“Must See and Do” Los Angeles Sightseeing Recommendations

 Still in progress.

More videos, photos, maps, updates to come!

Sample Los Angeles Sightseeing Itinerary

Day 1:

Classic LA

  • Hollywood***
  • Melrose***
  • Beverly Hills***
  • Rodeo Drive***
  • West Hollywood
  • Go to a Bar/Club at night in Hollywood

  

Day 2:

West LA

  • Santa Monica***
  • The Grove or Go See a TV Taping
  • Westwood
  • UCLA
  • Baldwin Hills Scenic View Hike in Culver City
  • Culver City
  • Or go to a Dodger Game
  • Check out the Nightlife in Santa Monica on Main Street

Day 3:

Downtown Center and Cultural Districts

  • Downtown LA* – Thursday Downtown LA Art Walk
  • USC
  • Cultural Districts*** (Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, etc.)
  • Go to a Laker*** or Clipper Game
  • Check out the Nightlife in Downtown LA Bar Hopping

Day 4:

Hippie, Unique Venice

  • Venice Beach***

Day 5:

Local Beaches

  • Hermosa Beach*** and bike to Manhattan Beach
  • Hiking in Palos Verdes**
  • Check out the Nightlife in Hermosa Beach Pier

Day 6:

Artsy Hipster

  • Griffith Park***
  • Silverlake – Sunset Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd. (Sunset Junction)
  • Echo Park
  • Los Feliz
  • Check out the Nightlife in Silverlake

Day 7:

Art and Nature

  • The Getty***
  • Hiking in Malibu

Day 8:

Theme Parks

  • Universal Studios

Day 9:

  • Disneyland

Day 10:

  • Six Flags Magic Mountain

Day 11:

Orange County Beaches

If you have a car –

  • Huntington Beach – surf and BONFIRE
  • Newport Beach – DRIVE YOUR OWN ELECTRIC DUFFY BOATS!
  • Check out the Nightlife in Huntington or Newport

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MUST SEE AND DO SIGHTS & EXPERIENCES OF LA

 

Sightseeing Tours

 

 

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Day 1: Classic LA

When everyone thinks of LA, they think of Hollywood, music, movies, tv shows, and the celebrities. 

Unfortunately, the “real” Hollywood and “Beverly Hills” are not as “glamorous” as it is in “real life” and not everyone is like the people on “the reality tv shows”.  However, driving through Beverly Hills or other “rich areas” you can definitely find those rich and glamorous people on the streets with their brand name clothes/accessories at the expensive retail stores or driving their luxurious cars around.  (Yes, it is true that here the “cost of living” and potential of salaries earned here is significantly higher than other countries in the world). 

The streets and buildings of Hollywood itself are not exactly “rich” “spotless” and “clean”. On the contrary, you will find  some homeless people and interesting mixed crowd of people roaming the streets: you will meet young and old, people of high and low class, hipsters, starving artists, actors “hustling” trying to “make it big”, young adults who want to party, artistic stylish people who love the artistic lifestyle Hollywood has to offer, and, of course, lots of international travelers. 

Some visitors and travelers get disappointed when they arrive in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the “tourist spots” because they expect a “glamorous experience with celebrities EVERYWHERE like the movies”.  Although this is not the case, Hollywood still has a “vintage feel to it” and history behind its buildings.  Hollywood is where you will find the most active, lively, and CLUB nightlife in LA where there is something going on any day.  Beverly Hills still has a  “luxurious” feel to it – you get a feeling of excitement looking at the huge homes and mansions, browsing through the shops, reflecting on all the thousands of celebrities that walked these streets- how they live in this beautiful city – and maybe you’ll run into one of them (look out for them during the week and hiding in regular clothes with a hat and sunglasses – and yes, they’re people just like us).

 

***HOLLYWOOD

 

 

1. Hike to the Hollywood Sign

 

 

 

2. ***Chinese Mann Theater

 

 

3. Hollywood and Highland

Filled with lots of people from all over the world – different restaurants, clubs/bars, and shops. A bit pricey.

 

 

4. *** Hollywood Walk of Fame

Stars on the Ground

Visit the Following Streets for lots of restaurants, bars, and clubs:

  • Hollywood and Highland

  • Hollywood and Vine

  • Sunset Blvd

 

 

5. *Beverly Hills

 

 

6. *Melrose

 

 

7. *Rodeo Drive

Window shop and see the luxury of the rich in LA (or be prepared to spend a lot here!) – high end shops, etc.

 

8. West Hollywood

 

 

9.  Go to a TV taping

Be on TV in the audience and watch your favorite TV shows FOR FREE!

CBS studios and Price is Right Game TV Show

 

 

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Day 2: West LA

 

1. ***Santa Monica

  • Santa Monica Pier/3rd Street Promenade – lots of people walking on the streets
  • Clean however there are some bums. Close to the beach. Great farmer’s market, street performers/entertainers, more affordable shopping , good restaurants. Everything is walk-able.
  • They have an awesome Visitor’s Bureau with Ambassadors willing to show you around and help you in any way they can (moreso, than other cities)
  • http://www.santamonica.com/

 

 

2. Westwood

  •  Restaurants, museums, bars next to UCLA Campus. Several university students live in this area.

