If you’re visiting Southern California and looking for the best activities, seasonal events, restaurants, and other ocean or art-related activities, this list of 101 things to do in Laguna Beach has you covered. In addition, there are some tips & tricks to help improve your vacation along with what to avoid so you don’t fall into typical tourist pitfalls.
Nothing informs the present like the past, and knowing Laguna Beach’s history is integral to understanding what makes it special today. With that in mind, Laguna Beach has roots as an artist colony. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, artists from San Francisco made the pilgrimage south each summer to Laguna for the landscape and art.
Over 100 years later, creatives are still drawn to Laguna Beach, and Plein Air artists abound in parks and on beaches. Laguna Beach is home to more than 100 galleries and studios, showcasing a wide array of innovative art. Nature and art–along with the intersection of the two–is what defines Laguna Beach, and this is evident in everything from the culinary arts in Laguna’s many exceptional eateries to public installations to the city’s world-famous art festivals. That’s really the throughline of this list of 101 things to do in Laguna Beach; most entries revolve around the various arts and outdoors…
1. Pillage Pirate Tower Treasures – We’ll start with our favorite spot in all: Victoria Beach. This is home to the infamous pirate tower landmark. Local lore abounds about this medieval-looking tower, which was built in 1926 by an eclectic resident above the beach. Go at low tide in order to access the legendary landmark.
2. Forage on Forest – Now a permanent pedestrian promenade, Forest Ave features outdoor dining, art installations, retail, and more from Pacific Coast Highway to Glenneyre Street. Easily accessible across from Main Beach, you’ll find some of Laguna Beach’s best restaurants in this area. Among the highlights are 230 Forest Avenue for California cuisine and Brussels Bistro for Belgian beer and comfort food. Other excellent options abound.
3. Beat the Beach Crowds – If you visit Laguna Beach during the peak of summer season, you’ll see two types of seas–one being the ocean, the other of humanity. Main Beach gets notoriously crowded, and it’s one of the weakest beaches in Laguna, anyway. Head for one of the quieter alternatives–see our List of the 10 Best Beaches in Laguna Beach, California for superior, less crowded alternatives.
4. Off-Broadway… Off Broadway – Laguna Playhouse is the oldest continuously operating theater in California and has presented many premieres of renowned productions featuring notable performers. The award-winning and critically acclaimed Playhouse invites you to enjoy the magic of live theater as in an intimate setting just steps away dining, shopping and the beach.
5. Trek to the Top of the World – Alta Laguna Park or the Top of the World offers a breathtaking, almost-aerial vista of Laguna Beach’s coastline and canyons. Drive up and enjoy a picnic–or hike here from Laguna Canyon Road or Aliso Viejo.
6. Creature Creepin’ Cruises – No matter when you visit, you can spot aquatic life off the coast of Laguna Beach, with several species of seals, whales, and dolphins appearing year-round. In particular, the whale watching is exceptional, with cruises to see different types depending upon the season. Check out our Southern California Whale Watching Tips for more info and recommended cruises. (Technically, these depart out of nearby Dana Point, but they count since they venture into Laguna’s waters.)
7. Wine Tasting – Laguna Canyon Winery offers wine testing sessions that can be booked in advance. The award-winning winery’s grapes are selected from vineyards in Napa and Sonoma Valleys for high quality and robust flavor.
8. Treasure Island Park – Avast! The grounds outside Montage Laguna Beach are home to this pristine public park. Maintained by the hotel, this area has the same 5-star attention to detail, with gorgeous flowers and landscaping. It’s a great area for picnicking or simply strolling–or you can head down to the beach itself. There are also “fancy rabbits” around the hotel that tend to come out shortly after sunset, so be on the lookout!
9. Festival of Arts – Over 100 juried artists from Orange County exhibit their original fine art at the juried Festival Art Show. That’s not all–you can browse and purchase art, partake in artist-led workshops, tours, and a variety of special events for one admission price at Laguna Beach’s Festival of the Arts.
