Are you ready to experience the City of Angels in an exciting and unique way? This article guides you through the 10 best eco-friendly things to do in Los Angeles and the top green places to visit, so you can make the most of your weekend getaway or day trip whilst minimising your environmental impact.
Whether it is your first time in LA or you have been before, I am sure you will have a fantastic time! This sunny city is full of wonders and surprises.
From a summer day hiking the Runyon Canyon with rescue dogs, exploring the bustling open-air food and flea markets or relaxing in one of the many parks, there is something for everyone here, whether you are a solo traveller, family with kids or a couple on a romantic escape.
So, join us as we dive into 10 fun and sustainable activities in LA! For all the nature lovers, photo enthusiasts or chill adventurers out there, I promise you will have a great time – without harming our planet 🌿
My Los Angeles experience:
Duration 1 week
Dates visited Oct 23 - Oct 30
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- Overview: green things to do in Los Angeles
- Places to visit in Los Angeles – Map
- 10 eco-friendly things to do in Los Angeles
- 1- Head to Santa Monica
- 2- Take to two wheels
- 3- Hike Runyon Canyon with rescue dogs
- 4- Choose a ‘Green’ hotel for your stay
- 5- Shop & eat local
- 6- Refuel on plants
- 7- Inspire minds at the Discovery Cube
- 8- Take part in a beach clean
- 9- Plant trees & give back to the community
- 10- Cuddle a cow at The Gentle Barn
- What to do in Los Angeles in winter
- How to reduce your impact in Los Angeles
- Los Angeles travel planning guide
- Los Angeles, USA – FAQ
Overview: green things to do in Los Angeles
- Head to Santa Monica
- Take to two wheels
- Hike Runyon Canyon with rescue dogs
- Choose a ‘Green’ hotel for your stay
- Shop & eat local
- Refuel on plants
- Inspire minds at the Discovery Cube
- Take part in a beach clean
- Plant trees & give back to the community
- Cuddle a cow at The Gentle Barn
Looking for the best 5-day LA itinerary? Check out this article: 5 Days in Los Angeles: Complete Itinerary
Places to visit in Los Angeles – Map
Click on the top left of the map to display the list of stops and locations.
10 eco-friendly things to do in Los Angeles
From relaxing at the beach to hiking Runyon Canyon with a rescue dog and shopping at a local market, Los Angeles has something for every traveller.
Here are our 10 favourite ways to discover the City of Angels any time of the year whilst reducing your environmental impact:
1- Head to Santa Monica
Santa Monica has a longstanding focus on providing an environmentally friendly city that is a great place to visit. They were the first to achieve ‘Platinum Level Certification under the LEED for Cities program’ – the US framework for providing green and sustainable cities for all to enjoy.
From shopping on the Third Street Promenade to eating at local restaurants or watching a magical sunset, you will find many special things to do in Santa Monica, even on a budget.
For example, head to the iconic pier and ride the famous Ferris Wheel. The Pacific Wheel is the first and only solar-powered Ferris wheel in the world and has been named one of the “World’s Coolest Ferris Wheels”.
Take in the magnificent views of Santa Monica Beach and beyond as you watch the pier light up with thousands of lights – it is a dazzling green experience perfect for all, especially families with kids.
Another great thing to do is to rent bikes and cycle along the well-known promenade for a fun-filled activity that is not only good for the planet, but that is also good for your body and mind.
You will find plenty of places to rent bikes for the day, and if you bring your own, the Santa Monica Bike Center will provide bike parking for a small fee, allowing you to explore the area on foot with peace of mind.
2- Take to two wheels
Skip the traffic and experience the top tourist attractions and famous landmarks of Los Angeles in a more sustainable (and healthier!) way. Bikes and Hikes LA Tours is one of the best ways to explore the iconic highlights and stop by the must-visit places on a fun and adventure-filled excursion that will beat sitting in an air-conditioned vehicle all day.