 

 

3. UCLA

  • One of the famous and oldest universities with thousands of students everywhere, old beautiful brick buildings, huge campus, and famous competitive sports! Feel free to take a tour or visit on campus.

 

 

4. Culver City

  •  Up and coming city where most young adults are living (near the Mar Vista/Santa Monica area)
  • Studios nearby, restaurants, bars, art galleries. Check out their Art Walk!

 

 

 

5. Farmer’s Market in various cities

Organic, fresh food and every type of food you can have for lunch

The Grove

  • Inspired and influenced by European architecture and culture, the grove has great restaurants, lake, park, shows/concert where you can walk and relax.
  • Awesome farmer’s market with every type of food all over the world. Right next to CBS studios.

Santa Monica’s Farmer’s Market on Saturdays

San Pedro Ports O Call Village

  • They have every type of food in this marketplace and delicious tray of fish and potatoes for only $25! Communal seating area

 

 

6. ***Baldwin Hills Scenic View Hike in Culver City

  • Lots of stairs up a high hill. Lots of trees, dry brush, nature around.
  • When you arrive at the top, you find a vast panoramic view of Culver City! Great exercise as well!

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Day 3: Downtown LA

 

Downtown LA Visitor’s Resources

 

 

1. Staples Center

  • Watch the CHAMPIONS and Dynasty of the Los Angeles Lakers!
  • Tickets to a LAKER GAME 
  • Or Watch the young and up and coming All Star Clippers!
  • Tickets to a  CLIPPER GAME

 

 

2. Los Angeles Convention Center

 

 

3. LA Live

 

 

4. Walt Disney Concert Hall

  • Beautiful Architecture and awesome photo opportunity!

 

 

5. Ahmanson Theatre

  • The “Lincoln Center” of LA (but doesn’t compare to NY)

 

 

6. Our Lady of Angels Cathedral

  • The new and millions of dollars Modern Cathedral of the Los Angeles Region
  • Free great historical tour covering the symbolism, architecture, design, and meaning of this beautiful place
  • Profoundly made by Madrid Spanish architect with materials shipped across from overseas – everything was made with meaning, reason, and symbolism
  • Very beautiful and unique!

 DOWNTOWN LA CULTURAL DISTRICTS

Lots of food/restaurants, shops, booths, stores, clothes, bars, restaurants, etc.

Only in LA will you find a district and neighborhood for practically every culture and country of the world. It is in LA where everyone gets to celebrate their own heritage combined with their identity living in America!

 

1. *Chinatown

Dim Sum, Walking Tour, shops/stores, restaurants

 

 

2. *** Koreatown “K Town” 

Amazing Korean BBQ, karaoke, and korean bars!

 

 

3. **Little Tokyo

The closest thing to feeling like Japan! Definitely check out their festivals!

Stores, shops, ramen, restaurants, Japanese National Museum (Next to the MOCA and Walt Disney Concert Hall)

 

 

4. Historic Filipinotown

 

 

5. ***Olvera Street

Authentic Mexican influence Plaza with dancers, performances, vendors, booths, swap meet, and restaurants

You feel ike you’re in MEXICO!

 

 

6.  ***Downtown LA Art Walk – 1st Thursdays of the Month

  •  MUST DO! It makes LA feel like a REAL CITY – filled with hundreds of people walking on the streets til late at night. Restaurants, cafes, bars, lots of art galleries are open til late. 
  • They also have 2 station areas with over 20 FOOD TRUCKS – which are VERY UNIQUE to LA! Delicious gourmet food of every culture – make sure to check our Food Truck Interviews

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Day 4 and 5: Beaches and Nature

 

The Beaches of LA and Southern California in general are not like the humid, tropical, cultural feel of Miami, the Carribean, and Hawaii.  LA Beaches have its unique feel partly due to its ideal WEATHER. 

Southern California has such nice weather where it is usually at least 80 degrees, with a nice breeze, no humidity, sunny, warm, and comfortable – year round.  Where most cities are experiencing their harshest winters, people in LA are able to go to the beach in November or even in February.  The beaches MAKE LA and each beach has its own culture and identity.  We are happy to go over each one with you. (make sure to park in the neighborhoods of be careful for parking meters – bring lots of quarters with you!!)

 

 

Things You Must Do when you go to the beaches here in LA!

Play Beach Volleyball and Surf!

In addition, Boogieboard, Skateboard, Rollerblade/roller skate, Play Basketball, Walk (or walk your dog), Kayak, Check out the tidepools, build sand castles, catch sand crabs, read, collect sea shells, or Ride Bikes at the Beach

 

1. *** Venice Beach

Venice Beach is a “Must Experience” – it’s like the “Berkeley” of LA.

