16 Fun & Best Things to Do in Burbank, California
Ever wonder if you should visit Burbank, California? It was once famous for wines and wineries. Now sometimes referred to as the Media Capital of the World, Burbank is just a short 21 miles from the Pacific Ocean and 12 miles northwest of Downtown Los Angeles.
Unlike San Francisco, the summers are hot and arid in the San Fernando Valley, and the winters are cool and wet. The temperature varies from 88°F to 46°F, providing nature enthusiasts a long spring and summer to enjoy the outdoors. There are over 41 Burbank parks in the area. These parks have over 70 trails covering over 418 miles for all levels of hiker.
While hiking is fun, did you know that the first U.S. patented monorail was designed and built in Burbank in 1907? Cool, right? It failed, but the region’s inventive and creative spirit lived on.
Aviation was a driving force in the Los Angeles area. Home to Lockheed Martin, some of Howard Hughes’ aircraft facilities were also based in Burbank. The eclectic aviator set the U.S. transcontinental record by flying from Burbank to Newark, New Jersey, in just under 7 hours, 29 minutes.
In addition to jet engines and wide open spaces, Downtown Burbank is about business. It is home to North America’s largest IKEA store located on San Fernando Boulevard. In fact, there are over 600 local shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues surrounding Burbank Center.
But as the town’s nickname confirms, the Media Capital of the World is best known for supporting the television and film industry. Endless major Hollywood studio productions have filmed in Burbank over the years. The city is currently home to Disney Studios, and Warner Brothers, with Netflix Animation soon to be a new kid in town.
But you may be wondering, is Burbank, California, worth visiting? Yes, and it’s easy to find dozens of things to do in the city. Because whether you are looking for art, film tours, quirky boutique shopping, or exciting history, at the end of the day, Burbank is all Southern California.
- Most significant landmark – Burbank City Hall
- Best park – Wildwood Canyon Park
- Best free activity – Stough Canyon Nature Center
- Best activity for kids – Martial Arts History Museum
- Best activity for adults – Urban Press Winery
- Best food – Castaway Burbank
- Best nightlife – Flappers Comedy Club
- Best all-around accommodation – Coast Anabelle Hotel
Fun & Best Things to Do in Burbank, California
1. Warner Brothers Studio
Address: 3400 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505
Burbank is home to Warner Brothers Studios, one of the most iconic names in entertainment. On the 110-acre lot, trolleys drive visitors through the production stages and point out special exhibits dedicated to the DC Universe, Harry Potter, and Batman.
Warner Bros Studios is known for iconic shows such as Animaniacs, the film Casablanca, The Big Bang Theory, and Friends. The tour lasts about an hour. If you are interested in the studio’s history, the Warner Brothers Museum will not disappoint. It showcases the real history of the “WB” — founded in 1923 by four brothers.
The museum houses an impressive collection of costumes, animation cells, props, and other cool stuff in its 7000-square-foot building. Two of the museum’s highlights are the actual Maltese Falcon statue used in the movie and James Dean’s 500 Triumph motorcycle.
A few blocks from the Studios is the famed Bob’s Big Boy hamburger restaurant. This iconic diner with the trademark chubby boy statue has encouraged family memories and the love of hamburgers for several generations. After a long day and a very full stomach, the peaceful Coast Anabelle Hotel is a couple of miles from Warner Brothers Studios.
See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in California to Visit
2. Brace Canyon Park
Address: 2901 Haven Way, Burbank, CA 91504
Brace Canyon Park (not to be confused with Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah) is a good choice for a day of fresh air in this urban green space.
Brace Canyon Park is a residential part of Burbank Hills. It has lovely mountain views and large shade trees. Picnic tables, running and jogging trails, and wide open spaces make this a proper community park available from sunrise to sunset.
An activity center also offers tennis, basketball, and baseball. The climbing equipment is suited for children of all ages and highlights music, with real instruments for children to enjoy.
And local events are held at the park throughout the year. Leashed dogs are welcome at Brace Canyon; there is even a drinking fountain for your dog!
3. Magnolia Park
Address: Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91505
A quirky self-defined shopping district, Magnolia Park is known for its strong focus on sustainable and repurposed clothing boutiques.
As you walk down Magnolia Boulevard, There are numerous thrift stores, vintage clothing shops, antique shops, and even an apothecary. The area is also known for eclectic art and coffee shops. In fact, there are some great cafes in Magnolia Park. If you need food and a Cafe Ole, Romancing the Bean Cafe sits in the heart of Magnolia Park.
