The Best Things to Do in Los Angeles During Coachella

All of the fun, none of the crowds!

Each year more than 250,000 music fans descend into the desert for Coachella – one of the biggest music festivals of the year. For those Angelenos not attending Coachella, this means the roads will be (slightly) less congested for two weekends in April, making it the perfect opportunity to get out and explore all of the many awesome and unique things L.A. has to offer – VIP wristband not required.

Antarctic Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum
Antarctic Dinosaurs | Photo: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Facebook

Experience Antarctic Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum (Opens April 3, 2019)

Follow in the footsteps of the scientists and explorers who have traveled to Antarctica in search of dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum’s new Antarctic Dinosaurs exhibit, which opened on April 3. Visitors will experience the adventure themselves through hands-on excavation activities, touchable specimens, media touchscreens, Snow School training, setting up their remote Antarctic field site, and more, providing a behind-the-scenes look at what these expeditions are really like.

Backstreet Boys: The Experience at the Grammy Museum
Backstreet Boys: The Experience | Photo: Grammy Museum

Backstreet’s Back at the GRAMMY Museum

Everybody…catch the GRAMMY Museum’s latest exhibit spotlighting one of the biggest boy bands in music history – the Backstreet Boys. Opened on April 10, Backstreet Boys: The Experience is sure to be a larger-than-life fan experience and features authentic personal memorabilia, wardrobe, artwork, and photography. Visitors can also try out immersive photo and video interactive experiences, including a confessional booth where fans can record a message directly to the group.

Emoji Balls at the Museum of Selfies
Photo: Museum of Selfies, Facebook

Spend Time With Your Selfie at the Museum of Selfies

Now a permanent fixture in Hollywood, visitors can turn their Instagram influencer dreams into reality at the Museum of Selfies. Become the envy of your Instagram followers as you melt your brain in the optical illusion bathroom, hang from one of the tallest buildings in Los Angeles (danger-free), accept the award for Best Selfie, bathe in gold, relax in the emojis pool, and much more. In addition, you can learn a little about the history of the selfie, like when the first selfie was taken and the first time the term “selfie” was used.

Great L.A. River Clean Up
Great L.A. River Clean Up | Photo: Friends of the Los Angeles River, Facebook

Help Beautify L.A. at the Great L.A. River Cleanup (April 13-27, 2019)

Do your part in contributing to a clean, healthy and thriving Los Angeles River and celebrate Earth Month by helping Friends of Los Angeles’ mission in making the L.A. River a place where recreation and wildlife can coexist in the next 10 years. The 30th annual Great L.A. River Cleanup will take place across three Saturdays in April, focusing on the upper (April 13), middle (April 20), and lower (April 27) parts of the river. Volunteers will work to pull heaps of trash from the river that would otherwise contaminate the water, jeopardize wildlife, and restrain recreation experiences before ultimately getting dumped into the beaches. Registration is now open on the Friends of the L.A. River website.

Golden Lotus Temple and swans at the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine
The Golden Lotus Temple at the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Get an Early Start on Your Summer Reading List

Now that you've restocked your home library at the 24th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, you'll need a place to get an early start on your summer reading list. As great as it is to relax at home or in the park and read the latest bestseller, L.A. has many interesting locations for you to curl up with a book - especially with everyone at Coachella. From a romantic beach to historic bars, discover the best places in Los Angeles to read a book.

Karen O and Danger Mouse Present An Encounter With Lux Prima (April 18-21, 2019)

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and musician/producer Danger Mouse will premier a multisensory art installation called An Encounter with Lux Prima at the Marciano Art Foundation. Taking place April 18-21 at L.A.’s new contemporary art space, the immersive, communal listening experience will feature music from the duo’s recently released first collaborative album, Lux Prima. More information can be found on the Marciano Art Foundation’s website.

Magic Bus Experience at the Globe Theatre in DTLA
Photo: Magic Bus Experience, Facebook

Board the Magic Bus Experience (April 19-20, 2019)

The Magic Bus Experience – dubbed as L.A.’s only fully immersive, interactive, 4.20 holiday playground – is returning for its second season with new immersive zones, activities, rock shows, and characters. Taking place at the historic Globe Theatre in Downtown L.A., visitors will be transported into a whimsical wonderland of lights, sound, and interactive play, from falling down the rabbit hole in an Alice in Wonderland-themed black-light mini-golf course to crawling through a homemade pillow fort, dancing the night away in the Silent Disco, or catching a live band perform groovy tunes from Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin synched to animated movies.

