What to Do in LA at Night

This post is our guide to the best things to do at night in Los Angeles at night, including free and family-friendly things to do as well as restaurants and music venues.

 

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

The following section lists our top ten things to do in Los Angeles after the sun goes down. 

For more ideas, make sure to read our master post covering some of the best things to do in Los Angeles.

Don’t forget that some of the best attractions that stay open late are included on most LA tourist passes


1) See Los Angeles After Dark on a Night Tour

See the city lights, a movie studio, celebrities’ homes or Hollywood’s hippest night clubs by taking a night tour.

Night Bus Tours are popular and fun. Check out the LA City Tour By Night to get an overview of the city.

 

LA Night Bus Tour

 

If you came to see the stars (and not the ones in the sky), take a Celebrity Home tour that runs into the early evening.

For TV and movie buffs, you can take a Paramount Studios After Dark tour.

Want to dive into the LA night scene? Take a Hollywood Club Crawl!


2) Go to a Concert/Musical

Los Angeles attracts the biggest acts in the music world. And its live theater scene isn’t too shabby either!

What venue says Los Angeles more than the Hollywood Bowl? 

Other amazing music venues in LA are:

Live theater can be seen at these venues:

As of spring 2019, these musicals are in town. Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and more throughout the year.

If you’re interested in seeing a musical, make sure to use TodayTix for the best deals on last-minute tickets.


3) Watch a Major Sporting Event

Los Angeles is a major sports town and many games are scheduled for evenings. LA’s sports teams are all excellent!

 

 

As for college sports, UCLA has some phenomenal teams including the UCLA Bruins NCAA Basketball team. UCLA’s soccer team and baseball team are also pretty popular. 


4) Go Wild at Universal Studios

Except for winter, Universal Studios has extended hours that allow for plenty of thrill rides, adventures, and attractions at night.

Hours can vary from day-to-day, depending on the season and special events. The theme park is open until at least 9 pm on most nights.

 

 

In addition to all the great rides at the park, there is also a popular Universal Studios tour you can take while you’re there.

Of course, the bustling, pedestrians-only Universal CityWalk is open every evening for dining, shopping, and entertainment.


5) Visit a Nighttime Attraction or Museum

There are several great attractions with late hours in Los Angeles. 

See what other attractions are open late from our monthly Things To Do posts.


6) Have a Haunted Encounter on the Queen Mary 

This famous 1930s cruise ship (now a hotel) was once considered by Time Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Most Haunted Places on Earth”.

Y0u can take their one-hour Haunted Encounters tour, offered several times daily.

If you prefer to visit this ship for its lush art-deco design and to learn its history, you can get a general admission ticket to tour parts of the ship.

 

 

For more spookiness, check out other haunted LA tours.

TIP:  Admission to the Queen Mary is included with the Go Los Angeles Card.


7) Take a Dinner Cruise

There are a lot of great Los Angeles cruises that serve dinner several nights a week. They are a perfect way to eat and sightsee at the same time! 

 

 

Dinner cruises last around 3 hours and you will be able to enjoy the LA sunset from the water.

You will get great views, music, dancing, dinner, and drinks.


8) See the View at OUE Skyspace

The OUE Skyscape Observation Deck has one of the best views of Los Angeles. But they have something else for those who are brave enough to ride the Skyslide.

The Skyslide is a fully-enclosed slide that you that is almost 1,000 feet above downtown LA.

 

 

OUE Skyspace is open until 10 pm every night of the week. It’s also kid-friendly! (See below for more family-friendly nighttime activities).

TIP: Tickets for this observation deck are included in some of the Los Angeles tourist passes.


9) Go to a Comedy Show

Los Angeles attracts a lot of famous comedians, so don’t be surprised if they sometimes turn up at the local comedy clubs.

 

 

  • Comedy Store – known for launching Jay Leno, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle and more.
  • Laugh Factory – some regular guests are Bill Burr, Kathy Griffin, Kevin Nealon, and Tim Allen.
  • Clubhouse Improv – free improv shows throughout the week
  • Upright Citizens Brigade – affordable improv shows throughout the week ($5 – $10).

In addition to the free improv shows, many comedy clubs in the area offer open mic nights every week that don’t cost a dime to attend.

For more great nighttime activities that won’t hurt your budget, check our free things to do at night section.


10) Get a Tourist Pass

Some of the best nighttime attractions in this city are included with Los Angeles tourist attraction discount passes. These passes can save you up to 55% off of retail prices.