10. Sawdust Art Festival – Not to be outdone, the Sawdust Art Festival features hundreds of local artists, demonstrations, workshops, live music, entertainment, food, and drinks. The festival runs every summer from late June through August, with other events held throughout the year.
11. Eat Across from the Ocean – Laguna Beach has many great restaurants and many oceanfront restaurants. With limited exceptions, the two categories are mutually exclusive. While a large number of the waterfront eateries serve good food, few are great–instead relying on the spectacular views. For superlative cuisine, look for options across PCH or downtown.
12. Las Brisas – One of the aforementioned “limited exceptions,” Las Brisas has been a Southern California landmark and Laguna Beach institution for almost 100 years. Located up the stairs from Main Beach at the edge of Heisler Park, Las Brisas is an iconic stop for a spectacular view and signature margaritas.
13. Muscle Beach – While that iconic beach is in Venice, Main Beach Park in the heart of downtown is home to its own athletes. Two half-court basketball courts and sand volleyball courts are available to the public. Partake in a pickup game or watch talented teams compete in volleyball or basketball.
14. Laguna’s Longest Beach Stroll – One of the strengths of the California coastline is its many pocket beaches and craggy cliffs. The unfortunate byproduct of this is that long walks on the beach aren’t exactly easy, with one exception: the stretch between Brooks Street Beach and Main Beach, which is almost exactly one mile. Add on the hike through Heisler Park and you can bump that up to 1.5 miles.
15. Hike through Heisler Park – We call Heisler Park the Crown Jewel of Laguna Beach, and for good reason. In addition to the stunning views, offers spectacular views of the Laguna Beach coastline, beautiful flowers, and stunning public art pieces, Heisler Park also offers a slice of life in Laguna Beach. Locals walking dogs, practicing yoga, playing lawn bowling, enjoying a post-meal stroll, painting, or just lounging around.
16. Pacific Marine Mammal Center – This marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center is the best in Orange County…it’s also the only one. But still, the best. Stop in to see the animals up close, for feedings, and even rehab procedures. Admission is free, but donations are accepted–and recommended. Pacific Marine Mammal Center does great work. (You might also want to check their calendar to see if any releases or special events are occurring during your visit to Laguna Beach.)
17. Art Abounds – To paraphrase Billy Mack,
love Christmas art really is all around in Laguna Beach. The city has over 100 unique works of public art that were commissioned by and for Laguna Beach. You’ll find these in both obvious and unexpected places, everywhere from the benches lining the walkways to the actual ground you’re walking on. If you want to do an art stroll, maps can be picked up at the Official Laguna Beach Visitors Center. (Oh, and there’s specific art celebrating Christmas and love, so those things are all around, too.)
18. Living Classics Pageant – You know the episode of Arrested Development in which George plays God and George Michael plays Adam in a piece of living artwork? (Probably not since Arrested Development is criminally underrated and was cancelled for lack of viewers.) Well, that was based on a real event: Pageant of the Masters. During this, live event in the summer performers recreate famous works of art.
19. Superlative Steak – Love ducks and cows? Then award-winning Selanne Steak Tavern is the place for you! This classic American steakhouse is owned by Anaheim Duck legend Teemu Selanne and is located in a quaint, historical home built in 1934.
20. Take the Trolley – One of the biggest headaches in Laguna Beach is parking. This can be sidestepped entirely by parking outside of the city-center and taking the free open air trolley service, which is comfortable and efficient. Rather than fretting over finding a spot or hiking back to your car, ride the trolley in style to wherever you need to go. (Trolley stop signs have a QR code for real-time tracking, or you can visit the site here.)
21. Park Like A Pro – Speaking of which, you can park like a pro with the Laguna Beach Mobile Parking App. With that, you can track every parking spot to see whether it’s occupied or available. Better yet, head to ACT V parking lot on Laguna Canyon Road, where you can park inexpensively all day long and take the trolley into town.
22. Sunset Serenades and World Music Series – Enjoy a free concert in Heisler Park’s Rockpile Amphitheater every Friday night during May, June, and September. The theater is located right next to the gigantic whale statue in Heisler Park, and offers great sunset views and live music.
