Museums, Empty Restaurants & Bars, Even Wine & Craft Beer Tastings Are Rainy Day Activities In L.A.
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Blogger & LA Resident
Yes, it does rain in Los Angeles.
Especially in the winter months of January and February, with occasional sprinkles and cloudy days appearing in March, sometimes even into April. And every now and then in the fall months.
So what does one do when it’s raining in this outdoor paradise? Believe it or not, there’s several activities and you’ll have many places practically to yourself because Angelenos don’t like to leave their house when it rains. They don’t go to restaurants, they don’t get out to do things like go to museums and only the die-hards go to the bars.
The cool thing about when it does rain in Los Angeles, it generally only lasts a few hours or a day, two at the most. So take advantage of the rain when it’s here. You may wind up doing new things and going places you’ve never visited in this vast, diverse city.
So if you travel here, even on a private jet to Los Angeles, and it’s raining, don’t be bummed out, as the locals say. Enjoy the options.
Some of the things listed below are even free.
1.) Visit The California Science Center/Natural History Museum
Home of the Space Shuttle, the California Science Center and its neighbor the Natural HIstory Museum, located next to the L.A. Coliseum at Exposition Park, can occupy one for a few hours on a rainy day in L.A. There’s even an IMAX movie.
Best of all, the Science Center is free. The Natural History Museum is $12.
There’s other museums, too, of course, among them MOCA and the La Brea Tar Pits. Don’t do the Getty; tho; that spectacular view from the large courtyard would be wasted on a rainy day.
2.) Go To A Sporting Event
Each day of the week, there’s some sports team playing in L.A. In the winter, it’s the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Ducks, USC or UCLA. And UCLA basketball is good again, looking like it will make a deep run in March Madness. If you want tickets, you can usually find them at or outside the box office before games, but expect to pay $75-125. Yes, that much for a basketball game!
So don’t just focus on the “big boys.” Check out your local college’s basketball games. LMU in Playa Vista, for example, plays in the equivalent of a high school gym which puts you right on top of the action. The Lions even host national power Gonzaga on Feb. 9. Game tickets are $25.
3.) Go To A Restaurant Or Bar
You want great service or want check out that new restaurant or bar you haven’t been able to get into yet? Go when it’s raining because most people stay home; you may have the place practically all to yourself and with the personal attention you’ll receive, you may even become friendly with the staff and/or managers. Perhaps even the owner. And that can pay big dividends later when it’s really busy.
4.) Go Wine Tasting
Yes, there’s wine tasting in L.A. Downtown, there’s the San Antonio Winery, there’s wineries in Malibu and of course dozens upon dozens of wineries in Temecula. Mostly, you’re sitting inside anyway, so a little rain with your wine tasting is no big deal.
5.) Go Craft Beer Tasting
Los Angeles has close to 50 breweries – nearly a dozen in the South Bay of El Segundo and Torrance alone – so why not spend a rainy afternoon or evening drinking local brews!? There’s even a couple of companies doing beer tours; PubClub.com has not been on any of them so can’t vouch for them, but do a Google search for brewery tours in Los Angeles.
6.) Hear Live Music
In L.A., there’s always a concert happening, be it at a big venue like Staples Center or a smaller location like the the Wiltern Theater. Or go to your local bar – there’s probably a band playing within five miles of you. Los Angeles has some sensational local musicians and even touring band members of big-name bands who sit in with house bands at local bars. Hear some of these musicians and you’ll quickly forget all about the rain.
7.) Go To A Comedy Club
Los Angeles has several live comedy clubs: The Improv, Comedy Store, The Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach (where Jay Leno is pretty much a Sunday night regular) and The Groundlings improv show. Laugh the night away and be sure and save a few chuckles for those who are staying in because of the rain.
8.) Go To A TV Show Taping
It’s fun – even for long-time locals – to see a TV show taping. You can stand in line for The Tonite Show & Jimmy Kimmel Live, and also get tickets to tapings of shows. Audiences Unlimited has free tickets to Two Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Dr. Phil, Dr. Ken, Last Man Standing and a few other shows. You’ll probably be standing outside for a while, so be sure your wardrobe matches the weather.
The studious are smaller than they appear on TV – there’s only a couple hundred seats – so it’s more intimate than you think. The process can take several hours from early daytime into early evening. Once the shows start, they go by pretty fast.
9.) Go To The Griffith Park Observatory
There are telescopes, exhibits, a live daily astronomy update (7:30 p.m.) and a 24-minute film in the Leonard Nimoy Theater.
The hours are noon-10 p.m., during the week and 10 a.m.-10 p.m., on weekends. Admission to the grounds, the building and the parking is – get this – all free. There is a $7 charge for the live shows in the Planetarium.
10.) Take A Tour Of The Queen Mary
Los Angeles has another signature site besides the Hollywood sign. It’s the Queen Mary classic passenger liner, permanently berthed in Long Beach.
If you’ve never been on the Queen Mary then it’s worth your time (and money). You can stroll along her wooden decks, peer into places like the radio room, even grab a glass of wine for your personal tour or take a guided tour (historical tour, haunted tour). If you do the latter, try and get the unofficial “captain” of the Queen, Everette, who’s as passionate about the ship as if he built it himself.
The only negative about this idea is the cost; it’s $27 to board the ship (which does include a tour) and another $15 to park. And you have to pay that even if you just want to go on board to grab a flight of wines and wander the decks or have a drink in the Observation Bar.
While in the area, you can also visit the Aquarium of the Pacific ($29.95), a very good aquarium featuring aquatic animals of the Pacific Ocean.