 

 

Here are some of the activities you can enjoy with these services:

  • OUE Skyspace
  • San Diego Zoo
  • California Science Center IMAX
  • Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain (open late seasonally)
  • And more!

Make sure to read our full post covering LA tourist passes to learn more about how they work.


Honorable Mentions

  • Visit Chinatown
    • This neighborhood has a lot of interesting things to see and do, including great Chinese food, the Chinese American Museum, Union Station, and several little shops selling curious (and usually cheap) items!
  • Go to Little Tokyo
    • As with Chinatown, this neighborhood has a lot of fantastic restaurants and notable locations like the Japanese American National Museum. There are also several specialty shops selling popular merchandise.
  • Take a Helicopter Tour
    • One of the best ways to see all the most popular sites in Los Angeles, including the Hollywood sign!
  • Check out the Chandelier Tree
    • A circus worker known as Adam Tenenbaum decorated this tree in front of his house with 30 different chandeliers which usually light up at about 10 pm every night. Find out more here.
  • Go to the Wende Museum
    • This free public museum is dedicated to preserving artwork, artifacts and more from the Cold War.
  • Stroll down Universal Citywalk
    • Located right next to Universal Studios, this open-air shopping center includes a lot of great stores, movie theaters, restaurants, fountains and more – and it’s entirely free to walk down the strip!

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

In the following section, we will provide a list of fun activities you can enjoy after dark in Los Angeles.

Be sure to read the top 10 and family sections of this post as well for ideas on free things to do in the evenings.

And for any time of day, read our master post on free things to do in Los Angeles.

 

 


Walk the Hollywood Strip

If you’re hoping to see a few movie stars or maybe even see a film at a famous theater, consider a trip to Hollywood Boulevard.

One of the most popular things to see is the Walk of Fame, which stretches down almost the entire length of the strip.

There are also a lot of notable sites to see along the way, including the Egyptian Theater, the TCL Chinese Theater, The Capitol Records Building and more.

This is also where they record Jimmy Kimmel Live, a popular late night talk show which offers free tickets for all guests.

Check our guide on how to get Los Angeles TV show tickets for more information.


See the Actual Stars at Griffith Observatory

This iconic Los Angeles landmark, featured in famous movies ranging from Rebel Without a Cause to La La Land, is open until 10 pm every day except Mondays. It’s free to visit as well!

 

 

You can check out our guide to the surrounding Griffith Park to make the most of your visit to this side of LA.


Hike to the Hollywood Sign

There’s nothing more symbolic than this famous landmark sitting atop the hill that overlooks Los Angeles. Thankfully, this historic sign is still entirely free to visit!

The sign is Griffith Park, so you can visit as late as 10 pm. Read this post on Hollywood sign hiking tours to see the different ways to get up to the sign.


Stroll the Santa Monica Pier

Open around the clock, the entertaining Santa Monica Pier is a classic LA destination and free to visit.

While there, why not visit Pacific Park, a family amusement park, which is open as late as 12:30 am on most nights (check their website to confirm hours for the night you want to go). 

 

 

You will also see street performers all year, and in summers there is a free music series, Twilight at the Pier.

Our guide to visiting Santa Monica (and Venice Beach) has even more information on what to do in Santa Monica.


Spend an Evening at a Free Museum 

There are several museums in Los Angeles that are open late and either free or offer free days. 

 

 

  • The Broad
    • Open until 8 pm Thur – Sat every week.
    • Free admission for all visitors.
  • MOCA Grand Ave
    • Open until 8 pm every Thursday.
    • Free admission Thursday from 5 pm – 8 pm
  • Hammer Museum
    • Open until 8 pm Tue – Fri each week.
    • Free admission for all visitors.
  • Institute of Contemporary Art
    • Open until 7 pm Wed – Fri each week.
    • Free admission for all visitors.

TIP: Don’t forget that admission to several popular museums is included with various Los Angeles tourist passes.


See a Free Improv Show

There’s no shortage of free improv in LA, as well as open mic nights.

The Clubhouse Comedy Club offers free performances throughout the week running until midnight or later.

This is a great place to catch up and coming talent while enjoying a few laughs from all the hilarious shows each night.

TIP: If you’re interested in improv, don’t forget that the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater offers several improv shows for between $5 – $10.


Hear Live Music Performance

There are a number of annual free concert series and here are some more popular ones:

Twilight at the Pier

This music series takes place at the Santa Monica Pier every year on Wednesday nights from September to October. There’s also food, art, dancing and more.

