This 3 days in Los Angeles itinerary is perfect for travelers on a short stay, offering a chance to see the city’s most important and iconic spots. It’s an ideal plan for those who want to experience one of the most emblematic cities in the United States, whether you’re touring the West Coast or stopping over on your way to or from Hawaii.
The itinerary covers the downtown area and the most interesting neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Time is set aside to explore Hollywood, the famous beaches of Los Angeles, and the renowned Beverly Hills neighborhood.
For dining options in Los Angeles, you can refer to our restaurant guide section, where you’ll find a selection of interesting restaurants in each of the tourist areas.
Table of Contents
DAY 1: DOWNTOWN, CHINATOWN AND LITTLE TOKYO
On your first day in Los Angeles, start by exploring Downtown, also known as the Los Angeles Civic Center. This is a great way to get your bearings, especially if it’s your first visit to the city. Begin your morning with a visit to the Los Angeles City Hall, an architecturally significant building famous for its appearances in Hollywood films.
Next, head to The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a major place of worship in Los Angeles. After visiting the cathedral, stroll along Grand Avenue where you’ll find the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. This venue, known for hosting the Oscars for many years, is home to an interesting art collection and is worth a visit. Opposite this, you’ll see the Walt Disney Concert Hall, an iconic building designed by Frank Gehry, and the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
After exploring Downtown L.A., have lunch in the famous Chinatown neighborhood. In the afternoon, visit Olvera Street, the historic birthplace of the city. This vibrant area offers a rich experience and is a great way to conclude your day. If you’re interested in nightlife, consider having dinner downtown and visiting Little Tokyo, a neighborhood that immerses you in Japanese culture without leaving Los Angeles. Also, don’t miss the chance to visit the Chinese American Museum and the Ávila Adobe in Chinatown. These attractions offer insights into the history and culture of Los Angeles.
DAY 2: HOLLYWOOD AND SANTA MONICA
On your second day in Los Angeles, head to the city’s most famous area: Hollywood. To avoid long walks, it’s best to take the subway or a bus to the Walk of Fame. Start your Hollywood tour at the TLC Chinese Theatre, a spectacular and historic cinema.
Right in front of the theater is the Walk of Fame, where each year a new celebrity is honored with a star. Spend some time exploring and discovering the handprints of Hollywood stars. You’ll also encounter street performers and impersonators along the way. For movie buffs, the Hollywood History Museum is a must-visit. It displays iconic movie props and costumes.
In the afternoon, make your way to the beautiful Santa Monica area. Here, you can visit the famous Pacific Park on Santa Monica Pier. Admission to Pacific Park is free, but rides cost extra — major attractions are $10, and smaller ones are $5. Don’t miss out on the Santa Monica Ferris Wheel, which offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Afterwards, you can relax with a swim or take a stroll along the Ocean Drive boardwalk to soak in the sights of Los Angeles.
DAY 3: BEVERLY HILLS, SUNSET STRIP AND VENICE
On the final day of your Los Angeles itinerary, a visit to the famous Beverly Hills neighborhood is a must. This area is great for some last-minute shopping in the city. The Sunset Strip, an iconic spot in Los Angeles, is also part of the route. Take a leisurely stroll around Beverly Hills, or if you prefer, join one of the guided bus tours through Hollywood and Beverly Hills to see the spectacular mansions and famous houses.
If you finish your visit early, especially in the summer, consider a swim at Santa Monica Beach before or after lunch. Continue your exploration along the charming promenade. For those who enjoy walking, a 45-minute stroll to Venice Beach is a great option. Here, you’ll find a lively atmosphere and seafront shows. If walking isn’t your preference, a short bus ride will take you from Santa Monica to Venice Beach.
End your day with dinner in this coastal area and enjoy the renowned Pacific sunsets.
Regarding accommodation, if you’re following a three-day itinerary in Los Angeles, Hollywood is the best neighborhood to stay in. You can find detailed information about lodging options in our section on where to stay in Los Angeles.