One of the fantastic things about Burbank is its urban art. Magnolia Park houses almost two dozen wall and building murals, paintings, and inspirational tiles. Check out the Burbank Cats or the Hollywood Sign while shopping. Many shops have special areas if you want a quick photo snap.
Magnolia Park has a dedicated self-tour if you are adventurous and want to tour all of the area’s street art. There is also more urban art in downtown Burbank where there is a second self-guided street art tour.
The Magnolia Business District, curators of Magnolia Park, organize street fairs with local musicians to encourage community outreach. And during the winter, Santa Claus does his part with a visit.
See Related: Best National Parks to Visit in November
4. Walt Disney Studios
Address: 500 S Buena Vista St, Burbank, CA 91521
Walt Disney Studios is located in southern Burbank. Walt Disney built the Burbank studio on the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This production lot is closed to the general public, but tours are available online for Disney D23 Club members.
While on the VIP tour, visitors will learn about Disney’s history, the man and the empire, and their part in Burbank’s growth. Disney fans should take a private tour of the Walt Disney Archives containing original songbooks that celebrate the cultural and surprising social influence of Walt Disney and the Studios.
In keeping with technological advances, Disney Burbank is currently home to the Infinity Stage. This unique film stage was designed with Industrial Light and Magic for The Mandalorian. The impressive stage has 700 top-tier LED panels, creating a rotating 1,600 square foot background providing instant location creation.
One of the nicer back-lot stories told is that of the rescue dog Higgins. Adopted by animal trainer Frank Inn from the Burbank Animal Shelter, this scrappy dog went on to play numerous parts for Disney Studios, including Benji in the hit franchise. Higgins was one of several famous animal actors that started as rescue animals.
Once the tour ends, there is still time to stroll over to and enjoy a short walk down Bob Hope Drive to a serene green space. This 18-acre park is named for the late-night television legend Johnny Carson.
Johnny Carson Park features a picnic area, playground, and intimate performance stage. There is also a lovely quiet creek that meanders through the park site.
5. Burbank Farmers Market
Address: 101 N Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, CA 91501
Los Angeles County is famous for its farmers markets, but Burbank Farmers Market is an impressive community market. Burbank Farmers Market is unique because all of the produce is Certified California Grown.
Located just behind Burbank City Hall, the farmers market sits a block from the Burbank Central Library.
Visitors are welcome weekly to browse the stalls for baked goods, fresh flowers, eggs, honey, fruits, and vegetables. Non-agricultural products in the market include yogurt, BBQ, fresh fish, hot food, salsas, and soaps.
Burbank Farmers Market is a nonprofit market, with all proceeds helping Providence Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation pay for medical care. A win for the community, this is one of the best things to do in Burbank on a Saturday Morning – rain or shine.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Monterey, California
6. Burbank Aviation Museum
Address: 3898 Valhalla Dr, Burbank, CA 91505
Burbank quickly became one of the U.S. aviation capitals of the 20th century.
Whether it was Lockheed Martin’s manufacture of Amelia Earhart’s Electra Model 10 or many of Howard Hughes’ land speed test flights, Burbank was an ongoing anchor point in aviation.
The Burbank Aviation Museum was first established to celebrate Burbanks’s aviation history. Located in Valhalla Memorial Park and Cemetery is the 75-foot-tall domed archway – the Portal of Folded Wings.
This massive landmark sits at the entrance to the cemetery and is designed from mosaic and marble. It holds the remains of 15 aviation pioneers.
Within the portal is a collection of items and memorabilia from the history of flight, while outside the museum are authentic examples of unique aircrafts. One of the most recognizable is a model of the Challenger Space Shuttle.
The Portal of Folded Wings and the Burbank Aviation Museum is one of the best free Burbank attractions and is open to the public on the first Sunday of each month.
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7. Gordon R. Howard Museum
Address: 115 N Lomita St., Burbank, CA 91506
Part of George Izay Park, the Gordon R. Howard Museum chronicles the history of Burbank.
Curated by the Burbank Historical Society, this former Victorian-styled home of Gordon R. Howard was built in 1887. It is packed with period pieces from Disney and the city, antique cars, statues, and vintage memorabilia.
It is the first of two buildings in the museum complex. The second building, a 20,000-square-foot facility, houses most of the Burbank Historical Society’s collection. Numerous exhibits detail the lives of the city’s founders and their larger-than-life personalities.
One unique permanent exhibit, named for Howard’s wife, Mary, houses a vintage automobile collection, including a 1904 Franklin and a 1949 Seagrave Fire Engine. Another display, the Memorabilia Room, houses photographs dating back over 100 years.
