Los Angeles is packed with world-renowned attractions, making it challenging to decide what to do. With countless amazing spots to visit and sights to see, figuring out where to begin and what to include in your itinerary can be overwhelming. This list is designed to help you make those choices and ensure you discover 10 places you must see in Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
1. Downtown and the theater district
In the theater district on Broadway, between 3rd and 9th streets, you’ll find the Million Dollar Theater. It was used in the film “The Artist,” famously associated with Charlie Chaplin. The last theater to be renovated in this area is the former Tower Theater. Opened in 1927 at 802 Broadway, it was transformed into an Apple store in 2021. This store is a stunning place to see, especially the celestial fresco from the first-floor boxes.
The Los Angeles Conservancy offers guided tours in English of historic Downtown, including some theater visits. These tours start from Pershing Square on Saturdays. Tickets are €13 for adults and free for those under 17.
Tickets at laconservancy.org.
2. Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the Cinema Museum, also known as the Oscar Museum, is an impressive structure. It consists of a three-floor building connected to a giant sphere that houses a 6,000-seat cinema hall and a rooftop. The museum’s galleries honor filmmakers like Pedro Almodovar, Spike Lee, and Hayao Miyazaki, and feature iconic characters like E.T. and the Terminator. Visitors can also see costumes worn by Marilyn Monroe and from “The Wizard of Oz.” The on-site restaurant, Fanny’s, offers some of the best snacks in the area, and the souvenir shop includes unique items like a Lego Oscar.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, 6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile. Such. | Open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Adult price: €22 and free for under 17s.
3. Getty Center
Located on the hills of Brentwood, west of Los Angeles, the Getty Museum resembles an acropolis. Named after its founder, an oil tycoon billionaire, the museum hosts collections of 20th-century paintings, sculptures, and furniture. It features renowned artists like Rembrandt, Turner, and Van Gogh. Before leaving, make sure to explore its magnificent gardens designed by Robert Irwin, which boast thousands of trees, giant cacti, water pools, and waterfalls.
Getty Museum, 1200 Getty Center Drive, The Westside. Such. | Open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free admission.
4. Hollywood Walk of Fame
On Hollywood Boulevard, tourists often take photos along a stretch of about fifteen blocks, from Gower Street to La Brea Avenue, and a section of Vine Street. The Walk of Fame, which started in 1958, honors both real and fictional celebrities. You can find stars dedicated to Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Kim Basinger, David Bowie, and even characters like Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. In total, there are just over 2700 stars, each made from coral pink terrazzo and edged in brass.
5. Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign, created in 1923, was initially an advertising billboard for a housing development that was never built. By the late 1970s, the sign had deteriorated, leading artists to rally for its preservation. The original letters were replaced with white-painted aluminum replicas. Notably, Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, funded the letter ‘Y’, while rock singer Alice Cooper sponsored the letter ‘O’. The sign has been the subject of various alterations, like in 2017 when the word “Hollyweed” appeared during the legalization of cannabis. Today, it’s one of the most photographed landmarks in California.
- For the perfect photo: head to Canyon Lake Drive. Hiking enthusiasts can take the Griffith Park routes which lead directly a few meters from the sign (allow 2 hours). The pose with the palm trees in the background is on Windsor Drive, between 4th and 5th streets.
6. Venice Canals
West of Los Angeles, Venice is home to its network of canals, largely inspired by those in Venice, Italy. These were the creations of entrepreneur Abbot Kinney. Around these canals, you’ll find houses with a diverse range of architectural styles, from Spanish colonial to post-modernist, and even storybook designs with their magical buildings. The area is known for its ultra-relaxing atmosphere. Originally, the Los Angeles canals spanned the entire area between Abbot Kinney, Pacific Ave., and Venice Blvd.
7. Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Constructed in 1889, this resting place for Hollywood stars looks more like a picturesque park, with lakes and green hills spread across 25 hectares. Amidst Greek temples and obelisks, you’ll find the tombs of Judy Garland, Cecil B. DeMille, and Rudolph Valentino. One of the most striking is Johnny Ramone’s tomb, featuring a statue of the Ramones musician with his guitar. Another unique memorial is for Toto, the terrier and loyal companion of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” This place not only honors celebrities but also provides a serene and beautifully landscaped environment.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 600 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. | Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free admission.
8. Stahl House
Constructed in 1959 atop the soaring Hollywood Hills, the Stahl House is an architectural masterpiece by Pierre Koenig. This home is a quintessential example of “Mid-Century Modern” architecture, characterized by its use of pillars, and its glass and steel structure. It features two bedrooms and a spacious living room, complemented by a stunning swimming pool that offers a panoramic view of the city. The Stahl House has served as a backdrop in several films, from “The Singer and the Billionaire” (1991) to “Catch Me If You Can” (2002).
Stahl House, 1635 Woods Drive, Los Angeles. Such. | Closed Sunday and Monday.
9. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the biggest art museum in the western United States, hosts an incredibly diverse collection, featuring Islamic, Asian, and Latin art. One of its most famous features is the Urban Light installation located outside – a collection of 202 restored antique cast iron street lamps that illuminate Wilshire Boulevard. Situated conveniently between the beach and downtown Los Angeles, LACMA is a top attraction for tourists visiting LA.
10. Griffith Observatory
The Griffith Observatory is not only one of the best spots in LA for views, but it’s also full of activities. On almost every clear night, it offers free public telescope use, and once a month, there are star parties where visitors can use different telescopes and learn from knowledgeable amateur astronomers. Griffith Park, which leads to the Observatory, is home to many hiking trails, including the popular Firebreak trail and the more secluded Western Canyon loop. Additionally, the Berendo Stairs at Berendo Street and Cromwell Avenue provide an alternative path to reach the Observatory.
Griffith Observatory, 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles | Open Tuesday – Friday from 12 am to 10 pm and Saturday – Sunday from 10 am- 10 pm, Closed on Mondays