Tickets start at $35 and are on sale now, with several package options available. Visit the Magic Bus Experience website for more information and ticket prices.

Unlimited small plates at Border Grill's Easter Brunch
Unlimited small plates at Easter Brunch | Photo: Border Grill Downtown L.A., Facebook

Enjoy an Eggstravagant Easter Sunday Brunch (April 21)

While everyone at Coachella is stuck in endless queues for food, you'll be enjoying Bottomless Mimosas and lavish Easter Sunday Brunch Buffets on Sunday, April 21.

The Jousters at Renaissance Pleasure Faire
The Jousters | Photo: Ian Henry - Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Facebook

Get Medieval at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire

Since its inception in 1963, more than 5 million people from around the world have visited Southern California’s Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Located at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, the Renaissance Pleasure Faire spans 20 acres, with 13 stages offering a variety of entertainment along with the Queen and her Court, arts & crafts, delicious food, fine spirits, rides and games.

The festival also features theme weekends like "Pirate Weekend" (April 20-21), featuring a treasure hunt, beard contest, and plenty of scallywag costume-watching. Children under 12 get in for free on Easter Sunday, April 21.

Two Bit Circus Quadair Multiplayer Air Hockey
Quadair Multiplayer Air Hockey at Two Bit Circus | Photo: Two Bit Circus, Facebook

Go for High Score at L.A.’s Best Arcades

With the 2018 opening of Two Bit Circus – a 37,000 square-foot “Micro-Amusement Park” in Downtown L.A. –  there are even more places to play in L.A. Check out our list of the top arcade spots in the city where you can enjoy air-conditioned rooms and a cold beverage, which sounds much more appealing than sweating in the hot desert sun.

 The Standard Downtown LA Rooftop Pool
The Standard Downtown LA Rooftop Pool

Dive into L.A.’s Hottest Pools

Instead of getting caught in a dust storm at the Empire Polo Club, you’ll be kicking it poolside - preferably with a cold drink in hand – at these red-hot L.A. hotels.

Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery | Photo: Cinespia, Facebook

Watch a Movie Under the Stars

The outdoor movie season is officially upon us, and now is the best time to pack a picnic and spread out a blanket before the summer hordes descend on popular screenings like Cinespia at Hollywood Forever.

El Matador State Beach in Malibu   |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa
El Matador State Beach in Malibu  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Soak Up the Sun & Surf at the Beach

Enjoy the beautiful spring weather and spectacular coastal scenery without the usual crowds at L.A.'s world-famous beaches.


Hiker at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Take a Hike on L.A.'s Best Trails

Exploring L.A.'s numerous trails during Coachella is the perfect way to discover why hiking is such a popular outdoor activity in Los Angeles.

Conduire sur PCH
Panoramic views along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Rev Up with Coastal Drives & Motorcycle Rides

Less traffic on Coachella weekends means there's more fun on the road! When a cliff is the only thing separating the road and that beautiful mass of Pacific blue, it's time to crank up the stereo and sing L.A.'s praises. These scenic coastal drives are a car enthusiast's dream – winding roads, tight turns, beautiful beaches, and clear skies.

Motorcycle expert Irena Murphy crosses a bridge in Downtown L.A.
Motorcycle expert Irena Murphy crosses a bridge in Downtown L.A. | Photo: Amber Goetz

If you're more of an "Easy Rider" type, our expert has created a guide to the Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in Los Angeles.

Wontons in Chili Oil at Ms Chi Cafe
Wontons in Chili Oil at Ms Chi Cafe | Photo: Ms Chi Cafe

EAT: Top Chef Restaurants

Coachella food stands and VIP dinners will feature several L.A.-based Top Chef champions and "cheftestants," including Shirley Chung, Dakota Weiss and Brooke Williamson. Pro tip: instead of waiting in endless lines or coughing up $225, local gourmands can dine at Top Chef restaurants like Ms Chi Cafe, Playa Provisions, Sweetfin Poke and more.

The Henry Bloody Mary Mimosa Cart
Bloody Mary and Mimosa Cart at The Henry West Hollywood | Photo: @partysima, Instagram

EAT: Boozy Brunches

It's officially patio season, which means it's time to meet up with friends for a boozy brunch al fresco. And during Coachella, it will be much easier to book tables at some of L.A.'s most popular brunches.

Westfield Century City

Shop till You Drop at L.A. Malls

You'll find the best shopping from global luxury brands to discount outlets, paired with entertainment and dining, at malls from Downtown L.A. to the Beach Cities. Read on for the best shopping malls in Los Angeles.