Have you ever wondered what there is to Los Angeles than celebrity spotting? There is much more than just the stars and the sand. Here are 15 things you have to do (or will definitely do) in the city of angels.
#1 Get stuck in a traffic
This is not something you should do but it’s inevitable and it will most definitely happen to you. We will better get over it now 🙂 Los Angeles lacks good public transport network so everyone and their grandma’s grandma drives. In L.A. it always feels like a rush hour so get yourself a good amount of time to get from place A to B. It may look like a 20 minutes drive on Google Maps but it can take you an hour to get there. Always have that in mind, especially when having a plane to catch. Trust me, I have been there. Almost missed my flight that was ‘thankfully’ delayed.
#2 Visit the Walk of Fame
And take a picture with the star of the name of your favorite celebrity. There are more than 2600 stars over 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard. You can download the official iPhone app here with a full star guide and a map. Don’t forget to check out the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre that witnessed a lot of movie premieres and Oscar ceremonies.
#3 Take a stroll around the Venice Beach
Venice Beach is probably my favorite place in L.A. Take a walk at its boardwalk where you can see a lot of eclectic characters, watch people skate at the skatepark, work out at the outdoor ‘Muscle Beach’ gym, witness live music performance or just meet interesting people.
#4 Take a picture with the lifeguard tower
I can hear the Baywatch theme song every time I look at these lifeguard towers. If you return from L.A. without a picture of the lifeguard tower, it’s like you haven’t even been there.
#5 Take a picture with the Hollywood sign
The Hollywood sign that is visible from almost the whole city is actually set behind restricted area. It is also very difficult to find a spot for the well-angled shot. There is authorized hiking track going from Griffith Park every day that you can go on. If you just want to snap a picture of the sign as I did, you can. There are few spots on the Mulholland Highway with a great view of the sign.
#6 Try to park your car
It is sometimes nearly impossible (see #1)
#7 Drive around Mulholland Drive
Mulholland Drive is a street and road that zigzags through eastern Santa Monica Mountains. The famous road is featured in a lot of movies, songs, and novels. David Lynch, whose film Mulholland Drive is suffused with the atmosphere of the road, once said that one can feel “the history of Hollywood” on it.
#8 Eat at Five Guys
Five Guys is fast casual restaurant chain focused on hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries. A lot of people in L.A. likes to eat at In-N-Out Burgers but for me, Five Guys is a great deal. You can ‘create’ your own burger from listed ingredients and their french fries taste great.
#9 Drive to the Griffith Observatory
The Griffith Observatory overlooks the Los Angeles basin. You can see all the way through the downtown to the Pacific Ocean so it is a perfect location for taking a picture (if it’s not a foggy day). From the right side of the observatory, you have a view of the Hollywood sign. The observatory hosts exhibitions and a planetarium, that you can also visit.
#10 Snap a picture of the lights at LACMA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) offers a great variety of exhibitions. One of the art installations is the ‘Urban Lights’ located at the Wilshire Boulevard entrance of LACMA. The installations consist of 202 restored street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s. Most of them once lit the streets of Southern California.
#11 Visit one of Hollywood movie studios
Paramount, Universal, Sony, Warner Brothers. Each of the studio tours is a bit different but equally interesting. Universal Studio offers more of a theme park experience. Warner Bros. would be great for fans of TV shows such as Friends or Big Bang Theory. Paramount and Sony have both great movie sets.
#12 See the Walt Disney concert hall
The curvaceous concert hall with an exterior made of a stainless steel is definitely worth a visit. It was designed by Frank Gehry and was built in downtown Los Angeles.
#13 Go for a hike at Runyon Canyon
Runyon Canyon is a great rural area that offers about 2,5 miles (4 km) long hike and some beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and San Fernando Valley. Get out of the urban area and constant driving around and go for a hike. You might also meet some celebrities here 😉
#14 Drive around Sunset Boulevard
One of the most iconic palm-lined streets, Sunset Boulevard has its cinematic appeal that became the setting of several famous movies and music videos. The street connects downtown L.A. to Beverly Hills. Popular nightlife spot the ‘Sunset Stip’ is a part of the street with plenty of infamous nightclubs and bars.
#15 Ride the ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier
The iconic feature of the Santa Monica coastline, the Pacific Park amusement park is a must. Don’t miss a ride on the world’s only solar-powered Ferris Wheel, with a great view of the coast and the ocean.
Los Angeles is not a city like any else and has a lot to offer. If you love beaches, mountains, and nice weather, and don’t mind driving a car, there is not much to go wrong with this city. Have you ever been to L.A. and how did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments.
Get the City Price Guide for Los Angeles to plan your budget here.
Photos: my own, Unsplash