Music: LA and music are synonyms. With all the stars of Hollywood are numerous major agencies, labels, production companies and soundstages that have produced some of your favorite records ever. As always with LA, the sheen of the glossy buildings (see Capitol Records, ICM, Walt Disney Concert Hall, etc.) come with many other terrific opportunities to hear music.
Yes, this is a real way to hear live music. The classic locations for busking are on 3rd street in Santa Monica, the Venice boardwalk, and on the strip in Hollywood. Depending on what farmer’s market you are in, you may have an opportunity to pass by someone serenading. Pay attention though, because you wouldn’t want to miss something good.
Where to even start! Ok, I’ve got it. You cannot miss music at a small venue in Los Angeles. There are too many acts that are worth seeing, and some iconic places to hear them.
- Troubadour- on your way into West Hollywood, you’ll drive by this and wish you were going there instead
- The Wiltern
- Hotel Cafe
- The Echo- not to be confused with Echoplex, the mega dance floor downstairs.
Here is where you’ll see phenomenal acts, done like their album without fancy tricks, but intimate enough that you’re not watching the act on a screen projector.
- El Rey
- Teragram Ballroom
The Moroccan Lounge
Here are the unbeatable sites to see top billed artists doing top level productions. No details are missed at these venues. You will be inside of one of these during your time in LA whether or not we inspired you.
LA is known for elaborate displays, and events are reliably unreliable. There are at least hundreds of major events annually, from fried chicken and whiskey festivals to pop up museums, and everything in between.
It needs no introduction, but there are ample choices to belt out your favorite song sans judgment. Occasionally you’ll hear fantastic singing and fully committed routines at your local karaoke spot.
- Boardwalk 11- delicious food and drink, and a single shared stage with committed talent
- The Gaslite- dive bar with a single shared stage, and uncommitted talent
- Karaoke Bleu- Sawtelle classic central stage, mixed commitment by the talent
- Max Karaoke- BYOB karaoke bar with private rooms
- Koreatown- a neighborhood with too many places to name in one tab on a website
If you desire plays and musicals, you will find many options to see them and/or participate. Though many productions have closed, and theaters are struggling to reopen after COVID, there are some locations still available to see live theater.
These gems are all around town, so a quick search could show you some local stages. Here are a list of small to medium sized theatres for obscure productions.
These tend to be downtown. They will have the musical or play you were waiting to see.
- Ahmanson Theater at the Mark Taper Forum - fine arts in an elegant environment
- The Theatre at Ace Hotel - a gothic masterpiece
- The Orpheum Theatre
LA is known for its many fine art museums, and especially how indoor/outdoor they are and can be in the temperate climate we have. Here are the classics:
- The Getty Museum - tremendous view of Los Angeles with a rotating gallery of photography, modern art, and classics, with sculpture on occasion
- Huntington Gardens - numerous gardens, art museum, and lovely japanese tea room
- The Broad - modern art, from the late philanthropist and real estate mogul Eli and Edythe Broad. Outside of NYC, Los Angelinos are the only ones able to pronounce it correctly
- LACMA - you’re currently taking a picture under the streetlamps out front
- Hammer Museum - Armand Hammer created this free to visit state of the art museum for UCLA in Westwood
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
There are so many fine galleries, shows, and pop up events, as mentioned previously. Keep your eyes peeled to learn more about the city, its diverse population, and cultural heritage at landmarks like the Watts Towers, The California African American museum, Norton Simon, and many others.