23. See Sea Life in Diver’s Cove – Just north of Main Beach is Diver’s Cove, which is home to some of Laguna’s best scuba diving and snorkeling. Rent equipment from a local surf shop and see some sea life.
24. Farmers’ Market – Local farmers and vendors set up shop downtown every Saturday until noon to sell their fresh foods and goods at the Farmers’ Market. Purchase everything from locally grown vegetables, delicious fruits, beautiful flowers, freshly baked breads and much more. Located at the Lumberyard Parking Lot. Rain or shine.
25. Mosey Around the Montage – Ever wanted to check out some of the world’s most expensive real estate? The Montage Laguna Beach is far and away the city’s nicest and most expensive hotel, and sold a few years ago for a record-setting sum. Visit the hotel and you’ll see why it’s worth so much. (While on the ritzy side, the Montage is also laid back and welcoming–typical of Laguna Beach’s California coastal cool.)
26. First Thursday Art Walk – As the name suggests, this art walk occurs on the first Thursday of every month. This free educational monthly art event is held from 6pm to 9pm, and celebrates city’s the diverse cultural art scene. Dozens of local galleries participate, with artist greetings, demonstrations, live music, and more.
27. Back Roads by Bike – La Vida Laguna offers a variety of guided tours and outdoor activities, including an electric bike back roads tour. This easy and historic loop bypasses busy streets, going through quaint Craftsman neighborhoods and gardens, Heisler Park, the charming downtown commercial district, and through Bluebird Canyon to experience the rolling inland hills.
28. Road Trip Game, Revisited – As a child of a certain era, my family always played games on road trips. One of those we called “Car Count” which, as the name suggests, involved counting a certain type of car that we passed or passed us (depending on which parent was driving). Now you can revisit this exciting game while hanging around Main Beach or walking through town. As the unofficial headquarters of Rivian, you’ll see more of these EVs in the “wild” than anywhere else in the world. Take that opportunity for friendly family competition.
29. City Hall – Free art installations and exhibitions are coordinated by the local Arts Commission, and accessible during normal business hours. A great and convenient stop on a walking tour of downtown.
30. Laguna’s Best Museum – Just steps away from the Pacific Ocean and Heisler Park is Laguna Art Museum. Through its permanent collection and special exhibitions, the museum aims to be the premier museum of California art of all periods and styles. Although doing a museum might seem like the antithesis of a beach vacation, Laguna Art Museum is a great way to deepen your appreciation and understanding of Laguna Beach, and California as a whole.
31. Tide Pool Prospectin’ – Dozens of beaches in Laguna offer great tide pooling opportunities, including several of those around Heisler Park. These Marine Protected Environments are home to are home to an amazing array of aquatic life–such as octopus, snails, barnacles, urchins, sea stars, and tons of crabs–among many other marine creatures and plants.
32. Taste of Tokyo – Southern California has large Asian communities, and Laguna Beach is no exception. There are several family-owned Japanese restaurants in town, including Rebel Omakase, San Shi Go Sushi & Omakase, Seabutter, O Fine Japanese Cuisine, and Gu Ramen.
33. Surf Shops – Even if you’re not a surfer, it’s worth browsing one of Laguna’s many local surf shops. Our recommendation is Thalia Surf Shop, home to a vintage surf and skate collection. The others offer similar local quirkiness and character, so stop in to them if you have the chance.
34. See Sun & Screen – With its picturesque scenery, Laguna Beach has found itself as the backdrop for numerous TV shows and movies–in addition to B-roll for every HGTV show set in California (which is a lot of them). Obviously, there’s MTV’s “Laguna Beach,” which you’ve hopefully never seen. More recent shows set/shot in Laguna include “Dead to Me” on Netflix, “The OC,” “Real Housewives of Orange County,” and “Savages.” Watch those while you’re in town or, better yet, before your trip and stop at locations from the screen.
