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Los Angeles To-Do Checklist

Last Updated on July 22, 2023

I’m freshly back from the Los Angeles Times Travel Show and ready to tell you all about the good times had by all. I plan to get to that over the next few days, but various social obligations and pre-birthday festivities have cramped my time for an elaborate re-cap just yet. So I’ll save the Robert Young Pelton and Andrew Skurka videos for later this week, and instead entertain with a quick rundown from my other favorite travel mag.

In an undated article I came across last week, National Geographic Traveler lists its 30 must-dos for the City of Angels. While I agree with most of them, in my 10 years of living here I’ve yet to hit 11 of ’em. Getting out my to-do list right now…

1. Hollywood Entertainment Museum. Status: Unconquered. Seriously? Number 1? Even though I haven’t been there, I don’t think this would have even made it to my list of top 50, mainly because I can’t recall a single person — tourist or resident — who’s even so much as mentioned it to me.

2. Abbott Kinney. Status: Conquered. Done, done, and shall gladly do it again!

3. Inn of the Seventh Ray. Status: Conquered. Check out my Yelp review (search for “StJenna”) for why I always drag tourists to Topanga.

Catalina Island, California's only island resort
Catalina Island, California’s only island resort

4. Catalina Island.
Status: Conquered. Been there roughly half a dozen times, and I’ve always had a blast. If I do return, it’ll be to visit the as yet unconquered Two Harbors, or to dive the other side of the isle.

5. Flower Market. Status: Unconquered. And I don’t have enough desire to see pretty flowers to get up at the buttcrack of dawn.

6. The Spa at Shutters on the Beach. Status: Unconquered. If there were ever a time that I need a massage, it’s now. But of course, if there’s ever a time I need a massage, it’s when I’m flat broke. Ah, someday, Shutters, you will be mine…

7. Pink’s. Status: Unconquered. I know they have veggie dogs, but I just don’t think there’s any hot dog — tofu or otherwise — that’s worth standing in a two-hour line for. I’ll pass.

8. Fred Segal. Status: Conquered. For five years I worked two blocks from Fred’s, so I’ve been there on occasion, but I’ve never been overly thrilled with the place. No need for a revisit.

9. TV Taping. Status: Conquered. I don’t even watch TV at home — you want me to watch the unpolished form? And you want me to laugh? At Yes, Dear? I’ll pass.

10. Page Museum/La Brea Tar Pits. Status: Unconquered/conquered. I’ve smelled the tar pits many a time, but I’ve yet to step foot in the museum itself. Hmm… where’s that to-do list?

11. Chinatown. Status: Conquered. Why, oh why, did they close my shop with the bestest selection of shoes in town? Proof that nothing good lasts forever. And aren’t most of the stores Vietnamese-owned now?

12. Movies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Status: Unconquered. How in hell is it that I’ve never done this? Scribbling frantically on to-do list right now…

13. Museum of Jurassic Technology. Status: Conquered. Eh, I guess it was worth the visit, just to say “Been there, done that.” But I was underwhelmed, especially after so many friends hyped it to me.

14. Cafe Chapeau in Larchmont Park. Status: Unconquered. Never even heard of the place, but if they’re supposed to have killer flapjacks, I’m game. Pass the strawberry syrup, please.

15. Rodeo Drive/Robertson Blvd.
Status: Conquered. Rodeo blows, but I’d head back to Robertson for some of the cheekier boutiques — oh, and to finally blow a wad on a pair of Stella McCartney’s.

16. Grand Central Market. Status: Conquered. I so miss working across the street from this fiery, feisty heart of old LA. How many co-workers did I drag from their dreary cubes to experience the circus of color and flavors mere yards away? Adding back to checklist right now…

17. The Egyptian. Status: Conquered. Cool, yes, but worthy of a Top 30 list? I think the Silent Movie Theater has more going for it in terms of uniqueness.

18. Cathedral of Our Lady of the City of Angels. Status: Unconquered. Scribbling again…

19. McCabes. Status: Conquered. Very cool, glad I did it, prefer Amoeba’s shows. Usually.

20. The LA River. Status: Unconquered. I smile every morning as I catch a glimpse of this trickle of nature on my daily commute, but I’ve yet to venture down to the heart of the city itself. Reminder: Must do with crazy fish-catching friend from aquarium.

21. Beverly Hills Hotel. Status: Unconquered. I avoid pink like the plague, which could explain my aversion to this iconic landmark. Perhaps one day I’ll be lured by the call of tea time. I hear it’s choice.

22. Venice Canals. Status: Conquered. I’ve even fallen in, so I’d say two checks for this one.

23. Griffith Park (night views). Status: Conquered. Yes, the view is iconic. Now, if I can only drag my ass over to the new observatory before they refurbish it again, I’ll be happy.

24. Little Ethiopia. Status: Conquered. I love food, but Ethiopian isn’t at the top of my list. I consider it a bland version of Indian. Give me saag paneer any day!

25. The Grove. Status: Conquered. Seriously? An outdoor mall makes a must-do list? The only thing different about this one is the slight chance you’ll get to see a slow-poke pedestrian get crushed by the trolley.

26. Karaoke in K-Town. Status: Conquered. No, it wasn’t at the Brass Monkey, and I myself did not subject anyone to my singing, but I’ve been in a private party room and witnessed the drunken American Idol wannabes. That qualifies.

27. Farmers Market. Status: Conquered. Ah, my beloved Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. How I do miss thee. Holy Guacamole, my eyes water just thinking of you. One day, I shall return…

28. Urth Caffe. Status: Conquered. What’s the big deal with this place? I don’t get it. Yeah, it’s good — but three locations good? I can think of better places to spend $10 on a sandwich.

29. Adamson House. Status: Unconquered. I have heard that this is indeed a hidden gem. Adding to list…

30. Philippe’s. Status: Conquered. I’ve eaten there, but being a vegetarian, I haven’t had the famed French dip. It’s as conquered as I’m gonna get it.

Perhaps one day when carpel tunnel isn’t sneaking up on me after 14 hours online, I’ll have the stamina to create my own must-do list.


  1. Francus Michael n Mary Vegan table 41

    Will take u to mass at the Cathedral, we can have corned beef half lean, pastrami Lean, potato knish, potato pancakes, Cole slaw, pic


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