A A s the summer heats up, the potential for ridiculous fun in LA is boundless, but only if you know the right places to look. From beachside bars to under-the-radar bites, unexpected weekend getaways to outdoor movies, we’ve tracked down the best ways to kick your summer up about a thousand notches. You can thank us in the fall.
Food
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Food

1. We’re spoiled with year-round perfect weather, but chowing down al fresco on LA’s most stunning patios and rooftops never gets old.

2. While we’ll take a gourmet burger stacked with artisanal pickles any day, we’ll also gladly hit up the best classic stands for tasty burgers under $10.

3. You love pizza. You love waffles. Heck, you love Korean BBQ.  But you won’t really know love until you feast on the world’s first Korean Pizza Waffle. No, that's not a typo.

4. Rainbow grilled cheese sandwiches, crystal clear raindrop cakes, an entire pig head: it’s time to check off some of LA’s biggest (and most Instagrammable) food crazes from your bucket list.

5. Or maybe you’re looking to go whole hog this summer and try every part of the pig. In that case, here are all of the most delicious options for nose-to-tail pork-eating goodness. Bring a large crew.

6. From ramen burgers to Indian tacos and Asian-inspired Cuban sandwiches to massive lobster rolls, here are all the places you have to check out this summer at the newly-launched Smorgasburg LA market that you can’t find anywhere else.

7. Rolling with a big crew for a friend’s birthday or just looking to get the band back together for a bite? Take your pick of prime spots to feast with a big group.

8. And it’s not a proper summer in LA without devouring the city’s iconic French Dip sandwich. Whether you choose Philippe’s or Cole’s (or both!), everyone comes out a winner.

9. Or just take your pick of the city’s out-of-the-way, you-gotta-know-somebody-who-knows-somebody, it’s-a-secret-don’t-tell, right-down-this-alley destinations to find the next great bite.

10. If you’re looking to expand your taco horizons, there are plenty of choice spots all over town from old school hits to next level options. Or maybe you want to just let Danny Trejo slice and dice your carne asada.

Drink
Perch/Facebook

Drink

11. It doesn’t get more summer than sticking your toes in the sand and sipping on something with an umbrella in it. Thank goodness you have plenty of beachside bar options for doing just that.

12. Classic jukeboxes and tiki drinks? Skeeball and a brewery? Bowling and vintage arcade games? Yes, yes and yes, these are the places to celebrate a birthday this summer.

13. Sure, you’ve heard about some of the secret, speakeasy-style bars around town, but do you know how to get into them? Well, now you do.

14. Or maybe you want to grab a drink with a view. We’ve got you covered with these choice rooftop bars.

15. You’re also definitely going to want to hang your shamrock (and grab an Irish Coffee) at Tom Bergin’s this summer.

16. While you’re at it, have a little history with your drink at the oldest bars in LA.

17. And when you’re in the mood for something dark and divey, cheap and fun, these essential dive bars are the perfect remedy escape from the summer heat.

18. There’s also a ton of cool spots to drink in Pasadena that you probably haven’t been to yet. This summer, it’s time to fix that with an excursion.

19. Or maybe you want to enjoy a cool ocean breeze at one of the best bars in Santa Monica.

20. And you’ll definitely want to know where all of the outdoor happy hours are happening this summer for your best patio-rooftop-backyard-drinking.

Trips
Luke Mattson/Stocksy

Trips

21. LA is chock full of brag-worthy places to spend a long weekend. The better news is that there are tons of amazing places within three hours of the city.

22. You may think you know Palm Springs, but you don’t know Palm Springs until you’ve checked these under-the-radar spots off your summer bucket list. Just don’t forget: pool, A/C, repeat.

23. Fancy a trip up the coast? Santa Barbara is loaded with excellent dining destinations that are totally worth bearing a bit of traffic to get to.

24. Saddle up and make your way to the newly restored Pioneertown Motel, once used to film Westerns, and catch some big name bands at the world famous Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.

25. Head a little further up the coast where you’ll find a winery with disc golf and treehouses built for adults in Paso Robles.

26. Grab your swimsuit and stock the cooler, it’s time for a beach road trip.

27. Big Sur may not yet be on your romantic getaway radar, but with shoreline horseback rides, cliffside dining and natural hot spring baths under-the-stars, it should be.

28. Snorkeling in a sea cave, mountain biking on an old rail line and bungee jumping from the Bridge To Nowhere: what do these have in common? They’re totally rad things you can (and should) do this summer with only a short trip from LA.

29. Then again, if you’re looking for slightly less adventurous, and more wine-friendly destinations, there’s also plenty of vineyards to visit this summer (that aren’t in Napa).

30. If you’re in need of a place to stay during your long weekend adventures that isn’t a dusty, doily-covered B&B or divey motel, check out some of the coolest and classiest boutique hotels around SoCal and beyond.

Activities
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Activities

31. Summer is the perfect time to hit the great outdoors for some exercise. But if you’re not big into sports, LA also has plenty of cool, atypical leagues to get you and your buddies moving. Scavenger hunts and bubble soccer, anyone?

32. Looking for a bit of summer romance while avoiding boring and predictable date ideas? We’ve got you covered.

33. Or maybe you’re looking to explore some of SoCal’s most beautiful, yet hidden destinations. From secret gardens to old movie sets, you’ve got some great options.

34. Whether you’re trekking through abandoned ruins or to a rushing waterfall, this summer is the time to explore some of LA’s lesser-known, but way better hikes.

35. Trampolines aren’t just for kids anymore. From high-flying dodgeball to ninja obstacle courses, they've come a long way!

36. Los Angeles has tons of secret staircases. Get Rocky on them this summer.

37. Hop on your bicycle and cruise along a car-free Wilshire Blvd. this August at CicLAvia.

38. Paddle a kayak on the LA River. You’ll never look at the city the same way again.

39. Enjoy the breeze while cruising around Echo Park Lake on paddleboats.

40. Ditch that stuffy and smelly gym this summer and check out these excellent -- and totally free -- outdoor workout options all over LA.

Entertainment
Cinespia/Facebook

Entertainment

41. From rooftop showings to picnicking on a cemetery lawn, there are tons of outdoor movie screenings to check out all over LA this summer.

42. Or you could get close to the action with an immersive play that includes a secret speakeasy bar in the Arts District.

43. Learn about the history of LA’s most notorious criminals or the favorite bars of literary giants via Esotouric bus tours.

44. From mind-bending puzzles to creepy haunts, psychologically profile your friends at LA’s best escape rooms.

45. In the mood to check out tons of free music, movies and more fun things this summer? Let this handy list be your guide.

46. Check out the city’s most talented emerging artists, and hit up some great food trucks, at Downtown’s monthly Art Walk.

47. Ever wonder how Venice got its canals or how Muscle Beach came to be? Find out with the Mojo Maps interactive walking tours.

48. From gyoza eating competitions to karate showdowns, Little Tokyo’s Nisei Week Japanese Festival is one summer event you definitely want to check out.

49. Watching free Shakespeare outdoors with a well stocked picnic is a great way to spend a summer evening. Realizing you’re watching the show next to an old, abandoned zoo makes the whole experience even better.

50. If you haven’t seen the impressive and artfully hand-crafted Watts Towers in person, this summer is the time to fix that. And be sure to stop by the historic Watts Coffee House for the neighborhood’s best soul food while you’re at it.


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