15 Best Things to Do in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles

Sherman Oaks
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The San Fernando Valley is not just the "other side" of Los Angeles.

It also has its own dynamic and vibrant lifestyle that mirrors what Los Angeles is known for.

The largest region in Los Angeles County, San Fernando Valley, is filled with many attractions to check out, from upscale malls and restaurants to historic sites, nature reserves, theme parks, and film studios.

However, there's more to San Fernando Valley than meets the eye.

With that in mind, it would be more awesome to visit its neighborhoods to find hidden gems that guarantee a memorable travel experience.

Unlike other places in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks offers a more calming and family-friendly atmosphere, which makes it a nice place to visit with kids.

Its streets are filled with shops, restaurants, art galleries, and parks which are cool places to have quality time with family or friends.

Sherman Oaks is fairly easy to go since it's accessible through the 101 and 405 freeways.

Many people from Los Angeles' metropolitan drive to Sherman Oaks to spend their leisure time since it's home to many attractions and less crowded.

If you're very excited to discover what this neighborhood has in store for you, read on to learn about the 15 best things to do in Sherman Oaks.

Shop at Westfield Fashion Square

Interior View of Westfield Fashion Square with People in it
Cbl62 at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you feel the vibe to shop, there are many shopping destinations in Sherman Oaks to check out.

Westfield Fashion Square is where many upscale brands are found.

It's home to different upscale brands, making it a nice place to shop for new apparel, electronics, and other items.

The mall has been running since 1962, and it underwent massive renovation after the 1996 Northridge earthquake.

Before it became Westfield Fashion Square, this mall served as Sherman Oaks' branch for Macy's.

Today, it's home to dozens of upscale brands like Apple Store, Gap, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Claire's, Coach, Foot Locker, Guess, H&M, Hollister, Macy's, and Victoria's Secret.

Have an Awesome Time at the Sherman Oaks Castle Park

The Sherman Oaks Castle Park has been entertaining kids and kids at heart since 1976.

It is a family-oriented theme park that is popular across San Fernando Valley.

Many families visit this place frequently to have fun and take nice photos with its castle-themed structures as their backdrop.

Sherman Oaks Castle Park features a vast video game arcade, batting cages, playgrounds, a miniature golf course, and a restaurant.

Aside from being a family theme park, the Sherman Oaks Castle Park is popular for hosting kids' parties and other occasions.

Explore the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve

The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve borders Sherman Oaks' northern portion.

The entire wildlife preserve spans around 230 acres, which offers those who visit there a pristine and very scenic natural area teeming with wildlife.

It's one of Los Angeles County's very few places where you can see birds like egrets and geese freely roam around along with small reptiles, small mammals, and insects.

Instead of being developed, it was set aside as Los Angeles County's wilderness area and a wildlife refuge.

It also serves as an area to reintroduce the region's native flora.

The wildlife preserve has a four-kilometer looped trail perfect for hiking and nature photography.

Buy Fresh Produce at Sherman Oaks Tuesday Market

Every Tuesday of the entire year in Sherman Oaks, farmers and various vendors converge at the Westfield Fashion Square for the Sherman Oaks Tuesday Market.

This congregation of farmers, vendors, and locals is the version of a farmers' market in Sherman Oaks.

A non-profit organization, Raw Inspiration, inspired the Tuesday Market.

They campaign on promoting organic gardening and the importance of a healthy diet to everyone.

Thus, most fruits, vegetables, and food you can buy there are organically and sustainably grown.

Moreover, it highlights local produce from farmers across Los Angeles County and southern California.

Aside from Sherman Oaks, they have another location in Fullerton and Northridge, California.

It also features vendors who sell delicious artisanal food, pastries, and other items.

Visiting this market is a perfect chance to rub elbows with locals and treat yourself to healthy and delicious food.

Appreciate Music at Freakbeat Records

Today, you rarely come across shops that still sell vinyl records and CDs since everything has gone digital already.

However, in Sherman Oaks, you can still find a vast collection of these at Freakbeat Records.

This shop features jazz, reggae, soul, rock, hip-hop, alternative, pop, and classics recorded on vinyl or CDs.

Aside from its vinyl and CD collection, you can also buy music magazines, books, and vintage posters from your favorite musicians and bands.

If you want your visit to Sherman Oaks to have a bit of nostalgia, Freakbeat Records is your go-to place.

Drive along the Famous Ventura Boulevard

Christmas decorations along Ventura Boulevard.
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The entire stretch of Ventura Boulevard spans about 18 miles from Woodland Hills, Tarzana, Encino, Sherman Oaks to Studio City.

Aside from being a major thoroughfare, Ventura Boulevard is considered one of the top destinations for leisure in San Fernando Valley.

The entire stretch is filled with some of the finest restaurants and bars in Los Angeles, along with specialty shops, services, and hidden gems.

Your visit to Sherman Oaks won't be complete without driving along this famous stretch and checking out the shops on the streetside.

View of the Famous Ventura Boulevard
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Aside from being home to dozens of businesses, Ventura Boulevard is one of the San Fernando Valley's oldest roads.

While traversing Ventura Boulevard, you can check out these famous places: Valley Relics Museum, Sportsmen Lodge, MidiCi Neapolitan Pizza, Gasolina Cafe, and Fountains Garden Art.

Buy Rare Comic Books at the Earth 2 Comics

You will surely geek out at the Earth 2 Comics, a local comic book shop in Sherman Oaks.

This place is popular for locals for its vast collection of nostalgic toys and action figures.

