitness level (the full trail is a 2.7-mile loop).

You’ll pass through the iconic Hollywood Hills and get a glimpse of the luxurious homes and backyards of the city’s most wealthy and well-known citizens. There are several viewpoints on your way to the top, where you’ll get a panoramic view of the entire city — including the Hollywood Sign and the Downtown skyline. On an especially clear day, you might even see the Pacific Ocean from the top of the hike.

Runyon Canyon is always my number one recommendation when people come into town. Even I still do it fairly often when I need to trade in my favorite dimly lit hot yoga class for some exercise in the sunshine.

Why It’s Actually Cool & Not Corny:

There really is no better place to take in the entire city of LA than at the top of Runyon Canyon. It’s an incredible spot for photo opportunities and getting the most out of LA’s year-round great weather.

SANTA MONICA PIER

LA Tourist Attractions
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I’ve been going to Santa Monica Pier since I was a child, and it’s still one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon or evening. Granted, it is one of the most crowded tourist attractions in LA, but if you make good use of your time there it’s well worth it. Between the rides, restaurants, and street performers, there’s always something interesting to see and do. The Ferris wheel is a must for first-timers. It’s a romantic ride for couples and a fun time for families and friends. Great first kiss spot, too. Plus, the view at the top is great — ocean on one side and traffic-packed madness on the other.

My go-to restaurant on the pier is Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, a Forest Gump-themed seafood chain (this part is maybe a little corny/ nostalgic) that offers a memorable dining experience and a decent view of the beach depending on where you sit. For dessert, head to the arcade area of the pier and order yourself a hot funnel cake with powdered sugar. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Why It’s Actually Cool & Not Corny:

Ocean views, carnival rides, and delicious food and drinks all in one place — it’s the quintessential LA scene.

THE BROAD

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The Broad is an art museum in the heart of Downtown LA that features a collection of contemporary art from the 1950s to the present. The building itself is a work of art with geometric designs and eye-catching angles. Inside, you’ll find 2,000 works in The Broad collection by more than 200 artists throughout the museum’s various exhibitions.

Some of The Broad’s most notable pieces, as seen across museum-goers’ Instagram feeds, include Jeff Koons’s “Balloon Dog” and Robert Therrien’s “Under the Table.” The modern art museum also features works by some of art’s biggest names, such as Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. In addition to traditional art pieces, you can get an immersive experience through Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms. The mirror-lined chambers with flashing LED lights make you feel like you’re in another world.

Why It’s Actually Cool & Not Corny:

Overall, The Broad is an excellent way to fill an afternoon in LA with creativity and inspiration. It also gives you an opportunity to explore downtown.

ECHO PARK LAKE

LA Tourist Attractions
Wheel Fun Rentals

Echo Park Lake is a lesser-known tourist location, but it’s well worth a visit, especially on a nice day. With walking paths surrounding the central pond (complete with cascading fountains), some local street food vendors, a clear view of the downtown skyline, and plenty of room to lounge in the grass, Echo Park offers a relaxing way to spend an afternoon outside.

The best part, though? The pedal boats. Swan-shaped pedal boats! You can rent the boats through Wheel Fun Rentals and take them for a ride out on the lake. I’ve done this several times now, and it never gets old. I’ve even done it alone before — it was a lot more of a workout and I got some questionable looks, but I was enjoying myself!

Why It’s Actually Cool & Not Corny:

Echo Park delivers a little bit of everything. It’s the perfect spot to wind down after the excitement of the big game. Pack yourself a picnic, bask in the Southern California sunshine, and enjoy the palm trees and skyline views from the middle of the lake.

VENICE BEACH BOARDWALK

Venice Beach is one of the most iconic tourist destinations in the city. Not only is it the stereotypical beach town full of laidback vibes and bros who started chillin’ in 92 and still haven’t stopped (they even have the vintage rollerblades to show for it), but it’s also the most eccentric and vibrant area in all of LA. As I said in my budget travel guide to Venice Beach, the boardwalk is probably one of the top people-watching spots in the world.