Discover Hollywood and Beverly Hills at your own pace, see the stunning Hollywood Sign up close, celeb-spot in the famous Bel-Air neighbourhood and soak up the sun as you cycle down the Santa Monica promenade – a must-do!
There are a variety of tours to choose from, depending on the attractions you want to see and the length of the activity.
OTHER BIKE RENTALS I RECOMMEND
3- Hike Runyon Canyon with rescue dogs
Quite possibly the best outdoor and unusual activity you can do that is not only sustainable and healthy but also kind to the furry creatures we can not get enough of – hike the beautiful Runyon Canyon with a rescue dog!
Free Animal Doctor runs an adorable hiking activity where you can hike either Runyon Canyon or Venice Beach with the beautiful rescue dogs that are cared for by the organisation. Take a leisurely hike along the canyon trails as you admire the views of the city and the famous Hollywood Sign.
Snap pictures of yourself alongside your new four-legged friends with iconic Los Angeles backdrops and share them on social media to raise awareness for this fantastic cause. You will meet like-minded people, have fun and stay fit in this eco-friendly activity with good social motivation at its heart.
4- Choose a ‘Green’ hotel for your stay
One of the best things you can do when planning your trip to Los Angeles is to choose a hotel with sustainable values at its core. You will find many eco-friendly hotels to choose from, allowing you to enjoy your vacation in the sunny Californian city guilt-free.
For example, check out the Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, the first LEED Gold Certified Hotel, focusing on green standards throughout, from fresh locally grown produce to a solar-heated pool and organic toiletries in every room. Although on the pricier side, you can enjoy a stay in a stylish boutique hotel, knowing that everything is sustainable and eco-friendly!
5- Shop & eat local
If you want to avoid the big-chain stores and stock up on fresh and locally-grown produce, look no further than The Original Farmers Market. Created in 1934, this fantastic outdoor market features over 100 different stalls, restaurants and speciality vendors offering some of the best produce in California.
You will also find a huge selection of local products available to purchase, from clothing and gifts to homeware and toys.
Head over on a Thursday evening during the summer months and watch some great live music as you soak up the bustling atmosphere of the market – a perfect activity for couples looking for a romantic thing to do. There is a whole calendar of pop-ups and foodie events, so keep your eyes peeled on the calendar.
Grab some tasty treats, relax and dine – it is a perfect day out on a holiday with friends, especially in winter with the Christmas atmosphere.
And here are some flea markets you should stop by: Rose Bowl Flea Market (large monthly market with crafts, antiques and other goods) and Melrose Trading Post (Sunday open-air market selling antiques, vintage goods and collectables).
Finally, check out this fun food tour in Downtown LA: Los Angeles: Downtown Food Tour.
6- Refuel on plants
After plenty of exploring and sightseeing, if you are looking for somewhere healthy and kind to the planet to refuel, then Café Gratitude is an excellent option. With three restaurants in LA, this small and entirely plant-based chain offers delicious cuisine all using locally sourced and organic ingredients, and not a single animal product in sight.
Choose from a mouth-watering selection of dishes, from rainbow-coloured salads and flavour-filled sandwiches to Buddha bowls, fresh desserts and plenty of bright cocktails.
The Café also hosts live music performances from local artists throughout the year, the perfect way to combine tasty food with fantastic music. It is a fabulous eco-friendly evening at one of the coolest plant-based restaurants in Los Angeles.
The core values of Café Gratitude lie in gratitude, abundance and regeneration – they source all ingredients from local farms, use sustainable business methods and provide an ideal environment for plant-loving individuals to socialise together. You can not get more eco-conscious dining than this on a city break to LA.
7- Inspire minds at the Discovery Cube
If you are travelling with kids, even on a short weekend getaway, it is important to find activities that will keep them entertained, and they will be engaged for hours at one of the most family-friendly museums in LA. The Discovery Cube is a state-of-the-art science museum focused on educating and engaging young minds, through science-based programs and exhibits.