8. Hollywood Sign
Address: Los Angeles, CA 90068
While not in Burbank proper, the Hollywood Sign sits about eight miles south of downtown Burbank. This cultural icon and American landmark is well worth the short drive from Burbank to catch a view of it.
The sign has, of course, a larger-than-life history. In 1887, businessman Harvey Wilcox established a small town. His wife named it Hollywood.
Fueled by the growing film industry, Los Angeles quickly expanded. Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler, advertising a new land development, built the $21,000 billboard for “Hollywoodland” in 1923. Originally, the sign itself featured 4,000 20-watt bulbs. At night the sign blinked “Holly,” then “wood,” and finally “land.”
There are several ways to see this iconic Hollywood sign. Hiking is always an option. Mount Hollywood Trail is a 5-mile moderately challenging loop trail that takes three hours. This trail does not summit, but there are stellar views of the valley and the Hollywood Sign. Hiking trails pass close, allowing Instagram-worthy views.
One can also take a designated tour of the sign’s park. It is protected by 24/7 surveillance and police officers. But selected tours are the best way to get close.
After visiting one of the most recognizable signs in the world, the Hotel Amarano Burbank-Hollywood is nearby in Burbank for a refresh. This boutique-style hotel is a serene Hollywood-chic oasis. And it is perfect for couples and solo travelers.
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9. Martial Arts History Museum
Address: 2319 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506
The martial arts combine ancient philosophy, discipline, and self-defense. There are numerous variations, including the teachings of Asia, China, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines. And the Martial Arts History Museum is a great way to teach kids about all of them.
The Martial Arts Museum is a free attraction where exhibits and contemporary entertainment artifacts are combined with cultural facts highlighting how the different martial arts styles are portrayed in the movies. In a unique teaching approach, martial art practitioners use anime examples and movie scenes to open discussions.
The Martial Arts Museum also presents DragonFest. This popular annual expo focuses on martial arts, manga, anime, and cosplay.
Need a chance to refuel? Try the Palm Coffee Bar Cafe. This hip coffee shop is a few block’s walk, west of the museum. This is a great place for a quick rest and a refreshment before your next item on the long list of things to do in Burbank, California.
10. Stough Canyon Nature Center
Address: 2300 E Walnut Ave, Burbank, CA 91504
The Stough Canyon Nature Center is an excellent free, all-day activity. It provides many unique opportunities to learn about the surrounding Verdugo Mountains.
There are indoor workshops, day camps, and self-tours. There are also interactive nature hikes that cover indigenous wildlife and flora. There are even night-time astronomy classes providing spectacular mountain-top views.
For hikers, there is a 6.8-mile out-and-back trail connecting the Stough Canyon Nature Center and the nearby La Tuna Canyon. The path is moderately challenging — taking four hours to finish. But it is relatively steep, with almost a 2000-foot elevation gain.
Despite the difficulty, the trail is immensely popular and allows visitors sweeping canyon views of the Burbank area. While you are at Stough Canyon Nature Center, swing by the Starlight Bowl.
The Starlight Bowl is an open area amphitheater with both 3,000 chairs and 2,000 lawn spaces. Home of a family-centric concert series, the Starlight Bowl provides quality Los Angeles region entertainment under the stars.
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11. Wildwood Canyon Park
Address: 1701 Wildwood Canyon Drive, Burbank, CA 91501
Wildwood Canyon Park is one of the many fun Burbank activities. It is known for its open green spaces. The park sits off Burbank’s Harvard Road up-canyon from DeBell Disc Golf Course. It leads to a series of hiking trails of varying difficulties.
One moderate trail runs two miles, features breathtaking views of the Verdugo Mountains and Burbank, and is peppered with fields of native wildflowers.
Whether it was a hard day on the trails or a Burbank Nature Program special event, the nearby Courtyard Los Angeles Burbank Airport offers reliable accommodations close to the airport for a quick Monday return to reality.
After a day touring the canyon, or a better-than-par round of golf at the DeBell Golf Club, treat yourself to a stellar meal at the trendy Castaway Burbank. Listed as one of 2019’s Top 50 Restaurants For A Date in America, the views from the outdoor patio are spectacular. Start with the Cheese and Charcuterie Bar. Then choose from a selection of entrees to please any palette.
12. Urban Press Winery
Address: 316 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502
This downtown Burbank boutique winery was born 20 years ago when its founder began making craft wines in his garage. Now, Urban Press Winery is helping reshape California wine culture by providing a full menu of tasting wines, bottle sales, and neighborhood-focused events in Los Angeles County.
