Los Angeles is a great destination to include on a California road trip. When it comes to keeping you entertained, the City of Angels packs a punch with theme parks and movie-related activities around every corner. If you’re heading to Cali anytime soon, here are 6 things to do in Los Angeles!
1. CHINESE THEATRE
Start with the Chinese Theatre, which has Asian-influenced architecture that looks almost out of place in its American surroundings. The theatre opened in 1927, and has since been the location for the biggest stars of Hollywood to place their handprints in wet concrete out front.
2. WALK OF FAME
Next is the Walk of Fame, which consists of 2500 stars in the sidewalk. It would take forever to do the whole thing, so just stick with the ones on Hollywood Blvd. If you head to the Chinese Theatre, the Walk of Fame crosses directly in front of it and stretches out along the boulevard in either direction.
Pro tip: If you have a car and don’t want to spend loads of time doing the tourist thing in Hollywood, there are some 15 minute metered parking spots along Hollywood Blvd within a few blocks of the Chinese Theatre that will allow you to get out, check out the Walk of Fame, see the theatre, and walk back.
3. BEVERLY HILLS
If you’re not particularly interested in stopping, you can see Beverly Hills by driving down Santa Monica Blvd while checking out the area where all the rich people live. If you’re into celebrities then you can do a movie star homes tour (which also visits the Chinese Theatre and Walk of Fame in Hollywood).
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4. VENICE BOARDWALK
Venice is most well known for its bikini-clad chicks on rollerblades, medicinal marijuana stores, and hippie culture. It’s a nice place to take a slow stroll along the boardwalk and experience this wacky beachside suburb.
5. VENICE CANALS
The man-made Venice Canals are located just a few blocks inland from the Venice boardwalk. This activity is off-the-radar for tourists, which makes it a peaceful place to wander over the foot bridges and take a look at where the rich people of LA live.
6. SANTA MONICA
Santa Monica is not as busy as some of the other touristy areas, and is a nice place to spend a few hours chilling by the Pacific Ocean. Here you’ll find Santa Monica Pier, where you can ride a rollercoaster if you aren’t going to any of the other theme parks, or just take a pleasant spin on the ferris wheel.
The beach at Santa Monica is a pretty popular place for both locals and tourists to hang out. This is also the location of Muscle Beach, where you can watch men with extreme amounts of testosterone try to impress people with their muscles when they use the outdoor fitness equipment.
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7. GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY
It’s easiest to get to Griffith Observatory with a car, but there are also public buses on weekends that will take you from Vermont / Sunset Station up to the observatory every 30 minutes or so between 10AM and 10PM. Inside the observatory building is a museum with a planetarium, a theatre, and permanent exhibits.
Griffith Observatory is a truly awesome vista point with arguably the best views of the Hollywood sign and the city. Apparently the best time to go is at night when you get to see the city lights spread as far as the eye can see, but the daytime views are pretty great, too.
Theme parks are a staple of any visit to LA. Disneyland is huge, so you should put aside a whole day for this theme park if you can! If you’re traveling solo or as a couple, be warned – this place is swarming with kids. But it’s still a great place to check out if you’re in to anything Disney-themed.
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9. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
Universal Studios is a theme park/movie studio combo. You absolutely must do the studio tram tour, which is included in the entry ticket. If you’re short on time, a front of the line pass is 100% worth the extra cost as you’ll be able to get on all the rides almost straight away. Universal Studios is included on the Los Angeles GoCard.
HOW TO GET AROUND
Driving around is the easiest way of seeing Los Angeles. The city is massive, and it doesn’t have a great public transport system. If you’re not too afraid of freeway driving, hiring car is definitely the easiest way to get around LA.
If you choose to drive, make sure you have a GPS or smartphone with Google Maps. Driving in LA is no cup of tea – there will be numerous times when you’ll hop from one massive 10-lane highway to another, and you will need a way of knowing which lane you should be in to take each exit.
If you’re not keen on navigating the highways by car, then the easiest way to see LA in a short amount of time would be to do a day tour. Try one of these:
- Los Angeles Grand City Tour (departs downtown LA)
- Los Angeles City Tour with Universal Studios (departs downtown LA)
- Deluxe City tour of Hollywood and LA (departs Anaheim)