Los Angeles is so full of exciting things to do it can sometimes be overwhelming deciding where to go when you’re planning your trip. To help you make the most out of your holiday, we’ve put together a guide for the top ten things to do in LA.
Spend a day at Santa Monica Pier, spot a celebrity on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or treat yourself to a little luxury on Rodeo Drive…
1. Make a splash at Venice Beach
Famed for its buzzing atmosphere and bohemian vibe, Venice Beach is one of our favourite places to go in LA. Stroll across the Venice Boardwalk and you’ll find a range of funky shops worth popping into, colourful murals you’ll want to pose in front of and enough street performers to keep you entertained for an entire afternoon.
Venice Beach also has a skate park where you can practice your moves and is home to one of the most recognized outdoor gyms, Muscle Beach. If you haven’t heard of the latter, it’s the place bodybuilders go to work out and compete, and it’s definitely worth a visit. What’s more, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is only a short walk away and is full of yummy places to eat, coffee shops, bespoke boutiques.
Beach Loop, Stop: Venice Beach / Marina Del Rey
2. Shop ‘til you drop on Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills is one of the most prominent shopping areas in the US and Rodeo Drive is probably the most famous street in the world. A shopaholics dream, there are over 100 world-renowned flagship stores just waiting to be shopped in. From Chanel, to Hermes, Louis Vuitton to Cartier, even if you’re not in the mood to buy anything it’s the perfect place in LA to window shop and get some style inspiration. With an entire section devoted to luxury fashion, head to Two Rodeo Drive for a European-style shopping center complete with instagrammable cobbled walkways, street lamps and floral displays.
The two-mile stretch has more than just shops though. There’s the Beverly Wilshire, the hotel Pretty Woman was filmed in, Urusawa the world’s most expensive sushi restaurant and House of Bijan’s custom yellow Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, where everyone queues to take a photo in front of.
Hollywood Loop, Stop: Beverly Hills / Rodeo Drive
3. Grab a cone at Santa Monica Pier
If you’re searching for an iconic LA landmark, you’ll find it in the shape of Santa Monica Pier. A must-visit in Los Angeles, the pier includes Pacific Park, an amusement park with a one-of-a-kind solar powered Ferris wheel; and it also features thrilling rides and games guaranteed to amuse travellers of all ages. Lookout for the historic carousel complete with a vintage soda-fountain inside and the classic all-American arcade too.
If you want to learn about the pier’s century long history opt for a free walking tour, visit 66 to Cali or mingle with the locals at Rusty’s. Did we mention there’s also an aquarium and a trapeze school?
Beach Loop, Stop: Santa Monica Pier
4. Catch a show at Hollywood Bowl
Not to be confused with the bowling alley franchise of the same name, Hollywood Bowl is an unrivalled ampitheater in Hollywood Hills that puts on performances from the likes of Elton John, Alicia Keys and Carrie Underwood. Since opening in 1922, it’s become the premier destination for live music in Southern California, making it one of our recommendations for the 10 best things to do in Los Angeles.
Spend a magical evening here watching any of their memorable shows and concerts, its ideal for date night. And if you’re up early on a Tuesday or Thursday morning, you can catch the LA Philharmonic rehearsing their set for free.
Hollywood Loop, Stop: TCL Chinese Theatre
5. Wander around Sunset Boulevard
When you think of Hollywood it’s impossible to not imagine Sunset Boulevard. Palm tree lined roads, historic movie studios and a lively community of locals – there’s hardly anything more LA. Walk along this colourful road and you’re bound to stumble across a range of music stores, hipster restaurants and interesting boutiques. We suggest wearing comfortable shoes if you fancy a stroll along this Boulevard, in its entirety its 22 miles long.
And if you want to experience the LA nightlife, wait until the sun sets and head to the Sunset Strip where you’ll find plenty of bars and clubs that stay open until the early hours of the next morning.
Hollywood Loop, Stop: Guitar Center “Rock Walk” & The Comedy Store
6. Find a star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Made up of more than 2,600 public monuments paying homage to celebrities, movie stars, musicians and public figures through the ages, a trip to the Hollywood Walk of Fame should be top of the list for anyone wondering where to go in Los Angeles. Practically a rite of passage, it’s one of LA’s most visited tourist attractions with over 10 million visits a year.
With stars honouring Michael Jackson, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, N’SYNC and Eva Longoria, it’s not hard to see why those travelling to the state choose to stop for a few photos here. Be sure to research upcoming star ceremonies when you’re planning your trip, you may be able to witness your favourite celebrity being immortalised on the sidewalks of Hollywood.
For a closer look into how the Hollywood A-Listers live, take the Celebrity Homes & Lifestyle Tour. You'll pass the luxurious homes and hangouts of stars from film, TV and music, and explore the neighborhoods where the rich and famous hang out as well as recognizable filming locations.
Hollywood Loop, Stop: TLC Chinese Theatre
7. Visit the Getty Center
Far from your average art gallery or museum, the Getty Center is a true landmark of the LA cultural scene. Go here to release your inner artist in the Sketching Gallery, a unique space in the East Pavillion that encourages guests to try their hand at drawing famous works of art. Or explore the ever-changing Central Garden, created by artist Robert Irwin this green sanctuary is the ideal place to spend a couple of hours relaxing before having a picnic on the lawn in the sunshine.
If you’re visiting LA in the summer, the Getty Center usually puts on a range of public programs including live music performances, free workshops and studio sessions with artists. We think it’s worth a visit here just to see Vincent Van Gogh painting ‘Irises’ but there’s plenty to keep you occupied.
8. Sightsee at Griffith Observatory
Tick LA sightseeing off your itinerary with a trip to the Griffith Observatory. For stunning views of the city’s skyline this is the best place to go. What’s more with free access to the telescopes on the viewing platform you can visit day or night and still get amazing visuals.
Why not make a day of it and follow one of the hiking trails up to the observatory? There are various routes to choose from so the climb can be as leisurely or intense as you’d like it to be. There’s also a planetarium on site showcasing three exciting live shows that educates the audience on all things cosmic for a small fee.
9. Take a photo in front of the Hollywood Sign
Situated atop Mount Lee, the Hollywood Sign is probably the most iconic LA landmark you’ll see during your trip to the state. You may be surprised to learn that the sign was originally created in 1923 as an advertisement for a local real estate development. However, due to increasing recognition, the sign was left up and today is a symbol of popular culture being heavily featured in film, television programs and music videos that are shot in LA.
Contrary to popular belief, the sign isn’t lit up at night so the best time to snap a photo or go on a walking tour to get up close and personal with the attraction is during daylight hours.
10. Hop on a Big Bus Tour
There are so many wonderful places in LA full of exciting activities and attractions. If you’re wondering how you can fit them all into your time in the city, or simply want to take the pressure off travelling from location to location, we recommend hopping on one of our bus tours. The city’s only bus tour giving you the option to hop off and explore any of the areas and landmarks on our routes, it’s the perfect way to ensure you experience the top ten things to do in Los Angeles.
Exploring the City of Angels is bound to help you work up an appetite, so once you’re done visiting all these landmarks and attractions, be sure to indulge at one of the Best Restaurants in LA afterwards…