Moreover, Earth 2 Comics also has a nice collection of rare classic comic books, which they curated for many years, including collectible cards.

It may look like a quaint store outside, but the inside is filled with many comics from the new to previous issues that will keep you busy browsing for hours.

If you have old or pre-loved comic books, you can also sell them reasonably priced and buy new ones there.

Spend Your Leisure Time at Sherman Oaks Galleria

Front View of Sherman Oaks Galleria
King of Hearts, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sherman Oaks Galleria is located in between the corners of Sepulveda Boulevard and Ventura Boulevard.

This open-air mall in the neighborhood is popular among locals for their leisure time.

The mall has a cinema, a fitness center, spas, salons, restaurants, and shops from mainstream brands.

Front View of Sherman Oaks Galleria at Night
Chris Yarzab, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It's one of the places you need to check out because the mall hosts a diverse tenant community, and it's filled with dining and entertainment choices.

The Sherman Oaks Galleria also has a separate section called 'Restaurant Row' where you'll be treated to different and diverse restaurants from Mexican, Asian, classic American, to European.

Stretch Your Legs at the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Recreation Center

Aside from the usual hiking, include some sports or perhaps a bit of exercise during your visit to Sherman Oaks.

One of the best places to stretch your legs is the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Recreation Center.

The recreation center boasts a charming park, athletic fields, a pool, a kids' playground, and a picnic area.

You can play various sports like a frisbee at the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Recreation Area or perhaps relax and pass the time under the shade of a tree.

Unwind at the Attic

The Attic is an upscale restaurant and bar nestled in the heart of Sherman Oaks.

It serves excellent classic American cuisine from sustainable and fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers.

Locals love to unwind and indulge in great food and drinks at this place.

This restaurant features a wide array of wine collections, a full-service bar, and around a dozen taps of local craft beer.

One of the best reasons to check out this restaurant and bar is the elegant, cozy interior.

The Attic encapsulates a modern rustic interior decoration that instantly welcomes anyone who steps inside.

Roam around Dixie Canyon Park

The Dixie Canyon Park covers 20 acres of unspoiled greenery above the Santa Monica Mountains.

The park has a short trail, about a mile, that boasts a scenic view of San Fernando Valley.

With this in mind, Dixie Canyon Park is a well-known hiking area in Sherman Oaks.

The ascend in reaching the top is about 175 feet, while the entire trail is teeming with black walnut trees that give you enough cover from the sun.

Moreover, Dixie Canyon Park is very accessible in Sherman Oaks.

Its trailhead is very near the famous Ventura Boulevard.

Play Laser Tag at Ultrazone

For a different kind in your visit to Sherman Oaks, you should try laster tag at Ultrazone.

It's a nice icebreaker from the usual tour around the neighborhood because of its exciting setting and gameplay that will surely bring out the kid in you.

To put it simply, Ultrazone is a haven for kids who want to jump into action.

Moreover, this place is equipped with an arcade featuring old and new video games.

Most importantly, the management of Ultrazone requires everyone to wear their safety gear to ensure a safe and fun experience.

Ultrazone is also a nice venue for birthday parties and other occasions.

Discover Old Books at the Books On The Boulevard

Books On The Boulevard is another hidden gem in Sherman Oaks you need to check out.

The bookstore is famous for its rare collection of hard-to-find titles, out-of-print books, and second-hand books in pristine condition.

If you're a bookworm, it is the best place to browse through its collection and score rare finds that you won't see anywhere else.

The bookshop's owner is also very accommodating, helping you browse through their collection and will gamely answer all your questions.

You will likely spend many hours browsing through its bookshelves, which are stocked from top to bottom.

Treat Your Tastebuds at the Local Peasant

Photo at the entrance of Local Peasant during COVID-19
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The Local Peasant is one of the popular restaurants on Ventura Boulevard.

This local gastropub specializes in classic American comfort food paired with their vast collection of fine wines, craft beer, and cocktail drinks.

The restaurant, which also serves as a pub, boasts more than 20 craft beer taps, while its menu highlights burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, and small plates.

This restaurant/pub in Sherman Oaks is a wonderful place not just to treat your tastebuds but also to enjoy a relaxing night with your friends or loved ones.

The Local Peasant also has another branch in Woodland Hills, which is still located along Ventura Boulevard.

So, if you need a place to eat, drink and meet locals in Sherman Oak, you know where to go.

Check Out the Sherman Oaks Martin Pollard Branch Library

Who says libraries are boring places to hang out?

This one in Sherman Oaks is the complete opposite of the usual libraries.

The Sherman Oaks Martin Pollard Branch Library is popular among locals for its interactive and fun-filled programs for children.

The library regularly hosts exciting storytimes, readings, movie screenings, and other community-oriented events for the whole family.

The library also has a dedicated place where kids and parents can join different arts and crafts activities while special events are hosted during holidays.

It's not your typical library where everyone needs to keep their mouths zipped; it is because the Sherman Oaks Martin Pollard Branch Library has found a fun way to educate everyone in the community.

Final Thoughts

Sherman Oaks is truly a special place in San Fernando Valley.

This place boasts an eclectic collection of specialty shops, restaurants, and attractions you won't expect to find in this quaint neighborhood.

Its outdoor attractions will keep you busy all day, while you'll always find yourself discovering more hidden gems as you explore this neighborhood further.

After you're done spoiling yourself in Sherman Oaks, you can venture to the rest of San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles, which are both a stone's throw away.

If you're looking for an instant itinerary, you can bookmark this post to guide you in your visit to Sherman Oaks.