Top 10 Things to Do in Los Angeles
TAKE PICTURES AT GRIFFITH PARK
No matter how short your trip to LA may be, a trip to the Griffith Observatory is non-negotiable for anyone new to the city. This scenic viewpoint is a high point in the Hollywood Hills where you can see a breathtaking view of the entire city. Walking around the park is free, but you’ll have to pay a small fee to go inside the planetarium. This spot is a perfect photo op of the city and the famous Hollywood sign!
SPEND AN AFTERNOON IN SANTA MONICA
Santa Monica is definitely a favorite of tourists and local alike. Santa Monica beach is the quintessential Los Angeles destination. You can have a typical tourist experience by exploring the Santa Monica Pier or enjoy a peaceful bike ride on the beach’s bike path. Santa Monica also offers amazing shopping and incredible restaurants, so you’re guaranteed to have an awesome day!
I know, I know…LA is well-known for superficial people and celebrity sightings, but it’s also home to some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. LA natives are surprisingly outdoorsy, and going hiking is such an LA thing to do. Runyon Canyon is the most popular hike in the city, but I’m partial to hikes in Malibu.
ENJOY THE LOCAL FOOD
LA is totally a foodie town. There’s an endless amount of gourmet restaurants, and you can basically find any type of cuisine at any time of the day. I recommend trying anything and everything that strikes your fancy, but I’ve got to give a shout out to In-N-Out for burgers (get the Animal Style), Diddy Riese for ice cream sandwiches, and Urth Cafe for celebrity sightings.
SEE THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN
If it’s your first trip to LA, you’ve got to take a picture with the Hollywood sign. It’s an international landmark, and it’s basically a non-negotiable part of your vacation. For a beautiful view of the city AND the sign, head to the Griffith Observatory or the Hollywood restaurant Yamashiro. If you want to get a close-up shot of the Hollywood sign, drive up Beachwood Drive.
SPEND A DAY AT THE BEACH
The California beaches are some of the best in the entire world. Santa Monica is great for bike rides and beach walks. One of my favorites: Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach. You have to pay to park at this beach, but the view is worth every penny! Laguna Beach is another favorite!
GO SEE A SHOW
Los Angeles has a staggering amount of professional actors as residents, so you might as well enjoy the local talent! Check out a play at the Geffen Playhouse or an improv show at UCB (crazy celebrity sightings), iO West, or the Groundlings! There are tons of great concert venues for live music too!
GO HOUSE HUNTING & SHOPPING IN BEVERLY HILLS
If you’ve ever seen a movie set in Los Angeles, there’s a 99.9% chance that there was a scene of someone walking down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is a charming – and very expensive – part of LA, and it’s a fun place to spend the afternoon. While you may not be able to afford to actually buy anything, it’s always fun to go window shopping at the fancy stores on Rodeo Drive. I also love driving around the local neighborhoods to see the extravagant mansions! Hint: the higher the house’s bushes/plants, the bigger the celebrity.
CHECK OUT THE OC
Los Angeles is great, but there are so many amazing places nearby. It’s definitely worth the time to drive about an hour to check out Orange County. The beaches are insanely beautiful, and there are all sorts of fun things to do. Check out Laguna Beach and Newport Beach for scenic views and stop by Fashion Island in Newport for amazing shopping. If you want to check out local stores/restaurants, head to Bear Flag Fish Company in Newport for the best fish tacos IN THE WORLD and Balboa Island for a world famous frozen banana!
DRIVE UP THE COAST
Southern California is so much more than the LA city scene. Take a few hours to drive up the coast in either direction, and you’re guaranteed to see some of the world’s most beautiful coastline on the Pacific Coast Highway!