There are tons of art and jewelry vendors, street performers, boutique shops, restaurants, and rooftop bars that’ll keep you busy and entertained for the entire day. Bring your board and check out the famous Venice Beach Skate Park if you’re feeling adventurous.

Why It’s Actually Cool & Not Corny:

In my opinion, the Venice Beach boardwalk is where the city feels most alive. There’s just good energy blowing through the salty ocean air that puts you in a carefree, joyous mood.

THE GETTY CENTER

LA Tourist Attractions
The Getty Center

The Getty Center takes slightly more time to get to than the other attractions. It’s located at the top of a hill that’s only accessible by tram, but it’s 100 percent worth the extra effort. The Getty Center is an art museum (with free admission!) that displays works from the middle ages to today. But it’s not only the extensive art collection that makes The Getty a must on your LA itinerary.

The building itself puts modern architecture on full display. With grand geometric designs made of sleek white stones and textures, you can spend a chunk of your time there just gawking at the museum building. Plus, the property is surrounded by walkable exquisite gardens and city views.

Why It’s Actually Cool & Not Corny:

Whether you want to browse world-renowned art exhibits, explore the property’s unusually designed gardens, or take in the panoramic views and architecture, Getty Center has something for everyone to enjoy.

GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY

LA Tourist Attractions
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If you’re a fan of La La Land, you might recognize Griffith Observatory as Emma Stone‘s and Ryan Gosling‘s characters’ go-to meeting spot. It’s also the location of other TV shows, commercials, and famous flicks, such as James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause.

If you make it to Griffith Park during the observatory building’s operating hours, you can head inside to look through telescopes, explore exhibits, and see a live show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium (if you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love the planetarium). The exhibits are great, but I prefer to visit at sunset or at night. The unbeatable views, walking trails, large grass areas to hang out in, and the beautifully lit observatory building make it a top-tier LA attraction for tourists and locals alike.

Why It’s Actually Cool & Not Corny:

Whether you’re a film junkie, a space nerd, or someone who appreciates a nice view, you should make the trip up to Griffith Observatory. You might not be able to see actual stars at Griffith Observatory without a telescope thanks to the luminescent city below, but the view is somehow still equally as beautiful. It makes sense why they call LA the city of stars when you’re looking down on the twinkling lights from a distinguished movie location.

GRAND CENTRAL MARKET

LA Tourist Attractions
Grand Central Market

When you’re done checking out The Broad museum, head to Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market. The historic public market first opened its doors in 1917, and it’s still serving some of the best cuisines the city has to offer today. The market features 40 food stalls featuring a wide range of locally-owned restaurants and up-and-coming vendors. You’ll find everything from fried chicken and ramen to tacos, oysters, barbecue, and even gourmet PB&J sandwiches.

Why It’s Actually Cool & Not Corny:

As the Grand Central Market accurately puts it, “The Market is a microcosm of the historic immigrant communities that have shaped Los Angeles and a mosaic of the creativity and vision of the people who call this city home.” With diverse cuisine options and a lively environment, everyone you’re traveling with can find something to savor here.

MELROSE PLACE

West Hollywood is easily the trendiest neighborhood in LA, and Melrose Place is the heart of it all. It’s a small stretch of cafes, high-end stores, and eateries off of Melrose Ave. and La Cienega Blvd. If you’re in search of Instagrammable backdrops, luxury shopping, overpriced coffee shops (that are totally worth it for cute decor and coffee cups, duh!), and an endless stream of influencers passing by, Melrose Place is your dream Los Angeles destination.

While you’re in the area, you need to make a stop at Alfred CoffeeAlfred Tea Room across the street for the pink-obsessed and the non-coffee drinkers — Glossier, Mansur Gavriel, Croft Alley, and Love Shack Fancy. Even if you’re not ready to blow cash on couture clothing, it’s worth visiting for some light bites and leisurely window shopping.

Why It’s Actually Cool & Not Corny:

Melrose Place gives you a glimpse of LA’s more glamourous side without the unbearable crowds of Rodeo Drive.

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