There is a huge emphasis on the environment here, with many exhibits showcasing how we can live sustainably and care for the planet through composting, recycling and consuming fewer animal products.
Alongside fascinating permanent exhibitions, the museum also has several unique events throughout the year which are fun, educational and inspiring.
Plus, you will find two on-site cafés selling delicious, locally sourced (where possible) and healthy food to keep those hungry bellies happy. The Discovery Cube is a fantastic eco-friendly day out for all curious travellers, especially on a rainy day.
8- Take part in a beach clean
For many travellers to Los Angeles, no trip is complete without a visit to some of the famous beaches of California. With an incredible coastline and plenty of activities to enjoy on the sand, hitting the beach is one of the best things to do in LA.
Of course, it is essential that you clean up your trash after a day on the sand, but if you want to help out on a larger scale or are looking for a unique eco-friendly activity (even if you are travelling solo), why not consider volunteering with an organisation hosting group beach cleaning?
Heal the Bay is a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting and keeping the coastal waters and beaches of Greater Los Angeles clean and safe for everyone. They offer a variety of beach clean-up programs, such as the monthly clean-up Nothin’ But Sand to Coastal Clean Up Day, where they encourage local schools and businesses to clean up their local beach.
However, you do not have to join a Heal the Bay clean-up to make a difference. If you are travelling as a family, why not encourage kids to spend an hour or two collecting trash after a day at the beach? Be prepared, take bags and gloves and maybe make it a competition to see who can pick up the most trash.
A day at the beach is a must-do activity in Los Angeles, and you can ensure it is as eco-friendly as possible by giving a little back, cleaning up the golden sands and protecting these stunning shores.
9- Plant trees & give back to the community
For more than 50 years, the TreePeople movement has helped Southern California communities plant and care for trees, look after the landscapes and provide greener spaces in the neighbourhoods, parks and communal areas.
They also provide educational support to teachers, students and schools on tools they can use to make a positive environmental change within their local communities.
Based in the beautiful Coldwater Canyon Park, this 45-acre nature haven is a stunning place to visit and soak up the natural wonders of the Californian landscape. Head over to the TreePeople headquarters to learn more about the environmental movement and what they do, or simply enjoy the trails and everything the park has to offer with a bike ride or walk – an ideal free thing to do on your LA vacation.
If you want a hands-on and rewarding experience, you can volunteer to help plant trees within the community. TreePeople hosts weekly tree planting events throughout Los Angeles with all the training tools and knowledge needed to help empower you to become part of the change.
And if you do not have the time to volunteer, be sure to check out their extensive online learning platform, join one of their fun events or donate to help provide a greener and kinder future for everyone.
10- Cuddle a cow at The Gentle Barn
If you love animals or have little ones who want to experience getting up close and personal with some of their favourite farm animals, then The Gentle Barn is the perfect eco-friendly activity and local thing to do (and non-touristy if you are looking to get away from the crowds).
Located in Santa Clarita, this non-profit charity invites visitors on Sundays to come and see some of the incredible farm animals they own and give them a gentle hug. Cows, pigs, turkeys, llamas and many other animals are here for you to stroke, cuddle and learn more about.
Run entirely by volunteers, The Gentle Barn is a fantastic place to enjoy the wonders of the farmyard animals loved by many in a rustic natural environment. Suitable for the entire family, you will be guaranteed to leave with a huge smile on your face and lots of happy memories.
Planning a weekend getaway in Paris? Check out this article:
10 Eco-Friendly & Fun Things to Do in Paris
What to do in Los Angeles in winter
Visiting Los Angeles in winter is an entertaining and unforgettable experience, especially in December around Christmas! Here are some extra sustainable activities and eco-friendly things to do if you plan to visit the city this season:
- Go skiing at a nearby resort
- Visit a theme park (great with kids!)
