Where to go in Los Angeles, what to see, which landmarks and museums to visit in Los Angeles, the best natural parks and amusement parks, which city districts are worth exploring, from the affluent Santa Monica and Beverly Hills to the edgy Skid Row. Don’t miss out on the concert halls and shopping, photos of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles has long had a reputation as not the most exciting city on the West Coast of the United States. It’s a massive metropolis where all the attractions are scattered tens of kilometers apart from each other.
In addition, travelers who are always in a hurry stay in the city for a maximum of a couple of days, and all they see is the Hollywood Boulevard, downtown, Venice Beach, and Universal Studios if there’s time. I was lucky; I have an old friend who has been living in Los Angeles for over two decades, and I asked him to provide his advice on what to see in Los Angeles, its attractions, and leisure options.
Los Angeles Travel Guide
I think I’ve put together a decent mini guide. All the most interesting things in Los Angeles on two pages, including useful links to interesting places and sites.
ATTENTION! To see Los Angeles and enjoy it, you need a car, there’s NOTHING to do here without it! You can read about renting a car and organizing your trip to the United States on your own here.
The Most Interesting Museums in Los Angeles
Getty Center – gallery website and villa website. It’s worth visiting both; they are in different locations, admission is free, but parking is paid. Tickets for the villa should be ordered in advance, even though they are free.
Norton Simon Museum – art gallery website.
Petersen Automotive Museum (next to LACMA) website.
MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) website.
Space Shuttle Endeavour website.
Urban Natural Parks
Griffith Park and Observatory website. Besides offering an excellent view of the city and the Hollywood sign and an interesting exposition about stars and space, there’s a planetarium with an engaging show. You can leave your car near the observatory and hike to the Hollywood Hills, where the wild puma P22 website resides (all within the city limits).
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens website. It includes art galleries and themed botanical gardens like Japanese and Chinese gardens, cacti, and more.
Gardens of All Religions – a lake and garden, worth a visit for an hour or two; it’s very beautiful.
Los Angeles Zoo website.
Amusement Parks in Los Angeles
Disneyland website – only if you have children; it’s not very interesting for adults.
Six Flags Magic Mountain website – thrilling American roller coasters, suitable for both children and adults.
Districts and Quarters, Simply Interesting Places in Los Angeles Worth Seeing
Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) – modern architecture.
Rooftop viewing platforms in downtown: The Bonaventure Hotel website, Rooftop Bar at The Standard Hotel website (free admission during the day, dress code and $$ in the evening), JW Marriott Hotel Rooftop Bar website.
The Los Angeles Gun Club in downtown Los Angeles website.
Olvera Street – one of the first streets in Los Angeles; Union Station is nearby website.
L.A. LIVE website – entertainment center in downtown.
Skid Row – a place with a high concentration of homeless people in downtown Los Angeles; you should preferably watch it from a car.
Little Tokyo – the Japanese quarter in downtown website.
Chinatown – the Chinese quarter (not as big as in San Francisco, but still quite interesting, especially for those who haven’t been to Asia) website.
Beverly Hills – boutiques website and expensive mansions.
Hollywood – the boulevard with stars website, the Dolby Theatre where the Oscars are presented website, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum website. It’s worth going to Hollywood Boulevard once. The best time is in the evening when the lights are on because during the day, the boulevard is rather dull.
West Hollywood – a district of compact living for supporters of non-traditional orientations. Driving through the area in the evening, you can observe amusing scenes.
Santa Monica – the promenade of the 3rd Street (Third Street Promenade), the historic Santa Monica Pier website.
Venice Beach – the boardwalk and the beach with a large number of quirky people and other colorful characters, canals, the historic pier.
Wilshire Boulevard – you can drive from downtown through Beverly Hills to Santa Monica.
University Campuses in Los Angeles
Campuses are university towns for students, and it’s quite interesting to explore them and compare them to university towns in Europe.
USC www.usc.edu – located near downtown Los Angeles.
UCLA www.ucla.edu – situated in the Westwood area.
Caltech https://www.caltech.edu/ – located in Pasadena.
Concert Halls in Los Angeles
Disney Hall – http://www.laphil.com/ – LA Philharmonic.
Hollywood Bowl – http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/ – an open-air venue for 18,000 people, featuring classical, rock, and pop performances – check the schedule.
Greek Theatre – http://www.greektheatrela.com/ – similar to the Hollywood Bowl but smaller and without classical music.
Shopping in Los Angeles
The Grove – http://www.thegrovela.com/ – an open-air shopping center designed like a European-style street. It’s worth visiting even if you’re not shopping.
The Americana – http://www.americanaatbrand.com/ – similar but larger.
Well, that’s roughly it – I’ve skipped many things. This should be enough for an intensive week-long program. You could easily spend two weeks exploring something new and interesting every day.
In addition to this, Los Angeles has plenty of places to enjoy good food, clubs to have a great time, and beautiful city beaches for active relaxation. You can also explore the beautiful nature around and interesting places within an hour’s drive.
Where to Stay in Los Angeles
For budget accommodation or hotels in Los Angeles, we use Booking.com – Los Angeles. It’s safe, comfortable, and offers a wide range of options.
If you want to save money and are willing to sacrifice some comfort, consider apartments or hostels. Prices start from $50 per night for a bed in a budget hostel and go up to $120-$200 per night for decent accommodation.
Where to book air tickets to Los Angeles
You can buy plane tickets directly from the airlines’ websites, but it’s usually more cost-effective to take advantage of offers from Aviasales. I find the best prices here. I’ve flown to this city several times.
How to Rent a Car in Los Angeles
Rentalcars.com – simply select the country and city where you need a car. Then, choose a car, and you can easily and effortlessly explore California, just as we did.