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Top 10 Things to Do in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana

A look at the must do attractions and activities in the Los Angeles area.

By Livability.com on December 2, 2015

Inside the engine room on the RMS Queen Mary in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles / Courtesy of QueenMary.com

Planning a trip to the Los Angeles area, which includes Long Beach and Santa Ana, can be a daunting task. There are so many things to do in this metro center that it’s hard to decide which are the best activites. We’ve come up with a list of the best things to do in Los Angeles for you. See what you think. 

Look at Johnny Depp

The longest running wax museum in America continues to be Hollywood Wax Museum, located on Hollywood Blvd. along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Entirely devoted to celebrity figures, the museum pays tribute to stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Matthew McConaughey, Halle Berry and John Wayne. Hours are 10 a.m.-midnight, 365 days a year.

Live It Up

Across from the Staples Center, L.A. Live is a sports and entertainment district with 13 restaurants, nightclubs, a 14-screen Regal Cinemas movieplex, a Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge bowling alley, The Grammy Museum and 2,000 parking spaces. Also within the sprawling downtown campus are The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, JW Marriott Los Angeles and The Ritz-Carlton Residences.

Let’s Make a Deal

Tickets are free to attend the long-running TV game show Let’s Make a Deal, which films at Sunset Bronson Studios on West Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Only 190 people are allowed in the costume-laden audience when the filming with host Wayne Brady occurs Tuesday-Saturday from July-December. The show gives away about $80,000 in cash and prizes each day.

Go Feast First

Downtown LA has earned a reputation as a top dining destination with world-class restaurants, and for good reason. The long list of excellent eateries includes established favorites and hot new spots, with options such as Border Grill Downtown, Casey’s Irish Grille, Cucina Rustica and Industriel French. Other must-dine venues include L.A. Prime, Octopus Japanese, Perch and Pitfire Pizza.

Sample a Brew

As Southern California’s oldest operating brew pub, Belmont Brewing Company operates at the foot of Belmont Pier in Long Beach, producing 1,000 barrels annually. Locals call the place BBC and it’s known for a wide microbrew selection and good food. The libation lineup includes a Long Beach Crude chocolate malt, Top Sail amber ale, and Strawberry Blonde fruit beer.

Catch Some Sports

The Walter Pyramid is one of only three true pyramids in the United States and hosts basketball and volleyball sporting events for California State University, Long Beach. The unusual architectural icon spans 18 stories, has a cobalt blue exterior and can be seen for miles, and more than 200,000 Long Beach State fans attend 49ers games each year.

Role Play

It’s all a big act at The Long Beach Playhouse, with shows running 50 weeks a year at either the 200-seat Mainstage Theatre or upstairs in the 98-seat Studio Theatre. Meanwhile, other performance troupes throughout the city include Musical Theatre West, International City Theatre, Long Beach Shakespeare Company, Found Theatre, Alive Theatre, Garage Theatre and California Repertory Company.

Drop Anchor

Visit the restaurants and museum and even stay at the hotel aboard the RMS Queen Mary, an ocean liner permanently docked at Long Beach. The ship, which is 200 feet longer than the Titanic, served in World War II and was purchased by Long Beach in 1967 to become a tourist attraction. Highlighting the 1936 liner are many art deco features.

Bring the Kids

Plan an afternoon at the Discovery Science Center on Main Street in Santa Ana. Interactive exhibits include Eco Challenge, Dino Quest, Boeing Rocket Lab and Science of Hockey, plus there’s a 4-D Discovery Theater. Even the building itself off Interstate 5 is unusual, with a 10-story “The Cube” sitting on one of its points.

Appreciate the Architecture

Bring a camera and peruse the Downtown Santa Ana Historic Districts, a combination of architectural-pleasing areas that have been listed as one entry in the National Register of Historic Places. Many buildings feature art deco style, including three old theaters (West End, Fox West Coast and Yost) along with Orange County’s first courthouse, now a museum.

Interact with Animals

Experience exhibits such as Amazon’s Edge and Colors of the Amazon Aviary at the Santa Ana Zoo, a 20-acre preserve at Prentiss Park that focuses on animals and plants of Central and South America. About 250 animals entertain more than 270,000 annual visitors, and other attractions include a Rainforest Adventure Maze and a Zoofari Express train ride.


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