This Burbank restaurant and winery is like a warm and welcoming Italian Villa, with intimate seating and organic architecture.
The Urban Press Winery uses grapes from the top 3% of vineyards in California to provide over 30 varietals, paired perfectly from harvest to bottling, for American fare. Stop by one of the best places to visit in Burbank for brunch, lunch, happy hour, dinner, or dessert.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Napa Valley, California
13. Flappers Comedy Club
Address: 102 E Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502
Elevated to cultural art status, Flappers Comedy Club has prevailed in the heart of downtown Burbank since 2008. This unique club offers an opportunity for established names to reconnect to their roots while new entertainers can show their comedic prowess. Whether it is contemporary commentary, improv, or impressions, there is something for everyone at Flappers.
Ask anyone what to do in Burbank, and they’ll list the Flappers Comedy Club. Each week Celebrity Drop-In Tuesdays opens the mic to some surprising comedians and even a few headliners – Jerry Seinfeld and Conan O’Brien, to name a couple.
And if you are looking for something grownup to do with kids in Burbank, there are even a few shows suitable for little ones called “Two Milk Kids.”
14. Los Angeles Equestrian Center
Address: 480 Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91506
Just along the Burbank boundary line, a few miles from Johnny Carson Park, is the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. This comprehensive complex is dedicated to all things equine. The Los Angeles Equestrian Center is located at the northern tip of Griffith Park along the Los Angeles River.
The Center offers many amenities, including competitions, clinics, boarding stalls, trainers, a gift shop, a lounge, and a wine bar. Open to the public, visitors can take lessons, guided or self-guided trail rides. And more than 50 miles of horse trails criss-cross through Griffith Park for a peaceful ride from the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.
Another part of the Center is the Calamigos Los Angeles, the rodeo riders. This arena holds Western Rodeo competitions and demonstrations.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Santa Ana, California
15. Universal Studios Hollywood
Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
Universal Studios Hollywood is just across the Los Angeles River, a mile or so from Burbank proper. This cinematically themed entertainment park includes rides that kawoosh, familiar characters, shopping, and stage shows.
Additionally, visitors get to tour 13 city blocks on 400-plus acres of cinematic history. There is a tram that safely carries fans along the world-famous studio tour of the production lots.
A VIP Experience, available online, allows front-of-the-line access throughout the tour. Universal Studios Hollywood has also announced that studio tours will be available in Spanish on select days.
There are dozens of films and TV shows shot at Universal Studios Hollywood over the last 50 years, including Westworld, the Jurassic franchise, and Boss Baby: the Family Business.
16. Burbank City Hall
Address: 275 E Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91502
Named for Dr. David Burbank, a dentist who traveled west to farm sheep, Burbank has developed a knack for firsts or iconic buildings and places. And this holds true with the city’s municipal building.
Burbank City Hall operates at the city seat. But this uniquely recognizable building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A stunning example of the WPA Moderne or Art Deco style was designed by architects William Allen and W. George Lutzi and completed construction in 1943 as part of the Works Progress Administration program.
The building’s exterior decorations include bas-relief, “A Tribute to Craftsmen,” depicting humanity’s accomplishments.
Indoors, numerous artworks cover the walls and ceilings. Artist Bartholomew de Mako painted a large portrait of a contemporary version of “Justice” surrounded by the common man in the courtroom. Hugo Ballin’s The Freedom of Worship is a magnificent, Rockwellian-style fresco.
Burbank City Hall is considered by many as the epitome of the WPA Moderne style and is definitely one of the great places to visit in Burbank.
What are some fun things to do in Burbank?
Magnolia Park is a fun way to spend a day. Browse for toys and vintage clothing, or stop by the spa. End with a light lunch or cafe recharge before dinner. In addition, a studio tour of Warner Brothers Studio or Walt Disney Studios provide visitors of all ages with something exciting.
What is the best thing to do with kids in Burbank?
The Marshal Arts History Museum is one of the best thing to do with kids in Burbank. It introduces them to the Martial Arts in America through the History of Anime and American media. For Harry Potter fans, a tour of Warner Brothers Studio would be great, or a studio tour of Universal Studios Hollywood.
What are some things to do in Burbank with my dog?
One great thing to do in Burbank with your dog is the self-guided street art tour. You and your dog can take this leisurely stroll at your own paces. Brace Canyon Park is also excellent for a day of fresh air and open fields with the family dog. There is even a separate water fountain so your pup can cool down.
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