Summer Nights

This summer series take place at various locations throughout the city. The event is free, all ages, with a variety of performances.

Grand Performances

This summer concert series has been described as the best of its kind. You’ll get free live music, dance, theater and more.

Don’t forget to check our monthly things to do posts to find out about free concerts and other fun events happening in Los Angeles during your visit.

TIP: For more free music and other entertainment, see our Summer Guide to Los Angeles.


Take a Walk on Venice Beach

LA sunsets are gorgeous when seen from Venice Beach.  You can see the lovely Venice canals, designed to look similar to the canals of Venice, Italy.

Walking along the Venice Boardwalk into the night, then check out the unique shops, some of which are open as late as 8/9 pm.

 

 

For more information, check our post covering things to do at Venice Beach.


See Sunset Strip at Night

Sunset Boulevard is one of the most famous streets in LA, and it’s interesting day or night. Strolling is totally free. 

If you want some entertainment, you can visit these clubs and venues though you’ll have to pay a cover charge for some of these. 

  • Sunset Tower Hotel
  • The Roxy Theatre
  • The Viper Room
  • Sunset Plaza
  • Book Soup
  • The Comedy Store
  • Rainbow Bar & Grill
  • The Laugh Factory (has open mic nights with no cover charge every week).

For even more great locations to visit, check out this list of places to stop on Sunset Boulevard.

 


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THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS AT NIGHT

Los Angeles is a very family friendly destination, with lots of activities available for children and teens of all ages. This section lists kid-friendly night activities in Los Angeles.

Take a look at both our top 10 and free sections for more ideas like going to a musical, attending a sporting event, and visiting the Skywalk Observatory. 

For more family-friendly activities any time of day, be sure to read our master post on things to do with kids in Los Angeles.


Go to an Amusement Park

It probably won’t shock you to find that Los Angeles is home to several notable amusement parks. If you’re looking for something fun to do with your family, consider visiting one of the following locations:

Pacific Park (Included with Go Los Angeles Card)

If you’re planning to visit the Santa Monica Pier, you might as well stop by this local favorite amusement park. They have both historic and state-of-the-art rides for visitors of all ages.

Knott’s Berry Farm (included with Go Los Angeles Card)

This is another popular park in the Los Angeles area with dozens of thrill rides for everyone to enjoy. Knott’s Berry Farm is also known for their affiliation with the Peanuts gang!

Six Flags Magic Mountain (Included with Go Los Angeles Card)

With a variety of great thrill rides – including a few based on DC Comics superheroes – there are plenty of attractions that families will love. In addition to the DC Universe rides, there are also several other Warner Bros characters represented at the park.

Disneyland (Included with CityPASS)

It may not be as big as Disney World, but Disneyland is still one of the happiest places on earth. The most recent attraction is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a section of the park devoted to everything Star Wars!

TIP: Don’t forget that Universal Studios Hollywood also has a lot of great attractions and rides for families!


Check Out the Two Bit Circus

Imagine an old-timey carnival midway merged but upgraded with all the technology and virtual reality of your dreams.

Two Bit Circus is open every evening except Mondays and offers a wide array of activities to entertain you.

 

 

From escape rooms to carnival favorites reimaged digitally to live performances and robot bartenders – there’s something for everyone.

It’s free to enter, but you’ll pay as you play. It’s family friendly and great for teens, but on Friday and Saturday nights after 9 pm, it’s 18+ only.


Visit a Kid-Friendly Museum

In addition to all the great free museums in Los Angeles, there are also several locations with a family focus.

Here are a few of the more popular kid-friendly museums in LA:

Madame Tussauds (Included with Go Los Angeles Card)

This famous wax museum includes a variety of notable movie stars and musical artists. They also have special spaces devoted to exhibits such as Marvel Superheroes 4D, Pop Icons of the ’90s, and more.

Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

With tons of interesting exhibits covering the strangest and most shocking artifacts, there’s plenty for kids and their families to see and do at this museum. In addition to oddities and visual illusions, there are also family-friendly games to play!

KidSpace Museum

Features indoor and outdoor play spaces, learning zones and caters to kids up to ten years old. This museum is free on the first Tuesday of every month with special hours from 4 pm-8 pm.

Check our top 10 section for more kid-friendly museums.


Take Flight at iFLY Hollywood

Have you or your children ever wondered what it would really feel like to fly?

While it might not be physically possible, there is a device that can replicate the experience of skydiving without any of the danger.