- Have fun ice skating outdoor
- Experience the Enchanted Forest of Light Show
- Attend a concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Fancy a weekend getaway in LA? Check out this article:
Los Angeles City Guide: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary
Shop the printable travel itinerary
Plan your perfect city break & live a unique green experience.
How to reduce your impact in Los Angeles
Sustainable travel means exploring the world whilst being aware of your surroundings and having a positive social, environmental and economic impact on the places you visit.
Being a responsible traveller in Los Angeles is possible! Here are some eco-friendly travel tips for reducing your carbon footprint:
- If you need to take the plane, book direct flights (which require less fuel than indirect flights) and offset your carbon footprint. But, do not use carbon offsetting as a complete solution. Combine it with other sustainable practices, like avoiding single-use plastic on the plane and mindfully packing your suitcase for your green holiday.
- Select an eco-friendly accommodation. It is not always easy to determine whether a hotel has eco-conscious practices, but try to look on their website for green credentials and ask questions. You can also use Bookdifferent or Ecobnb to help you decide.
- Use public transport as much as possible. Los Angeles transportation network is not the best, but you can easily access the main highlights and attractions with buses, trains or subways. So take advantage of these services to reduce your impact! And if you prefer to rent a car, choose an electric or hybrid. Not only will you save money on gas, but you will be doing the local air a favour. Finally, if you are staying near the coast, do not hesitate to rent a bike.
- Eat at local restaurants that use produce from the area and emphasise organic and sustainability. It will contribute to the local economy and reduce your carbon footprint by supporting restaurants where food does not come from long distances.
- Wear reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun, especially during outdoor activities. But be careful about the cream you choose. Zero-waste and reef-safe sunscreens are an excellent alternative to chemical creams and are incredibly beneficial for many reasons: they protect the environment by reducing plastic waste and preserve your health by eliminating harmful components.
- Always respect the local heritage. Treat people and their surroundings with respect. Sustainable travel is not only about the environment but also about the local communities. So, always be respectful, smile and immerse yourself in the local vibe.
More inspiration for your green vacation:
- Best Travel Apps for Exploring Sustainably
- 15 Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Eco-Adventure
- Best Ecotourism Activities Around the World
Eco-friendly gear you might love:
- 10 Best Sustainable Backpacks for Travel & Hiking
- 10 Best Reusable & Eco-Friendly Travel Mugs
- 8 Best Filtered Water Bottles for Travel & Hiking
Check out this page for more inspiration on eco-friendly products & gear.
Los Angeles travel planning guide
Yes, buying insurance is always valuable when travelling abroad. Enjoy your city break to Los Angeles stress-free with one of my favourite providers, Nomad Insurance.
Yes, tap water is safe to drink all over Los Angeles. However, I also recommend travelling with the UltraPress Purifier Bottle, a lightweight filtered water bottle perfect for reducing plastic and staying hydrated.
Yes, renting a car in Los Angeles is easy. However, note that the traffic can be terrible! But it is a great way to explore outside the city. I recommend booking yours with Rentalcars.com – they offer a variety of operators for all budgets.
The best way to book your accommodation in Los Angeles is with Booking.com – my favourite platform to compare and reserve places to stay each night, from affordable guesthouses to luxury hotels.
I recommend booking your plane with Skyscanner. It has been my favourite platform for years, as it allows me to book the cheapest flights whilst lowering my carbon emissions.
Los Angeles, USA – FAQ
I recommend spending at least 4 days in Los Angeles to see all the best attractions without rushing. Remember that LA is a vast city, and landmarks are far from each other, so plan accordingly and be OK to adapt your program.
For your first visit to LA, I suggest planning in advance which area you want to visit each day. The top locations you should add to your bucket list are Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Downtown LA.
Yes, Los Angeles is an expensive city to visit as one of the most expensive cities in the world. But, if you are mindful of your expenses and prepare your budget in advance, you will have no problem enjoying this incredible city on a budget.
And you, what is your favourite eco-friendly thing to do in Los Angeles?
Let me know in the comments below!