Los Angeles is undeniably one of the iconic American cities that immediately comes to mind. As one of the top destinations in the United States, LA offers a wide array of attractions and experiences. However, even seasoned travelers can fall into common pitfalls when visiting popular destinations like L.A., especially considering its staggering number of over 50 million annual visitors.
In this article find out about 10 Biggest Mistakes When Visiting Los Angeles In 2023 and how to avoid them, ensuring you maximize your trip and create unforgettable memories.
Table of Contents
1. Underestimating Traffic
Prepare yourself for the LA traffic! Many visitors are surprised to find that it’s as bad, if not worse, than they’ve heard. But fear not, locals have a trick up their sleeves. They avoid driving across the city during the busy mornings and evenings and choose off-peak hours instead. So, when planning your day, be smart about working with the traffic, not against it. Steer clear of rush hour in the mornings and afternoons. Arrange your schedule so that you can spend quality time somewhere exciting during those peak times. Trust me, it’ll save you from being stuck in the car for hours and let you explore incredible places instead.
2. Not Preparing For Colder Weather
One common mistake tourists make in LA is thinking it’s warm throughout the day and night. However, if you’re staying close to the water, the nights can get chilly and windy. To stay comfortable, it’s a good idea to pack a warm sweater and jeans. Keep in mind that a 65-degree evening in the Midwest feels different from a 65-degree evening on the West Coast. So, be prepared for the temperature changes and dress accordingly.
3. Trying To See Too Much On One Trip
When visiting LA, it’s best not to cram too many destinations into one day. The traffic can be quite challenging, so it’s smarter to focus on exploring one side of the city and its nearby attractions. Having a car is essential for getting around, so plan accordingly. For getting around with public transport read our practical guide . Keep in mind that Los Angeles County, where many of the attractions are located, covers a vast area of nearly 4,100 square miles and is home to millions of people. Trying to see everything in one visit will result in spending too much time in your car and missing out on the unique neighborhoods that lie beyond the freeways. Instead, choose one or two areas to concentrate on, like Downtown and the Chinatown or Santa Monica and Venice Beach, and organize your trip around those specific locations.
5. Missing Out On Unique Experiences
Los Angeles is a city that offers a multitude of unique experiences for those fortunate enough to visit.
Beyond the well -known attractions, it is the unexpected and hidden gems that truly make Los Angeles special. Prepare to be enchanted and pleasantly surprised by the marvels that await you in this vibrant city.
Instead of opting for a standard Hollywood tour or attempting to catch a glimpse of a celebrity, dare to embark on something extraordinary! Seek out activities that align with your interests and allow yourself to uncover new aspects of your identity while exploring this new urban landscape.
6. Not visiting museums
While the beach and theme parks may be the main attractions, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore some of Los Angeles’ exceptional museums. These cultural institutions offer more than just art and artifacts; they provide immersive and experiential experiences.
One must-visit museum is the Getty Villa in Malibu, where you can marvel at priceless artifacts and stroll through beautiful gardens. Recreated to resemble a real Roman villa near Pompeii, the Getty Villa offers a glimpse into the ancient world.
Another remarkable museum is the Botanical Gardens in Pasadena. Not only does it house a brilliant collection, but its grounds are equally breathtaking. Take your time to wander through the gardens, enjoy a leisurely picnic, or even grab a refreshing drink.
7. Staying in chain hotels
L.A. offers a variety of well-known chain hotels like Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott, with options like The Beverly Hilton. However, there are also some hotels that offer a more exciting and enjoyable stay.
These hotels go beyond the ordinary. They boast fantastic pools, breathtaking views, and delightful cuisine. Each hotel has its own unique “cool” factor. Take, for example, Petit Ermitage ,this hotel is an art gallery, as the owner’s collection of art adorns the walls of the premises. Its 80 luxuriously appointed rooms and 11 suites include minibars, iPod docking stations, flat-screen TVs, and CO Bigelow toiletries. In the surroundings of the property you can find a garden and a rooftop swimming pool with beautiful views of the city .
8. Visiting Only big neighborhoods
Escape the tourist traps and venture into the lesser-known corners of the city to discover hidden gems. One such neighborhood is Angelino Heights, situated near Dodger Stadium, offering a blend of trendy hangouts and meticulously restored Victorian mansions. It’s a perfect spot to immerse yourself in a hipster ambiance.
While Boystown shines with its vibrant nightlife, don’t overlook West Hollywood. Take the opportunity to explore this dynamic district and indulge in its buzzing culinary scene and stylish shopping destinations.
9. Not walking
While walking may not be a common sight in L.A., hiking is a popular activity thanks to the vast network of over 2,000 miles of public trails in Los Angeles County. Whether you’re seeking breathtaking city vistas or serene paths leading to hidden waterfalls and beaches, there’s something for everyone.
For stunning ocean views and the chance to witness beautiful spring wildflowers, Solstice Canyon is a must-visit. If you’re willing to venture outside the city, Vasquez Rocks offers a truly unique experience with its impressive rock formations and an escape from the bustling crowds.
10. Sitting All Day At The Beach
One common mistake is simply going to the beach to sit idly. Instead, take advantage of the beautiful shoreline by strolling along it from Venice to the Santa Monica Pier. For a more active experience, you can even bike or Rollerblade from Santa Monica all the way to Redondo Beach. This way, you can enjoy the scenic coastal views while getting some exercise and exploring the different beach neighborhoods along the way.
Check out our article for ideas on how to make the most of your day in Santa Monica, besides laying on the beach.