Culture + Style

5 Reasons Why the Real Party Gets Started in L.A. After Dark

Los Angeles skyline at night. (Photo: NATUREWORLD / Alamy)

Calling all night owls! When the sun sets in Los Angeles, the action just begins to heat up. From moonlit hikes to rooftop drinks overlooking the twinkling skyline, fill your late-night L.A. hours with these five West Coast adventures.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory
The Griffith Observatory with a striking backdrop of the Los Angeles city skyline. (Photo: Della Huff / Alamy)

After the sun sets in L.A., plan on seeing some stars. Not the famous celebrities that call the city home – we’re talking about actual, celestial stars. Head to Griffith Observatory for amazing views of the city as well as access to telescopes that allow you up-close views of the night sky above. Check the schedule at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, which features a rotating selection of live shows.

Chinatown Summer Nights

Chinatown in Los Angeles
Chinatown in Los Angeles is a popular after-dark destination during its Summer Nights events. (Photo: Jamie Pham)

Part flea market and part food festival, Chinatown Summer Nights is a lively event that turns an ordinary evening into something special. Swing by some of the food trucks to sample authentic Chinese cuisine. If you’re not hungry, and would rather wander and pick up some souvenirs for friends back home, there’s more than enough vendor options. Chinatown Summer Nights also features multiple live music venues, a dancing floor and a beer tent to fuel up for the night. Best part – admission is free.

Rooftop Drinks

Get Instagram-ready and capture pics of the Los Angeles skyline at night from the rooftop of Perch, a downtown bar and restaurant. Perch offers some of the best views of the city, including Central Library. If you plan on hanging out here for the long haul, you won’t go hungry. Check out Perch’s late-night menu offered from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Sunday through Wednesday and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday. Sink your teeth into some Merguez sliders or truffle poutine while admiring the vistas.

Queen Mary at Night

Queen Mary
The RMS Queen Mary radio room. (Photo: Richard Wong / Alamy)

Seeking out an educational activity for your night in Los Angeles? Sign up for the Twilight Historical Tour aboard the Queen Mary ocean liner. Learn about the ship’s historical past including its construction and time serving in World War II. Tours run daily at 6:15 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:15 p.m.

Tree People Moonlight Hike

Why limit hiking to daytime hours? Howl at the moon and tack on steps for your FitBit on a moonlight hike with Tree People. Once a month, the guides lead tours around Coldwater Canyon Park. Enjoy the nighttime views of the San Fernando Valley and the sounds of owls screeching in the dark. If you’re a Tree People member, the hike is free; if not, register ahead of time for $5.