Planning a trip to Los Angeles and wondering what are the best places to visit in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles, often known by its initials LA, is the largest city in California. Often referred to as “the entertainment capital of the world”, it boasts world-famous attractions, stunning beaches, theme parks and a plethora of museums.
The city is home to some of the world’s best known landmarks such as the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach and many more. Visiting Los Angeles is one of the best things to do on the West Coast of the United States.
But what to see in Los Angeles?
Check out this article to find out.
7 Best Places to Visit in Los Angeles
Located at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, Hollywood is home to the city’s most iconic sights. And we understand why Hollywood is one of the first places tourists visit when they arrive in Los Angeles.
What to do in Hollywood?
Explore extravagant buildings on Hollywood Boulevard, such as the Chinese and Egyptian Theaters. Check out the iconic Hollywood sign.
Take a walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is a sidewalk that runs along Hollywood Boulevard for more than 10 blocks. There are approximately 2,700 stars embedded in the sidewalk bearing the names of actors, musicians, directors, producers and other important figures in the entertainment industry.
Explore Warner Brothers Studios, one of the oldest film studios in the world, for a behind-the-scenes look at the film industry.
Visit Universal Studios Hollywood. It includes a theme park and a movie studio. With several interesting areas and attractions, Universal Studios is one of the best theme parks in the United States and one of the best places to visit in Los Angeles with children.
Take a tour of the Universal Studios film studio to see some of the old film sets.
Catalina Island is a small rocky island located off the coast near LA
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, Catalina Island is the place to go.
This picturesque island is known for its pretty beaches and diving spots. Relaxing on a beach, snorkeling, golfing, hiking, and biking are some of the most popular things to do in Catalina. Kayak and glass bottom boat tours are also popular.
Visiting Catalina Island is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles with kids.
Griffith Park and Hollywood sign
Griffith Park is a city park located in the Santa Monica Mountains.
It’s one of the most famous city parks in the United States, but it’s wilder and more rugged than other popular parks in the country.
Griffith Park is a popular place for walks and hikes. The park offers great views of downtown Los Angeles and is home to some of Los Angeles’ top attractions such as the Griffith Observatory and the Los Angeles Zoo.
Griffith Observatory is the most visited public observatory in the world, and it offers some great tourist attractions.
The park offers many walking trails. Including a trail leading to the Hollywood Sign, LA’s most iconic landmark
The Getty Center
The Getty Center is an art museum and one of the best places to visit in Los Angeles.
The center includes impressive buildings and pavilions containing an important collection of pre-20th century European art (paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and photographs).
Besides art, the Getty Center has a number of aesthetic and impressive courtyards, sculpted gardens, and fountains. Don’t miss Robert Irwin’s Central Garden and the Cactus Garden.
Admission is free, but you must reserve a timeslot before your visit.
Santa Monica and Venice
Santa Monica and Venice are among LA’s most iconic neighborhoods
Both are known for their beaches and lively, bustling atmosphere. Santa Monica has a historic pier that houses an amusement park and an aquarium. Venice is also known for its canals (hence its name), colorful murals and street performers.
Many don’t venture far from the beaches of Venice and Santa Monica.
But you should! Because the best beaches are located a little further from the city. One of the best areas in Los Angeles for beaches is Malibu.
Accessible by bus (if you don’t have a car) from Santa Monica, Malibu is a great place to visit. It offers peaceful stretches of sand, some of them backed by impressive rocky outcrops.
The best beaches in Malibu are:
- Point Dume State Beach;
- El Matador State Beach;
- Zuma Beach;
- West Beach.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Located a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park is a must-see when visiting the city.
The national park is known for its Joshua trees (hence its name) and its moonscape with giant boulders and unique geological formations. Joshua trees are desert plants, native to the Mojave Desert, the driest desert in North America.
The national park has many well-maintained hiking trails and great campgrounds. One of the most popular hikes in the area is the relatively easy and scenic Hidden Valley Nature Trail. The trail is surrounded by large rocks and hills and is only 1.6 km long. So it is suitable for most people.
Avid hikers will also have plenty of options, as there are a number of longer routes.
What else can you see in Joshua Tree National Park?
Key’s View offers stunning views of the surrounding desert, valley and mountains.
Located not far from Key’s View, the Lost Horse Mine is a historic gold and silver mine in the Lost Horse Valley. It produced gold and silver which today was worth around $5 million.
Cholla Cactus Garden is another fascinating site in the national park, especially if you are interested in plants. This cactus-filled area has a looping walking path.
Los Angeles Travel Tips
- Citizens of many European countries do not need a visa to travel to the United States, but must obtain electronic authorization (ESTA).
- There is only one official ESTA website and that is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. The official fee is $14.00. All other sites offering this service are third parties and charge additional fees.
- Tipping is common in the United States. A tip of 18 or 20% on top of the bill is standard.
- Electrical plugs and sockets are type A and B. The standard voltage is 120 V. Buy a travel adapter and converter to use your electronic devices safely.
- Don’t limit yourself to just visiting Los Angeles. Rent a car and explore the county.
- Even though LA isn’t known as a bike-friendly destination, there are parts that can be explored by bike. There are a few bike paths, including the 26-mile-long one in Santa Monica that runs along the waterfront and offers views of the Pacific Ocean.
- Evenings and nights are chilly in LA Even in summer. So bring something hot.
- Los Angeles does not have a downtown area. The city is very large. So don’t expect to be able to explore the city on foot.
- The best way to get around Los Angeles is to rent a car. But it can also be done using public transport. In fact, Los Angeles’ public transportation system is considered “one of the best public transportation systems in the United States.”
- There are some great free museums in Los Angeles. Be sure to visit at least one.