While Sherman Oaks may be situated within the city limits of Los Angeles, this suburb is quiet and peaceful with all the amenities of a city.
The area is located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles and has a population of about 65,000 people.
Sherman Oaks is known for its vibrant downtown district and central location with easy access to the Santa Monica Mountains and the nearby cities of Bel-Air, Van Nuys and Encino.
In Sherman Oaks, there are many parks, restaurants, cafes and shopping areas such as Westfield Fashion Square, Sherman Oaks Mall, Oak Ridge Plaza and Sherman Oaks Antique Mall.
A number of festivals and events take place throughout the year including the Sherman Oaks Street Fair and the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park Memorial Day Festival.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Sherman Oaks, California.
1. Get Fresh Air and Stay Fit at Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park
Whether you’re just looking to find a patch of green space to relax in the sun with a good book or you want to catch up on your fitness routine, Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park has everything you need.
On-site there’s a running track, basketball and tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields and a swimming pool. There are also children’s play areas and plenty of places to picnic.
2. Play a Round of Golf at Van Nuys Golf Course
Since the 1960s, Van Nuys Golf Course has been offering visitors a variety of game choices with their two vastly different courses. This scenic and well-maintained course has a total of 27 holes suitable for all levels.
If you’re pressed for time, the 9-hole course is the best choice for you as you can play it in an hour.
The 18-hole course is a par-3 that is shorter than most 18-hole courses at 2,200 yards, but it makes for an enjoyable and challenging game.
A driving range is also on site, and when hunger strikes, you can grab a snack or beverage at the casual eatery.
3. Take a Stroll Along Ventura Boulevard
Ventura Boulevard is 18 miles long and passes through many communities including Sherman Oaks. However, you don’t need to walk the entire 18 miles to experience the vibrant atmosphere of this avenue.
If you want to see the entire stretch, the best way to experience it is with a bike ride from one end to the other.
As you stroll or ride along, you’ll see many businesses including spas, clothing stores, vintage shops, restaurants and cafes.
The avenue has historic significance too. Ventura Boulevard is one of the oldest roads in the San Fernando Valley and was once a part of the famed El Camino Real. Today, it’s the world’s longest avenue of this type.
4. Visit the Martial Arts History Museum
The main mission of the Martial Arts History Museum in nearby Burbank is to teach visitors about various martial arts traditions that originated in Asia.
During your visit, you’ll hear stories about martial arts and its role in the country today. You’ll also be able to check out the exhibits showcasing a variety of fascinating artefacts including the headband from Karate Kid.
Throughout the year, various events are held at the museum, including DragonFest.
5. Dine at The Local Peasant – Sherman Oaks Restaurant & Bar
At The Local Peasant, you’ll enjoy a delicious plate of all-American comfort food in a homey and cosy environment.
The produce used in the dishes is locally-sourced and on the menu, you’ll find a range of items including appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches and pizzas. Main courses include grilled cheese & tomato bisque, meatballs & penne and fish & chips.
The beverage menu features a variety of local craft beers, local wines and handcrafted cocktails.
6. Explore The Japanese Garden
Situated in nearby Van Nuys, The Japanese Garden is seven-acres of land made to resemble the traditional Japanese gardens that flourished between the 18th and 19th centuries.
If you’re looking for somewhere to take a quiet, relaxing stroll in nature, this is the perfect place to clear your head. As you stroll through this garden, you’ll see beautiful ponds, fountains and plants. The garden is open throughout the year with different flowers blooming each season.
7. Have some Laughs at Flappers Comedy Club
Looking to add some humor to your day? Flappers Comedy Club in nearby Burbank has just what you need to lighten up and laugh your stress away.
Since the year 2000, this club has been entertaining visitors of all ages. Performances are held in three different spaces around the building including the bar, the main room and the Yoo Hoo room.
Many of the acts are more suitable for adults but there are family shows as well. Delicious food is available to enjoy while you enjoy the show.
Throughout the year, a variety of events take place including workshops and the Burbank Comedy Festival.
8. Browse the Sherman Oaks Tuesday Market
Once a week throughout the year, many vendors from around the area come together at the Sherman Oaks Tuesday Market to sell a range of quality, local products.
The main draw to the market is the fresh produce that comes straight from local farms. Other items available at the market include eggs, meats, baked sweet treats and hot food options.
9. Visit the Burbank Aviation Museum
At the Burbank Aviation Museum, you’ll learn about the area’s aviation history and its role in many defining events in the industry.
As you make your way through the many exhibits, you’ll see several items related to this fascinating history including photos, old equipment and documents detailing personal accounts of events experienced by pilots, engineers and ground crew personnel.
Also on site is a collection of restored vintage aircrafts and a model of the Challenger Space Shuttle.
10. Have a Family Fun Day at Sherman Oaks Castle Park
Sherman Oaks Castle Park is home to a variety of attractions suitable for the whole family.
During your visit, you can play a round of miniature golf, compete against one another during an exciting game of laser tag or grab a cold beer and shoot some pool at the House of Billiards.
Also on site is an arcade with a range of games and batting cages.
11. Spend a Day In Nature At The Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve
At around 230 acres, the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve has plenty of pristine wilderness to explore.
The wilderness area was set aside as a wildlife refuge, but it’s also used for native plant reintroduction.
A series of well-marked walking trails pass through the reserve. As you explore the area, you have the chance to spot a variety of wildlife including foxes and snakes.
On site you’ll find picturesque lake where you can observe a wide variety of butterflies, lizards and birds such as geese and egrets.
12. Admire Acclaimed Art at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation
The artworks on display at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation were once the private collection of Frederick R. Weisman, but today they are on display for all to enjoy.
In total, there are more than 400 modern and contemporary pieces showcased across the on-site exhibits. These exhibits change frequently, but you’ll find well-known works including pieces by famed artists including Picasso and Warhol, among others.
Guided tours are available with advanced notice. They include a tour of the exhibits and also the rest of the estate and the outside gardens.
13. Experience American Film History at Warner Bros. Ranch
Situated across 40 acres of land in nearby Burbank, movie lovers will find many iconic film sets from some of their favourite movies and TV shows over the years.
Some of these historic and memorable sets include the house where the Waltons lived and the family home in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Various settings from iconic television shows, including Friends, I dream of Jeannie and The Partridge Family, are just some of the settings you’ll see.
A variety of uniquely-styled buildings, park-like spaces and paved streets that were used across many productions are also on site.
14. De-stress and Rejuvenate at Burke Williams Beyond Spa
Burke Williams Beyond Spa is an urban day spa and relaxing sanctuary where professional staff treat you to an array of rejuvenating services.
Some of the services available include facials, manicures, pedicures and spa baths. Massages, including deep tissue, shiatsu, aromatherapy, hot stone and detox massages, are also available.
After your treatments, you’re welcome to kick back in the lounge area and enjoy complimentary tea and fruit. Whirlpools, a steam room and sauna are also on site.
15. Take in a Live Performance at the Colony Theater
For more than four decades, the Colony Theater has been delivering world-class performances in an intimate setting.
Today, the theater is said to be among the best in the region, and that could have something to do with the abundance of exquisite talent in the area.
A number of shows are scheduled each season including concerts, theater performances, film screenings, lectures and performances for children.