1. Get run over by a bike on the Venice Boardwalk
It’s a rite-of-passage, more than anything. The boardwalk is for bikes and rollerblades. Not walking. Maybe you’ll know that. But you could be the most self-aware person in the world, with the situational awareness of a Navy Seal, and you’d slip up eventually. You’ll get distracted. And when you do get laid out like a 90-lb. linebacker, everybody will see.
2. Try to get some In-N-Out on Sunset after the Oscars
Going to Hollywood is a mess at the best of times, but everybody knows to avoid it like the plague when the Oscars are going on. But just as the mountain peak called to George Mallory, so too does that juicy Double Double. It’s the one time of the year you’ll find celebrities in Hollywood, so spotting chances skyrocket.
3. Drop your free taco ticket after the Lakers win a home game
The Lakers finally won a game? Everybody gets tacos! But if you’re going to be in Los Angeles, it’s important to keep your expectations in check. You should thank that guy who knocks your taco ticket out of your hands while he’s high-fiving the guy next to you. He only wants to protect you from the hurt when they lose the next five games in a row.
4. Watch a movie while sitting on the graves of the featured actors
This is especially fun when watching an old horror film, at which point you become vaguely aware of the possibility of the ghosts rising up with netherworldly fury to critique the failings in their own performances.
5. Judge each and every single person you see putting their hands in the prints at the Chinese Theater
Your favorite actor is Jack Nicholson, that’s fine, that’s great. And your hands are the same size as his — that’s fantastic! But that’s not why I’m smiling at you. I’m smiling because I have personally seen every single kind of bodily fluid emptied onto those exact handprints, multiple times, and I know for a fact they don’t get cleaned that well.
6. Catch a sunset concert in Santa Monica
For added enjoyment, play the Twilight Concert Series drinking game. Every time you see somebody drop their snacks or spill their wine in the sand, take a shot. If they audibly swear, take two. If you do it yourself, you’ve probably been playing too long and need to get it together.
7. Buy a round of expensive drinks from the Perch Rooftop Bar
You’re gonna feel like a smooth motherfucker until you check your bill and realize you just spent $40 for two rum and cokes. At least the view is worth it.
8. Check out the Sixth Man Volleyball Tournament
It’s a shadow of its former self since the city decided hordes of costumed drunks reflected poorly on the sporting event and moved it to the middle of the week. But if you’re just visiting, you can bring that spirit back and never answer to a soul.
9. Bring another piano into the Santa Monica mountains
Every city has its share of great hikes. Only Los Angeles has the kinds of people who would lug a goddamn piano along those hikes. And while the authorities forced the removal of the last piano, nothing would be a better LA experience than to bring another one up. Just because.
10. Catch your new favorite singer at the Hotel Café before they hit it big
The Hotel Café is a small venue in Los Angeles that nevertheless brings in huge quality on a consistent basis. The people that play there inevitably blow up. So check out a show and tell all of your friends you saw them live first. And if you’re trying to make it yourself, maybe just sit in the back and scowl with jealousy.