Things to do in Los Angeles
Explore the Los Angeles Stairs
Now largely overlooked, LA has a network of staircases that once helped pedestrians climb its steep hills. One, in Silver Lake, was made famous by Laurel and Hardy while others once housed thriving street communities. Street Stairs LA (www.secretstairs-la.com) run interesting tours to visit the best of them.
Go wine tasting in the O.C
Orange County boasts a long history of winemaking, a legacy of the 19th century French vintners who decamped here. Although larger establishments exist, smaller vineyards offer wine-tasting sessions for much less. OC Wine Tours (tel: +1 949 203 3891; www.ocwinetours.com) can take thirsty tourists to the county's best.
Learn to surf and catch a wave
LA's lengthy coastline and balmy days means surfing has become staple part of the lifestyle. Venice Beach and Santa Monica both have great surfing beaches, as does Malibu, where Malibu Makos (tel: +1 310 317 1229; www.malibumakos.com) offer lessons. Surfboard hire and professional tuition is also available.
Play cowboy and hike through Death Valley
Death Valley's (www.nps.gov/deva) magnificent mesas and arid dunes of once provided the backdrop for Western films. Today, its network of hiking trails will take you close to many of the park's memorable rocky outcrops. Go early in the summer – it can get unbearably hot in the afternoon.
Visit carless Catalina Island
Just 35km (22 miles) across the ocean from Long Beach is Catalina Island (www.catalinachamber.com), a peaceful retreat where cars are banned. Start at Avalon, the island's capital, which boasts the imposing Catalina Casino building, now a museum, before earning a bird's eye view of the island courtesy of a zip line eco tour.