This list of the best places to visit in Los Angeles will help you prepare for a trip to the city of Angels, making the most of your time.
Known for being the second largest city in the United States, Los Angeles also stands out as the mecca of the Hollywood film industry, and although it is not exactly a city that captivates you at first sight like New York or San Francisco, we believe that it deserves It is worth spending a few days on a trip to the West Coast of the United States to at least get closer to it and discover the reasons why some travelers get stuck.
And we cannot forget that in addition to its endless offer of leisure, culture, and restaurants, it has extensive beaches bathed by the Pacific, ideal for spending a few days of relaxation and fun.
Although if you visit it within a route along the West Coast, it is best to continue moving with a rental car, in case you only visit the city, you can also use public transport such as the bus or the subway, which reach all points of interest.
Here we leave you with a list of what we believe are the 12 essential places to see in Los Angeles. Let’s start!
Table of Contents
1. Walk of Fame
Looking for the star of your favorite actor or artist on the ground of the Hollywood Walk of Fame or Walk of Fame is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles.
One of the best parts of this walk is right in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Here, you can put your hands or feet into the imprints left by many famous Hollywood stars. It’s a moment where you can feel just like one of them.
And if you’re lucky on the day you visit, you might even see a Hollywood star. This theater, with its Chinese pagoda-style front, hosts movie premieres that are often attended by the film’s stars.
This promenade is located on a section of Hollywood Boulevard and is one of the busiest areas in the city all day long. You might come across people dressed as superheroes or impersonating famous characters.
Don’t forget to check out the Kodak Theatre, famous worldwide for hosting the Oscars every year. And there’s the Hollywood History Museum, which is full of movie memorabilia and iconic settings like Hannibal Lecter’s jail cell.
If you enjoy shopping, make sure to visit Hollywood and Highland. It’s an entertainment area with lots of shops and a great viewpoint where you can see the Hollywood sign.
2. Santa Monica, one of the best places to visit in Los Angeles
Santa Monica is one of our favorite areas and another of the most essential places to visit in Los Angeles. This neighborhood stands out for its great promenade facing the Pacific Ocean, its beaches ,and its sports and multicultural atmosphere.
Also, located next to the Santa Monica pier, is one of the amusement parks that has appeared in more movies, the old Pacific Park.
The best time to approach the pier is at dusk, the perfect time to watch the sun go down or ride the big Ferris wheel in the park to enjoy one of the best views of Los Angeles .
You can walk and enjoy the atmosphere of the promenade (Ocean Drive), starting with Santa Monica Beach, famous for appearing in the mythical television series Baywatch, ending at Venice Beach, full of surfers, original shops and street artists.
In Venice Beach, in addition to a nice canal area, is Muscle Beach , which has an open-air gym where you can see bodybuilders train and where Arnold Schwarzenegger was a regular. Also, don’t forget to take a photo in front of the sign that marks the end of the emblematic Route 66.
If you want to go shopping or have a drink, you can go to the Third Street Promenade pedestrian street, with a multitude of clothing stores from brands from all over the world.
This area also has an extensive restaurant offer with some of the best restaurants with good prices such as True Food Kitchen, Big Deans Oceanfront Cafe ,and Pier Burger.
A good option to get to places farthest from the center such as Santa Monica is to book the Los Angeles tourist bus.
3. Hollywood movie studio tour
Another of the best things to do is to take a tour of one of the most famous Hollywood studios such as Warner Bros or Universal Studios.
One of the most recommended tours is tour of the Warner Bros film studio in which for about two hours you can see the filming sets and decorations of mythical series such as Big Bang Theory and Friends or movies like Batman and Harry Potter .
Another of the best tours is the one that goes through the sets of the most famous films and series of Universal Studios. This tour takes place in one of the areas of the Universal Studios amusement park, where in addition to seeing the scenes of productions such as Jaws , Back to the Future , Desperate Housewives , Psycho , or The War of the Worlds , you can have fun in the attractions and shows also inspired by movies like Fast and Furious , Jurassic Park , Waterworld , the Simpsons , The Walking Dead or Transformers .
4. Downtown Los Angeles
Downtown, the financial area of the city where skyscrapers and activity on weekdays are the order of the day, is another of the most essential places to see in Los Angeles .
Its most emblematic building is the City Hall, which has appeared in several movies such as Spiderman and was the first skyscraper in the city, plus it can be visited for free and has an incredible viewpoint on the 29th floor.
Other places worth visiting Downtown are the spectacular building of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Los Angeles, the Music Center or the Plaza Olvera, of Spanish heritage.
After these visits you can walk the Grand Avenue, inspired by the Champs Elysees in Paris, passing by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles (MOCA), the beautiful bookstore The Last Bookstores and the US Bank Tower, home of the film Independence Day ,until you reach the Staples Center.
The Los Angeles Lakers play in this stadium and for us to be able to see NBA stars play like the late Kobe Bryant was one of the best experiences of the entire trip. We recommend you book tickets well in advance from this site.
If you arrive early, you can go to the Santee Alley area, known as the Fashion District, made up of a maze of streets full of clothing stores and all kinds of items where you can find real bargains.
5. Griffith Observatory
Going up to the Griffith Observatory at sunset, located on top of a hill in the south of Hollywood, to see the sunset and the city illuminated at night is another of the best things to do in Los Angeles .