35. Paradise Found – From secret Sicilian recipes to Italian imported ingredients, Gelato Paradiso brings the authenticity of the Italian gelateria to life in its sweet and delicious artisanal gelato. Each flavor is rendered using old world recipes and traditions, and hand-made in small batches every morning, right in the shop on Peppertree Lane. Just be prepared for a long line–but it’s worth the wait!
36. La Dolce Vita – If that’s not enough world-class gelato for you, how about a head to head comparison–or gelato crawl? Dolce Gelato is a family-owned gelato shop, with each batch handcrafted from scratch by Chef Lindsey Nelsen. Try a beloved classic or one of the innovative new flavors released each Friday.
37. Goat Crazy – Wildfire season keeps getting worse throughout the West, and Laguna Beach is no exception. However, the terrain is too rough for man or machine, so the city has turned to an unlikely hero: goats. A ragtag team of 400 Peruvian goats eat away the fuel sources for potential wildfires–from the spring through the fall, you can typically spot them around Top of the World, Moulton Meadows, and Laguna Canyon.
38. Rooftop Relaxation – The historic Hotel La Casa del Camino is home to The Rooftop bar and lounge. This charming spot is great for a sunset and signature mojito.
39. See Seal Rock – About a football field away from Crescent Bay sits Seal Rock, named after the famous musician. That, or the aquatic life–seals and sea lions–that often claim it as their own there. You should have no problem hearing the barking seals from the shore, but you can kayak out for a louder rendition of seals’ music.
40. See the “Local’s Hotel” – Laguna Riviera Beach Resort is lovingly known as the “local’s hotel” and a place where a lot of former Californians stay when returning to their former home. Unlike a lot of hotels in Laguna Beach, it’s not really a destination resort with things to do for those who aren’t staying here, but we’re nonetheless drawing your attention to it just in case you’re reading this before booking a trip. Laguna Riviera is where we’d recommend staying while doing Laguna Beach on a budget. (It’s also a good “cut-through” spot if you’re doing the long walk through Main Beach and Heisler Park.)
41. Bird Park – Laguna Beach is a bird sanctuary, home to unique and endangered species. Avian experts at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park will teach you more about how to spot them in the wild.
42. Bark Park – While you’re in Laguna Canyon, let your dog run wild at the Bark Park. With so many beaches not welcoming our four-legged friends (especially in summer), this is a good chance for your pup to let loose.
43. SUP Dawg? – Erin at Sunset Stand Up Paddle will have you up and paddling in no time, with safe launch and landing techniques off Laguna Beach as the sun dives into the calmed waters of the Pacific Ocean.
44. Summer Camp, But Make it Ocean! – Beach Camp Laguna is a series of one-week beach and ocean exploration camps (for youth ages 7-14) that offer education about the marine environment and ocean safety. There’s also a one-day “drop-in” option.
45. Wyland Whale Wall Watching – Try to say that ten times fast! The world famous marine life artist Wyland is famous for his whaling walls around the globe, and Laguna Beach is home to one of his largest outdoor murals. Take a photo in front of his hometown Whaling Wall and visit Wyland’s Laguna Beach Gallery–he might even be in the studio if you’re lucky!
46. More Murals – In addition to the Wyland Whale Wall, Laguna Beach is home to Instagrammable art walls. You’ll find these in unexpected places, but head to Broadway and Forest Ave for the highlights.
47. Historic Lifeguard Tower – Every California coastal city has its icon. In Laguna Beach, that’s the historic lifeguard tower at Main Beach. This was originally part of a gas station and dates back almost 100 years. The tower was moved to its current location in the heart of city and converted into a lifeguard shack when the gas station was demolished. It’s highly photogenic, and absolutely pops in front of a crisp blue sky or at dusk–not that I’ve ‘tested’ photographing the lifeguard shack in every lighting condition or anything.
48. Hortense Miller Garden – Spanning two and a half acres of the upper slopes of Boat Canyon, Hortense Miller Garden demonstrates the range of plants that can be grown in Southern California coastal zones.