Filled with hippies, street performers, free spirits, artistic people, music, bands, “weed marijuana” signs, pipes/bongs, and “medical doctors” everywhere, art/jewelry vendors, travelers, again a mix of high and low class including homeless people and people “on drugs” unfortunately.  However, Venice has a fun, laid back lifestyle and culture in itself.

 *** Abbot Kinney

There are also a lot of great, artsy, cute restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars (15 minute walking distance)

Make sure to check out the art galleries and Abbott Kinney 1st Fridays of the Month and Festivals with music, food, art, food trucks!!

http://www.yelp.com/biz/abbot-kinney-venice-2

Venice is famous for the basketball courts/games, skateboarding park, “Muscle Beach“, Famous Boardwalk, and see our video biking through Venice and interviewing Roller Skaters from the 70’s (dancing on skates).

 http://venicebeachcotel.com/blog/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice,_Los_Angeles

 

 

2. Santa Monica Beach

 

South Bay Area (Torrance area and El Segundo)

 

 

3. *** Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach is a MUST.  Highly underrated and often overlooked – Hermosa is where the LOCALS are at!  One of the best and beautiful beaches with hometown, local feel. You will find people walking their dogs, skateboarding, biking, running, and walking.  Lively atmosphere.

There are several restaurants, shops, and bars on the pier. Hermosa has a more small town, homey feel.  Hermosa is one of the best beaches to play VOLLEYBALL and has had the best Olympic and College players playing here.  Also, a GREAT place for nightlife (the nightlife crowd is more of high school, college, or people just out of college, but you do have a 30’s 40’s and older local crowd as well).

 

PARKING

Make sure to park on Valley Drive and Hermosa Avenue/Pier near the Fire Department, Tennis, and Basketball Courts.

Or you can park at the 24 hour fitness parking structure on PCH and Hermosa Beach Pier Avenue

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermosa_Beach,_California

http://wikitravel.org/en/Hermosa_Beach

4. Hiking at Palos Verdes and private beaches

Palos Verdes is the richer, nicer area of South Bay. Huge homes and manions on the cliffs with beautiful hikes. It’s on the peninsula and it’s great to go for running to the top of the hills and see a beautiful view!

It makes you feel as if you are in a totally different place – not in LA anymore!

Trump Golf Couse

Terranea Resort

  • Luxury resort with beautiful pools, bar, cabana homes you can rent – great for weddings!
  • Free, on the cliffs, beautiful view, there’s a cave you can explore

Del Cerro Park

Shipwreck Trail

Portugese Bend Trail

5. Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach is a bit more upscale, richer, nicer, concrete paths/streets, steep hills, very nice restaurants, shops teeming with people.  Great place to surf! The sand is softer and great place to play volleyball as well.

You can bike from Torrance Beach to Redondo to Hermosa to Manhattan all the way to Playa Del Rey, Venice, and Santa Monica if you are ambitious (may take longer than 1 hour)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Beach,_California

 

North of LA

 

Orange County – if you have an extended amount of time

 

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Day 6: Artsy Hipster

1. ***Griffith Park Observatory (free museum of science, stars, etc.)

 Beautiful view- near Hollywood Sign, there’s also the aboretoreum where you can see the stars at night- good for hiking!

 

 

 

2. *Silverlake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park  

Arts, galleries, music, restaurant, trendy, hipster/scenester.

The people of Silverlake have STYLE and are trendy. They are the people you usually don’t see in any typical city or on the street in “normal life”- they seem to be those at the model photoshoots or in a movie featuring LA. They are very artistic, creative, unconventional, loud personalities and fashion! Outcasts or the “in crowd” – you can see it in their lifestyle, their art, music, and restaurants around Sunset Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd.

Definitely check out Sunset Junction Festival in August!!! *** and Silverlake Jubilee in the Spring ****

www.thesilverlakenews.com/

3. Old Town Pasadena

Feels like the “real downtown” or LA and feels like San Francisco or a “real city!” Busy with art, food, restaurants, bars, music but more inland and north of LA

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DAY 8 – 10 : AMUSEMENT PARKS

Disneyland

 

Six Flags Magic Mountain

 

Knotts Berry Farm

 

Universal Studios

 

 

WATER PARKS

Raging Waters 

Wild Rivers 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on ““Must See and Do” Los Angeles Sightseeing Recommendations

  1. I just have to say that this is an amazing post! i’ve been to LA 3 before but this is such a great guideline for people who have never been. And even someone like me who is going back for the 4th time, it summarizes the sights nicely by region so that I can plan efficiently.

    • Hi Farrah! We’re so glad you found this useful even though you’ve been to LA 3 times! 🙂 Where are you from? Are you visiting for work or just for fun? Let us know if we can do anything else or give you any other tips to help you have an AMAZING time! We find that it’s much easier to travel by having a simple list of “Musts” per region!

      Feel free to email us at info@travelganas.com or post on facebook.com/travelganas your adventures, stories, photos, videos, tips and we will share that with other travelers as well. Happy and Safe Travels!

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