In addition to the best views of Los Angeles, this observatory has a large park next to it, perfect for walking, hiking ,and above all, disconnecting from the hustle and traffic of the city.
At the observatory, you can also visit the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, one of the most advanced in the world where you can observe stars and constellations.
6. Beverly Hills, one of the best places to see in Los Angeles
Beverly Hills, famous for its large mansions where movie stars, music stars,and millionaires live, is another place to visit in Los Angeles .
This district, located at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, has become an exclusive area in which one of its attractions is to take this tour of the houses of movie stars and music that passes through the hills of Hollywood and Mulholland. Drive. During the excursion, you can see the mansions of stars such as Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer López, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, David and Victoria Beckham or the former homes of Michael Jackson, Richard Gere, Madonna, Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley.
Another of the most famous places in Beverly Hills and to see in Los Angeles is Rodeo Drive, an avenue full of luxury stores where the rich and famous come to buy and where you can walk around, feeling like a real star. Remember that if you see a luxury car or a limousine parked in front of a store, a celebrity may come out in a few minutes. We warn you!
After so much glamor we advise you to go eat on Cañón Drive and take a picture in front of the Beverly Hills sign.
The Chinatown neighborhood, located near Downtown, is another of the liveliest and most interesting places in Los Angeles .
The Chinese community settled in Los Angeles in the 19th century, first in the Union Station area and later moving to its current location, next to the historic district.
To discover the neighborhood, it is best to start with the central square, with a great activity throughout the day and walk along Chung King street, full of art galleries and a hippie atmosphere. A visit to the Thien Hau temple, the most famous in the city, and the Chinese-American museum, will help you better understand the religion, history, and culture of this community.
8. Hollywood Sign
Nobody leaves Los Angeles without taking a picture of the mythical Hollywood sign (Hollywood Sign), located on Mount Lee Hill. This huge sign with the white letters of the word Hollywood , which has appeared in a multitude of movies, we could say without fear of being wrong, that it is the great icon of Los Angeles.
Created in 1923 as part of an advertising campaign, it has suffered several damages due to acts of vandalism, so access is restricted and it is protected by a fence that surrounds it. In addition, several residents, tired of the tourists, have put up false signs indicating that the Hollywood cartel is not reached on their street.
Despite all these inconveniences, good photos can be taken from afar from the intersection of Franklin streets with N Beachwood Drive, although if you want to get closer you can go up Beachwood Drive to a sign announcing horse tours in the Hollywood Hills . In an hour you will be behind the letters with incredible views of Los Angeles.
Other easy options to see the sign are Lake Hollywood Park and the Deronda Gate.
9. Little Tokyo
This neighborhood from the beginning of the 20th century is a small paradise for fans of the culture and gastronomy of the country of the rising sun.
During a walk through Little Tokyo you can find shops with original items from Japan, open-air karaoke, Buddhist temples such as Koyasan, the James Irvine garden with the typical beauty of Japanese gardens, and above all, restaurants to try their delicious cuisine. As an anecdote, we will tell you that they say that it is here, in this neighborhood, where the famous California Rolls were created.
To learn more about the history of this community and its imprint on the city, we recommend you visit the Japanese American Museum, which remembers how the Japanese were transferred to confined areas during World War II.
10. La Brea Tar Pits
The La Brea Tar Pits, a group of tar pits that have become one of the most important fossil deposits in the world, is one of the most curious places to see in Los Angeles .
For thousands of years, tar or pitch has been seeping from the ground, trapping animals and perfectly preserving their bones such as those of mammoths, American lions, ground sloths, short-faced bears, and even a saber-toothed cat.
A few meters from La Brea Tar Pits is the Petersen Museum, which has a collection of 250 vehicles ranging from the early 20th century to the most current sports cars.
After both visits, you can go to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), one of the most important art museums in the city that has a collection of paintings by great masters such as Picasso and has some photogenic streetlights outside.
Although if you are a big fan of art we advise you to drive to the Getty Center, a huge complex located in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains and with some of the best works in the history of art.
Visiting hours: Wednesday to Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
11. Malibu Beaches
Another of the best things to do in Los Angeles is to take the car and drive along the coastal road that leads to Malibu, a perfect area to spend a relaxing morning or have fun surfing.
In addition to enjoying its kilometric beaches surrounded by a fantastic natural environment, you can see its wooden houses on the seafront where the rich and famous of Los Angeles take refuge.
Among its most popular beaches is Zuma Beach and if you prefer tranquility, you have Point Dume State, more difficult to access and with a more beautiful natural environment.
12. Sunset Strip
Sunset Strip, with a dangerous past related to the mafia and gangsters, is today a place with a great leisure offer full of nightclubs, restaurants, shopping centers, shops and our latest proposal of places to visit in Los Angeles . Located on a 2-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard, it has several mythical places such as The Roxy and Wiskie a Go Go
concert halls, where Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin and The Doors played, as well as famous clubs frequented by stars from Hollywood as The Viper Room, in which actor River Phoenix died.
You can also have fun with stand-up comedy at The Comedy Store or head to the Hollywood Bowl for an outdoor concert.
Hope you have a lot of joy while visiting your favorite L.A. places!