California

The Ultimate Guide to Los Angeles, California

Behind the traffic and the fake glamour, this “city of angels” has a lot of unique beauty illustrated by the people and the history.  LA has something to appeal to every traveler from its museums to its delicious and authentic Mexican food.  The city is huge and has a population of over 3.8 million people! My list of things to do is only a starter list because LA has so many different places to see and experience.

Before You Go:

Currency: US Dollar

When to Go: Summer brings crowds but you will never really find a bad time to visit.

Weather: Even when it rains, it never really requires more than rain boots and a light jacket so don’t bring a winter suitcase!

Food: A health-food craze has hit LA so don’t be surprised to see many restaurants advertise gluten-free and vegan options!

Traffic: Yes there are at least 5 lanes each way on the freeway and yes there still is traffic…all the time.

(Looking to get away from the crowded cities? check out Joshua Tree National Park!)

People: With a population of over 3.8 million people, you will find the most diverse people, not just those trying to find fame.

Things to Do:

Griffith Observatory

This popular spot in LA is home to astronomy-themed activities, beautiful views of the city, and of course, a very famous telescope.  In fact, more people have looked through the telescope at Griffith Observatory more than any other in the world!  The park below the Observatory is also perfect for hiking or a nice picnic to enjoy SoCal’s sunny weather.

Walk of Fame

Between Gower Street and La Brea Avenue and along Vine Street between Yucca Street and Sunset

These sidewalks in LA are full of celebrity names ranging from music legends such as David Bowie to movie stars including Marilyn Monroe.  The hands of the stars are rewarded to honor their work and achievements in the entertainment and other popular industries.

Venice Beach

If you are looking to really see the range of personalities and people of LA, this is the spot where you will find them. Venice Beach has truly uncovered the crazy side of LA with music videos being shot in the streets and the variety of unique shops and services you will find here.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica is famous for its shops and activities, and the Pier is just one great example.  If you aren’t interested in going on any of the amusement park rides, a sunset bike ride or run by the ocean is a perfect way to experience LA like a local.

Hollywood Sign

For the more non-active:

As already stated, the Griffith Observatory has beautiful views of the Hollywood Sign and of the city!

For dinner with a Hollywood sign view, check out the Hollywood restaurant Yamashiro.

Try the drive up Beachwood Drive to get a close-up shot of the sign.

For the hikers:

Try the local popular uphill hike to see the sign through Runyon Canyon, which is a park that starts on Hollywood Blvd.

Start at 6100 Rockcliff Drive Los Angeles CA 90068, which leads to a 30 minute hike that is worth it to see amazing views of the sign!

Hiking

Try the 3.4 mile hike of Cooper Canyon Falls to chase a view of a beautiful waterfall.

The reward for finishing the 4 mile Point Dume to Paradise Cove hike is a relaxing dip in the ocean…sign me up!

The most popular hiking spot in the city is Runyon Canyon, which is known for its amazing views of the city.

Check out the Museums

LACMA is known for its ancient to modern style collections and houses over 130,000 pieces!  Most famously, the museum is currently home to Rain Room installation, where falling water (rain) will pause wherever a human is detected.  LACMA also has an enchanting Urban Lights display and other great temporary exhibitions.

For more information or tickets: Website

The Broad holds over 2,000 works of contemporary art pieces including Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, which is a mirror-lined installment that contains a sparkling and endless LED light display.  The best part? Admission to museum is free!  If you don’t have time to go inside, the building’s cheese-grater shaped architecture is definitely worth seeing.

*I learned today that contemporary art is very weird* 📷 @aandrewbrown

A post shared by Leslie Walker (@blueskiesopenroads) on

 

For more information: Website

Shop my California style favorites:

Universal Studios

Touring widely popular sets like Bates Motel and Jaws is a fun way to really see behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.  There are even fun activities to do for non-film buffs because Universal Studios also acts as a theme park with many rides and attractions, including a Jurassic Park® ride.

For more information & tickets: Website

Window Shop in Beverly Hills

Spend one of LA’s beautiful sunny days window shopping along Rodeo Drive.  Try to gain the self-restraint not to enter a store Julia Roberts style and scream: “Big mistake…HUGE.”

Enjoy the Talent

Live music is a great way to spend a weekend night in the city.  Check out the popular venues like The Wiltern or the Forum to see some awesome bands! I recently saw my favorite artist for $12 at the Trabadour, which has housed talent like the Eagles and James Taylor since 1957!

To Eat:

Breakfast:

For amazing salads and sandwiches (and maybe even a celebrity sighting), check out the hip Urth Caffe. It’s honestly great quality food for a decent price, especially in a overpriced city like LA.

Lunch:

Ask any California native where to eat and they’ll point to you to In-N-Out for a Double-Double and animal fries, a for a good reason too! It’s a cheap, quick, and very delicious!

Dinner:

If you visit LA without trying some amazing authentic Mexican food, you’re missing out.  Try Guisados, which has amazing tacos made with fresh handmade tortillas.

2100 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (323) 264-7201; guisados.co

Save Some $$$

As a Los Angeles county native, I hope this guide can offer you some great tips on what to do and see in this massive city.  Of course if I was able to tell you everything you could do this list would be never-ending.  This is just a beginning guide to inspire you, not to direct you towards only seeing these tourist attractions.  I encourage you to explore the streets and see what you find!

Have you ever been to any of these places in Los Angeles or did I miss any of your favorites?  Let me know in the comments below!

Good luck,

L x

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