49. HIP District – Laguna Beach’s Historic and Interesting Places (HIP) District is an eclectic mix of buildings and businesses, with art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, homegoods stores, florists, bookstores, designers, surf shops, and more. Spanning from Thalia to Bluebird Canyon Road, there’s truly something for everyone.
50. A Sapphire in the Rough – Located on the historic grounds of the Old Pottery Place, Sapphire Cellar Craft Cook serves up fresh & seasonal ingredients prepared daily from scratch. Menu selections include delicious meats, flavorful seafood, handpicked local produce & diverse beverage selections of craft beers, signature craft cocktails, and a variety of wine selections.
51. Official Greeter Statue – Eiler Larsen was the Official Greeter of Laguna Beach, earning that honor back in 1963. Once you’re done dining at Sapphire, you can stop by one of the two statues of Larsen for a “welcome” photo.
52. Kool Koi – Visit Laguna Koi Ponds, which has over 30,000 gallons of ponds with koi for sale or viewing. Their Japanese koi fish are hand-picked during trips to Japan, and have different bloodlines, body shapes, and color patterns.
53. Northernmost Sunset – Crescent Bay Point Park is located off Crescent Bay Drive from Coast Highway (it’s not accessible from Cliff Drive). This small blufftop park offers panoramic views, a grassy area, and benches. It’s an intimate spot for the sunset, especially if you’re arriving into Laguna Beach for an evening from Newport.
54. Yoga in the Park – Registered instructor Carol Brown provides free yoga classes daily at 8 am on Monday, Thursday and Saturday in Treasure Island Park at Montage Resort. (Donations are accepted and all proceeds go to Tara Abbey in Nepal for the education of women.)
55. No Ramen, No Life – Southern California has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Japanese cuisine, from Costa Mesa to Los Angeles. Until recently, Laguna Beach didn’t have its own worthwhile ramen shop. That all changed with Gu Ramen Taps & Tapas. Not only is the tonkotsu rich and flavorful, but the bowls are reasonably priced.
56. Trek the Trails – Don’t let “beach” in the name fool you. The city is also home to a massive green belt with approximately 20,000 acres of wilderness and open space. Namely, the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and Crystal Cove State Park. These encompass Laguna Beach and the nearby communities, and several of the well-maintained trails offer breathtaking views of the coast. (Our personal favorites are Aliso Peak Trail and Valido Trail.)
57. See the Smallest Seaside Cathedral – Guinness Book of World Records holder St. Francis by the Sea was once the smallest cathedral in the world. It’s now second, but we’re going to assume #1 is not by the sea, so we’ll give this studio apartment-sized cathedral the win there.
58. Back to (Art) School – Laguna College of Art + Design offers an array of arts programs, including an MFA in painting. Free art exhibitions occur throughout the year, showcasing the creative pursuits of students.
59. Peppertree Lane – Not far from downtown and the hustle and bustle of Main Beach, this feels like stepping into another time and place. The old world alleyway is home to Laguna’s most quaint and charming shopping district, exceptional fine dining, a saloon, clothing, gifts, gelato, chocolate…oh, and the courtyard is all built around a gorgeous tree.
60. Endless Summer, Endless Art – There are literally dozens of art galleries around Laguna Beach, so a comprehensive listing is beyond the scope of this already-long list. Rather than running down the highlights, we’ll share an underrated favorite: Steve Adam Gallery, which is a small storefront along PCH.
61. Kayaking – Explore the coastline via one of Laguna Beach’s top-rated guided kayak tours. Glide above giant kelp forests and coral reefs in the open ocean while looking for marine animals like dolphins and harbor seals. Laguna Ethos and La Vida Laguna are both highly-rated, reputable companies specializing in these tours.
62. Winter Fantasy – Sawdust Art Festival isn’t just a summer event! For 5 weekends in November and December, Sawdust Winter Fantasy offers a festive shopping experience and holiday art festival. Shop handcrafted art by 150 artists in an enchanting winter wonderland with thousands of lights and decorations, falling snow, three stages of live music, community performances, carolers, puppeteers, festival holiday classes, and daily visits with Santa Claus.
