Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States and the largest city in California. LA is a sprawling metropolis full of movie stars, wannabe actors, musicians, surfers, and lots of traffic. Some of the metro areas that include Santa Monica and Venice tend to be more popular among travelers as they are closer to the beach and have cheaper accommodation. Los Angeles takes some getting used to. It’s a love/hate city for most people. You’ll need a car as there isn’t any widespread public transportation which makes it difficult to get around. The heavy traffic is typically the main thing people hate the most, so if you can get past that, you can see what makes LA such a special city.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Los Angeles
1. Take a day trip to Disneyland
2. See Hollywood Boulevard
3. See the Getty Museum
4. Relax in Griffith Park
5. Venice Beach
Other Things to See and Do
(Click the title to expand the text)
1. Tour Universal Studios Hollywood
This famous studio offers tours of the premises plus a theme park for one package price. It’s the most famous place to take a studio tour. (Also, they recently opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter). A one-day ticket costs $99-110. If you don’t want to pay to go into the parks, you can also enjoy shops, restaurants, and atmosphere at Universal’s City Walk.
2. Party on Sunset Boulevard
Perhaps one of the world’s most famous streets, it began as a route between the stars’ posh neighborhoods and the Hollywood studios. It runs from downtown to the ocean, passing through the “Sunset Strip” on its way.
3. Explore Old Town Pasadena
Historic downtown Pasadena is filled with shops and restaurants. It is also a very popular nightspot for all of you party animals out there.
4. Shop at the Farmers Market & The Grove
There’s a great farmer’s market here with loads of fresh bread, fruit, veggies, and a delicious food court. Nearby is an outdoor shopping area featuring all the major brands as well as a movie theater. It’s a very nice way to spend an afternoon.
5. Take a walk on the beach
Los Angeles beaches are a great place to go for a walk, people-watch, or just lounge in the sun. Venice Beach and Santa Monica are two of the most famous beaches.
6. Visit the Huntington Library
Books probably aren’t the first thing you think of when it comes to LA, but the city has a beautifully-designed library with pleasant grounds, which include a Chinese and Japanese garden. On top of that, the library itself has some very valuable holdings, such as a copy of The Canterbury Tales, and a Gutenberg Bible.
7. Explore the California Science Center
This is a kid-friendly place, with a variety of educational exhibits on topics ranging from the ecosystem, the “world of life,” to space and aviation. The new highlight is the American space shuttle, the Endeavor.
8. Go for a hike
Another activity that you might not associate with the glitz and glamor of LA is hiking. A great place to get some exercise with the famous and beautiful is Runyon Canyon Park. Get your daily dose of uphill exertion before heading down to the beach area.
9. See the iconic Hollywood Sign
You can hike up and behind it using trails that are open from sunrise until sunset. You’ll get a great view of Hollywood and a special view of the city’s iconic letters.
10. Catch a game
If you’re in town during a game, be sure to head to Dodger Stadium or the Staples Center and cheer on the local team. Even if you don’t like the sport (whatever the sport), the locals will happily take you in, explain the game, and drink a beer with you.
11. The Grammy Museum
With exhibits, interactive experiences, and numerous films, this museum walks you through the entire music industry and its history as well as the careers of previous Grammy winners. It’s not a highlight of the city but if you’re a extreme music fan, it’s one of the best things to do! Admission is $13 and it’s open daily from 10:30am-6:30pm.
12. The Last Bookstore
This is one of my favorite bookstores in the country (and one of the few remaining big independent ones). They have books, sell records, have art, and there’s a cool upstairs area too. Located downtown, this space is huge and you can get lost in the space for hours. Come here, get a coffee, read and buy a book! It’s open daily from 10am-10pm.