At iFLY Hollywood, you’ll be lifted up off the ground by powerful fans, re-creating the experience of skydiving from a plane. 

TIP: Save 20% off tickets with the Build Your Own Los Angeles Pass!


Take a Ghost Tour

If you’re looking for something fun to do with the older kids in your family, try an LA haunted history tour.

While some tours focus on the supernatural history of Downtown LA, other outings cover the Hollywood and Beverly Hills area.

Many of these tours take place after dark, making them excellent nighttime activities.


Walk the Music Box Steps

There are a lot of historic sites in Los Angeles that have been used as filming locations over the last decade or more, but the Music Box steps might be one of the most family-friendly examples.

These stairs are named after the Laurel & Hardy movie in which they appeared, The Music Box. They are covered in colorful paint and artwork which is a lot of fun to see.

 

 

The Music Box stairs are pretty well lit, even after dark, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble seeing them at night or in the early evening.

This activity is entirely free to enjoy!


Try to Get Out of an Escape Room

As the name implies, the aim of this attraction is to escape a prefabricated – and hard to exit – room in the venue.

You get an hour or two to try to find the secret to getting out. This is a great way to find family-building skills by working together.

There are several different locations to choose from in Los Angeles.

TIP: Admission to an escape room is included with at least one Los Angeles tourist pass.


See an Outdoor Movie 

With the nice weather, there are several outdoor movie series to enjoy around the city. Some are free and held at public parks. Many series take place in the warmer months of summer.

In years past, the selection of films has included titles such as The Neverending Story, Black Panther, E.T., Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Monsters Inc. and more.

There are other series that you must buy a ticket for, but most of the kid-friendly series are free. 

Check this list of outdoor movie series in Los Angeles for more details.


Start a Bonfire on the Beach

Some of the public beaches in Los Angeles actually have fire pits where visitors can start their own bonfire.

It’s free to use a pit, but you will have to purchase the supplies for the fire and make sure that it doesn’t get out of control.

Keep in mind that these fire pits are pretty popular during the weekends, making it even more important to find a fire pit earlier in the day.

 


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RESTAURANTS AND FOOD

There are so many great food destinations in LA; you could spend an entire vacation eating and not even scratch the surface of what LA has to offer in dining. 


Grand Central Market

One must-visit is the Grand Central Market, for both its history and food selection. The market opened in 1917 and has been in continuous operation ever since.

The market has continued to evolve with the city and is a premier dining destination. Sticky Rice is our favorite for Thai food, Lucky Bird has some of the best fried chicken in town, and swing by McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams for dessert.

 

Grand Central Market Los Angeles


The Apple Pan

For amazing burgers, swing by The Apple PanIt’s been in business since the 1920s and is known for its classic steakburger.


Beverly Hills Hotel

For celebrity spotting, try having lunch at the iconic garden terrace of the Chateau Marmont or the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. You’ll spend a little more money but it might be worth it if you see your favorite silver screen star up close.


The Prince

If you want authentic Korean food, visit The Prince.

Located in Koreatown, you’ll likely recognize the interior, as it’s been featured in TV shows like Mad Men and New Girl and movies like Chinatown. The service is notoriously slow but the Korean-inspired menu is delicious and the prices are reasonable.


California Donuts 

It is a 24-hour donut shop to satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking the bank. Fresh Donuts Since 1982!
A family-owned donut shop since 1982 that makes amazingly fluffy donuts!


Pacific Dining Car

Another great all-night spot is the Pacific Dining Car on the west side of downtown.

It’s been in business since 1921 (Mae West used to be a regular) If you come in between 10pm-6am, you can try the famous “baseball steak” that was featured in the film Training Day.


Food Trucks

LA is famous for its food truck scene. To get the latest in food trends, be sure to track down a food truck and enjoy the cuisine like an LA local.

Roaming Hunger has a great site to help you track down where trucks are at any time of night.

If you head over to La Brea & Venice, you’ll find Leo’s Tacos parked almost nightly, with folks eating and socializing in the parking lot. Grab a couple of al pastor tacos and thank us later!

 


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There are so many things to do at night throughout the year in LA that we’ve separated them by month, as many events occur in conjunction with holidays or seasons.

If you want to learn more about seasonal free events and activities click on one of the links below.

See our Summer Guide to Los Angeles with lots of nighttime activities including free concerts, free outdoor movies and more!

 


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About the author

Manager | Chicago & Los Angeles

Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!