63. Yoga at Sea – Find your center while challenging your body and mind with a yoga lesson at sea with a certified instructor from Sunset Stand Up Paddle. You’ll get general instruction as you walk through a yoga flow.
64. Live at the ‘Loft – Enjoy live music weekly at the Skyloft in the downtown village. Eat, drink, and be merry while listening to music spanning all genres every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
65. Fireworks on the Fourth – Sticking with seasonal offerings, the Laguna Beach City Fireworks Show happens in Monument Point in Heisler Park at approximately 9 pm each year, with pyro is shot off from the point and the water. We’d recommend grabbing a spot outside Heisler Park, ideally to the south and with a bit of elevation. That should also give you views of the fireworks simultaneously being shot off to the north and south in Newport Beach and Dana Point. (Do not set off your own fireworks in Laguna Beach!)
66. Tourist Top Spot – One of our top recommendations when experiencing any new place is stopping into the official tourist center, if there is one. This is because they often have fliers for seasonal events, discounts, or other current recommendations that simply cannot be covered in a post like this. The Official Laguna Beach Visitors Center in downtown is no different–it’s a great spot with knowledgeable locals who can provide you with info on current events and recommendations relevant to your interests.
67. Meditating in Nature – Laguna Canyon Foundation offers a variety of volunteer-led fitness and nature offerings, and this is one of them. Here are others.
68. Live at the Dirty Bird – The Sandpiper is a legendary locals’ lounge for a number of reasons, with one being that the beloved bar often has live music. See the Sandpiper’s Facebook page for a monthly schedule.
69. Laguna Beach Drum Circle – This is an informal and organic monthly event that encourages musicians, dancers, singers to come together under the full moon at the ocean. The gathering occurs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at Aliso Creek County Beach on the night of all full moons…and sometimes the night before. (Hey, we did say it’s an informal and organic monthly event!)
70. California Coastal Christmas – Palm trees and paradise don’t exactly scream “Christmas,” but if you’re in town from late November through December, be sure to stop at the Montage Resort for a family photo with their iconic, oceanfront Christmas tree.
71. Summer Flame – Most beaches in Laguna are not open in the evenings. Most also ban fires. Aliso Beach Park in South Laguna takes the opposite approach as the game in town with fire pits for bonfires, grilling, and s’mores. (These are first-come, first-served and are in high demand come summer. Paradoxically, they’re easier to score when the evening weather is chilly and fire is most needed.)
72. Michelin Must-Eat – The famed tire company taste-testers awarded accolades to one Laguna Beach restaurant in the California Michelin Guide: Oliver’s Osteria. The Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant is helmed by Chef Erik De Marchi, who takes a range of familiar dishes and enhances them with an authentic flair, with highly-praised pasta and osso buco braised to perfection.
73. Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art – LGOCA is a contemporary gallery showcasing top regional and international artists with an emphasis is on emerging and mid-career artists working with a variety of mediums. LGOCA showcases a diverse mixture of paintings, sculpture, bronze, glass and metal creations. Not your typical white walled gallery affair, LGOCA promises to engage you in an experience you won’t find anywhere else.
74. The VIC: Skimboarding World Championship – Skimboarding involves gliding–or skimming–across the shore break of a crashing wave. The sport was invented by Laguna Beach lifeguards in the 1920s using planks of wood to coast down the coast between coves. (Proof that “goofing around” is not a modern development.) Victoria Skimboards hosts the annual World Championship at Aliso Beach, with other events throughout the year.
75. Grab a Seat – While walking through Laguna Beach, one of the best things you can do is, quite literally, nothing. Take a seat on one of the city’s many beautiful benches and gaze out at the ocean, people watch, or just soak it all up. You’ll be glad you did.
76. Two-Hundred Thirty Steps Beach – Popular among locals, Thousand Steps Beach is home to Laguna’s famous beach caves and man-made tide pools. Take the trolley or park on 9th ave and cross over Pacific Coast Highway to head down the steps. There are 230 of them on the way down, but 1,000 steps on the way up. Or so it feels!
