There’s always something to do in and around Los Angeles. The city is exceptionally well-located for an afternoon out, regardless of whether you visit for a day or live in the city year-round. Below, I list a few of the many great opportunities for exploration the city offers.  

 

Griffith Observatory

 

Located in Los Angeles at the top of Mount Hollywood in the Santa Monica Mountains, this educational treasure always has free admission! Visitors get to explore the universe through incredible interactive and educational exhibits. Each display area delves into a single astronomy lesson and treats spectators to telescope views; some visitors may even be able to attend incredible attend live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.

 

The Griffith Observatory is only closed on Mondays, so you can plan a visit any other day of the week and enjoy the wonder and awe of astronomy. A few key areas to explore include the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky, Astronomers Monument and Sundial, Edge of Space, Gunther Depths of Space, Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater. Keep an eye on your astronomical news;  milestones such as eclipses, solstices, equinoxes, and star viewings are special events that would be well-worth your time.

 

Santa Monica Pier

 

For more than a century, this admission-free amusement park has been a major attraction in the LA area. Visitors to Santa Monica Pier are near-guaranteed a day of fun – the park’s features include its one-of-a-kind yellow and red solar-powered Pacific Ferris Wheel, a historic Looff Hippodrome Carousel, an aquarium, an arcade with over 200 games, troupes of street performers, a plethora of restaurants, and great souvenir shops.

 

Solvang

 

Although the journey from the city to Solvang extends over two hours, the destination is well-worth the long drive. This town is a little piece of Denmark in the heart of California wine country; the attraction prides itself on making visitors feel as though they just stepped into a 19th-century Danish village.

 

Those who visit can absorb the rich heritage of the old-world Danish architecture and museums, eat their way through delicious authentic cuisine restaurants and bakeries with their amazing roasts as well as puddings and cakes, indulge in more than 150 boutiques and shops, view art galleries, and explore one or more of the 20 wine tasting rooms and over 120 wineries. Those who don’t feel like driving back don’t need to worry; the area is host to a number of cozy hotels and over a dozen unique inns.