77. Saturday Morning Jazz Jam – A popular spot on Saturday mornings and afternoons is Laguna Coffee Company, which plays host to jazz. Seating is limited and this is popular, so arrive early.
78. Ben Brown’s Golf Course – A “designed by nature” 9-hole course in one of the most serene and natural settings in Orange County, and one without pretense. Ben Brown’s Golf Course is carved into the naturally dramatic and lush walls of Aliso and Woods Canyons, with stunning views and elevation changes on every fairway. A secluded canyon location with not a house in sight means a quiet experience with a chance to connect with nature. This laid-back golf course is perfect for novices, families, and avid golfers alike.
79. Crystal Cove State Park – Honestly, Crystal Cove State Park doesn’t do a ton for us. Its three miles of coastline between North Laguna and Newport Beach is mostly flat and open space, far less visually stunning or engaging than the coastline within the city or the canyon outside it. However, this list has 100+ entries and it’d be a pretty conspicuous omission if we included jazz at a coffee shop but not the area’s most well-known state park. Do with this information what you will.
80. Crystal Cove Christmas – The one cool thing about Crystal Cove State Park is the Christmas tree in November and December. Now that is worth seeing. Quaint and uniquely Laguna–we’ve made it our Christmas card photo in the past and would recommend doing likewise.
81. Nix Nature Center – This is the headquarters of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and the confluence of five different trails. Activities abound at Nix Nature Center, including mountain biking, birding, hiking, and kid’s programs.
82. Bungalow Walking Tour – The Laguna Beach Historical Society offers a free self-guided walking tour of the largest remaining collection of intact 1920s bungalows, located on the north side of the city. These charming bungalows form an important component of the neighborhood today and link Laguna’s past with its present.
83. Cottage Walking Tour – Same thing, but for the cottages on the south side of town. This area, known as Arch Beach, saw the building of many summer cottages, artists’ studio homes and dream houses, all of which set the character for future development in the neighborhood.
84. Faux Paw Petique – Love art, animals, vibrant colors, and punny names? Faux Paw Petique is for you. Debby Carman’s gallery features whimsical dogs and quizzical cats snoozing, dreaming, surfing, funning, sunning, and gardening.
85. Conquer Goff Island – Goff Cove is located between Treasure Island and Christmas Cove. It’s another beach that’s most easily accessed from the Montage Resort, which we highly recommend visiting elsewhere on this list. Goff Island is at the southwest end of the beach and the city’s official position is that it’s “dangerous and should not be climbed.” However, a lot of people climb it, and describe doing so as “very fun and rewarding.” Not that I’d know from personal experience–I would never do anything dangerous and not recommended by the City of Laguna Beach.
86. Become an Artist – Take a Sawdust Studio Art Class and create your own art during a single 2-hour session with a professional artist. Ceramics, jewelry, fused glass and other mediums are all available.
87. Lifestyles of the Rich & Infamous – Countless celebrities reside in Southern California, and plenty have vacation homes in Laguna Beach. If you’re looking for the sordid side of Southern California, for some reason, check out the oceanfront house (it’s actually at sand level) immediately to the south of the Pirate Tower on Victoria Beach. It belonged to O.J. Simpson in the 1980s and 90s; he is no longer the owner, for obvious reasons.
88. Dawson Fine Art Gallery & Sculpture Garden – This award-winning gallery specializes in modern sculpture and unique works on paper. With a special concentration in Contemporary, Early Modern and West Coast Regionalism, the gallery offers works by Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Jian Wang, Tom Betts, James Galindo, and more.
89. Kids Night Out – Each month, kids take over Laguna Art Museum for special, fun-filled nights. Students learn about the museum’s permanent collection by participating in an ice cream party inspired by the work of artistic legends. Registration is open to children aged 6–9 only. 15 spots available; advanced registration required.
90. Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational – Each year in the fall, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) holds a 9-day invitational showcase of the nation’s top plein air landscape painters. The week-long festivities including public painting competitions, demonstrations, and educational events. The highlight is the Collectors’ Soirée Gala, where attendees get the first look at the original art created throughout the week.
91. Laguna Dance Festival – This event features world-class dance on a theatre stage and various outdoor venues. At Laguna Dance Festival, audiences can experience performances from international and national touring companies and meet the dancers themselves in an intimate setting.
92. Laguna Beach Music Festival – A joint presentation of Laguna Beach Live and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the Laguna Beach Music Festival is a multi-day series of classical and contemporary concerts, community outreach programs, and dynamic special events.
93. Fete de la Musique – Based on an all-night celebration of music in France, this event takes place in various parts of the world each June in anticipation of the coming solstice. The free Laguna Beach celebration coincides with World Music Day in the spirit of all the music fans moving to the rhythm internationally.
94. Laguna Art & Nature Festival – Laguna Art Museum presents special exhibitions, a commissioned work of art, lectures, panel discussions, films, and family activities on the theme of art’s engagement with the natural world.
95. Laguna Art-A-Fair – Known as the “Gem in the Canyon,” Laguna Art-A-Fair offers visitors a chance to browse through booths of original watercolors, oils, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass, and more. Meet the artists, participate in hands-on demos, or simply enjoy the artists as they create in their booths.Discover 125 local and national fine artists at this juried fine art festival, listen to live music Thursday-Sunday, or enjoy outdoor cuisine. Runs July through Labor Day.
96. Midday at Mozambique – There’s no shortage of great food in Laguna Beach, and one of our south side favorites is Mozambique. Its menu is inspired by South Africa’s colorful seaside restaurants. Many dishes utilize peri-peri, and other flavorful and bold spices. Mozambique is known for its wood-fired steaks, but we’re particularly keen on the rooftop happy hour menu, which offers great value for money and great ocean views.
97. Best Burritos – There are a lot of places to grab tacos or burritos in Laguna Beach and most are mediocre. Sorry. If you’re going to be elsewhere in Los Angeles or Orange County, you can almost certainly do better–maybe save taco time for those towns. With that said, Papa’s Tacos is our top pick.
98. Best Pizza – NEApolitan Pizzeria & Birreria, hands down. NEA practices a strict adherence to the old world methods handed down from Naples, Italy. Their dough is natural and imported from Italy. Their tomatoes are grown organically in California from San Marzano, Italy seeds. Their oven is a very unique Stefano Ferrar masterpiece built in Naples, Italy and designed to operate at 900 degrees unlike any other. This is just a partial list about the meticulous attention to detail and high standards of NEA. All of it shows in the end result.
99. Best Coffee – Urth Caffe and Laguna Coffee Company are the most popular choices, but our pick goes to Koffee Klatch. This intimate location perfectly reflects the artistic vibe of Laguna Beach, with more inventive and better-tasting options than the alternatives.
100. Best Bites Food Tour – Enjoy 6 scrumptious and generous food tastings from some of the best eateries and food purveyors in Laguna Beach as part of the guided Best Bites Food Tour. Sample chocolate, gelato, and other treats while learning about the city’s history and notable art scene from an insider.
101. Do “Nothing” – As cliche as it might sound, one of the best ways to discover Laguna Beach is by having no agenda whatsoever and letting the place unfold as you explore it. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t make plans or do things, but sometimes the best experiences occur organically and cannot be planned. With its laid back vibe and art around every corner, there’s a lot to be said about simply being there.
For more tips, info, and advice, please consult our Laguna Beach, California Planning Guide. If you’re visiting other spots during your California vacation, check out our California category of posts for other things to do. If you enjoyed this post, help spread the word by sharing it via social media. Thanks for reading!
Have you done any of these 101 things in Laguna Beach? Anything you’d add to this list of recommended activities, festivals, restaurants, galleries, and more? Any other fun things you’ve done in Laguna Beach? If you’re yet to visit Southern California, does anything on this list interest you? Any questions? Hearing from readers is half the fun, so please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!